DC Comics’ commitment to diversity

DC Comics has been getting a lot of bad press lately. Mostly because of things like this:

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 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.

DiDio then asked, “what would we have to do to change your mind?” The suggestion “Hire women!” got loud applause. When the fan asked why the rate of women in credits had gone from 12% to 1%, DiDio pressed him for names of who DC should hire. The fan’s suggestion was “Valentine” writer Alex De Campi, and other suggested Nicola Scott.

A fan dressed as Batgirl who had been at every DC panel over the weekend asked whether the publisher was committed to hiring more women. Didio said that they were working to put the best talent possible on the books. Morrison asked, “Do more women want to write DC superheroes?” and when many female fans responded “Yes!” he simply added “Then send your stuff in.”

Items like these have prompted DC to post this response on their official blog.

I understand that people want to see more female creators in the comic industry, especially the big publishers (Marvel and DC). And I think it’s great that DC actually seems interested in trying to get more female creators in their ranks. The big, burning question I have is: Why is no one demanding the same of Marvel? Marvel has way fewer female creators in their regular ranks than DC does, yet no one is making a big deal about that fact.

Why? Is it because Marvel has fewer recognizable female characters? Is it because Marvel’s female characters tend to be parts of groups, and very rarely have their own running series? How many Marvel heroines have their own running series at the moment? Judging from Marvel’s August 2011 solicitations, the answer is ZERO (unless you count Generation Hope; I don’t, because it’s a team book). How many DC heroines have their own series? From DC’s pre-New 52 August 2011 solicitations, I counted five female solo starring titles, the shortest of which has already passed the one-year mark. After the reset? Six solo titles for female characters, not counting female-centric teams like the Birds of Prey.

I’m all for female equality in every form. I truly believe that there should be more focus on female characters, and I believe that there should be more female creators in the industry. What I don’t understand is why no one has confronted Marvel about their “commitment to diversity.” Marvel has some truly great female characters (Storm, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Nico Minoru), yet none of them have their own solo books at the moment.

And while we’re at it, where are all the gay characters? DC’s doing an okay job in that respect (Batwoman, Midnighter, Apollo).

The final quote above, from Grant Morrison (“Do more women want to write DC Superheroes? Then send your stuff in.”) is a little unfair, considering “DC Comics does not accept unsolicited artwork or writing submissions.” (Link)

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