Robot 6

Lee, DiDio on female creators, characters: “We hear you”

DC Comics took a few on the chin at Comic-Con International and in the week that followed as attendees at their multiple “New 52″ panels asked them over and over again, “What happened to all the women?” Sean posted about one panel in particular earlier this week; you can see more color on it over at The Beat, as Heidi was there, and on ComicsAlliance, where Laura Hudson lays out a thoughtful post on the subject.

Yesterday DC Comics responded with a post on The Source by co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee:

Over the past week we’ve heard from fans about a need for more women writers, artists and characters. We want you to know, first and foremost, that we hear you and take your concerns very seriously.

We’ve been very fortunate in recent years to have fan favorite creators like Gail Simone, Amy Reeder, Felicia Henderson, Fiona Staples, Amanda Connor, G. Willow Wilson and Nicola Scott write and draw the adventures of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes.

DC Comics is the home of a pantheon of remarkable, iconic women characters like Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman and Supergirl as well as fan favorite characters like Black Canary, Katana, Mera and Starfire. We’re committed to telling diverse stories with a diverse point of view. We want these adventures to resonate in the real world, reflecting the experiences of our diverse readership. Can we improve on that? We always can—and aim to.

We’ll have exciting news about new projects with women creators in the coming months and will be making those announcements closer to publication. Many of the above creators will be working on new projects, as we continue to tell the ongoing adventures of our characters. We know there are dozens of other women creators and we welcome the opportunity to work with them.

Our recent announcements have generated much attention and discussion and we welcome that dialogue.

Best-

Jim Lee & Dan DiDio
DC Entertainment Co-Publishers

DC has a reputation of having a “duck and cover” approach to controversy, so I have to say I’m a bit surprised and pleased that they would put out an official statement. Good on them — now how about opening up the comments on The Source so you can start a dialogue again with fans?

News From Our Partners

Comments

106 Comments

I seem to remember that they closed the comments on the Source because a bunch of ‘fans’ started to attack Felicia Henderson, stating that she’s the worst thing in comics and a lousy person, etc.
I think DC shouldn’t open that Pandora box again.

Ah, I’m totally wrong ;P The closing was over the ‘Superman vs Flash, who’s faster?’ flame war.
Still, I hated the comments section on The Source.

Felicia Henderson is the worst thing that ever happened to comics. She shouldn’t be allowed to ever write a comic again!

Now get Amanda Conner on a comic and you got me buying it.

So many talented women out there that didn’t get a job off the bat. Jen Van Meter, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Colleen Doran, G Willow Wilson, Fiona Staples, Rebekah Isaacs, Becky Cloonan, Ann Nocenti, Louise Simonson, June Brigman, Connor, Henderson (who really is not THAT bad, fanboys can never cut anyone a break.), and Scott (though I’m sure there are a bunch I’m blanking on.)

Can you tell me not one of or five of those talents couldn’t be a better, smarter and more marketable move then some of the guys they have writing? I like some of the newer writers Edmondson, and Fialkov, as well as some guys like Snyder and Lemire having roles of a higher caliber. But Scott Lobdell never wrote anything that I cared about at any time. I dropped X-Men several issues into his run, and find his stuff unreadable, though that’s not saying he could prove me wrong, but still three books is a lot to give someone with a spotty track record (quality wise). DC really dropped the ball, and it’s a shame that they had to chastise their fans to realize oops we screwed up.

Good grief, really? Sorry, but I would rather have talent on my books before I have who is the talent. If more dudes are writing and drawing comics than chicks I really don’t care as long as they are good.
All this ‘there aren’t enough chicks” and “where are all the black creators/characters?” stuff needs to end. Let the people who are good at it do it and stand on their talent and not what they happen to look like.

I have personally talked to these women at SDCC who have expressed interest in working for DC..
Marjorie Liu
Jill Thompson
Joyce Chin
Nichola scott

@Josh-Colleen Doran has 2 projects over at Vertigo/DC. A few of the other women you named have projects elsewhere(some sounding very interesting) and I doubt Rebekah Isaacs would drop Angel & Faith which will no doubt be a hit for Dark Horse to take a chance at DC.

Maybe it’s just me, but hiring someone just because of their gender, just to shut a few people up doesn’t seem right to me. I would rather see women being hired based on their talent, just like everybody else.

Bit of a face saving exercise. Their handling of that panel was an utter balls-up from start to finish and the bad press emanating from it is unlike anything I’ve seen before about a con panel. Still, I’m glad it’s made a difference. I don’t believe this was an intentional omission but it warrants remedying.

On the other hand, I expect there’s a fair number of pitching male creators feeling a bit hard done by right now, given I presume the number of men who apply to work for these publishers vastly outstrips the number of women…

No, it isn’t right to hire someone just because they’re anything. However, there were a lot of women working at DC who vanished in the relaunch. The idea that there aren’t any women who are worth hiring if they’re only hiring the best is ridiculous.

It’s a pity that Dan Didio didn’t react with a statement like this during comic-con. A simple “We’re as frustrated by the lack of female creators in the industry as you are, and intend to work towards fixing that in future” or something equally spin/PR-y would’ve been fine. Or, I guess, at least better than what we got. As always, DC does really, really poorly on the marketing/presentation/business side of things.

They’ve just announced a really big game-changing initiative, which is really exciting and bold, but it still feels awkwardly cobbled together by the marketing and editorial teams.

I’ve been saying it for a little while (not here, obviously), but I’ve got a feeling that Dan Didio might soon find himself with a different job, while Jim Lee assumes full control of things at the publishing level. This is for no other reason than Jim Lee always, ALWAYS comes across as an incredibly likable guy with a real love of the characters. I’m not saying Dan Didio isn’t that either, but he often seems (at least from articles and things) like someone who’s really just confused about what exactly he’s supposed to be doing, and a little confrontational with fans (who sometimes probably deserve it, but not always).

@Katrina Lehto
The only female creator who “vanished” from August to September was Kelly Sue DeConnick, who was working on a guest arc for Supergirl.

Amanda Connor, Nicola Scott, and Amy Reeder were all, from the start, said to be working on projects which were slated for release further down the line.

For gods sake get Devin Grayson back writing in the Bat Family of books

When Didio asked what women dc should hire, people were on the boards rattling off all these names, just to prove they knew more women creators than the next guy. Congratulations, you’re the King Geek. You know more women creators than everyone else. Now, are any of them any good? Are they even available/inclined to work for DC? Or do you just want to give someone a job just to fill a quota? ‘Cause that, my friends, is jive.

if i’m gonna give this relaunch a chance, the books better be good. i don’t care if they’re written by Joe White-guy, or a gay asian woman. make it good if you want my money.

i really don’t think hiring more of any minority is going to bring more of that demographic into comic shops, anyway. So why the outrage? What’s your point, Vocal Minority?

I tend to agree that hiring people because of their gender “in the name of diversity” or “just to shut people up” isn’t right. If you had five or six women who could write mainstream super-hero comics at the level of Gail, there wouldn’t be a problem. But let’s face it, there is a talent pool problem to getting more female creators. That in and of itself probably comes from a lack of female readers. Perhaps the lack of female readers is the first thing DC should try to address.

@Nas Who-”It’s a pity that Dan Didio didn’t react with a statement like this during comic-con. A simple “We’re as frustrated by the lack of female creators in the industry as you are, and intend to work towards fixing that in future” or something equally spin/PR-y would’ve been fine.”

Do you think so? See, I’m almost 99% positive that the feminists bloggers who often bring up this issue would have accused him of dodging the question if he’d used an answer like that. Just one more example of the “same old, same old” from DC Comics.

I really liked Grant Morrison’s no-nonsense approach to the question at one of the panels. To paraphrase, “Do women want to work at DC? Then send your stuff in!” It’s a lot easier for you to go to them than for them to go out looking for you. If people want DC to hire more women, more women need to come forward wanting to be hired.

@CM Funk – the point of the Vocal Minority is just to be that. I remember reading a recap of the session where Didio gave that answer – the boards might have lit up but the recap made it sound as if there were crickets in response at the actual event. In other words, love to bitch but not offer any ideas.

It’s a red herring issue, because a lot of fanboys and fangirls love to rail on this as if there’s a horde of female creators that Didio, et. al. are actively pushing away from DC. If that’s ever proven to be the case then fine, but I suspect it’s not regardless of what some bloggers claim ad nauseum.

The real way to ensure great diversity and new talent is to reexamine and refine the process to find, recruit, and bring in new talent. If it’s active on the part of DC they’ll probably get the diversity they and others want. Otherwise they’ll just get who they know already (mostly the usual male subjects) or whoever bothers to approach them (mostly diehard male fanboys).

