By Tim Hanley
DC's overall percentage of female creators ticked up as Marvel's ticked down, but Marvel still managed to post the higher total in May, continuing a strong run for both companies. However, the second part of our tour of smaller publishers showed 3 out of 4 besting the Big Two handily when it came to female creator representation.
DC posted a very small gain overall in May that gave them their highest total in a year. In May 2016, DC Comics put out 71 comic books with 596 credited creators, 495 men and 101 women. Here are their stats:
DC's overall percentage of female creators rose 0.2%, nothing statistically significant but a tiny step in a positive direction nonetheless. By category, an 8 point gain for female assistant editors seems to have tipped the scales on the plus side of things; everything else on the board is up and down by small amounts. Cover artists, inkers, and letterers all saw slight losses, while writers, pencillers, colorists, and editors saw slight growth. Overall, DC is maintaining a fairly high level relative to their past performances.
The Past Year at DC: May 2016 marks DC's best month since May 2015, when "Convergence" boosted their numbers considerably:
The past two months have been big for DC, but June brings "Rebirth" and thus a massive shake up to the line. It will be interesting to see how that affects the numbers; traditionally, relaunches at DC have not gone well for female creators.
Even though Marvel dropped a bit in May, their numbers remained relatively high overall. In May 2016, Marvel released 88 new comics featuring 719 credited creators, 594 men and 125 women. Let's look at their charts:
An overall drop of 1.3% is noticeable but hardly disastrous, particularly after two months of record breaking highs for Marvel. Editorial was the only area that saw gains, with 3% growth for editors and nearly 5% for assistant editors. Everything else was down by small amounts, apart from a nearly 9 point slide for female colorists. The resulting net drop was fairly minimal, though, and Marvel continued its solid run.
The Past Year at Marvel: Even though Marvel dipped down slightly, their overall percentage of female creators is still their third best total of the year, and their third best total since this project began:
Marvel is in the midst of a strong run, and doesn't appear to have much in the way of shake ups on the horizon until the fall, apart from some Civil War II tie-ins. We'll see if these numbers continue to hold over the summer.
OTHER PUBLISHERS, PART 2
This month we're continuing our tour around the next several direct market publishers on the Diamond sales charts. In April, we visited Image, IDW, and Boom!, and this month we're popping by Dark Horse, Dynamite, Titan, and Valiant. We saw some decent numbers in April, and there's more of the same in May.
DARK HORSE COMICS
When we stopped by Dark Horse last October, they had the highest overall percentage of female creators out of all five of the publishers we examined that month. Now, they've bested that showing by a considerable margin. In May 2016, Dark Horse released 20 new comics books with 142 credited creators, 112 men and 30 women. Here are their totals:
Dark Horse leapt 4.8% overall, a big jump and their best showing since we started popping by a few years back. Every single category this month had more women in the mix, including increases of more than 7% for pencillers and inkers and a massive 24% gain for assistant editors. Dark Horse has been fairly reliable for relatively decent female creator representation for some time, but their across the board gains in May are particularly impressive.
Dynamite had a rough go of it last time we saw them, halving their percentage of female creators from our previous visit all the way down to just 10.3% overall. But now they've swung back the other way, more than doubling their November 2015 total! In May 2016, Dynamite put out 18 new comics featuring 121 credited creators, 96 men and 25 women. Let's look at their stats:
Doubling their overall percentage is quite a feat, though it was fairly low last time. More impressive: Women are writing a lot of Dynamite's comics, almost 30% of them. This is even more than Boom!, our bastion of massive female representation. The rest of their numbers were strong as well, apart from editorial, though Dynamite only specifies editors on some of their books. The 100% male editors was just 9 credited dudes, and the 75% female assistant editors was only 3 credited ladies. Nonetheless, it all added up to yet another in this string of decent showings.
We last visited Titan in September 2015 as part of our round up of publishers even FURTHER down the sales charts, and they had a very strong month then. May was even higher. In May 2016, Titan put out 19 comics by 160 credited creators, 123 men and 37 women. Here are their charts:
Titan's overall percentage of female creators of 23.1% was a 0.6% gain from our last pop in, not a huge jump but at the very least a slight step up from their previous, relatively strong outing. While Dynamite slayed it with female writers in May, Titan was all over the female artists, with nearly a quarter of their penciller and inker credits going to women. Everything else was decent as well, with only one category in single digits for female creditors. Having 100% female assistant editors was a big help for the overall total too; there were 15 assistant editor credits across Titan's 19 books. All together, Titan appears to be doing well with female representation, particularly in its many Doctor Who titles.
So after all of these fairly good totals, Valiant isn't going to look great. But there are a couple of caveats, which we'll discuss after we see the numbers. In May 2016, Valiant released 9 new comics made by 108 credited creators, 98 men and 10 women. Let's look at their charts:
So Valiant's lagging behind; 9.3% female creators overall is a bummer relative to everyone else. But here's Caveat #1: When we last visited Valiant in November 2016, they had 6.3% female creators overall, so they've ticked up some since then. And Caveat #2: Faith didn't come out in May. The book featured a number of female creators, and the last issue of the mini came out in April while it will be back as a regular series in July, so Valiant's numbers should be higher next time. Still, even with both caveats, this is a fairly paltry showing. The only categories with more than one woman involved a few variant covers and a couple of short stories in an annual, and these days it's very easy to do much better than that. More Faith is coming and that's great, but Valiant could be involving female creators more elsewhere as well.
So overall, this two month trip has been the best showing for female creators we've seen across the Top Nine direct market publishers since "Gendercrunching" began. DC and Marvel continued to best their previous totals, Boom! knocked it out of the park, there were some high teens and low twenties, and only one publisher in single digits. May's visits were particularly encouraging, with solid numbers from Dark Horse, Dynamite, and Titan. Female creator representation appears to be moving in a positive direction across the direct market, and that's exciting news.
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 was released in March 2016.