Women in comics: They’re now, they’re wow — get used to it

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tumblr l81u9qykih1qbujox Women in comics: Theyre now, theyre wow    get used to it

The latest round of outrage over the matter of women in comics was sparked off when DC’s relaunch had only three “distaff” members. In all the talk-talk there was some along the lines of Adam P Knave’s Why Aren’t There More Women in Comics? which points out the lack of a welcome mat for female creators:

Let’s be honest. The majority of American Comics (again mainstream stuff etc) is full of women being used and abused, discarded and ignored as actual characters. Imagine you love drawing comics. Now imagine you’re told to draw stuff that marginalizes and tosses under the bus the people in the stories that represent you. How long would you do it?

Knave takes pains to point out that he’s talking “mainstream” comics, but this got me thinking about how obsessing about women at The Big Two is really like worrying about the number of saunas in the Kalahari.

For instance, last week DC rolled out a series of interviews with big guns Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza, the only interviews any DC staffers have granted to the comics press since this thing began. And who conducted these interviews?

Me,, Comics Alliance e-i-c Laura Hudson, CBR’s Kiel Phegley, Comicsvine’s assistant editor Sara ‘Babs’ Lima, iFanboy’s Ron Richards and Newsarama’s Vaneta Rogers. This was a big assignment that went to the staff ace, and four out of six were women.

Want more? Look at this weekend’s Shuster Award winners, recognizing the best in Canadian comics:

Outstanding Comic Book Cartoonist: Pat Shewchuk (and her partner Marek Colek)


Outstanding Comic Book Colourist: Julie Rocheleau


Outstanding Comic Book Cover Artist: Fiona Staples


Outstanding Comic Book Publisher: Koyama Press, owned by Annie Koyama


Outstanding Web Comics Creator: Emily Carroll Outstanding Comic Book Writer: Émilie Villeneuve

That’s six out of eleven awards going to women.

Did you know that the last three winners of the Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer were women?

Cathy Malkasian (2008)


Eleanor Davis (2009)


Marion Churchland (2010).

Another is nominated this year, Janet Lee.

What about this year’s Eisner Awards?

Best Short Story “Little Red Riding Hood,” by Bryan Talbot and Camilla d’Errico, in Fractured Fables (Silverline Books/Image)

Best Publication for Kids Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean, by Sara Stewart Taylor and Ben Towle (Center for Cartoon Studies/Disney/Hyperion) Binky to the Rescue, by Ashley Spires (Kids Can Press)

Best Publication for Teens Return of the Dapper Men, by Jim McCann and Janet Lee (Archaia) Smile, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic Graphix)

Best Humor Publication Drinking at the Movies, by Julia Wertz (Three Rivers Press/Crown)

Best Anthology The Anthology Project, edited by Joy Ang and Nick Thornborrow (Lucidity Press)

Best Digital Comic Lackadaisy, by Tracy Butler, www.lackadaisycats.com

Best Reality-Based Work Picture This: The Nearsighted Monkey Book, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly) Special Exits: A Graphic Memoir, by Joyce Farmer (Fantagraphics) You’ll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage, by Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics)

Best Graphic Album—New Return of the Dapper Men, by Jim McCann and Janet Lee (Archaia)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites, by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia Bunny Drop, by Yumi Unita (Yen Press)

< A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)

House of Five Leaves, by Natsume Ono (VIZ Media)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) Lynda Barry, Picture This: The Nearsighted Monkey Book (Drawn & Quarterly) Janet Lee, Return of the Dapper Men (Archaia) Carol Tyler, You’ll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage (Fantagraphics)

Best Cover Artist Yuko Shimizu, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC)

Best Coloring Hilary Sycamore, City of Spies, Resistance, Booth, Brain Camp, Solomon’s Thieves (First Second)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism The Beat, produced by Heidi MacDonald (www.comicsbeat.com) ComicsAlliance, produced by Laura Hudson (www.comicsalliance.com)