Every person that clamored for more women creators needs to go buy 50 issues of each book that comes out.

@Ben Carlsen- “I really liked Grant Morrison’s no-nonsense approach to the question at one of the panels. To paraphrase, “Do women want to work at DC? Then send your stuff in!” It’s a lot easier for you to go to them than for them to go out looking for you. If people want DC to hire more women, more women need to come forward wanting to be hired.”

This is true, but also a little false. As far as I know both DC and Marvel stopped accepting unsolicited work from all sources. Now they recruit almost all of their talent from Indie books since that previously published work proves the talent being recruited has the basic skills the company is after.

MICHAEL: Uhh, Nikola Scott is exclusive to DC. Of course she wants to work for them and will be.

@A: Yes, I agree that the wording of Morrison’s and my own comment was a bit simplistic as there’s more to it than just “send your stuff in,” but if you have published previously, and you are a creator that wants to work at DC, you should tell them that. If you’re a fan, and there’s a creator you like that you think ought to be working at one of the big two, it would also be good to let them know that.

My point is that you can’t expect DC to do all of the work for you. They have a lot of things to worry about. If there’s something you care about, whining about it won’t solve anything.

I don’t care if they are red, yellow, black, white, male, female, or transgendered as long as they write a good story. That’s what DC, Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse, Boom, Dynamite, Image, etc., need to focus on, not whether the writer is of a certain gender or ethnicity. Story, and story alone, should count. This argument is just utterly ridiculous. Its like creating a gay or lesbian character, or a hispanic or asian character, just to appease fans. If the story isn’t any good customers won’t buy it, regardless. You can’t create a character to appease a group of fans, then expect that character’s title to sell solely because of its ethnicity or sexuality. If you spend your money that way, then that’s your business, but a title will never gain a wide appeal without good creators. In the 2-D world of comics, storytelling and art are everything. I’m disabled, and I’m not going to go out and buy every Captain Marvel Jr. comic, or Barbara Gordon comic solely because they are disabled, that’s upsurd. I may support the title initially, but they are going to have to earn my money by putting out a quality product. Tell a good story, and the comic companies will come after you. I’m sure guys like Alonso, Didio, and the others, aren’t gonna turn away someone because they are a woman. You either have it or you don’t, and on top of that they have to have a desire to work in the medium. This whole argument is just laughable, and I can’t believe DC is even responding to it. Talent is what gets you in the door, not your gender, skin color, or anything else.

This is the right answer and needs repeating…

Skott
July 30, 2011 at 10:27 am

Good grief, really? Sorry, but I would rather have talent on my books before I have who is the talent. If more dudes are writing and drawing comics than chicks I really don’t care as long as they are good.
All this ‘there aren’t enough chicks” and “where are all the black creators/characters?” stuff needs to end. Let the people who are good at it do it and stand on their talent and not what they happen to look like

@Ben Carlsen

I’m in total agreement with you. I think your point is a good one to have out there. It appears DC may be hiring more women and this is a chance for any that want that employment to make themselves known.

However, I have seen some of the more leading critics about this issue express disgust that DiDio was “asking them to do his job” when he wanted suggestions for female talent DC should have hired at the convention. I always thought that one of the points to Con panels for comic professionals was to interact with fans and get their opinions, but apparently I’ve been wrong all this time.

7 books with female leads (including Birds of Prey as that is a female orientated book).

28 books with male leads (includeing Red Hood and the Outlaws)

(the rest are team books or oddities like DC presents.)

Yeah, looks balanced to me.

I’m going to slightly disagree with most here.

I don’t remember the specifics, but I read an article recently about one company who, when hiring creative talent, made the decision to hire 50% women and 50% men, strictly. And they’re thrilled with how it worked out for them.

There are a lot more talented people who want to write comics than there are jobs at DC. If DC really wanted to, I don’t doubt that they’d be able to hire just women.

DC’s real problem, it seems to me, is that they want to do things the way they want to do them. Their content seems like it’s coming from the top down, determined by editorial. As long as that’s true it doesn’t really matter who their writers are. I don’t think they don’t want women; I think they want people who will do what they’re told, and they already have a lot of people like that, so why should they change?

I’d like to see a DC Comics where they open things up a lot more. Less direction from DiDio and Johns; give the individual editors and writers more leeway on what the books are about and how the stories are to be told, and let the continuity fall where it may. Then you find the best writers you can get and make sure that around half of them are women and, sure, make sure that you have a lot of black and Hispanic and Asian-American writers, and turn ‘em all loose. Some would say that you’d see a drop in quality if you approached it like that; I disagree. I think you’d see a jump in quality.

The problem with the standard “I don’t care what the creators gender/race is, what matter is how good they are!” line, is that… fair enough, it’s true, but it’s not the whole story.

There is not some magic list of everybody who might write comics, ranked in order of their skill at writing, and DC hires off that list. Writing ability is a small part of getting a job in comics. Sure, it’s important, but we all know creators who are not very good who keep finding work. Getting a job in comics is about so much more than how you write, it’s also about “Who you know”, and how editors think they might get along with you. We all have biases we don’t even know about, and I’m not even talking about big obvious ones.

I don’t think most of the people who make the decisions are actively sexist. But maybe an editor invites two men and a woman to pitch stories one day, and makes a joke to break the ice with the guys when its their turn, but doesn’t with the woman because he fears it might be seen as sexist. As a result, the guys laugh and joke back, and he comes off the impression, “These are great guys,” while the woman’s a little standoffish (probably nervous herself being in a traditionally male dominated field), and he doesn’t personally like her as much, which makes him subconsciously feel that the guys gave better pitches.

Maybe the person deciding between two projects that he feels are equally good, has a slight feeling that a male creator name would sell more than a female name, and so on that case falls on the side of the male’s project. Or for that matter, deciding they’d rather go with a known creator (who is almost certainly male) than an unknown, regardless of gender.

A million tiny little differences that don’t seem to matter add up to big differences that do matter.

Unless you actually believe that most of the best potential comic writers are white males, that there’s something about being a minority that makes you a poorer comic writer, you have to account for the difference in the proportion of female fans and proportions of female creators (and likewise for race). And if you don’t take steps to correct that discrepancy, then you’re passively helping to continue it.

I like Peter’s post, in that America is just institutionalized to accept the straight, while male as the “norm”, and unless you’re actively pushing against it(which most people don’t, in pretty much all forms of industry), then you’re just letting it continue. You might not even realize what you’re doing is racist, sexist, or ignorant, but it is. Obviously you want the best writers, but if that’s true, DC is saying the best writers are all white guys with the occasional Gail Simone thrown in for DIVERSITY, and everybody else just doesn’t measure up.

Ah the classic “Oh,it’s the story or art that counts.” Meanwhile all the stories that happen to be good are what, all caucasian males? Give me a break with your hypocrisy. Minority characters haven’t sold well since the 90′s, no matter how good the were. Same with writers and artists. In the DC talent search panel in SDCC, over half the people there were women. So this ridiculous idea that only white males have what it takes to draw or write comics is ridiculous.

Quality matters, but diversity in the market place happens most efficiently, when it comes from the top. Given the right marketing you can sell anything. Comics have not been good at marketing. Have you ever seen a comics add on TV? I did. It was for a Candain comic shop and this blew my mind. Now it’s a little late to jump into TV. But I applaud the plans for Movie theater adds and any Internet and app adds. Anyway, a smart, well designed, aggressive campain can sell anything. You are in media arts right, DC? Keeping and growing an addicted audience is another thing. Quality matters. The good news for diversity is between 50-90% of Marvel and DC comics are a chore to read at any given moment. So why not take a chance and backing it up with a new approach. I am not talking about trend swiping (comics have done that for 70 years). There are great comic storytellers out there, struggling to keep working for free. Real talents. I am one of hundreds I know. It would only take actual balls to commit to diversity and quality at the same time. Comic Books were born from diversity, but have only through usually akword efforts and analogy really reflected realities diversity. Ask most Black creators and readers, if thier being catered to effectively. As for women in comics. Most female characters at DC were born in an era when girls read comics in equal numbers to boys. Now women and girls are trying to make a point. They are the growth for the company and DC has made products hostile to women. I said this on the CBR post on Dan Dido and that fan going at it at comic Con; again, this letter asserts just a few dozen female cartoonist capable of doing the job; I count over 300. But if you are not actually planing on improving your product. diversifying and expanding your readership, then I can see the struggle to find a few dozen and only hire 2-6. I am sure SCAD, CCS, Kubert and SVA could help you find a couple decades worth of female graduates worth thier salt (there is also Womenthology). Hell I personally got your few dozen email addresses right here. Shoot me one, and I will forward them to so women cartoonist. I am sure CBR’s own Kelly Thompson would clear her scedual to write a script and do some page layouts that won’t suck! as for my part, I am struggling to meet a deadline for the last Xeric Grant, using a female superhero. Yeah, suicide. Right?!

