By Tim Hanley
After an up and down twelve months, both DC and Marvel ended the year with relatively decent numbers, with Marvel coming out slightly ahead. We also take a look at the year as a whole, and how the Big Two are trending entering 2016.
DC ticked up a bit overall this month, though they remain a couple of points below their recent highs. In December 2015, DC put out 93 new comics featuring 828 credited creators, 709 men and 119 women. Let’s look at the their charts:
DC’s overall percentage of female creators rose 0.5%, not a huge jump by any means but nonetheless a tick in a positive direction for better representation. The numbers were up and down across the board, with cover artists and editors posting small gains and colorists, letterers, and assistant editors each gaining about 6%. Writers, pencillers, and inkers all dropped 2-3 points, however, but the gains ultimately outweighed the losses.
Compared To A Year Ago: Last December, DC had 10% female creators overall, so they’re up a solid 4.4% since then.
Marvel’s continuing roll out of their “All New All Different” lineup has their numbers moving in a positive direction to end the year. In December 2015, Marvel released 72 new comic books with 720 credited creators, 611 men and 109 women. Here are their numbers:
Much like DC, Marvel is down from their recent highs, but their overall percentage of female creators rose 2%, a decent jump. By category, only writers and assistant editors were down, by 1% and 3% respectively. The rest of the creative categories each rose 2-3% points (except for letterers, which remained steady at 0% yet again), and editors gained more than 7%. It’s good to see that “All New All Different” hasn’t meant more of the same old thus far.
Compared To A Year Ago: Marvel hit one of their lowest totals in some time last December with 8.9% female creators overall, so they’re up 6.2% since then.
2015 IN REVIEW
“Gendercrunching” has run for several years now, and 2015 marks the highest combined percentage of female creators for the Big Two since we started. It’s been an up and down year, but both publishers hit highs and, in the second half of the year especially, consistently stayed above their 2014 averages. After years with little to no significant changes, DC and Marvel appear to have shifted into a permanent higher percentage of women working at every level.
Let’s look at the year as a whole, starting with DC Comics and their total percentages for the year compared to last year:
First off, we need to keep in mind that “Convergence” added a lot to these totals with their massive highs in April and May, owing to the women-led editorial team. Even so, DC is well above last year’s total overall, and “Convergence” only counts for part of that growth. DC’s up in every single category, and by a fair amount; usually you have to squint to see the annual growth when I do this chart, but here each category rose considerably.
Now to the female creator mega-chart, with the full 2015 numbers for each category; you’ll have to click it to embiggen it in order to see all of the details:
Let’s quickly run through each category and discuss the year’s number and where things are heading:
All: Trending slightly up, but the huge “Convergence” bump from early in the year sort of throws things off. Without “Convergence”, it’d be trending even higher; look at the last quarter compared to the first.
Cover Artists: Up and down, but trending downward on the whole. The last quarter of 2015 was the lowest by a fair amount.
Writers: Fairly consistent, though trending slightly downward due to the “Convergence” bump. DC’s stayed firmly in the low teens here.
Pencillers and Inkers: Going up overall, though the last couple months of the year weren’t great and might not bode well for the start of 2016.
Colorists: Headed down, but starting to recover after a low in September. Still, the year ended far off from where it started.
Letterers: Impressive, steady growth thanks to DC now employing more than one female letterer.
Editors: “Convergence” makes the trends all wonky here; without that bump, the numbers are heading slightly upward.
Assistant Editors: Huge growth, and consistently so.
All together, there are a few spots where DC is trending downward but by and large things are heading in a more representative direction. “Convergence” made everything a bit wonky overall, but if DC can continue in 2016 where they left off in 2015 then they should be set for another strong year.
At Marvel, it’s a similar story. They didn’t get DC’s “Convergence” bounce for their overall numbers, but there was a lot of growth nonetheless:
Now, 2014 was a pretty terrible year for female creators at Marvel, and while the numbers grew a lot in 2015, they’re not much improved from 2013 when they were at 13.4% overall. At the same time, we’ll see momentarily that things are trending in a positive direction for 2016; some of 2014’s poorness carried over into the start of 2015, and these overall numbers are indicative of the strength of Marvel’s second half bringing them up to a decent level. For the year, there was a lot of solid growth by category and only a couple of small declines, which added up to an overall gain.
Onto the mega-chart; again, click to embiggen:
And we’ll go through the categories:
All: Trending upward after a bad start to the year, though the last quarter is down from their third quarter highs. Still, strong second half overall.
Cover Artists: Heading down slightly, largely due to March’s “Women of Marvel” variant covers posting a huge number early in the year. Things were moving up near the end, though.
Writers: Trending up, though down as of late. Secret Wars tie-ins were great for women writers, and the “All New All Different” books have yet to match that.
Pencillers and Inkers: Up and down, but in a positive direction overall. Two steps forward and one step back does eventually get you somewhere.
Colorists: Trending up a bit, though the last quarter of the year has been low.
Letterers: Goose eggs all year long, just like the past few years before this.
Editors: Clear downward trend, until December. It remains to be seen whether that’s an anomaly or the start of a permanent shift.
Assistant Editors: Huge growth throughout the year, though heading down just a bit as the year ended.
Overall, we’ve got a lot of positive signs moving into 2016. A few question marks, to be sure, but Marvel’s strong second half across the board should bode well for the new year. I mean, Marvel loves the up and down so it could all drop off at any moment. But should the trends continue, Marvel is set for a decent year, relatively speaking.
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. His first book Wonder Woman Unbound is available now, and his new book Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter is out March 1, 2016.
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