Best Comics-Related Book The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen, by Denis Kitchen and Charles Brownstein, edited by John Lind and Diana Schutz (Dark Horse Books)

Best Publication Design Polly and Her Pals Complete Sunday Comics, vol. 1, designed by Lorraine Turner and Dean Mullaney (IDW) Two Generals, designed by Jennifer Lum (McClelland & Stewart)

Did you know that the two most important graphic novels of the last decade were by women? Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

Outside the DM, how do GNs by women fare? Let’s look at last year’s Top 50 in the BookScan chart. Note, I have not highlighted books with a female “author” who did nothing but lend her name to the book, like Diana Gabaldon and the co-op “Erin Hunter.” UPdate: My mistake! Not only did Gabaldon write the graphic novel but in her youth she wrote comics for Disney. Imagine that! A best-selling author who started out writing comics.

Rank TITLE AUTHOR
1 DORK DIARIES RUSSELL RACHEL RENEE
2 TWILIGHT GRAPHIC NOVEL V1 MEYER STEPHENIE and Young Kim
3 ADV OF OOK & GLUK KUNG FU CAVE PILKEY DAV
4 SCOTT PILGRIM V 1 SCOTT PILGRI O’MALLEY BRYAN LEE
5 SCOTT PILGRIM V 2 SCOTT PILGRI O’MALLEY BRYAN LEE
6 SCOTT PILGRIM V 6 SCOTT PILGRI O’MALLEY BRYAN LEE
7 SCOTT PILGRIM V 3 SCOTT PILGRI O’MALLEY BRYAN LEE
8 SCOTT PILGRIM V 4 SCOTT PILGRI O’MALLEY BRYAN LEE
9 SCOTT PILGRIM V 5 SCOTT PILGRI O’MALLEY BRYAN LEE
10 NARUTO V47 KISHIMOTO MASASHI
11 NARUTO V48 KISHIMOTO MASASHI
12 BONE OUT FROM BONEVILLE SMITH JEFF
13 KICK ASS PREMIERE MILLAR MARK
14 BIG NATE FROM THE TOP PEIRCE LINCOLN
15 MAUS I SPIEGELMAN ART
16 WALKING DEAD V1 DAYS GONE BYE KIRKMAN ROBERT
17 BLACK BUTLER V1 TOBOSO YANA
18 WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM 1 KIRKMAN ROBERT
19 WATCHMEN MOORE ALAN
20 EXILE AN OUTLANDER GRAPHIC NOV GABALDON DIANA
21 PERSEPOLIS 1 SATRAPI MARJANE
22 BONE THE GRT COW RACE SMITH JEFF
23 NARUTO V49 KISHIMOTO MASASHI
24 POKEMON DIAMOND & PEARL ADV V6 IHARA SHIGEKATSU
25 VAMPIRE KNIGHT V9 HINO MATSURI
26 BK OF GENESIS ILLUSTRATED BY R CRUMB R.
27 BONE CROWN OF HORNS SMITH JEFF
28 BONE EYES OF THE STORM SMITH JEFF
29 BONE DRAGONSLAYER SMITH JEFF
30 WARRIORS RAVENPAWS PATH #02 HUNTER ERIN
31 POKEMON V1 IHARA SHIGEKATSU
32 WALKING DEAD V 2 MILES BEHIND KIRKMAN ROBERT
33 MAXIMUM RIDE V2 MANGA PATTERSON JAMES and NaRae Lee
34 BONE TALL TALES SMITH JEFF
35 BONE ROCK JAW MASTER OF THE E SMITH JEFF
36 WALKING DEAD V11 FEAR THE HUNT KIRKMAN ROBERT
37 TROUBLEMAKER BK 1 ALEX BARNABY EVANOVICH JANET and Joelle Jones
38 V FOR VENDETTA NEW E MOORE ALAN
39 VAMPIRE KNIGHT V10 HINO MATSURI
40 MAXIMUM RIDE V3 MANGA PATTERSON JAMES
41 MAXIMUM RIDE V1 MANGA PATTERSON JAMES
42 WARRIORS MANGA RAVENPAWS #01 S HUNTER ERIN
43 BLACKEST NIGHT JOHNS GEOFF
44 BLACK BUTLER V2 TOBOSO YANA
45 SUPERMAN EARTH ONE STRACZYNSKI J. MICHAEL
46 MAUS II SPIEGELMAN ART
47 POKEMON DIAMOND & PEARL ADV V7 IHARA SHIGEKATSU
48 COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS SATRAPI MARJANE
49 ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GDE BROOKS MAX
50 WALKING DEAD V12 LIFE AMONG TH KIRKMAN ROBERT