While I will be the first to agree that women seem to have the shallow end of the creative talent pool at the moment, if DC is all gung ho to have more female characters in their universe, then why did they cancel Zatanna and Power Girl?

I think the real crime here is that we apparently have a glut of women and minority writers looking for work, yet JMS continues to find employment.

I want more stories with Superman taking a walk!

Well I don’t know …DC has more female led books last year into this year and the sales apart from Batwoman…were all lousy.

So all the moaning people…where were you when the time comes to BUY the books???

They scream the loudest and yet the sales of female books are terrible and please don’t tell me females write better than males or males write better than females. A writer is a good writer period as is a good artist. You put people on books that you hope would understand the character’s history and do something new. Gail Simone for example is great with street level characters but terrible with more powered up characters. Her WW was not very good. Albino apes and flying clams and Amazons wanting babies.We even had Nicola Scott draw her most anticipated WW dream project and what did we get? Wonder Woman mooning like a lovesick teenager over Batman. tell me how does that help the character? It was a joke..Jodi Picoult also was on WW and again a really cliched take on the Amazon Princess. And these are good writers in their own genre. Does not mean they can write all characters well.

I think it is a fallacy and unfair to say DC is not trying at all. Females have proven they can write and draw a product as good and as bad as their male counterparts.

The acid test should have been WW and yet

“While I will be the first to agree that women seem to have the shallow end of the creative talent pool at the moment, if DC is all gung ho to have more female characters in their universe, then why did they cancel Zatanna and Power Girl?”

Because they weren’t selling.

First of all, Mera & Starfire don’t compare to Power Girl & Troia, then DC needs to hire Amanda Rachels as an artist , her work is great.

Just give Gail “Secret Six” back and I’ll be a happy camper. (And buying one more DC title, considering this it’ss-not-really-a-relaunch-no-really-ignore-what-we-said-earlier has cost me all but one of my books from the company.)

“Well I don’t know …DC has more female led books last year into this year and the sales apart from Batwoman…were all lousy.”

It’s funny; when it’s a male-led book that fails, well, that’s just the depressed marketplace in general. Put him back in the drawer for a year. Or if it’s a male writer, give him another book, ’cause we like him. But when it’s a female-led book that fails, suddenly that proves that there’s no market for female-led books at all. It can’t be any other factor, and it certainly can’t say anything deeper about the state of the industry.

I was buying Zatanna and Power Girl, and am saddened by their cancellation, but do agree with the comment about keeping Gail Simone on a continuing Secret Six.

But Gail doing Secret Six wouldn’t solve any of the problems that people seem to intent on calling attention to.

Secret Six wasn’t a solo female book. It didn’t even have a majority female cast. And Gail Simone already has four projects in the works: Firestorm, Batgirl, Plastic Man, and her Cass and Steph project.

If anything, putting Gail on Batgirl and making her Barbara is the biggest push that DC has given that franchise since the Bronze Age.

And yet, I can’t shake the feeling that if DC were to make Barbara Oracle again and bring back Steph or Cass as Batgirl, then a lot of this vitriol would die down. Because this does seem, on a level, a legitimization of criticism and hatred coming from that, if not identical, then overlapping group.

And it is for this reason that I’m happy that they are meeting criticism by hiring more female talent rather than caving on any of the changes they have made to the line. Because those decisions are sound and the more people complain about Barbara, the more they come off as angry fanboy/girls who don’t like having their cheese moved.

Good for DC.

I’d like more books written by ninjas, drawn by midgets, about bears on unicycles.

The gender or sex or sexuality of a creator has never factored into my purchase. Just the art and writing.

As for titles. The market tells you what product it wants. There are fewer girl lead books than boy lead books because thats what the market wants. If Mattell was selling more Ken dolls we’d have a toy aisle of multi-fashioned Ken dolls with one generic lonely Barbie at the end. If 35,000 people don’t want to read a comic about an acrobatic bear, then it won’t get made, and if it does for the sake of making em happy…it won’t last.

It would be interesting to see the percent of men versus women submissions, versus the percent of men versus women creators working professionally….I’d suspect they are close.

I like the reader suggestion above. Promote to young female readers! I’d also add, if you want women working at the big two….go buy their books NOW. Obviously they have something out that makes you notice them. If they get big sales and noticed on there small market/indy stuff, all the more chance for them to get hired or moved to bigger titles. Everyone vocal about women writers and artists need to be buying their books regardless of whether or not they are working for the big two, and that would go for male creators you who works you like as well. Its not all on the Big Two to establish the market…readers do! The womanthology book is getting buzz,it will showcase talented ladies and will helpfully interject more/better TALENT into popular comics.

I just can’t imagine that an editorial reads a indy book they really really love. But don’t hire the writer or artist when they see its a chick. Talent will rise to the top!

Have any of you people complaining about how female creators obviously don’t have any talent been to a single small press con in the last five years? Or, I dunno, opened a webcomic on your browser? They are all over the place.

I second the motion for Devin Grayson writing Batman-family books again! What ever happened to her and why doesn’t she work anymore!?

….Reading this thread I don’t know where to direct my irritation: At one fan who kept whining at four different panels until she got her way like a spoiled brat…

…Or at like a dozen plus men who don’t get that while it’s ridiculous to cave to a single fan, there are TONS OF TALENTED FEMALE CREATORS who deserve to be hired. I could rattle off a list, but there was already some tool who actually asked if any of them were good. Which is a stupid question, because only one bad female creator (to me) comes to mind off the top of my head, while like ten awesome ones pop up. There may be fewer female creators, but the number of quality ones is shifted decidedly in the majority.

…Also kinda taking offense at the guy talking about people needing to stop complaining that there aren’t enough black creators. Who? Where? And I can’t even think of any black creators. (Which is depressing, since I’m black.) Eric Wallace and Jamal Igle are the only ones I can think of. Well, ones I can think of that are talented. Either way, there’s just no group asking for that. Though there should be.

Also: Screw opening comments at the Source. It’ll be all the same. Negative posters defending their right to be negative until they push all the positive ones off, so the only thing you’ll hear is an opinion that won’t be reflected by sales, ever.

1. Am I the only one who thinks that Dan DidIo gets a secret payoff from Marvel each month for such headlines? If not, he should definitely request some reimbursement for all these unnecessary debacles.

2. Am I the only one who is tired of DC using the term “fan favorite” multiple times in every press release? When did Starfire and her purple pasties become fan favorites?

3. I am really saddened that DC had taken one of the few ways in which it led the pack (representation of women) and chucked it out the window. Seriously, DC couldn’t possibly be worse when it comes to LGBT characters and creators. Despite DiDio’s constant PR campaigns saying that the new 52 sets the standard for LGBT representation, we are left with the fact that DC is benching at least 4 queer characters in August — Obsidian, Starman, and Tasmanian Devil from JLA, and Scandal Savage from Secret Six– and taking exactly 4 characters off the bench — Apollo, Midnighter, Batwoman, and (apparently) Voodoo. Worse, the marriage of Apollo and Midnighter has been eradicated at the exact moment that marriage equality debates are taking place around the country. Meanwhile, Marvel outsells DC in part by offering twice the number of gay characters, and Archie has released an incredibly profitable all-ages book featuring a gay teen. Money talks, bullsh#t walks. In addition, DC’s new 52 will offer “0″ LGBT writers, while Marvel boasts 4. To be clear, I don’t care what DC does. While it was the publisher of my childhood, it seems to be stuck in 1970 … or at least in 1990, and I am happy to purchase books by whoever resonates with me as a reader. It is DiDeo who claims that DC is setting a new standard for diversity. Diversity of what — iguanas in the new Aquaman book?

