"Women. Know Your Limits." Kelly Sue DeConnick And The Smurfette Syndrome (UPDATE)


From the Harry Enfield sketch…

Hannah Means Shannon quoted Kelly Sue DeConnick at the Women At Marvel panel at NYCC, and it kind of stuck with me, about being the "Smurfette on the Avengers panel". I think it says it all, though it might be worth going here for further illumination.

She made the event a call to action for women who want to work in comics to get on with it She has a point. Every month, Bleeding Cool runs Gendercrunching articles (another one lined up today) showing the male/female disparity in the industry. And while Marvel often do better than DC, not so much when it comes to writers right now.

Because writers are very important to the stories being told by comic publishers. When Marvel put together its team of Architects, they were all writers. All male as well, of course, but it emphasised the important creative role in the kind of comic books you get to read from the company.

In January's solicitations, Marvel have only one female writer on an ongoing monthly comic, the afore-mentioned Kelly Sue DeConnick, who is co-writing Avengers Assemble with Warren Ellis. Not even a full Smurfette.

Comedian Sara Schaefer is contributing to What If Now? Kelly Sue's Captain Marvel is cancelled as is Marjorie Liu's Astonishing X-Men.

When DeConnick's new Captain Marvel series launches, she'll have one-and-a-half books, but Marvel will still have one female writer on an ongoing book, it seems. It's worth considering at the NYCC, that while Marvel launched a series of female focused titles and only cancelled one, Fearless Defenders, all but one of the announced books were written by men.

In contrast, DC Comics were in Marvel's position only two years ago, with Gail Simone as the Smurfette writing Batgirl and co-writing Firestorm. But in January, they have six female writers working on regular monthly books, Gail Simone, Ann Nocenti, Christy Marx, Amanda Conner, Caitlin Kittredge and Marguerite Bennett with Lauren Beukes writing a short story

And while DC have a number of female focused books continuing, Pandora, Catwoman, World's Finest, Birds Of Prey, Harley Quinn, Supergirl, Batwoman, Batgirl and Wonder Woman, Marvel's only such equivalent that hasn't been cancelled is X-Men and Uncanny X-Force.

Marvel look like they are trying to step up on the female focused books at least. Maybe the female writer credits will follow.

It's not that much fun being Smurfette, you know.

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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