12 out of 50, nearly one in four bestselling graphic novels last year was by a woman. (This number could be better but you’d think no woman had ever sold a graphic novel in the US, the way some people talk.)

I was going to put in a list of women hired by major publishers to illustrate GNs — like Hope Larson, Carla Speed McNeil and so on — but it couldn’t be clearer that women are already making comics people buy, enjoy, and admire. Nor have I mentioned webcomics or indie comics, the other points of the comics pentagram. (That would be bookstore, manga, direct market, alt.comix, webcomics.)

Far from being a risky, trailblazing move, women making comics is a proven quantity, sales and quality-wise.

Actions like the postcard survey (which had dodgy methodology but accurate-feeling results) are great at highlighting inequality, but as the bookstore market has risen, it seems the only area where women aren’t working regularly are superhero comics. Given all the female consumers who are out and proud about their nerd interests, and Marvel and DC’s increasing anxiety about keeping their audience, it would make sense for them to actually attempt widening their market.

So what next? If everyone who was expressing an interest in increasing the number of women in comics would actually HIRE one of the scores of talented women professionals out there, we’d not only be a lot further along the road to equality — we’d be getting a lot of good comics.

tumblr lmh70159vY1ql7bp4o1 500 Women in comics: Theyre now, theyre wow    get used to it

[First image from the Women Reading Comics in Public tumblr

Second image from the new People Reading Manga in Bookstores tumblr]

Comments

  1. Thank you Ace, terrific perspective and comprehensive reminder! Definitely worth remembering when we get that “one step forward, two steps back” feeling.

  2. Dallas Middaugh says:

    Heidi,

    You’re incorrect about Diana Gabaldon’s association with the Exile graphic novel, and you should include it in your list. She wrote that one herself. A longtime comics fan, she used to write comics for Disney back in the day.

    Dallas

  3. All very true. I think some barriers exist that may make it harder for women to make it in to the Big Two, but I think a lot of those barriers keep just about everyone out of the big two, not just the great female creators out there.

    Also of note I think is that a lot of the great rising female creators in the market don’t particularly seem to have a huge desire to move in to the Big Two. It’s almost as if there’s a growing non-superhero market or something….

  4. Dallas — COOL! I updated.

  5. Do I have to express an interest in increasing the number of women in comics before I hire one? Because the next thing coming out from About Comics is the (admittedly, much-delayed) Misadventures of Prince Ivan, written by the New York Times best-selling Diane Duane (who is as female as her first name implies) and drawn by Sherlock (who is even more female than her name implies.) And while the most of the book is a reprint of material serialized at Eclipse back in the day, we did hire both distaff female women on to do a new 28-page story to fill out the book. Or do I lost points because I didn’t hire on either of them because they were women, but merely because Prince Ivan was fun stuff? http://www.aboutcomics.com/PrinceIvan.html

  6. jacob goddard says:

    Is there any solid numbers on how many women are actually trying to make comics for the Big Two? Women cartoonists are represented in a big way in all the other areas, maybe there simply aren’t that many chicks eager to work for the bloated and dying corpse that is the superhero mainstream.

  7. You’re 100% right. My post was a bit of a simplification and really just a reaction to certain reactions that seemed to dismiss the issue as one of “They aren’t here because well… they aren’t, but there’s no reason for that.”