Back to the representation of women, though, I must confess that I am astounded by the relaunch. DC has always led Marvel in its female-centered books — Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey, etc, — and in its employment of amazing female artists who set and surpass the industry standard. Nicola Scott and Amy Reeder are in my top 5 all-time DC artists, and Amanda Conner had a HUGE fan base on Power Girl. (Not to mention the one thing that DC has done right in September, bringing the astonishing, award-winning Jenny Frison in to draw covers of I, Vampire.) Why are women so poorly represented in DC books in September? It is a mystery to me. If the goal of the relaunch was to attract new or lapsed readers, why wouldn’t the September solicits offer up the full range of DC’s best artists? There’s not just the incredible Nicola Scott, Amanda Conner, and Amy Reeder, but also Cully Hamner, Phil Jimenez, and Stephane Roux. It’s almost as if DC wants to advertise that someone like Jock is not representative of what new readers should expect in 2012, but rather they should get excited about the 3-8 mediocre artists that are typically necessary for DC to cobble together a single, ugly, 20-page monthly. Honestly, every time I read a DC byline, I am convinced that the company has sweatshops in Brazil and Spain. Maybe there are little blind children who are forced into drawing DC comics? Perhaps that is the male talent that posters refer to here that are threatened by women artists like Nicola Scott. DC has amazing talent at it disposal. Why were these people relegated to “future projects”? DC should have taken the time the get the relaunch right. It’s DC’s moment in the sun. Shame the company wasted it.

To those saying “I don’t care, just hire who’s best!” that’s a fine and dandy sentiment, but when a creative lineup is 99% men and 1% women, that’s something that needs to be addressed. There are plenty of women who write good comics, and plenty who draw good comics, and plenty of both who would love to work for DC. Enough to make a perfect 50/50 split? Maybe not. But definitely enough to reach a double-digit percentage.

Creative diversity doesn’t mean reaching for the bottom of the barrel. It means drawing from the top of many different barrels. :]

DC should not just be hiring women ( or any other minority) bacause the fans are telling them too. They should be hiring them becasue they are great creators.

Henderson and Devin Greyson – No thanks. Tried their writing and they not my tastes. And it isn’t because they are women. They just arn’t any good imho. There are plenty of male ‘writers’ I will never buy too – Daniels, Byrne, and Claremont to name a few.

Conner and Scott and two creators that I really enjoy, but it also depends who the writer is they are teamed with. If its a writer who I think is terrible, I’ll have to pass. On the plus side, they usually get good to great writers teamed with them.

@Josh – your sadly mistaken if you think every woman you listed is as good as Snyder and Lemire. Your obviously just spouting out names to sound like you know what your taking about. Snyder especially is an AMAZING talent. Who has not had a dud piece of writing yet. Other writers should be looking to him as to what to do right when writing a comic. He is in my top 5 writers at the moment!

listen, think back through your lives… remember the boldest ,most adventurous people you met or witnessed in real life,the sort you’d model stories after…..now be honest,what gender were they?
now think back and try to remeber who tended to accept the rules of society and refused to think big…what gender were they?
now think,what’s the gender of almost all of the inventive,diligent and gifted individuals who have built our cultures?be honest..
now we fellas don’t hold a candle to the ladies when it comes to compassion and nurturing and groundedness,but jusy because we live in a time wherein everyone’s attempted to marginalize and pick away at the imaginative domains of men,doesn’t mean we need to fall for it.
female culture is vapid,conservative,dishonest and boring.only a few females have the true fire of heroism in them.
these are a few of the reasons they don’t shine as bright in creative areas.
you want in?show some bravery,walk away fom the crowd,express a colourful,inspirational or challenging view.how can you write about superheroes when in real life you live by conservative,materialistic follow the crowd bullshit.
if christopher columbus never went in search for the new world,can you imagine any woman you know in real life taking up the baton and setting out on a journey into the unknown?….but i bet you can think of a few fellas you know who’d go for it.
and this generation of females have been nurtured by our culture ato feel equal,if not superior to men,so any shortcomings they may experience are due to their nature and their nature alone.face up to it.if women ruled the world like beyonce sings it,we’d be fucked and bored senseless.
it’s been a long time since anyone’s said it,but glory to the boys of ideas and thrills and humour and oddyseys.

@Dean – I completely agree with you about DC’s poor handling of GLBT. Did Didio actually say “that the new 52 sets the standard for LGBT representation”? Because that is just sad and SO untrue. 3 titles out of 52?There isn’t even a gay male with his OWN comic – yet even Archie now has one! It just shows how behind the times they are.

Jimmy’s comment is so funny!! Men, let’s just imagine a time when Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers had never written a mystery. Let’s just pretend that you needed a penis to discover (boo hoo, Mrs. Marple) that there was a body in the library. Yes. friends, let’s just declare that Mary Shelley couldn’t have possibly imagined Frankenstein without the aid of Dan DiDio. Jimmy obviously wants me to declare that being a guy makes me an imbecile. Sorry, I don’t need that kind of hand out.

Remeber this was all because one fan was at almost every DC panels badgering panels until the whining spoiled br\at got her way….

If she truly cared about the issue at and and not ablout just making the panels looks bad she would have asked the question and moved on.

But she asked and asked and asked until be the final day the panelist WERE GETTING visiblyy fed up with her because they answered the questions in the first days.

This wasn’t about female creators ir was about 1 female fan trying to empower and make a nusiance of herself .

yeah, but archie comics were always ‘gay’, even before they were officially gay,dig?

@Faust — Read DiDio’s review with the Advocate. I certainly agree that it can be difficult to support a great artist when she is paired with a mediocre writer. Nicola Scott has been amazing since her first day at DC, bringing a level of detail to her work that is unprecedented in mainstream comics. It is a shame that she started experimenting so much with layouts only in her Teen Titans pages, since no one at DC has looked for/appreciated this kind of creative breakthrough. She’s amazing.

But it is also amazing that some people on the very page claim to have talked with Nicola at the con…and saying that she was free to work with DC when she already has something in the works…

There are too many people putting words in creators mouths
Nicola is working and a exclusive at DC yet this fan talk to her and she seem not to know this (nicola that is)Hmmm meethinks that fan was lieing though his spandex

there’s plenty of examples of wonderfully creative women dean,it’s just the majority that live within a painfully narrow worldview.plenty of men with nothing to offer also,plenty of fellas attempting to curry favour by spouting opinions they know will be applauded by the masses.
agatha christie huh?when did you get neutered son?
no, i’m just saying that artificially hoisting up creators due to gender in the imaginative arts just brings the whole joint enterprise down.it’s unfortunately quite darwinian,male creators scrap it out for the top spot and the cream generally rises to the top.
my other point is simple …look to real life,most people are sheep,either gender and there’s a slightly higher number of men full of spirit enough to combat the mundane in life and art.and it shows up in the comics as it does elsewhere.basically talent is talent,drop the victimhood and let your abilities speak for themselves.just saying the unsayable,which is generally the bloody obvious.
because everyone hysterically wants into the party now,and they’ll draw attention away from the core truths of the matter to get into the field…and it’s playing dirty ,pc nonsense.

As for me, I do realize that there is a lot of talented female creators in the world, and not just in the comics, for I like Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, Anne McCaffery, Andre(a) Norton, and Laurie R. King (the Mary Russel mysteries).
With that said, the point/reason that “Robot 6″ started this thread is not that there are not such people in the world, just that there are not enough at DC, if not all the majors, than one would think and that those companies need to take note and consider employing the good ones if possible.
It is not “PC nonsense” in my humble opinion, just an awful/unnecessary waste of valuable talent.

i think next year instead of any structured panel there should be the 20 fans with the same questions and their own agenda acting a the voice of us all hijacking every panels with the same questions over and over…

the PC nonsense is that it was blown all out of proportion that Dc felt the need tio comment and say something when it was just a loud whining wheel. and not the general feeling of fandom as some would have you believe.

Nicola Scott is a gift to the world of comics. Period.

I think it is great that DC is listening. DC has really come a long way in recent years. It is great when people can celebrate creators and characters form groups they relate to. However, I absolutely HATE that when PC activist people push for “diversity” and equality in all things at the expense of quality. Personally, I don’t give a damn if someone is white, black, red, yellow, brown, orange, male, female, undetemined and shifting gender, young, old, gay, straight, polyamorous, religious or not, republican, democrat, communist, american, non-american, whatever(all groups now referred as, group “x”). I want my comic companies to hire the best creators…PERIOD! Let me be clear. I don’t want them to hire only from group “x” for any reason, just as much as I don’t want talent rejected because they belong to group “x”. The great thing about comics is that they can be created by ANYONE from any background for ANYONE of any background. It is amazing to me that often the people screaming the loudest for their own perceived version of equality are themselves some of the most bigoted people alive. True equality sees no difference. In 5 years of being open, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has ever come into my store looking for stories written by creators from group “x”. They want a good story with good art. However, if anyone does comes in my store looking for books by creators from or about group “x”, I’m ready. I think it is totally fine and awesome when someone from group “x” discovers a creator or character from their some group that has made it into comics. That is to be expected and is natural. There are some that might say that is bigoted. That is their choice. My store is a treasure trove of creative cultural diversity. I have a VERY wide and diverse clientele. I treat them all with respect equally. I am very proud of that. I am very grateful to my customers that come in every week that appreciate and validate what I bring in for them to enjoy. I think the best part of this discussion/situation is that more people from all backgrounds will hopefully will put their talent in the running with their stories to tell that people will want to read. I look forward to a bright future with comics…by whomever makes them, regardless of their associated group. To quote a funny guy I know, “If you disagree with me, you are a racist homophobe and worse than Hitler”.

