Gendercrunching May 2013 by Tim Hanley – DC, Marvel, Dynamite, Aspen, Archie And Avatar

Tim Hanley writes;

DC improved noticeably from last month while Marvel fell slightly, but it wasn’t enough to stop Marvel from reaching a full YEAR of having the higher percentage of female creators. How times have changed; DC was tops for ages when we began this project. We also stop by four different publishers this month: Dynamite, Archie, Aspen, and Avatar.


Some gains on the creative sign were countered by losses in editorial, but ultimately DC was up this month. In May 2013, DC put out 76 new comics featuring 702 credited creators, 619 men and 83 women. Here are their stats:


Editors fell just under 1% and assistant editors were down almost 3%, but cover artists rose 4% and writers were up 2%. Pencillers and colorists remained about the same, with slight gains for inkers and letterers, the latter of which hit double digits for the first time ever. All told, the strong creative numbers carried the day for DC and they rose 1.1% overall.

Compared To A Year Ago: DC was at 11.5% female creators in May 2012, so they’re up 0.3% since then.


Marvel fell only slightly overall, but there were some troubling developments in the big name categories. In May 2013, Marvel released 74 new comic books with 597 credited creators, 518 men and 79 women. Let’s look at their numbers:


Both editorial categories were down a few percentage points, while writers fell more than 5% and pencillers and inkers fell to zero. On the plus side, cover artists rose slightly and colorists were up almost 7%, breaking into the 20s. Letterers remained steady at 0%, where they’ve been for two and half years. The losses outweighed the gains, and ultimately Marvel was down a very slight 0.1% overall.

Compared To A Year Ago: In May 2012, Marvel had 10.7% female creators, so they’ve risen 2.5% since then.


Last month we checked in on Boom!, Valiant, and Zenescope and got some surprisingly good numbers from two of those publishers. This month we look at four more publishers; one is sort of okay, one is pretty bad, and two are flat out terrible. It’s going to be a less cheery series of visits this month.


Dynamite’s made some HUGE women in comics news lately, premiering Gail Simone’s new Red Sonja book last week with an all-star team of female cover artists as well as announcing a tie-in series featuring an all-star cast of female writers. It’s a good thing too, because based on their May numbers, Dynamite has a serious deficit of female creators. In May 2013, Dynamite released 38 new comics featuring 229 credited creators, 221 men and 8 women. Here are their stats:


On the one hand, 3.5% overall is awful. Just ridiculously low. On the other hand, Dynamite had a higher percentage of female writers, pencillers, and inkers this month than Marvel, so there’s that. Regardless, those new Red Sonja books are going to help bolster some rather paltry numbers. It’s nice to know that Dynamite’s jumped from zero female cover artists in May to a billion on just one series in July. They literally had nowhere to go but up.

The editorial numbers are deceptive, because while 33.3% seems sizeable it actually only represents 2 women. Most Dynamite books don’t have credited editors, it seems. The Red Sonja titles and Damsels did (4 male credits over 4 titles) and so did Game of Thrones (2 women), but that’s it out of 38 books. So while 2 female editors equals 33.3%, 2 female writers equaled 4.3%. Sample size is a relevant factor.


Speaking of sample size, while Archie has a decent share of the comic book market, they don’t put out a ton of books. There were only 7 Archie titles, in floppy form, in May, so we’re not working with a ton of books here. Nonetheless, the numbers aren’t at all ambiguous. In May 2013, Archie released 7 new comics with 54 credited creators, 54 men and 0 women. That’s right, zero:


There wasn’t a single woman anywhere in the Archie credits. To be fair, Archie has as many female pencillers, inkers, and letterers as Marvel, but that’s not saying a lot. Usually we get at least a female colorist or something, but not so much here. Betty and Veronica would be outraged. Well, Betty at least. Veronica would probably only care about whether the books are making money.


Aspen also has a small output, but managed to hire a few women at least. I again literally judged a book by its cover and assumed that a publisher whose bread and butter is scantily clad ladies might not have a ton of female creators, but it turns out Aspen has a few, albeit in limited roles. In May 2013, Aspen put out 8 new comics featuring 68 credited creators, 60 men and 8 women. Let’s look at their stats:


While 10.3% is okay overall, there are a lot of zeroes in that chart. I’ll spare you the Marvel joke again, but representation in only 2 of the 7 categories isn’t great. However, those 2 categories are quite strong. The numbers for colorists are very good, and the solid cover artist numbers include a number of colorists as well as a couple of variant covers by female artist Siya Oum. We’ve definitely seen a lot worse overall, today and when looking at other publishers in months previous, so while Aspen lacks representation in the fields that get your name on the cover, they’re not doing too badly.


Avatar, however, is doing terribly. The thing with a small output is that yes, there are less hiring opportunities, but that also means that when you do hire a female creator, the change in overall percentage is huge. A creator at DC counts for 0.14% of their total percentage, while at Avatar they count for 2.1% each, or 15 times as much. All of that to say, there are no women in Avatar’s credits. In May 2013, Avatar put out 8 new books with 47 credited creators, 47 men and 0 women:


So that’s terrible. Not a single woman anywhere at any level of production. I know 8 books isn’t a lot, but once you’re filling 50 or so jobs, you’d think at some point a place like Archie or Avatar would just inadvertently hire a woman. It’s statistically improbable not to; they’re about half of the population, so you think they’d end up with at least 1 or 2. But no.

Thus concludes our tour of publishers. While there are a few small publishers left, they are so very small that I don’t much see the point in tallying the stats. 7 or 8 books is the very low end of what I’d call a usable sample size. Ultimately, we’ve now looked at the next ten biggest publishers after the Big Two, and we’ve seen quite a range. The highs at Boom! and Zenescope were rather impressive, while the lows at Archie and Avatar were literally non-existent. There are a lot of female creators out there, doing cool work, if publishers want to hire them, but it seems that some publishers are more inclined to do so than others.

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.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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