  8. Torsten Adair says:

    Yup… Part of the secret history of Disney Comics… and “back in the day” = Whitman (the Dark Ages)

    http://coa.inducks.org/creator.php?c=Diana+Gabaldon&c1=date

    And let’s give a shout out to Betsy Mitchell, Judith Hansen, Karen Berger…

  9. Deaf65 says:

    Not surprised as some of the most enjoyable books in this medium I have read, were done by female writers and/or artists. I agree that Big Two continue to lag in the number of female creators. I personally have not done any research but wonder if the African-Americans/Blacks are just as under-represented at the big two?

  10. I was lamenting that Indie Comics Magazine #1 and #2 had no women creators, now ICM#2, solicited in August’s Previews under Aazurn Publishing, boasts THREE: Carolyn Belefski (Friends of Lulu’s 2010 Kim Yale Award for Most Talented Newcomer), Amanda Rachels (Blind Eye Comics’ Clown Town) and cover painter Susan Van Camp. I think that since the big publishers have so few spots to fill by anyone, some group will be left out and someone will notice, since most creative people would very much like to work there.

  11. Based on the emails and links I’m getting from promising newcomers, and dispatches from classrooms, MOST of the emerging generation of young cartoonists are women.

    It might be hard to see for fans with superhero goggles on, but if you look at the big picture, we’re actually doing pretty good. Those Manga kids from the early aughts are finally growing up.

    I’m optimistic that gender ratios will continue balancing out this decade. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to imagine a scenario where we eventually hit 50%.

    And if that happens, there’s no guarantee we won’t just keep going.

  12. Crucial omissions all from SelfMadeHero:

    Emma Hayley, Graphic novel publisher at SelfMadeHero and winner of Uk Young Publisher of the Year 2008

    Plus our artists/authors:

    Kate Brown – ‘Fish + Chocolate’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

    Alice Duke – featured in ‘Nevermore – The Poe Anthology’ and ‘The Lovecraft Anthology Volume I’

    Catherine Anyango – ‘Heart of Darkness’

    Catel – ‘Kiki de Montparnasse’

    Leah Moore – featured in ‘Nevermore – The Poe Anthology’ and ‘The Lovecraft Anthology Volume I’

    Tove Jansson – ‘The Moomins Cookbook’

    Slava Harysmowicz – ‘The Wolf Man’

    Judith Vanistendael – ‘Dance By the Light of the Moon’

    Emma Vieceli – ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and ‘Hamlet’

    Sonia Leong – ‘Romeo & Juliet’

    Chie Kutsuwada – ‘As You Like It’

    Nana Li – ‘Twelfth Night’

    Danusia Schejbal – ‘The Master & Margarita’, Jekyll & Hyde’ and ‘Robot’

  13. Laurie S. Sutton says:

    I just wanted to drop in and say that I’m a female who is writing DC superheroes — only not in comic book form! I’m having great fun writing the adventures of The Flash and Green Lantern for Stone Arch Books. (These are books aimed at a young age group.) So far, this is the only way I’ve been able to get close to penning any superhero since my days writing Adam Strange as a backup feature in Green Lantern in the ’80s. (I’ve written plenty of STAR TREK comics, but TREK isn’t defined as superheroes.) I’m very discouraged by this latest wave of attrition from DC.

  14. Bravo to this post, a GREAT reminder that there’s more to comics than Marvel and DC, or the direct market in general.

  15. Synsidar says:

    How important, really, is name recognition for creators? Does putting (relatively) prominent talent on series starring second-tier or worse characters do anything to improve sales? If male readers tend to avoid comics written and/or drawn by low-profile female creators, that creates a Catch- 22 type situation: They can’t win assignments to do issues about popular characters because they’re not prominent, but they’re not prominent because male readers avoid them, resulting in low sales.

    If name recognition isn’t a factor in landing assignments, though, an editor who rejects material should have to be specific in explaining why.

    SRS

  16. Jeff Mace says:

    The fact that more women interviewed DC’s editors about their new line of books than those editors hired to create that new line does not strike me as a victory for women in comics.

  17. “Women in comics: They’re now, they’re wow — get used to it”

    Can’t tell if this headline is empowering or pathetic.