“Jimmy’s new in town. Jimmy… doesn’t really know anyone.”

There’s nothing wrong with diversity–the world is filled with people from various ethnic backgrounds and it would be cool to see them represented in comics. That being said, people who are passionate about comics shouldn’t look to the big two if they want to break into comics. I’ve heard that self-publishing can be a pain but it’s the only way to insure that your vision and your voice is heard. Women creators, minorities–frustrated security guards with delusions of grandeur.

You want to see African-Americans in space? You want see Asian-Americans do something other than martial arts? You want to see cowboys? Pirates? Historical sci-fi? Well, you’re gonna have to tell those stories cause Marvel and DC ain’t gonna do it. They’ll only do it once they see that someone else is making lots and LOTS of money.

I’m not mad at them and I’m not “hating” but just stating the facts.

Can I just say I’m lovin’ the Agatha Christie love up in here? One of my favorite writers, lady or fella.

@jgosu: I guess I can see how one would see the Batgirl question-asker as a nuisance, but personally, I think it’s awesome that she kept asking that question. It’s clearly an important issue, and she wanted to make sure her voice got heard! :]

Y’all say “potayto,” I say “potahto,” y’all say “PC,” I say “making sure everyone feels welcome on their own planet” . . .

@Ninja Bob: “I’m not mad at them and I’m not “hating” but just stating the facts.”

Actually those aren’t facts, thats whats called observational bias. DC is not the only publisher in town, nor are they even the majority publisher in town. I’m all for deiversity, but you don’t get to demand it from a company… Demanding more diversity from DC is like going to a producer of romance novels & demanding that they take the buff shirtless guys off the cover & portray men as something other then the silly romantic protagonists, completely lacking in actual character… You can demand it, you aren’t going to get it by demanding it & mostly you are going to look like an arse if over the period of a week you show up at 6 different press confrences they run & demand your view be the overriding one.

“You want see Asian-Americans do something other than martial arts?”

Yeah because DC totally has none of those… I mean, once you ignore: Static, Black Lightning, Amanda Waller, Amazing-Man (I, 2 & 3), Aqualad, Batwing, Black Eagle, Black Vulcan, Bloodwynd, Bumblebee, Crispus Allen, Crimson Avenger, Cyborg, Doctor Mid-Nite, Empress , John Stewart, Hero Cruz, Jakeem Thunder, Josiah Power, Kid Quantum, Manhattan Guardian, Mister Miracle (Shilo Norman), Mister Terrific (Michael Holt), Muhammad X, or any of the other countless characters of African descent.

Yeah, totally no black characters in DC… Observational Bias looks to have got the better of you.

@Angelica Brenner; You say potayto & i say public nusiance, who pissed people off. Riddle me this, how is the answer to a question going to have changed from today, to tommorow, from yesterday, given that it was all at the same con & the people capable of chaning anything (not that it needs changing), are all there at the con with you? The DCnU is not out yet, so people who are prejudging there gendered contents either are fucktards, or alternatively are a group of people from the future, with access to time machines.

You say “making sure everyone feels welcome on their own planet,” i say DC is not a fucking planet… By that logic gay porn, televised sports, reality tv, competitive cooking shows, twilight, fan fiction & romance novels should all be banned because they all make me feel unwelcome.

Please get some common sense.

Hey, she was one lady at one con. It’d be one thing if she followed DiDio to his car and shouted obscenities, but . . . she was asking questions. At question and answer panels. That’s what they’re for! The worst she did was use up time that could have been used for another person to ask a different question. (Or even the same question – other people reportedly brought up diversity issues as well.)

Granted, you’re right – nobody knows exactly what’s in the comics yet. For all we know, every single title is chock full of the most well-crafted female characters the medium has ever seen. I plan on buying several issues to find out for myself!

But what has been released are the creative credits, and there, the gender disparity is plain to see. Just a small handful of women, out of 52 issues’ worth of names? Women may not make up the majority of superhero fans, but surely more than 1%! :

Eh, “welcome on their own planet” maybe wasn’t the clearest wording. I don’t mean that everybody has to feel great about everything ever – that’d be kinda creepy, honestly – but that all kinds of people should be represented both on the page and behind it.

If a black guy or a white gal or anyone else says “I’d like to write about my favorite DC superheroes someday,” they should be able to say so with confidence that their dream has a decent chance of coming true. Their inclusion or exclusion on a creative team shouldn’t be some hypothetical situation for congoers and commenters to fight over – it should be an open (if not quite easy) possibility, subject to nothing more than their own talent, drive, and the availability of a title suiting their style.

Common sense or not, I like to think I’ve got a pretty hopeful outlook. I really do think it can happen, if the folks in charge will let it! :]

@Angelica Brenner:

“But what has been released are the creative credits, and there, the gender disparity is plain to see. Just a small handful of women, out of 52 issues’ worth of names? Women may not make up the majority of superhero fans, but surely more than 1%!”

Then i must assume you are aware that DC invited 3 other female writers (that we know of) to write for post-Flashpoint DCnU, but they turned it down (don’t ask me who, but if you check Sues, DCWKA blog, she’s got them listed). An while females do make up for more then 1% of superhero fans, DC is not the be all & end all of superherodom. so while they may be fans of super hero books, they may not be a fan of the DCU (in the same way i’m not a fan of Marvel at the moment, or Image pretty much ever).

Unfortunately to many stupid people are mistaking absense for exclusion. DC pitched to a whole heap of writers & out of the women who were pitched as being suitable for a particular title based on skill, all but Gail Simone turned them down. Now what was DC meant to do? They are producing 52 titles & now they have spots for writers… Now they could repitch for female writers specifically, but thats the text book definition of sexism, so instead DC pitched at writers with the same style of writing cred that they were looking for. The fact that those writers were not women is just coincidental.

As for representation on the written page, both Marvel & DC have done an excellent job of that over the last 10 years (and has been shown to mathematically on a monthly basis). DC will continue to do so, however at this exact juncture in time DC must focus for a few months on maintaining & renewing the interest of there main demographic, which is white men of the age of majority. If they don’t, there wont be a DC left, for whom feminist complainers like Sue from DCWKA, can misrepresent & slander.

Well, they could’ve tried . . . asking more women in their initial talent search? Maybe reach outside the normal names? That’s what I would’ve done, but clearly, this is a much more important issue for me than for the folks doing the hiring at DC.

And who’s to say women-written comics wouldn’t appeal to DC’s main audience demographic? They’ve done it before, they do it now (both in the US and abroad – shonen/seinen manga written by women may not be the norm but it definitely happens) and they could easily do it in the future.

And so, following your use of the word “feminist” as if it were some horrible insult, I’ll withdraw from this conversation and go back to trying to convince my friends to give the DC reboot a try. Thank you for this discussion, contentious as it may have been! :]

@Angelica: “Well, they could’ve tried . . . asking more women in their initial talent search?”

No Angelica, you still aren’t getting it. The comic industry isn’t an oligarchy, its a meritocracy. DC pitches to the writers with the proven skill, with a particular writing style that they want on a particular book, based on whats trending at the moment, from the pool of available writers. As another comic writer said in a back and fourth with Gail Simone: Its all well and good to say “i want to work for DC”, but if you aren’t willing to make your bones in the indi creator owned side, you are never going to make it & the amount of indi writers who are women & who want to write for DC & under DC’s editorial (which is significantly stricter then the creator owned stuff) are few and far between. Which is essentially why the three other female writers who were pitched at didn’t take up the offer: Conflicting work loads.

“And who’s to say women-written comics wouldn’t appeal to DC’s main audience demographic?”

The number say this, the numbers have always said this. Sales numbers on female written books are almost always without fail significantly lower then male written books in the same company, as are books with female leads. Thats not to say i don’t enjoy particular titles wrtitten by women, with the main characters being women, but they have a proven track record of being “poison.” An poison titles are something you don’t want when you are trying to revitalise all your intellectual properties (and have openly stated your target audience). Thats also the reason why DC has gone with 1990-ish focus, because the lapsed fans they are targetting are from that era of comics.

