Gendercrunching April 2012 by Tim Hanley

Tim Hanley numbercrunches for Bleeding Cool;

DC stayed the same AGAIN while Marvel dipped a bit but still had the higher overall percentage of female creators. We also look at DC's stats from a different angle and see how these numbers compare to their regular totals.


First off, my apologies for the delay in this column. My computer crashed and I had to redo parts of April's stats, but everything should be back on track now. So onto DC's numbers!!

DC was completely average yet again. In April 2012, DC Comics put out 75 new comics featuring 617 credited creators, 549 men and 68 women. Here are their stats:

Gendercrunching April 2012 by Tim Hanley

For the third month in a row, DC was at 11% overall, which is some impressive consistency. Oddly enough, almost everything went up. Only colorists and editors were lower, and by small amounts. The gains were small too, though, with the highest being a 1.4% increase in writers and cover artists and a 1.9% jump in assistant editors. Overall, not a lot changed at DC.

Compared To A Year Ago: In April 2011, DC was at 9.9%, so they're up 1.1%.


Unlike DC, Marvel looked quite a bit different. In April 2012, Marvel released 71 new comics with 641 credited creators, 563 men and 78 women. Let's look at their numbers:

Gendercrunching April 2012 by Tim Hanley

Marvel was down 0.5% from March, but they still walloped DC by remaining over 12%. However, there were a lot of big swings by category. Only two categories improved, with cover artists and assistant editors gaining 3% each. The losses were substantial, too. Writers fell 3.1%, pencillers were down 4.5%, inkers lost 3.3%, and editors slid 2.8%. Colorists fell only slightly, and of course letterers stayed the same. The overall total was decent for Marvel, but the creative side of things really suffered in April.

Compared To A Year Ago: Marvel was also at 9.9% in April 2011, and this year they're up 2.3%.


Last month, we looked at Marvel from a different angle, and this month we'll do the same for DC, again using the March stats. Instead of counting up the credits per issue like always, we'll look at how many different creators there were over the course of the entire month. For example, Ivan Reis drew 4 covers for DC in March, so he accounted for 4 of DC's cover credits in our usual stats, but for this special count Ivan Reis only gets counted once overall. By doing stats this way, we can see how many different creators DC is hiring.

Marvel's numbers worked out to be pretty much the same, with only a slight difference in overall percentage, but there's a much wider gap at DC. This might be due to the number of creators DC hires. There were 694 CREDITED creators at DC, but only 359 DIFFERENT creators. So the average creator at DC worked on 1.9 books. This is notably less than at Marvel, where the average creator worked on 2.4 books. Maybe this will explain the big differences we'll see momentarily, but first let's see who were the busiest creators at DC. We've got all these stats, so we may as well have a bit of fun first:

  • Ivan Reis drew the most covers at 4, with Dustin Nguyen in second with 3. Rod Reis beat them both, though, coloring 6 covers.
  • It was a crowded tie for busiest writer, with 7 men tying at 3 books each. They were Jeff Lemire, Geoff Johns, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Peter Milligan, Scott Lobdell, and Scott Snyder.
  • Aaron Lopresti, Dustin Nguyen, and Scott Kolins each penciled 2 books each to share the top spot.
  • 8 guys inked 2 books each. DC really likes busy ties.
  • There was a clear winner for colorists, though, with Hi-Fi at 6 books, followed by Dave McCaig with 5.
  • Only 17 different people lettered DC's 85 books, and Travis Lanham was the busiest of them all at 11.
  • There were 19 different editors at DC. Joey Cavalieri was tops with 8 books while Bobbie Chase, Matt Idelson, and Mike Marts were all right behind at 7 each.
  • There were only 16 different assistant editors, with Katie Kubert at the forefront with 10 books and Rickey Purdin in second at 9.

DC is sort of the opposite of Marvel, really. Marvel had clear leaders with big numbers in most of their categories, while the races were VERY tight at DC. The rare sole winner at DC had the second place creator right on their heels. It's more of a team effort at DC, I suppose… no one's hogging all the gigs.