    As for the “[First image from the Women Reading Comics in Public tumblr]”, a female who looks like that can read anything they want in public. Most men still cannot read comics in public, unless they have the stature of a professional wrestler, which will deter people from openly mocking them.

  18. Bill Gatevackes says:

    With all due respect, I agree with Jeff about the women being tapped to interview the powers that be as being less than a victory for women in comics. Not that you necessarily were saying that DC choosing women to write ABOUT comics was as good or better than having women write FOR comics.

    But this post does add more fire to the argument. With all the accolades and sales success female authors garner, for the Big Two to not employ more of them becomes increasingly puzzling. Not that every woman from the indie world would want to work for the Big Two. While they could make more money doing one issue of a Marvel book that the could concievably make during an entire MOCCAfest, the tradeoff in giving up creative control might make up the difference. But the talent is there. Male creators such as Jeff Parker and Fred Van Lente have worked their way up from the indies to work for the Marvel because someone noticed them. Why isn’t anyone noticing the women?

    Just some thoughts.

  19. Scott Rowland says:

    @Nat: Great news about “The Misadventures of Prince Ivan” — I’ll b3e looking for a copy!

  20. Synsidar says:

    In case anyone’s wondering whether there’s evidence of bias against women in the media:

    A research project which monitors the gender of those in and reporting on the news claims women are “significantly underrepresented and misrepresented” in media coverage.

    It also suggests that gender bias has been carried into online news, where it is “just as dismal as in the case of traditional news media”.

    The study ‘Who Makes the News’ was carried out by the Global Media Monitoring Project, researching coverage across 108 countries, monitoring more than 1,000 news outlets, 17,795 news stories and more than 38,000 news subjects. [. . .’

    Comparing media platforms, television was reported to have the highest percentage of female reporters, at 44 per cent, while newspapers have the lowest with 33 per cent.

    In its research of the gender of news subjects 24 per cent were found to be female compared to 76 per cent of men, representing a three per cent increase in female subjects on 2005.

    In at least one case, there was in-your-face discrimination:

    “Any female journalist who says she hasn’t faced gender biases is blind or deluding herself. In my first job they automatically put me, like all the other new female journalists, onto the Women’s Page, until they gave me a battery of IQ tests (which they did for every new employee). They called me in and said “do you know you are very, very smart? We can’t waste you on the Women’s Page, we will put you on politics.” I looked around at the men on the politics section and not one had to be smart to get there, not one would automatically be put into a soft men’s page. Cathy Strong, former newspaper, magazine, radio and television journalist in the US and New Zealand, a professor at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates.

    Women who are blonde and conservative, though, can confidently send applications to Fox News.

    SRS

  21. >> Most men still cannot read comics in public, unless they have the stature of a professional wrestler, which will deter people from openly mocking them.>>

    Either I look rather more impressive than I think I do, or this claim is suspect.

  22. Laurie S. Sutton says:

    @ Synsidar: “How important, really, is name recognition for creators?” Plenty. One of these days I’ll write a book titled “My Name is Chopped Liver”. I have editorial and writing creds at the Big Two and yet I’ve had pitches rejected because I was “not a name”.

    @ Kurt Buisek: You make me LOL. Thanks!

  23. Chris Jaworski says:

    It’s odd that the situation swings almost entirely the other way in the larger (book) publishing industry. Lots of Bizarro world points made in this article:

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/44510-where-the-boys-are-not.html