As for Feminist being an insult, it is an insult. Personally i’m an equalist, not a feminist. In practical terms that means that i want actual sexual equality, but i’m unwilling to bullshit to achieve it & thats exactly what this DC needs more women writers argument really is… Bullshit dressed up as an issue of equality.

Simply put this entire discussion can be summed up as a simple mathematical formula

A= X, where X is amount of comic fans who want to write for DC comics, minus Y, where Y is the amount of potential creators with requisite skill level, minus Z, where Z is the amount of potential creators who are willing to put in the time networking.

So A = The pool of potentential creators for DC, the majority of whom are men & significantly less who are women.

The argument being made, is just an end run around the entire process for the benefit of a few hypothetical women, who don’t really exist. An that is the textbook definition of both sexism & sexual privilege.

Why don’t DC publish Kate Beaton’s spoof strips of DC characters? She’s a terrific talent. DC owns the characters anyway right?

@Stuart: Because it waters down the impact of the reboot. An not to put to fine a point on it, but from the stuff of hers that i’ve read, i wasn’t overly impressed & frankly her stuff doesn’t really have much in the way of mass appeal. Now if we were going to go the web comic writer route, i’d much prefer a talented writer with a proven track record, someone like Faith Erin Hicks who wrote Demonology 101 & is currently writing The Adventures of Superhero Girl, which can be found at http://superherogirladventures.blogspot.com/

@Matthew Lane:

So, just to make this clear, you believe for your magical equation that women DC fans are far, far less likely than their male counterparts (not just less numerous, less likely, otherwise the percentage of female writers would be closer to the percentage of female fans) a) to want to write for DC b) have the skill level, or c) want to put in the time and networking necessary, or d) all of the above?

Just so your own sexism is more obvious and not cluttered by everything else you want to say.

“The argument being made, is just an end run around the entire process for the benefit of a few hypothetical women, who don’t really exist.”

I’m sure they appreciate a manly man like you telling them they don’t exist.

As for an end run around the entire process… If a process results in consistently sexist results, it’s a sexist process and needs to be changed. Clinging to a sexist process because “that’s the way it works” is still clinging to a sexist process.

“An that is the textbook definition of both sexism & sexual privilege.”

I don’t think you really understand those terms.

@Peter: Wow, way not to understand maths. It was a pretty simple equation mate. Once you take away the people who want to work for DC that lack the skill, the focus, the time, the willingness to work for someone else first, you are going to have a sigificantly smaller female pool to draw from to start with. Then when said females in that pool shoot down the offer, then the number is going to stay low.

“I’m sure they appreciate a manly man like you telling them they don’t exist.”

Wow, way to knee jerk straight into anti-male shaming language & a logical fallacy. Not only is it a “Charge of Fanaticism”, its also an “Appeal to Motive.” None of which changes the fact that writing professionally is hard… Its no harder to get your foot in the door as a man, as it is a woman.

“As for an end run around the entire process… If a process results in consistently sexist results, it’s a sexist process and needs to be changed. Clinging to a sexist process because “that’s the way it works” is still clinging to a sexist process.”

but it doesn’t consistently return sexist results. See it would be sexism if no women were achieving positions within the company, or that women where being excluded. however we know this is just not the case. We know that DC pitched to femlae writers they thought would suit the style of particular projects & we know that they turned down the commisions, due to a number of reasons (conflicting workload being the most common). Hence the process is not sexist, its stringent & exacting… What with the comic industry being a meritocracy, rather then the implied patriarchal oligarchy that is constantly implied.

“I don’t think you really understand those terms.”

Sexual Privilege: In many cultures, particular groups benefited and prospered because of the entitlements, advantages, and dominance conferred upon them by society. These privileges were granted solely as a birthright, not because of intelligence, ability, or personal merit. See also what i’ve already said.

Sexism: Discrimination based on gender

Or to put it back in context, a group of people who are attempting to make an end run around the entire proccess on the basis of gender, rather then the basis of proven skills or abilities… Hmmm, seems to be the exact definition of both Sexual Privilege & Sexism.

@ Jimmy and Dean: I love all kinds of books written by men. Shocking, they control the market. But favorite superhero of all time is Longshot created by a women (Ann Nocenti) and a man (Art Adams). And it was not his mullet that sold me. No it was the humor of his man out of place and his awesome powers. Yes, Adams could make those cool knives fly, but Nocenti pushed him above all those male creations (which I still love).

@Ben Cohen: Then can i suggest to you “The Uniques.” A great book series written by married co-creators “Comfort Love and Adam Withers.” They tried to break into comics & when they found they couldn’t they wrote & produced there own comics which is sold online. If you like the humour of Longshot, i think you might like The Uniques… In fact check out there site & you can download the entire first issue free. http://www.uniquescomic.com/

Thanks Matt. Will do.

I’m not sure why this argument is being laid solely at DC Comics’ feet. Are there that many female writers/artists turning out work over at Marvel, IDW, etc etc? I’m actually asking a question here because I could be wrong in my feeling that all comics publishers have this issue. Is DC the only comics publisher that’s lacking int he wimmins department? I mean Marvel’s “archtects” are all guys and all their major books are written by males: X-Men: males, FF: male, Avengers (all titles): male, Marvel Cosmic: males, Hulk(s): males, Cap: male, Thor: male, Spiderman: male… I mean I could go on and on but you see my point. Why is this being directed solely at DC? Is this an extension of the fans’ ire at the lack of prominence of female lead characters like PG and Zatanna? Or perhaps the DC reboot-but-not-a-reboot business just left the door open for all kinds of other stuff? Cause THAT I could understand.

I think that this reboot is in and of itself is a half baked idea. This could be an opportunity to really start from scratch and get things going. But this whole “some things happened but some things didn’t” thing is retarded. And maybe that’s what’s causing other issues to come to the forefront. Personally I have ire that the Milestone characters (except Static) have been left out of this whole affair. But such is life.

Tracy Farrell

July 31, 2011 at 7:02 am

Don’t forget DC’s Vixen. A strong black woman.

“Good grief, really? Sorry, but I would rather have talent on my books before I have who is the talent. If more dudes are writing and drawing comics than chicks I really don’t care as long as they are good.
All this ‘there aren’t enough chicks” and “where are all the black creators/characters?” stuff needs to end. Let the people who are good at it do it and stand on their talent and not what they happen to look like.”

How old do you have to be before you stop calling women “chicks”?

“A female fan told Didio that she counted and out of the twenty-eight solo character titles only six were women and only two were not’t connected to older male superheroes. “How do you justify calling that diversity?” the fan asked as the audience cheered. Didio told her it was an industry problem and then dodged the question, calling on the next fan. However, Simone went back to the female fan and told her that making Barbara Gordon Batgirl does not diminish her power as Oracle, nor her power as a female superhero, as the fan had worried it would.”

I can’t believe I got the figures that right in my previous post I felt sure it would be jumped on. I’m not saying it should all break even or that all the characters should be black lesbians in wheelchairs (now THERE’S a porn movie) but the ‘diversity’ claim is just a joke using a buzzword.

As for Gail Simone I remember when all she did was stick up for Rob Liefeld when he did two issues of Teen Titans which were bloody awful and really made her look like an apologist for the talentless arse. Now she sounds like she’s doing it again over Batgirl, after all the original question had bugger all to do with the character directly.

I just have this mental image of Gail sat in the corner rocking gently and repeating to herself ‘make it good make it good make it good…’ or ‘I am not pissed they took popular books away from me, I am not pissed they took popular books away from me…’

My reaction when I read this was “cool, its nice to see DC giving more work to women”.

But this being the internet and filled with fanboy’s, its turned into some kind of argument about something, I don’t really know…

@lead sharp: “A female fan told Didio that she counted and out of the twenty-eight solo character titles only six were women and only two were not’t connected to older male superheroes”

An thats both wrong and a misnomer. There is no such thing as a solo title. There are titles about a solo character & a plethora of back-up characters, but until the release we wont know who is in what. As for team books, every single one has multiple female members, in many cases out numbering the amount of male characters. This person you are quoting is suffering from selective memory, also know as observational bias.

” the fan asked as the audience cheered”

Sure they did, because people love to cheer a spectacle & by day 3 of the con, fans were looking for her to stand up and say something asanine, because its funny to cheer at the willfully credilous.