So let's get to the numbers. The charts are the same as last month, where the darker colors mark our usual CREDITED creators stats (labeled "M Credit" and "F Credit") and the lighter colors represent our new DIFFERENT creator stats ("M Diff" and "F Diff"). In March 2012, DC hired 359 DIFFERENT creators, 331 men and 28 women. Let's compare:

Gendercrunching April 2012 by Tim Hanley

Well, that's a big difference. By looking at different creators, we're down 3.2% from our usual overall percentage of female creators, a loss of 30% if we look at it in terms of a percentage of a percentage. With Marvel, the difference between the numbers was only 0.3%, for a drop of just over 2%. So this is a BIG gap. Let's see if the categories shed any light on the situation:

Gendercrunching April 2012 by Tim Hanley

Not particularly. These are all basically the same, really. In fact, the CREDITED totals are less or the same as DIFFERENT totals in 7 of the 8 categories, which is the opposite of our big gap overall. So what's going on?

When we look at the overall totals, the gap suggests that the average female creator at DC is getting a lot more work than the average male. Having a smaller DIFFERENT percentage in comparison to the CREDITED percentage means you're getting a lot more work, and vice versa, as we can see when we look at the raw numbers. 331 men got 618 gigs, or 1.9 books each. 28 women got 76 gigs, or 2.7 books each, almost 50% more. So men get less work each while women get more. HOORAY DC… you may not hire very woman, but they're getting a ton or work!! Or are they?

When we look at the chart, women's numbers are almost exactly the same across the board. Actually, since the credited numbers are higher, MEN should be the busier creators!! Let's look at our first few categories by how many books a creator of each gender worked on:

  • COVERS: Men = 1.3, Women = 1.2
  • WRITERS: Men = 1.5, Women = 1
  • PENCILLERS: Men = 1, Women = 1
  • INKERS: Men = 1.1, Women = 1
  • COLORISTS: Men = 1.7, Women = 1.4

So men have the per book advantage in all of these categories, but it's close. And it's certainly not the 50% advantage we're seeing for women overall.

So here's my theory for what's going on: There are so few women working at DC that the overall numbers got skewed.

Of the 28 women who got work at DC in March, 9 of them worked in editorial, or nearly a third of all the women. Let's do a quick comparison of how many books they worked on:

  • Books per female creator, overall: 2.7
  • Books per female creator, creative: 1.3
  • Books per female creator, editorial: 5.6

Clearly editorial is skewing the numbers WAY up. We see a similar breakdown with the average number of books for males:

  • Books per male creator, overall: 1.9
  • Books per male creator, creative: 1.6
  • Books per male creator, editorial: 5.5

The difference isn't quite as pronounced, but there's something bigger at play. Yes, editorial has a WAY bigger per book average compared to creative for everybody, but while editorial accounts for 32% of all female creators, it accounts for only 6% of all male creators. Clearly female editors have MASSIVE sway over the numbers comparatively. There are so many more men on the creative side of things, that the editorial numbers don't change the overall total too much. For women, it changes it A LOT.

So there's your discrepancy. The categorical numbers are a much better indicator of what's going on at DC, because the HUGE effect of editorial throws off the overall numbers. It looks like while DC doesn't hire many women, they sure do get a lot of work, but no. Female editors at DC get a lot of work, a smidge more than the men even. But on the creative side, where 70% of the female creators actually are, they're getting less work than the men. It's not by a huge margin, but it's less. This is why doing stats by DIFFERENT creators instead of CREDITED creators can be bothersome… it's easy to get technically accurate but in reality fairly skewed data.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO GOT BORED WITH ALL THE NUMBER AND SKIPPED TO THE END: Suffice it to say, DC doesn't hire a ton of women… 7.8% is very small. The few women in editorial do work on a lot of books and account for a big part of those stats, but on the creative side women don't work on many books at all. In fact, let's look at it a different way: Women account for 9 of the 30 different creators in editorial, or 30%, while they account for only 19 of 329 creators on the creative side, or only 6%. So "Hooray!!" editorial and "Oh… yikes…" creative.


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

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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