Tim Hanley writes;
DC slipped down slightly while Marvel made a sizeable jump to retain the highest total of female creators yet again. We also take a look at the Top 300 comics from June and dig into how the Big Two compare to the rest of the comics industry.
It was an up and down month for DC, and one that ultimately resulted in a decrease in female creators, albeit a tiny one. In June 2013, DC released 70 new comic books with 607 credited creators, 535 men and 72 women. Here are their stats:
A loss of of 0.1% from last month overall isn’t great, but on the bright side it is the least they could fall. Cover artists, colorists, and editors all rose nicely, the latter two by over 3% each, while pencillers jumped a small 0.2%. Everything else was down, though only by a percentage point or two. Nothing fell precipitously, though a decline of 2.5% for writers is disheartening after a few months of growth. All together, the losses outweighed the gains and DC remains far behind Marvel for the 13th straight month.
Compared To A Year Ago: DC was at 10.1% female creators last June, so they’re up 1.6% since then.
After several months of sitting slightly below their best range, Marvel has cracked the 14% level again. In June 2013, Marvel put out 72 new comic books featuring 617 credited creators, 530 men and 87 women. Let’s go through the stats:
Marvel went up 0.9% from last month, a solid gain after a few relatively stagnant, albeit decent, months. Cover artists, writers, pencillers, and inkers all grew, including a jump of 2.5% for writers and no more zeroes for pencillers and inkers. Colorists lost a couple of percentage points and editors lost one, while letterers remained the same with none, but assistant editors went up a whopping 8%. Ultimately, gains in 5 of the 8 categories led Marvel to a very strong June.
Compared To A Year Ago: Last June, Marvel had 11.6% female creators, so their up 2.5% from then.
LOOKING AT JUNE’S TOP 300 COMICS
We’ve been looking at other comic book publishers over the past couple of months, and we’ve seen some interesting things. Some publishers had really fantastic numbers for female creators, while others had none at all, and this month we’re going to try to combine everything to get a general sense of the numbers for the overall comic book market.
To do that, we’re going to use Diamond’s list of the Top 300 comic books sold in June 2013. While it doesn’t account for every comic released this month, it’s a good way to get a sense of where the industry is at via a significant sample size.
There were actually 309 usable comic books listed in the June Top 300 chart, featuring 2,481 credited creators, 2,169 men and 312 women. Here are the overall numbers:
These are decent numbers, with a fair amount of representation across the board. Things could certainly be better, particularly since only 3 of the 8 categories are in double digits, but at the same time those 3 categories are firmly in double digits at over 20% each. Nothing else is abysmally low, either. All but letterers are over 5%, which is still a tiny amount but more than we’re used to seeing on a regular basis from Marvel and DC for some of these categories. There’s lots of room to grow, but these numbers aren’t too bad at all.
However, they include the DC and Marvel numbers, so let’s separate them out and see how the Big Two compared to the rest of the Top 300 titles. DC and Marvel accounted for 143 of the books, while 20 different smaller publishers made up the remaining 166 books. Here are their numbers for female creators, side by side:
The Big Two have a slight edge overall, coming in at 0.6% higher than all of the other publishers, but by category they only did better in 3 of the 8 categories. They edged out the rest of the industry in writers by a small amount, but didn’t do so well in the rest of the creative categories.
There were slightly more female letterers outside of the Big Two, and noticeably more cover artists as well, but interior art is where the rest of the industry really topped DC and Marvel. They had almost 6% more female colorists than the Big Two, topping what is traditionally their best creative category for female creators by a strong margin. All told, nearly a quarter of the colorists employed outside of the Big Two were women.
The art numbers are just crazy, though. In and of itself, 10% is not a huge amount. One in ten is small potatoes. But compared to 2%, it’s absolutely massive. That’s five times as many as the Big Two! In terms of raw numbers, the Big Two had 4 female pencillers and 4 female inkers while the rest of the industry had 24 and 25 women drawing their books, respectively. Female artists have been a low category for the Big Two since we started tracking these stats two and a half years ago, and obviously there are a lot of them out there doing work. They exist, so perhaps the Big Two should go find them.
The Big Two definitely had the edge when it came to editorial, though with a small caveat: The vast majority of non-Big Two books had an editor, but many didn’t have assistant editors. While about 80% of Big Two books had assistant editors, it was only about 25% elsewhere. The totals for editors are a straight comparison that the Big Two led handily, but their lead among assistant editors is less significant. The Big Two have a ton of female assistant editing credits, which is fantastic, but they also make up a big part of their overall total. About 27% of the female credits at the Big Two are assistant editors (editorial as a whole counts for nearly half of their overall total), but for the rest of the industry assistant editors are only 7% of the overall female total (and 26% for editorial as a whole). The Big Two’s overall total is extremely reliant on editorial, while that’s not the case elsewhere, where there’s much more distribution by category. So yes, the Big Two “won” editorial at the expense of a serious lack of representation elsewhere.
So we’ve learned a couple of things. First, the overall percentage of female creators in the comic book industry was fairly decent in June, with some okay representation but lots of room to grow yet. And second, there are many female artists at other publishers that the Big Two could be hiring. It’s quite a list. Email me, Big Two editors; I’ll send you the spreadsheet.
To learn more about this statistics project and its methodology click here, and to see the previous stats click here. You can visit Tim at Straitened Circumstances and follow him on Twitter @timhanley01.