Gendercrunching April 2015 – Including Image, IDW, And Dark Horse
By Tim Hanley
"Convergence" propelled DC Comics past Marvel and to their highest overall percentage of female creators since this project began, while Marvel posted a strong showing despite their bringing up the rear. We also stop by Image, IDW, and Dark Horse to see how things have changed their over the past six months.
The "Convergence" books resulted in a huge overall female creator total for DC that, however fleeting, is nonetheless impressive. In April 2015, DC released 87 new comics featuring 901 credited creators, 708 men and 193 women. Here are their stats:
DC's 21.4% overall is a jump of more than 9% from last month, though it's quite obvious where a lot of that growth is coming from. With Marie Javins editing all of the "Convergence" titles and Brittany Holzherr serving as assistant editor, both editorial numbers skyrocketed. But while editorial made up for the bulk of the growth, almost every other category was up as well; only letterers were down, falling 1%. The most notable gains were a 4% rise for female writers and a 3% rise for female pencillers and colorists. DC would have had one of their better months in recent memory even without the massive editorial jump. Next month will likely be more of the same, and then June will be a whole new ball game with #DCYou.
Compared to a Year Ago: DC was at 12.1% female creators overall last April, so they're up 9.3% since then.
Marvel had a great March largely due to their "Women of Marvel" variant cover line, but a noticeable growth in female assistant editors continued into April and brought with it a strong overall total. In April 2015, Marvel put out 84 new books with 705 credited creators, 607 men and 98 women. Let's look at their numbers:
Marvel's overall percentage of female creators is down 0.8%, but the March total was high because of the variants. Things were up and down across the board, with drops of a few percentage points for pencillers, inkers, and editors (and cover artists, of course) but writers were up a bit, colorists rose 5%, and assistant editors flew up almost 14%. A strong female assistant editor number can do a lot for the overall total, and this is one of Marvel's highest showings of the past year. That being said, the writers and artists numbers were a little low; one category doing most of the work isn't a great sign. If Marvel could do a bit better on that end, they'd be posting some of their best numbers. As is, it's good with lots of room for improvement yet.
Compared to a Year Ago: Marvel's overall percentage of female creators was only 10.5% last April, so they're up 3.4% since then.
It's time again for our bi-annual check in with the non-Big Two publishers to see how they're doing in the female creator department. Image, IDW, and Dark Horse remain the next three biggest publishers in terms of sales, so we'll check in with them this month, and then next month we visit the next four publishers on the list. First up, Image!
Image is a behemoth these days, with an output rivaling that of the Big Two. In April 2015, Image released 73 new comics featuring 348 credited creators, 297 men and 51 women. Here are their numbers:
While 14.7% is better than what we're used to seeing from the Big Two, Image's overall percentage of female creators was actually down 2.6% from when we visited them last October. There were some big drops across the board, too. Their percentage of female writers, pencillers, and inkers were all less than half of what they were six months ago, a big blow for a publisher that prides themselves on their creators. Cover artists were up slightly, however, and colorists jumped 4%. Editors were slightly higher and assistant editors were lower, but that's not so significant with Image; only 39 of their 73 books have editors, and only 5 have assistant editors. Overall, these are some disappointing numbers from Image. Not only did they drop overall, their percentage of female writers and artists were lower than both DC and Marvel, who don't set a particularly high bar in either department.
Our last check in with IDW was a bit of a downer, with a fall of more than 4% female creators overall, but things are looking much better this time. In April 2015, IDW put out 54 new books with 320 credited creators, 267 men and 53 women. Let's look at their stats:
IDW's overall percentage of female creators rose 5.6% from last October, a big jump that's accompanied by sizeable gains across the board. Cover artists, pencillers, and inkers were all more than double their October totals, with writers just slightly below double. Colorists rose 10%, while editors rose 6% (IDW has editors on all of their titles). It's a very strong showing for the publisher all around, with numbers that rival or beat several of the other publishers in this post in several categories. IDW's been somewhat up and down in the past, so it'll be curious to see where they are in six months time, but these numbers are very encouraging.
The positivity continues with Dark Horse, which increased not only their overall percentage of female creators but their female representation in every single category. In April 2015, Dark Horse published 32 new comics featuring 247 credited creators, 206 men and 41 women. Here are their stats:
Dark Horse rose 3.3% overall compared to six months ago, with solid gains across the board. On the creative side of things, the increases ranged from a few tenths of a percentage point to 5%, while in editorial, editors were up 3% and assistant editors rose more than 10%. Some gains were tiny and some gains were big, but they were all gains. There remains a lot of room for improvement, particularly in the interior art categories, and Dark Horse's overall percentage is a bit too reliant on assistant editors (Dark Horse also has editors for all of their titles). Nonetheless, you can't argue with increases in every category. Hopefully we'll see the same when we pop by again in six months' time.
Overall, it was a good month for almost all of the publishers we visited! The Big Two are doing relatively well, and IDW and Dark Horse posted big gains. Only Image is down much, which is disappointing, but Image is also a publisher with a constantly varying output; their October titles will probably be a completely different crop of books, ideally ones with more female creators involved. Anyway, good work comics! This was a pretty solid month.
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.