    — “85% of publishing employees with less than three years of experience are women.”
    — “Pinter railed against the notion that men don’t read and wondered out loud if part of the problem has to do with so few men working in the business.”
    — “… societal issues with getting boys to read, and many thought curriculums were weighted toward girls. So do women and girls, who buy the most books, read more because people like them are acquiring and marketing their books?”
    — “wondering if an industry so weighted toward the female side wouldn’t produce a different set of books than one a bit more diverse. ‘I hope it doesn’t get worse — if 85% [of the industry is female] — it’s hard to think that acquisitions aren’t in some way affected by that.'”
    — “Almost all those interviewed acknowledged that publishing does have hurdles to overcome in attracting men. The main impediment for attracting men, many think, is the low pay of publishing jobs, especially entry-level ones.”
    — “publishing, like teaching, has been a field that’s traditionally been ‘more open’ to women. Hess said she also assumes that there are more female English majors out there — which may be because women like to read more than men — and that’s reflected in the industry.”
    — “When a field is ‘gendered’ it becomes associated with the dominant sex in the occupation and, often, the other sex inadvertently stays away.”
    — “… the stereotype — that women are better at and more interested in reading –could certainly be, in Gatta’s terminology, a ‘huge barrier’ in getting men to even consider a career in books.”

  24. Synsidar says:

    – “85% of publishing employees with less than three years of experience are women.”

    That statistic doesn’t explain the problems women have getting material published. If those with less than three years’ experience aren’t selecting material, but merely processing it for publication, they can’t correct gender bias. Here’s a recent recap of a survey on the numbers gap between men and women having material published in magazines; the numbers are hard to excerpt meaningfully.

    And there’s this observation about gatekeepers:

    My own rough count of fiction editors at prominent publications reveals that the majority of final decision-makers are men. Is a bit of mirror-gazing occurring? Are male editors more likely to see their own concerns in men’s writing? If so, this bias may cut both ways: My work has frequently been championed by female editors. But for now, the gatekeepers of literary culture—at least at magazines—are still primarily male.

    When it comes to getting more material by women published, change apparently starts at the top. VIDA is a statistics resource for women in publishing.

    SRS

  25. Knave takes pains to point out that he’s talking “mainstream” comics, but this got me thinking about how obsessing about women at The Big Two is really like worrying about the number of saunas in the Kalahari.

    The evidence you provided actually seems to bolster Knave’s case, though Marvel should be commended for the release of Girl Comics.

  26. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    You’re right. Women are making comics today, amazing, wonderful successful comics which make actual money, and for people not to notice is just weird.

    But I still want more saunas in the Kalahari, dammit.

  27. Will Naslund says:

    Yeah, when you look outside of DC and Marvel, it’s pretty clear that a lot of women plying their trade (and producing some impressive stuff!) in comics these days.

    And with all due respect and appreciation for the women who have and/or are working at DC and Marvel now, the repeated queries of ‘Why aren’t more women working at DC/Marvel?’ have always sounded a bit like ‘Why aren’t women writing more Mack Bolan novels?’ to me — to ask the question is to answer it, basically.

    I’m certain there’s a vast pool of female talent out there, both currently working and yet to be tapped — but I also think that most of them aren’t able (or perhaps not willing) to work in a style palatable to DC/Marvel audiences. For women that do have an affinity for that sort of content the success enjoyed by folks like Gail Simone, Amanda Conner, Kathryn Immonen, Nicola Scott, Adriana Melo, Rachel Dodson, Marjorie Liu, Kelly Sue DeConnick, etc. seems to indicate that there’s opportunity for them to work.

    My suspicion is that many of the folks advocating for more women at DC/Marvel aren’t so much making an inclusion-based argument as they are a content-based one. They want Wonder Woman to be a CLAMP-style magical girl book, or Booster and Beetle to be yaoi-friendly bishonen, or maybe they want a Kate Beaton-style Lois Lane book.

    But in the context of shared universe storytelling, such stylistic divergences would likely alienate more of the existing audience than they could replace with new readers. A few years ago, such projects might have had some viability as Elseworlds-style finite experiments — but since recent DC/Marvel sales trends seem to favor ongoing series as opposed to limited run content, they can hardly be blamed for emphasizing a cohesive shared-universe with consistent visuals and characterization for all their series leads.

    All of this basically boils down to: DC and Marvel aren’t likely to hire the next Kate Beaton-style talent for an ongoing, no matter how awesome her work might be — simply because she’s not a good stylistic fit for their content. That doesn’t mean she’s bad, *or that they’re bad* — just that it would be a bad combination of artist and project from a sales standpoint.

