By Tim Hanley
DC fell slightly in April, but Marvel fell even more, allowing DC to retain the higher percentage of female creators for the fifth straight month. DC's been on a decidedly average tear thus far in 2014. We also check out a few other publishers' April books, including Dark Horse, Dynamite, IDW, and Boom.
April was up and down across the board for DC, with the end result of a drop overall. In April 2014, DC Comics released 72 comics featuring 642 credited creators, 564 men and 78 women. Here are their stats:
DC was down 0.4% overall, not a huge drop but not insignificant given the low percentage of female creators to begin with. Four categories were up, including a 5% gain for writers, 2-3% for pencillers and inkers, and more than 4% for editors. But four categories were down, including 1-2% for cover artists and letterers, more than 4% for colorists, and over 6% for assistant editors. All together, the losses outweighed the gains and DC dipped a bit.
Compared To A Year Ago: DC was at 10.7% female creators last April, so they're up 1.4% since then.
Marvel didn't have a disastrous month, but some sizeable losses trumped their only decent gain. In April 2014, Marvel put out 77 comics with 726 credited creators, 659 men and 77 women. Let's look at the numbers:
Marvel fell 1.6% overall, which is quite a tumble. Writers, pencillers, and inkers stayed about the same, with changes of less than half of a percentage point, while assistant editors had a great month and rose 8%. But cover artists and colorists both fell about 4%, and editors were down nearly 5%. There were, yet again, no female letterers at Marvel. The losses won out, and Marvel took a hard fall in April, continuing a rather poor 2014 thus far.
Compared To A Year Ago: In April 2013, Marvel had 13.3% female creators, so they've lost 2.8% since then, or more than 20% of their previous percentage.
It's always fun to take a tour around the rest of the industry and see what they're up to. We looked at Image a few months back (and found then somewhat lacking) so this month we'll make quick stops at the next four biggest publishers in April.
In April 2014, Dark Horse released 36 comics with 278 credited creators, 239 men and 39 women. Here are their Hellboy inspired charts:
The last time we popped by Dark Horse was way back in November 2012, and they were at 15.7% female creators overall, so they've dipped 1.7% since then. Nonetheless, they're doing better than either of the Big Two, and their numbers across the board are at par with or often better than what we usually see from DC and Marvel, with one notable exception: Their editorial numbers are terrible. Assistant editors are doing great at Dark Horse, but full editors are paltry. This is surprising, considering that they had 15.8% female editors when we last checked in. Apart from that glaring category, Dark Horse is doing fairly well with female creators, though lots of room for improvement remains.
In April 2014, Dynamite put out 28 comics featuring 187 credited creators, 169 men and 18 women. Let's look at their Battlestar Galactica inspired charts:
First off, a word about Dynamite's editorial. None of their books have assistant editors, and only 10 of their 28 titles have credited editors, so a) that 36.4% is just 4 women, and b) editorial is usually a huge boost for the overall total of female creators, so Dynamite is better compared to other publishers by category than overall.
By category, Dynamite's not breaking any records but we've seen similar or worse from DC and Marvel so comparatively they're holding their own. Furthermore, when we last checked in on Dynamite in May 2013, they were only at 3.5% female creators overall, so we're seeing some massive growth from them in less than a year. That's very encouraging, and hopefully things will continue to pick up in the months to come.
In April 2014, IDW released 41 comics with 243 credited creators, 206 men and 37 women. Here are their Ghostbusters inspired charts:
These are very good numbers. Almost every category is above or comparable to what we usually see at the Big Two (though their whopping assistant editor percentage is a bit overstated; there were only 6 assistant editors all together, so they didn't contribute much to the overall numbers). We've never seen Marvel or DC hit 15% overall, so it's impressive to see it from IDW. Even more impressive is that when we last visited IDW in November 2012, they were at only 7.9% overall, so they've almost doubled their female representation since then. Substantial growth in back to back publishers; can you even believe it?
In April 2014, Boom! put out 25 comics featuring 214 credited creators, 136 men and 78 women. Let's look at their Lumberjanes inspired charts:
When we did our last industry-wide roundup, Boom! was the clear winner, with 26% female creators in April 2013. They've massively upped their game since then, with a whopping 36.4% female creators. All of the categories have phenomenal representation; even their lowest numbers are heads and shoulders above what we've seen anywhere else.
What's especially great about Boom! is that they've got representation across their entire line. Sure, books like Lumberjanes and Adventure Time have a lot of female creators, but they've got a wide array of titles and of the 25 books they released in April, only TWO had all-male creators. A further 7 had only 1 female creator. That means that 16 of Boom!'s 25 comics featured at least 2 female creators. That's huge. DC puts out three times as many books as Boom!, and only 15 of their April books featured at least 2 female creators. Boom! is absolutely killing it with female creators, while putting out fantastic books at the same time.
All together, this trip outside of the Big Two has been very encouraging. Three of the four publishers are doing substantially better with female creators than when we last visited, and the only one that's not isn't down all that much. In their own ways, each publisher showed up the Big Two in some capacity, with some publishers full on blowing DC and Marvel right out of the water. Women are definitely making comics, just not at the Big Two.
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 book Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World's Most Famous Heroine is available now.