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Women and Superheroes, By the Numbers

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a quantitative perspective on the state of women and comic book publishing

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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Women and Superheroes, By the Numbers

  1. 1. Brett Schenker got a lot of attention for this survey (on Comics Beat). The results are promising—suggesting a larger than expected female readership—but his methodology (counting likes on Facebook) leave serious doubts about its accuracy and any potential analytical use.
  2. 2. Tim Hanley publishes these numbers about female creators at Marvel & DC each month on Bleeding Cool. He was particularly excited about these results, from August, which he explained were the best ever in a regular month. It’s still pretty disappointing.
  3. 3. An interesting graph from Walt Hickey on FiveThirtyEight.com. Progress in representation since the 1940s at the big two publishers is evident, but perhaps a lot slower than we might expect over so many decades, with gender parity still at a distance.
  4. 4. 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 MonthlySalesintheThousands Year Unit Sales of Popular Titles from DC Superman Flash Wonder Woman Sales data from Comichron, compiled here, shows that Wonder Woman has always under-performed, and was likely kept continuously in print largely for her name recognition and licensing potential. The character still trails behind marquee male characters today, even amidst low overall sales.
  5. 5. There has been immense excitement around new female-centered titles like Ms. Marvel. But my graph, based on data from Comichron, suggests that after an initial PR bump, interest and sales quickly faded (settling in around 30,000 copies per month). Notably, this doesn’t include digital, which Marvel says is very high. Unfortunately the industry won’t release that data. 24 42 55 59 61 86 66 93 91 80 69 75 59 92 64 81 62 50 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 1000 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 Vol 1 Vol 2 Vol 3 RankAmongTop-SellingTitles NumberofIssuesSold Issue Numbers / Trade Paperback Volumes Ms. Marvel Sales (Non-Digital) in 2014-2015 Units Sold Units Sold as Reprints Sales Rank

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