Above, Kanako Inuki’s PRESENTS
Dave Carter decided to count the number of female creators working at the Top Four publishers as listed in the latest Previews, and comes up with a list of 9. Two (Robin Furth and Jessica Ruffner) are writing various book-related adaptations at Marvel. One (Amy Wolfram) is a TV writer working on a comics based on the show she writes. One is Gail Simone. Artists: Adriana Melo, Nicola Scott, Sandra Hope, Jan Duursema and Laura Allred.

I’m pretty sure Allred is a colorist and not an artist, but at least her name was in the catalog.
Carter’s nut ‘graph:

So as far as creator gender representation in mainstream comics goes, things are no better than they were ten, twenty or thirty years ago–the days of Louise Simonson, Jo Duffy, Ann Nocenti, June Brigman, Marie Severin, Ramona Fradon, etc.

In fact, there are more female editors at the major companies than there are female creators. Over at Image, there’s no one, except the occasional Colleen Doran and contributors to anthologies like NYC Mech.

Which all sounds very depressing, but then you look back in the real world, and Marjane Satrapi, Gabrielle Bell and Nina Paley are all making movies; Posy Simmonds, Hope Larson, Jill Thompson, Carla Speed McNeill, Raina Telgemeier, Ellen Lindner, Jessica Abel and Sara Varon are all making books; and so are Svetlana Chmakova, Queenie Chan, Amy Hadley, Joanna Estep and Rivkah, not to mention Clamp and Hiromu Arakawa, Natsuki Takaya, Kanako Inuki and Maiocco Anno; and Danielle Corsetto, Dorothy Gambrell, Dylan Meconis, Julia Wertz, and Lauren Weinstein and probably one or two other people I’ve forgotten.

Isn’t this just a comment on how pinched and narrow the entire “comics mainstream” has become? Isn’t it sad?


  1. Isn’t this just a comment on how pinched and narrow the entire “comics mainstream” has become? Isn’t it sad?

    It’s more a comment on the way people often equate “comics” with “superhero books published by Marvel and DC”.

    And I can’t believe I forgot Gabrielle Bell, Hope Larson, and Jill Thompson in my previous lists! I feel bad about that.

    I also forgot Miriam Katin, Marguerite Abouet, Tove Jansen, Vanessa Davis, Emily Flake, Laura Park, Genevieve Elgren, Ellen Forney, and many more.

  2. Add Pia Guerra to the list. (Y is over as of tomorrow, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she continues to do things for DC/Vertigo.)

  3. Some more names: Exit Wounds’ Rutu Modan, Paige Braddock, and Megan Kelso. And this year Drawn & Quarterly is bringing out lots of Lynda Barry stuff. (Modan and Barry will both be guests at Comic-Con International this summer, by the way)

  4. I think the best examples on that list are Rivkah and Danielle Corsetto. Hell, through in Jennie Breedan and Gina Biggs. Just keep going through this list, and you’ll find that a lot of female creators are more progressive that their male counterparts. Some have spoken to the fact that they don’t want to tell stories about grown men in tights, they want to create stories that are their own. And said stories are pretty much only collected in the current top-of-the-dogpile format, the trade paperback, or as a webcomic. That’s where the next wave of female creators are.
    And yes, the “mainstream comics” should actually worry about this.

  5. There was a post yesterday that mentioned Alison Bechdel and Megan Kelso, and I mentioned Rutu Modan and several others in the comments there…

  6. There was a post yesterday that mentioned Alison Bechdel and Megan Kelso, and I mentioned Rutu Modan and several others in the comments there…

  7. Forgive me, Heidi, but I don’t think things are quite as sanguine in the real world–better, surely, but not terrific. There’s still a pretty major imbalance in the indie publishers; of 103 creators listed on Oni’s site, 13 are women, and of the 300 or so on the Fantagraphics site, about 35 are women (I think I miscounted somewhere in the Fanta number, but I don’t think it’s that far off from the actual number). Only 6 of the 82 in the Top Shelf catalog are women, and even in webcomics, things are unbalanced; if you look at ACT-I-VATE, 5 of the 23 creators there are female, 2 of the 14 Chemistry Setters are female, and the list T Campbell put together of the top webcomics (Alexa, 11/07) shut out women entirely.

    Am I suggesting that any of these groups are somehow sexist for not having a 50-50 ratio of male to female creators? Not in the slightest. There’s no comparing the output of Fanta with DC with a straight face, and I can’t imagine even for a second that any of these groups are actively shutting out women. But I think it’s worth asking why there aren’t as many women working on “real” comics (or who want to work on them, which I think is the real issue) rather than slamming the DM for being pathetic and retrograde. Just because some women are doing quite well for themselves doesn’t mean something’s not quite right.

  8. I just think it’s funny how people pretend indie comics and corporate comics are two different worlds. Kind of like when I was a kid, and I thought the next town over was in a different state, because, well, it was *different*.

  9. I tend to think colorists ARE artists, but okay.

    Superhero comics a boys’ club? Not surprising.

    Of the actually interesting recent comics, I’d say the gender balance is considerably closer to even.

    I’d agree with AH above that most American comic publishers’ catalogs are still primarily male, though. Even at most of the big prose publishers’ imprints. Honestly, the population of pro-quality cartoonists in America is still mostly male.

    What interests me is the gender breakdown of young artists. Who’s taking all these new comics programs at art school? Who’s selling their minis at SPX? Who’s posting their developmental fan art on DeviantArt and Tokyopop.com? Who’s launching pro-quality webcomics? More women than ever — I hope.

  10. Hmm, didn’t mean that last comment to sound quite as snooty as it looks. My list of “interesting recent comics” includes a couple superhero books. The original premise just felt like conducting a survey of female essay-writers and then limiting your research to Maxim, Playboy, Esquire, and GQ. Some interesting essays get published there, but it’s a weird decision to look only there.

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