    On the other hand, if a new female talent surfaced who produced slick mainstream-friendly art in the tradition of, say, Jim Lee or George Perez on a consistent basis — a bidding war would soon break out for her services.

    So the question is: How many women are creating art of *that* sort of comics content, and how many are even seeking to try? My guess is not many — and that’s why you don’t see more female talent at DC/Marvel. It’s not that there isn’t lots of awesome female talent out there (there clearly is!), but most of them are more interested in becoming the next Rumiko Takahashi than they are the next Lee, Perez, Bendis, Johns, etc.

  28. Actually, the number of comics out of that top 50 by women is /13/ – you only highlighted Hino Matsuri’s Vampire Knight once, but it’s on the list again at #39. :]

    I also wonder how the list would shape up if we looked at the top 50 titles/series, rather than individual books – a lot of those spaces are being eaten up by Scott Pilgrim, Bone, and The Walking Dead. I’d imagine there are at least a few more shojo titles and kid-friendly GNs by female creators lurking under there.

    The future bodes even better for women in the industry! I’ve done a survey over at HWC of comics-reading women (obligatory plug: http://heywomencomics.blogspot.com/2011/04/women-and-comics-survey-2011-results.html) and it looks like a lot of them are young.

    About two-thirds were between the ages 13 and 25 – just the right age to either be starting to make comics professionally or to be building up the skills to do so in the future. I didn’t have any questions for these women about their goals in the industry, but I may for next year’s version of the survey!

  29. @Will Naslund

    Actually, judging by the amount of DC/Marvel fanart by ladies on DeviantArt, I’d say there are /tons/ of women who would jump at the chance to draw and/or write within the major superhero universes.

    Unfortunately, a lot of that fanart looks like these:

    http://fav.me/d1h8jk6
    http://fav.me/d3fore5
    http://alhia.deviantart.com/art/Young-Avengers-Ted-and-Billy-102031071

    . . . and while all of those pieces are great (maybe not pro level, but far from unappealing) they’re in styles that Big Two readers/publishers seem to spring away from, like a cartoon housewife from a mouse:

    http://www.wordsthatstay.com/?p=253

    I get that in today’s every-series-is-connected-to-every-other-series climate people like their books to have a cohesive look, but is it too much to ask that people not react to Japanese/Disney influence like it’s made of rat poison?

  30. Besides, if the internet has taught me anything it’s that people are perfectly willing to make Booster/Beetle porn no matter /what/ they look like in canon.

  31. “My suspicion is that many of the folks advocating for more women at DC/Marvel aren’t so much making an inclusion-based argument as they are a content-based one. They want Wonder Woman to be a CLAMP-style magical girl book, or Booster and Beetle to be yaoi-friendly bishonen, or maybe they want a Kate Beaton-style Lois Lane book.”

    @Will Naslund Actually you’re right in way. I want team books with artwork with Nicola Scott so that tits and ass aren’t the only thing you see when you open the book

    Or a villain book like Osborn by Kelly Sue DeConnick that has complex female and male characters.

    Or a team book like Birds of Prey by Gail Simone where there’s action and character development.

    It’s simple, the inclusion of diverse creators leads to better more diverse content.

  32. jacob goddard says:

    Why would anyone looking for “diverse content” be looking at Marvel or DC?
    They’ve made their fortunes re interpreting, re hashing, re packaging, and re tooling the work of a few men from the 30s to the 60s. Occasionally they do it well, and most of the time its the same old – same old. Women cartoonists are giving us the kind of diverse content that they could never give us in a million years if they ever got the “call” from the Big Two.

    We’ve already seen way too many male cartoonists get called up and go from amazing cartoonists doing innovative or touching work to overnight becoming “mainstream” comics writers who just keep churning out the same old – same old.
    Why would we wish that on the scores of amazing female cartoonists too?

