From Tim Hanley:
Marvel’s overall percentage of female creators ticked down in May while DC’s rose slightly, though Marvel still came in with the higher total by a slim margin. We also conclude our biannual visit to smaller publishers with stops at Dynamite, Boom, Titan, and Valiant.
After dropping for six straight months, DC’s numbers finally rose, though not substantially so. In May 2017, DC put out 79 new comic books featuring 727 credited creators, 617 men and 100 women. Here are their stats:
DC’s overall percentage of female creators rose 0.8% — not much of a gain, but enough to end the skid the publisher’s been on for the past half-year. The changes across the board were mostly minor, with small gains for female pencillers, inkers, and letterers, and small declines for female cover artists, writers, colorists, and editors. The biggest shift was a four-point jump for female assistant editors, which appears to have accounted for the small overall gain.
The Past Year at DC: It’s been a rough go of it for DC lately, but their female representation is finally on the rise:
Of course, for how long remains to be seen. And it should be pointed out that while DC’s female creator numbers are higher than in April, it’s still their second lowest total of the past year.
Marvel’s female creator representation ticked down for the second straight month, continuing the publisher’s recent unpredictability. In May 2017, Marvel released 96 new comics with 883 credited creators, 743 men and 140 women. Let’s look at their numbers:
Marvel’s overall percentage of female creators fell 0.9% — a bit of a tumble, but enough to keep them slightly ahead of DC yet again. This year’s turned into a race to the bottom, though; May marks the lowest combined percentage of female creators at DC and Marvel over the past year. Looking at Marvel by category, it’s surprising they didn’t drop further. Apart from a small gain for female writers, everything else was down. Most of the losses were small, in the range of a percentage point or so, but female colorists fell nearly six points. The losses outweighed the gains, and here we are.
The Past Year at Marvel: I mean, who even knows what Marvel is going to do next at this point? They’re all over the map:
There’s no real trend, nor any consistency. The June numbers could go in either direction in any amount, and it wouldn’t be surprising because Marvel’s so haphazard with its female creator representation right now.
TOURING THE DIRECT MARKET, PART 2
This month, we’re finishing our biannual tour of publishers further down the sales charts. With the April numbers, we visited Image, Dark Horse, and IDW, to largely underwhelming results. This month, it’s Dynamite, Boom, Titan, and Valiant. Interestingly, these are the same seven publishers we visited last fall. The positioning among themselves is slightly different, but no one else has surged up over the past six months to get into the Top Nine. Perhaps we’ll do another round up of a few more publishers down the list in a few months time to see what the rest of the direct market is up to. But for now, on to Dynamite:
Hooboy. Dynamite’s female creator numbers were paltry last fall, and now they’re even lower. In May 2017, Dynamite put out 24 new comic books with 195 credited creators, 183 men and 12 women. Here are their charts:
Dynamite’s overall percentage of female creators came in at 6.2%, a drop of nearly three points from November. Every category had losses, apart from the editorial ranks which continued to have no women in the ranks; that may explain the lack of women elsewhere. Most of the losses were in the range of a few percentage points, though a quarter of Dynamite’s colorists in November were women and that fell to just 4% in May. What’s more, a year ago their overall percentage of female creators topped 20%! These are the numbers of a publisher that’s not even trying anymore in terms of female creator representation.
The bad news is that Boom! Studios, a perennial bastion of female creators, has fallen. The good news is that they only fell slightly, and Boom still blew everyone else right out of the water. In May 2017, Boom released 26 new comics featuring 231 credited creators, 141 men and 90 women. Let’s look at their numbers:
Boom’s overall percentage of female creators fell 1.9%, a number that would be a noticeable decline for any other publisher but for Boom is just a slight blip. Their female creator numbers tower over everyone else. By category, most everything was up a few percentage points, and I think that Boom’s 52.8% female colorists marks the first time we’ve ever seen a majority of women on the creative side of the chart. In editorial sure, but never on the art/writing side. The biggest change is a drop of more than 30 points for female assistant editors. It looks like those ranks have changed considerably, though the consistent gains on the creative side nearly evened it all out. But not quite.
After posting a small drop for female creators in November, Titan’s done it again in May, though their total remained relatively strong. In May 2017, Titan put out 21 new comic books with 211 credited creators, 168 men and 43 women. Here are their stats:
Titan’s overall percentage of female creators fell 1.7%, enough to be significant given a similar drop in November. There were some noticeable shifts in the categories as well. Editorial remains the bulk of their female representation this visit, and even more so with a 17 point gain for female editors. Numbers were up for female writers, pencillers, inkers, and letterers too, though female colorists dropped and cover artists were down substantially, falling more than 12 points. Titan loves it’s variant covers, so this loss was particularly impactful. Overall, representation is up across the board, it’s just that the shifting numbers ultimately pulled the total down a bit.
Valiant sure does well to show up near the top of the charts every time we take a tour given their limited output. Folks must be loving their comics. In May 2017, Valiant released 6 new comics with 70 credited creators, 60 men and 10 women. Let’s look at the charts:
Valiant’s overall percentage of female creators rose more than 4% since we visited them last fall, an impressive jump. Across the board female pencillers and inkers rose several percentage points, while letterers dropped 10 points and colorists fell seven point drops. Now, with so few books, shifts like this usually mean a difference of only one creator, and there were several such shifts. Enough went up, including small gains for female representation in editorial and cover artists, to raise Valiant’s total considerably. They’re still behind most other publishers, but they’re trending upward, and doing so twice in a row after smaller gains in November.
All together, this round was a mixed bag. A big jump, a big fall, and a couple publishers staying at roughly the same level. Combined with what we saw last month from Image, IDW, and Dark Horse and the ongoing travails of DC and Marvel, overall female representation isn’t looking terribly healthy across the direct market’s top publishers. There are a few places where it’s growing, but stagnancy/slight decline seems to be the norm right now. On the bright side, there remains lots of room to grow, and we’ll be back again in six months’ time to see if publishers have taken advantage of that opportunity.
To learn more about the Gendercrunching 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 books Wonder Woman Unbound and Investigating Lois Lane are available now, and his new book, The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale, was just released.