As for Diversity, the DCnU seems to contain a heck load of it, but unfortunately some fans shove there heads up there arses when it comes to objectivity. For starters diversity is not predicated on a character having a legacy tied to another character… If we were creating from scratch that would totally be a valid point, but as DC is not, its not a valid point. When you have to start putting qualifiers in that diminsh fact you are going to get incorrect results… Kind of like saying, if you discount every vehicle with more then two wheels, the most common vehicle on the road is a motorcycle… Thats racist against cars. Its an asanine & useless qualifier to add to the discussion. This new DCU seems to be chock full of diversity, there are characters of every stripe in this new DCU & its not even out yet.

funkmasterdre

July 31, 2011 at 8:03 am

Deven Grayson pretty much made Nightwing unreadable so she was rightfully fired from the gig and the Bat books have been better ever since. She wrote some decent stuff but could not sustain a title with fresh, interesting ideas in the long run.

@lead sharp

Did this female fan also go to the Marvel panels and point out that of the 33 solo character titles they publish only 2 have female leads (Spider-Girl and X-23) per the Marvel Month-to Month Sales: May 2011 sales chart at The Beat blog. Both are knockoffs of established male characters (Girl-Spiderman and Girl-Wolverine) and Spider-Girl has already been cancelled for low sales. It looks to me like compared to their main competitor that DC is offering a more diverse selection of titles with female leads if that is what you’re after. Why is DC being singled out for this criticism?
I don’t think most people would deny that gender diversity is a problem in corporate superhero fiction, but it’s not just effecting DC. Yet they are the ones being focused on. Is this a case of narrowing down your targets to maximize success or is this just fan entitlement dressed up as concerns over gender diversity?
Either way, it’s mission accomplished. DC seems to have gotten the message. now will these same fans stand up and confront Marvel?

@A: “I don’t think most people would deny that gender diversity is a problem in corporate superhero fiction”

Actually its not a problem at all. If you count the amount of female characters in total versus the amount of male characters (for either DC or Marvel), making sure to only count a character once per month (not counting villains & only counting character with a story role in that particular issue), you’ll find that in books that are coming out at the moment the numbers are pretty equal.

I once ran the numbers for an entire month of comics from DC (no easy task) a while back (while arguing the point with Sue from DCWKA). HA! i’ve even still got the data… The results i got were as such:
Ethnic Minorities 26
Other Minorities 1
White Males 38
White Women 36

Not sure what month this was… What ever month had Green Lantern 50 released in it. An just for clarities sake, my numbers aren’t perfect as i didn’t have a copy of Doom Patrol 7, Green Arrow 28, Azrael 4, Red Tornado 5, or Batman the brave and the bold 13.

This is why actual data is always better then observations, as observations will always give you a cognitive bias known as Observational Bias.

I’m sure once DCnU gets moving it’ll be similiar parity between the genders.

This is frickin ridiculous. I’m going to start complaining in favor of my minority so I can get a job regardless of my talent or qualifications.

@comicman: Either that or change your name to Rob Liefeld

Ooookay.

Let’s broaden the ‘diversity’ definition then shall we?

Accepting that DC have Vertigo to play with one of their claims was to diversify their superhero universe.

One Fantasy book and a Western, the rest are Superhero books with only subtle body swerves.

Batman features in 6 books and is the lead character in 4.

3 and half black (male) leads (Firestorm).

And so far 1 lesbian and a gay couple.

yay for diversity.

Now then.

YES the Marvel bullpen still looks like a frat house from the eighties! YES they don’t have a decent balance when it comes to ‘diversity’.

But there not re booting a universe! There not making claims about diversity and trying to polish a turd!

I’m all for this re boot (and it is a re boot) but so far I’m not seeing anything that convinces me that I NEED to buy these books, that they will be the greatest comics ever and not just more of the same but minus the baggage.

I’m picking up MAYBE 4 of the 52. Batwoman (I’ve been waiting THAT long) Animal Man (always loved the character), Resurrection Man and to be honest I’m struggling as to either Batman or Action Comics purely because I’m a lapsed Batfan and like the team and I like Grant Morrison when he’s working on Superman. But my reasons for buying them are flimsy enough that I will probably just not bother.

I know that there are people out there who are buying up to 52 books and good! Great even, more sales of comics is always going to be a good thing, the digital launch is fantastic as well. But as a long time comic reader, I’ve seen it before.

@comicman

Just curious, what is your minority? :)

I would like to add by the way on the topic of women creators in comics, if they aren’t there to employ then what do you do?

I’m pretty sure in this day and age the attitude of ‘if you can do a job you get the job’ in fields like this has opened the door to everyone who can indeed do the job. If most of them have a penis it’s very impolite to ask them to go post op’ so you can shore up your equal rights employer books.

@ lead sharp

Small feet and abstinent by choice. (Foot size not related ;) )

I demand representation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think it’s about time, because there are a lot more female comic book readers today than when I was in my twenties…I think that’s really cool, and like all things, I believe more and more females will start to trickle more into the comic book industry.

About diversity. It’s weird. Comic books in general really don’t have that many cool minority characters…the most popular I can think of is Storm from the X-Men. She’s probably the coolest too…most superheroes in comic books….note the keyword: SUPERHERO….tend to be lame B or C characters. Is Storm the only one who really broke out? That’s sad. lol

@lead sharp-”YES the Marvel bullpen still looks like a frat house from the eighties! YES they don’t have a decent balance when it comes to ‘diversity’.

But there not re booting a universe! There not making claims about diversity and trying to polish a turd!”

So, your counter argument is that as long as a publisher doesn’t talk about diversity it’s OK to not be diverse.

I really don’t know what to say to that.

“Yeah, totally no black characters in DC… Observational Bias looks to have got the better of you.”

@Matthew Lane

I said that creators who want to see more diversity should self-publish. Waiting on DC or Marvel is a fool’s errand because they and folks like you think that diversity is a four letter word. They’re leaving plenty of money on the table and tons of goodwill by not embracing diversity. I would have a division that encouraged women and minority creators just because it’s good business. Not because it’s the “moral” thing to do.

I’m a brother( a black man) and I know all about the various black characters you listed. I also know that you couldn’t show me one major storyline–the big company wide crossover with those characters as the focal point. In other words, all the “minority” characters you listed are cannon fodder.

Breaking into comics is harder than getting a job at the CIA and I’m talking about the white cats that I know that have been rejected a gazillion times because they don’t have any connections. For women and people of color? Forget about it. Comics are dying because they don’t appeal to kids, women and minorities, but I guess they want to join the dodo bird on the extinction list.

@lead sharp

Since you brought up the New 52 books and in the interest of full disclosure… At this point I am buying no titles from the Sept. launch. As a trade-waiter, I will be checking out the previews and the reviews for the titles. I might pick-up some based on that research, but not one of the announced titles jumped directly into my must-buy list. Now, I have to go finish mourning Secret Six and the Steph Brown Batgirl.

Yeah ,Longshot was wicked.
and Matthew Lane brings the most clarity to the issue,i’d say,cheers.
Art and commerce,it’s a bitch.
Once upon a time creatives could move forward full throttle without having to check with an effing comittee.
the creators have their corporate suits to please,and the suits have to poll all the paying customers to see what they want.
but the public are the public for a reason,and they’ve forgotten where they truly exist on the totem pole.if the fans want changes,develop talents and make your own stories.
people were hunting george r martin over the latest game of thrones book as if they owned him.
the talent should exist at a bit of a divide from the madding crowd.
in europe they show reverence and trust to their comic creators and storytellers,but in north america,where the ‘customer is always right’,this new swath of rabid consumers act like their in starbucks,detailing the specifics of their cappucinos.
it’s not their fault fully,they were raised to think everyone’s voice is equal and everyone should have their say…but this isn’t parliament,sit down and realize that these comic cons are for the publics excitement .
get on for the ride,grow some talent and intervene or get out of the way and let the artists do their thing.
this appaling sense of entitlement from already spoiled rotten narcissists must end if comics are to survive healthy and diverse and robust.
for the most part these books are being written by empathic,urban folk who already try to put something for everyone in their books.
when i used to work in crazy bars,the public would pile up at the bar and it was row after row of deadeyed openmouthed need,each person wanting to get get served first,have their needs met first,and the feeling i got towards them is the same as i get watching these ones,that that void in them will never be filled,they just wander thru this world begging to be catered to,forever.
far from heroic in spirit ,really.

“Meanwhile, Marvel outsells DC in part by offering twice the number of gay characters”

Okay, no. I mean, sure, they do–but not in any significant roles. Whereas DC is putting Voodoo and Batwoman in their own starring roles, while Apollo and Midnighter are among the stars of Stormwatch. All four of these characters are in roles with a much higher profile than the other characters (seriously, Obsidian barely showed up in a book where sales were plummeting since Johns left, Tasmanian Devil appeared like, twice, Starman didn’t have much of a notable role in JLA, and Secret Six, while boasting reliable sales, was never topping the charts).