    I like jess fink, I like elinore davis, I like Kate beaton, and marjane satrapi, and linda barry, and dozens upon dozens of others.
    I doubt I’d like them as much if they switched gears and spent the next ten years trying to find new ways to repackage stan lee characters.

  33. David Oakes says:

    “If everyone who was expressing an interest in increasing the number of women in comics would actually HIRE one of the scores of talented women professionals out there…”

    Has anyone who complained been in a position to hire? Has anyone in a position to hire ever complained? Nat doesn’t have to complain, he just hires them. And I don’t recall Didio ever getting up at Wizard World and professing a desire to hire more women. (Quite the opposite, really…)

  34. OtisTFirefly says:

    Gee… I feel so vindicated! Where are you Katie K??

    Syn:
    >>>>In case anyone’s wondering whether there’s evidence of bias against women in the media:

    The study ‘Who Makes the News’ was carried out by the Global Media Monitoring Project, researching coverage across 108 countries, monitoring more than 1,000 news outlets, 17,795 news stories and more than 38,000 news subjects. [. . .’>>>>

    Any chance of there being a sub-report factoring OUT the 107 countries beside our own? I mean, if we’re factoring in middle eastern countries and others that have damn near / OR medieval attitudes towards women, isn’t that killing the curve? Just curious.

    >>>In its research of the gender of news subjects 24 per cent were found to be female compared to 76 per cent of men, representing a three per cent increase in female subjects on 2005.

    Alright well… I’m not sure how that represents “bias towards women” exactly, considering how many news stories are politicians, especially at the federal level. Since only 17% of our current congress are women, doesn’t that knock out a chunk of news coverage featuring women? ESPECIALLY since a disproportionate number of stories are constantly directed at the bonehead d’jour, currently Mr. Wiener? What proportion of daily news coverage is directed at just the president? Then, throw in news coverage of crime, especially violent crime which is overwhelmingly committed by men? I don’t know about the media where you are, but around here it’s the 10 o’clock Crime Report basically every day.

    So my question… do these numbers track EVERY story on national news and selected local news? If so, is that really considered “bias” that more women are not featured given the kinds of factors listed above?

  35. Nicola Scott says:

    While DC may or may not be actively looking for female talent, it does actually have a few of us already on the books. That they weren’t all included in the relaunch was a huge oversight.

    I was offered a book which for a few reasons I turned down. I’m finishing off my old title instead and I’m assured that there will be some options when I’m ready.

    But what are the chances of ever getting offered a big title? I wasn’t offered a second tier title I would be right for let alone a top tier title I could be right for.

    Over the years I’ve seen loads of women all over the world that want to work in mainstream comics because they love superheroes too. I’d love to see more of them get in and I’d really love to see some of them rise to the very top.

  36. Laurie Sutton:
    “@ Kurt Buisek: You make me LOL. Thanks!”

    Oh, you little sycophant, you! :)

  37. Synsidar says:

    Over the years I’ve seen loads of women all over the world that want to work in mainstream comics because they love superheroes too.

    It would be very nice if writers could provide examples of rejected material, so that people can see whether the reasons given make sense. FEAR ITSELF, Marvel’s current event, is such a disaster that it’s hard to see how policies used to justify publishing it could be used to reject anything that hangs together from page to page.

    SRS

  38. Couple of things on that top 50 list. I think Erin Hunter is a woman, no? She was left off the total. AND more importantly, there are only 25 different people on that list in total. 12 + Erin Hunter = 13 which represents more than half of the persons represented.

  39. Andrew Farago says:

    Tom Spurgeon has suggested occasionally that the Big Two implement something along the lines of the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which requires teams to include at least one African-American candidate when they’re filling a head coaching position.

    I know plenty of women who’d do terrific work on Marvel and DC titles, and if they were just given the opportunity to pitch something more than once every couple of years, they wouldn’t be seen as such an anomaly.

    And just including more (some?) women in the pitching process would go a long way toward getting more quality writers on Marvel and DC books. Editors would still go with whatever is going to sell the most books, but giving a wider pool the opportunity to try out would have to be a good thing, wouldn’t it?

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