Gendercrunching DC And Marvel – March 2011

Tim Hanley writes for Bleeding Cool;

When the overall percentage of female creators at Marvel and DC hovers around ten percent, it feels very odd to say positive things about the numbers put up by the Big Two. Nonetheless, March was a good month, relatively speaking, with both publishers posting their best numbers of the year thus far. The totals remain rather paltry, but getting better is much nicer than getting worse… feel free to tepidly celebrate the improvement.


Along with being the best month of the year, March was also the busiest month of 2011 for both publishers. Maybe having extra books forced the editors to delve deep into their rolodexes, where they stumbled upon some female creators to fill the additional jobs. Whatever the reason, DC had a nice jump this month. They put out 89 books that credited 780 creators, 691 men and 89 women. These numbers pie chart up like so:

Gendercrunching DC And Marvel – March 2011

After posting an 11.1% in January and then dropping slightly to 11.0% in February, it's good to see that DC has rebounded with some solid growth. While 0.4% might not sound like a huge jump, any increase becomes substantial when the numbers are this low to begin with. Hopefully things will continue to get better next month. Let's break down the numbers by category:

Category Male Female
# % # %
Cover 170 93.9 11 6.1
Writer 107 97.3 3 2.7
Penciller 118 96.7 4 3.3
Inker 125 97.7 3 2.3
Colors 89 86.4 14 13.6
Letterer 88 96.7 3 3.3
Editor 82 76.6 25 23.4
Asst. Editor 53 62.4 32 37.6

And put them in a chart:

Gendercrunching DC And Marvel – March 2011

We'll start on a high note and begin with the most improved category. Last month, only 1% of pencillers were women, and that rose to 3.3% in March. It's still pretty dismal… but thrice less dismal is a positive at least. Both editorial categories increased too, which is good because they really carry the load at DC in terms of overall percentage. Of the creative categories, colorists always post the biggest number, even though they were down 2% this month. Apart from pencillers, cover artists were the only creative group that improved in March. Writers were down from 2.9% to 2.7%, inkers fell from 2.6% to 2.3%, and letterers were nearly halved as they dropped from 6% to 3.3%. As nice as it is that the overall total improved, it's disheartening to see such low numbers in the categories that get your name on the cover. While all of the jobs are important, the writers, pencillers, and inkers are the face of the company and it's troubling that they're pulling up the rear.


If DC's astronomical 0.4% leap knocked your socks off, wait until you see Marvel's stats for March. Marvel released 106 new books featuring 884 creators, 799 men and 85 women. Here are the overall percentages:

Gendercrunching DC And Marvel – March 2011

Marvel had 8.6% female creators in January, and then 8.7% in February, so 9.6% in March is a big gain of 0.9%. Again, yes, these numbers are tiny. But going up nearly a full percentage point when the numbers are so small is a bit of an achievement. Marvel was all over the place in March, going as high as 12.5% one week and then down to 7.5% another, and it ultimately resulted in some much needed improvement. The numbers break down thusly:

Category Male Female
# % # %
Cover 196 92 17 8
Writer 117 92.1 10 7.9
Penciller 127 95.5 6 4.5
Inker 142 95.9 6 4.1
Colors 117 89.3 14 10.7
Letterer 107 100 0 0
Editor 96 86.5 15 13.5
Asst. Editor 45 61.6 28 38.4

And chart up like this:

Gendercrunching DC And Marvel – March 2011

Marvel's most improved in March were assistant editors, who grew from 30.7% to an impressive 38.4%. It's slightly distressing that the biggest female category for both publishers has the word "assistant" in it, but at least women are posting big numbers somewhere. Editors were up this month as well, increasing 4.2% to hit 13.5%. On the creative side, all of the art-related categories saw gains too. Cover artists were up 1%, pencillers rose 1.3%, inkers increased by 0.6%, and colorists ticked up 0.3%. These are slight yet solid gains, and all but one of the art categories are firmly ahead of DC. There were no letterers in March, just like in February, so that's no change. I don't know why Marvel doesn't hire female letterers, but they are very consistent in not doing so. The only category that's down this month was writers, which fell from 9.3% to 7.9%. A drop here isn't cool, but given that everything else rose and Marvel is destroying DC with writers, the drop doesn't do a lot to spoil Marvel's overall improvement.


  • The busiest Marvel comic in March was Captain America #616 with 26 creators (one woman), and at DC it was Brightest Day #21 with 17 creators (no gals at all).
  • The book with the most female creators, in terms of percentage, was Emma #1 at Marvel (3 of 4) and Birds of Prey #10 at DC (5 of 7).
  • Please contact me if you'd like to see the full stats spreadsheets. To learn more about this statistics project and its methodology click here, and to see the previous stats click here.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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