And who does Marvel have? Honestly? Northstar over in Alpha Flight, selling firmly midlist at best despite a press conference announcement and a Fear Itself tie-in–and that’s the first issue, it’s bound to fall, especially once the Fear Itself tie-in ends. Shatterstar and Rictor have failed to provide any real sales increase to X-Factor, which, like Secret Six, has reliable but unimpressive sales. Anole and Graymalkin, and any other LGBT X-Men, barely show up in the X-books these days, and never in a notable role (especially with Karma out of the New Mutants main cast). Mystique was just killed off.

I’d give you Daken, but it’s not like his book is selling gangbusters, either. So really, it’s just Wiccan and Hulkling…but Children’s Crusade is, again, pretty midlist, despite launching out of the Heroic Age and being touted as a MAJOR book with ramifications to both the X-Men and Avengers lines.

We don’t know how the new DC books (Batwoman, Voodoo, Stormwatch) will sell, but it’s a huge improvement over the LGBT profile DC had before the relaunch, and they’re beating Marvel as far as giving starring roles to LGBT characters, too (Stormwatch equals out with Children’s Crusade, and Daken is Marvel’s only starring LGBT character, while DC has two).

Yeah, Marvel sells better–but it’s a laugh to say that it’s because of their LGBT portrayals.

When Rob Liefeld is part of the DCnU relaunch and Nicola Scott & Amanda Conner are not, DC can not, with any credibility, say that they’re hiring only the best talent.

I’m not sitting here saying that this happened because the folks doing the hiring at DC are sexist, I’m just saying that something is terribly WRONG with this picture.

@MattG, they both are. They have projects being developed, but couldn’t commit to hitting the deadlines necessary for the September New 52 launch, as with many other creators, both male and female.

@Sageshini, nothing wrong with asking if the women being named are any good. Especially some of these obscure, internet and indy based creators. A lot of us “mainstream superhero” fans genuinely have never heard of these ladies. So how is that a stupid question? If they are good, hire them DC.
And then you say that you can only name TWO black creators, even though you’re black. so, who’s the tool here?

@Matthew Lane:

You’re still not answering the question.

Of 58 writers, 2 are female, 3.3%
Of 76 interior artists, 0 are female, 0%.
of 73 cover artists, 1 is female, 1.8%

If sexism (and I’m not even talking conscious sexism, but things you’re not necessarily aware of that do make a difference) is not involved, then according to your equation, either women dc fans are far less likely to be interested in writing, have the level of skill required, or be willing to do the networking work required (which itself is a whole other can of worms), than their male counterparts, or some combination. You can’t just say “they asked female creators”, because even if you add in the female creators they asked, it still doesn’t make the numbers representative… and there are almost certainly men they talked to that turned the job down as well.

So, which is it, in your mind?

You seem to be pretty insistent on pounding this drum that there’s absolutely no sexism involved, it’s a strict meritocracy, but you still have to account for the numbers.

“but it doesn’t consistently return sexist results. See it would be sexism if no women were achieving positions within the company, or that women where being excluded. however we know this is just not the case.”

We’re not talking about positions within the company. We’re talking about positions in the writing/art department. And those results are far lower than they should be.

“We know that DC pitched to femlae writers they thought would suit the style of particular projects & we know that they turned down the commisions, due to a number of reasons (conflicting workload being the most common). Hence the process is not sexist”

Way to make a logical leap there. We don’t know how many female creators were pitched to (probably not very many), how they went about deciding whether they fit the style of the particular projects, all of this which can have aspects of sexism, conscious or unconscious, involved. We do know that only 3.3% of the writers they hired were women, and 0% of the interior artists.

That’s either an incredibly statistical fluke, or a result of a system that has sexist biases in it that need to be changed. Sexism isn’t always in your face “Oh my god, ewww, it’s a woman, we can’t hire her…” it can be subtle, from thinking a woman’s “style” isn’t “right” for a particular project, without giving a particular reason, to hiring men because, as a man, you feel a better rapport with them when it’s their time to pitch, to hiring men because they have an “established history” (and, because men were disproportionally hired in the past, this leads to them continually being disproportionally hired), to valuing qualities that .

When there’s a startling difference between the demographics of people who are interested in something and those that succeed in it, there are usually only two options… that there’s something that makes one demographic superior at it (they’re better writers), or there’s something continuing to make the playing field uneven (there’s sexism involved in the process).

Crying that it’s absolutely a meritocracy and that doing something to address this difference is sexism suggests you believe the first option, that men (and, particularly, white men) are superior writers. I disagree (and thus won’t shed a tear for the poor men who are discriminated against by DC making an extra effort to reach out to female creators), but if that’s how you feel, why not come out and say it? And if not, how do you suggest the problem be solved?

“What with the comic industry being a meritocracy, rather then the implied patriarchal oligarchy that is constantly implied.”

It’s neither. It’s a complex system with many complex parts. Merit plays a role. Schmoozing does too. So does real or perceived sales value of names

When a system’s complex, you look at the numbers that come out of it. And in terms of diversity, the numbers aren’t good.

The same applies for gender diversity in characters, by the way – your little counting attempt to disprove there’s a problem there ignores that not all characters get equal time or story role, so Batman, who drives events and has multiple books, counts the same as Cyclone, who is a team member that might occasionally get a story focused on her but it will almost certainly not matter outside her book.

@ Matthew Lane

“Yeah, totally no black characters in DC…”

Sure, DC Comics has such characters, but there are still serious flaws to be found. Even in your quick list you include Static, Black Lightning, Black Vulcan and Jakeem Thunder. These four characters speak directly to that flaw to which I’m referring.

At one time I found it amusing that DC had two black characters with powers related to electricity (Black Lightning and Black Vulcan). This was back when I was a kid. It’s much less amusing today, however, when spread between DC Comics and DC Animation there are now NINE black characters with names and/or powers related to electricity.

Talk about a need for “diversity.”

Back on July 11th, I wrote what I think is a pretty amusing post about this subject. If you, Ninja Bob or anyone else interested, you can find my “Crisis in Electic Ladyland” blog post by clicking on my name.

@ Peter

Great response.

Why does it matter if only a tiny percentage of writers or characters are women? Why is it assumed that there are as many excellent female writers as there are men? I’ve never seen any evidence whatsoever for that conclusion. As far as characters, people obviously prefer to read about male characters, and the market caters to that. If a comic with a female lead jumped to #1 in the sales charts then you can bet DC would respond to the market and make more female leads. If that’s what you want then vote with your wallet like everyone else.

@Paco: “At one time I found it amusing that DC had two black characters with powers related to electricity (Black Lightning and Black Vulcan). This was back when I was a kid. It’s much less amusing today, however, when spread between DC Comics and DC Animation there are now NINE black characters with names and/or powers related to electricity.”

And i’m offended that there are all these white characters with the same paragon power set, Boohoo, it must be racism. /sarcasm

Come off it dude. For starters Jakeem Thunder does not have electricity powers at all, he has a magic freaking genie & while black lightning has electircity powers, Static has electromagnetic powers (a completely different kettle of fish, as you would know had you read the milestone stuff) & Black Vulcan is actually a rip off of one of the characters in this list (i’ll let you guess who) as they couldn’t use the original character at the time for legal reasons.

@comicman You are perfectly represented as a small footed minority by the addition of Rob Liefeld! So you can’t moan there :D

@A I’m saying DC and Marvel can never be accused of being diverse but Marvel aren’t claiming such at the moment were as DC are and frankly they look a tool for doing so. If you couldn’t figure that out I’m sorry this forum doesn’t support the use of pictures so I couldn’t make it any clearer.

@MattG Completely agree 100% the greatest quote I know regarding Rob is “He has on a backwards cap, and when he turns it around, it’s still backwards.” I’m afraid the same can be said for anyone who maintains a defence of his output.

I’m Asian. Sometimes I think about the number of solo titles driven by an Asian character. Then I think about the number of Asian writers in mainstream comics. Then I shudder.

Heck, there isn’t even a CSBG column about Asians in comics.

Regardless, I know that no one, anywhere, is consciously trying to discriminate against Asians. Well, I mean, I don’t KNOW that… I just figure it to be true…

@High isn’t Jim Lee Asian?

@Lead

“Then I think about the number of Asian writers in mainstream comics. ” But I guess ONE is enough.

Leave a Comment

 



Browse the Robot 6 Archives