Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Exactly How Many Women Are Working In This Industry, Anyhow?

I'm a firm believer that the best way to have diversity reflected in comic books is to have a diverse editorial staff. The writer and artist may create the book -- but it's the editor who sets the tone and hires the creators.

A question bandied about the blogosphere a bit is, "are there enough women working within the comic book industry today?" Of course, "enough" is a pretty arbitrary sum. But you get the idea.

With all this in mind, Friends of Lulu turned to some of the biggest comic companies today to get an up-to-date and accurate list of the women on their payroll. We then broke down the jobs into some basic categories and made an alphabetical listing. (Just to be clear, this is a listing of non-comic creators working for publishers -- editors, marketing people, etc.)

You can see the results here at the Friends of Lulu site.

This list is just part of our overall goal at Lulu to provide a number of useful resources relating to the topic of women in comics. We're tackling the huge "women in comics" section next, which will provide an up-to-date list of all female comic creators.

I realize this might flood my inbox, but if you're a woman and we either forgot to list you on the "Women in the Industry" list, or you want to make sure we have your name, credits, and updated web address for the "Women In Comics" list, drop me a line.

Also, we will be putting together similar lists for female comics retailers and comics journalists/bloggers.

Finally, if you are interested in becoming a member of Lulu -- or were sort of thinking about it for a while but were putting it off -- contact me and I'll give you the run-down on our projects, membership rates, and all that cool stuff.

So anyway, what do you all think? Is there "enough" women in comics? Feedback? Thoughts?


  1. It's interesting that the #3 or 4 comic company isn't represented on this list. Is Image just a big boy's club?

  2. Well, we did contact Image, and they were very nice to us and provided a list of staffers. But when we compiled the final list we narrowed some of the jobs listed to just represent fields that we felt most impacted the final product (the comic book itself).

    By most impacted I mean either making decisions that would impact the final product, physically working on the art/design, editing the material, or devising strategies to market/advertise the books. That said, Image has a number of women working in the financial sectors of the company, as well as a female Controller.

  3. Hey, first order of business: I like that you are cross-posting content. Or, well. An awkward way of putting it. I like that you are talking about Lulu stuff here; I don't want to get it compartmentalized away!

  4. It's certainly a healthier-looking list than I expected before you get to the Editor-in-Chief/Executive Editor category, but I think that'd go away once I saw the total number of employees in each category. And the writers and artists are much more visible in most respects, so the disparity in the creator list is going to be more obvious regardless.

    I'll be dropping you an email soon; been meaning to join FoL for a while now.

  5. Oh yay oh yay oh yay, it's great to see what my Industrial Strength Women list has morphed into! Is there a reason you eliminated retailers from the list? Could you be working on another one, she wondered?

    Once my life is straightened out, and dependent on my ComicMix obligations, I may be able to help update the Women Doing Comics list again, I know it hasn't been touched since I had to give it up a few years back...

  6. What, is there a quota?

  7. "I'm a firm believer that the best way to have diversity reflected in comic books is to have a diverse editorial staff."

    See, I think that change will come from outside, not inside. There'll be more diversity in comics when they're distributed in places where there's a more diverse audience. And the companies will have to bring on people who know how to appeal to that diverse audience.

    I think it's already starting to happen, though.

  8. I wonder what your thoughts are on the "straight" (i.e. non-comics) publishing world, which is massively dominated by women in every area except editorial?

  9. How exactly do these jobs impact the final product? I'm not asking sarcastically, I really just don't know. This is from the perspective of a woman seeing a lot of female names on the insides of comic book covers who aren't creators, and frustratedly wondering what sort of influence they had.

  10. It is difficult to judge if it is "enough" without knowing how many people fill jobs in each of those categories in total.

  11. A bit after Wizard decided to be officially not-for-girls, Mariah Huehner and I did some quick mental math and determined that at the publishers where we've worked, women make up around a third of the editorial, marketing, and upper management staff.

    And based on the number of women in entry-level editorial positions, that ratio is only going to increase with time.

    Female comics professionals aren't the exotic birds we're often portrayed as. We are, as the intrawebs say, in ur publishrs, makin' ur comix. And we have been for a while.

    Which is maybe what makes our persistent invisibility so goddamn frustrating?

  12. "Is there a reason you eliminated retailers from the list? Could you be working on another one, she wondered?"

    yes, indeed. It was just that we wanted to start with one thing -- the "women in the comics biz" list -- first, get it up there, and then move on to the next topic.

    And we welcome any time you can give to help out on the big women comic creators list, Elayne! :-)

  13. "I wonder what your thoughts are on the "straight" (i.e. non-comics) publishing world, which is massively dominated by women in every area except editorial?"

    good question. I think that editorship -- mainstream and comics -- has largely been a male-dominated field. I read an article a long time ago about why that exactly is, but I forgot the details. But the bottom line is that it's a little "clubby."

    And now I'm remembering a bunch of articles about uber-editor Judith Regan, and how she felt she had to be a "tiger" to swim in that environment.

  14. It's not the number of women working in comics that counts. There always were plenty of women working in the business. It's whether female input counts creatively, and thus whether decisions are made to create products that attract a female audience.

    The names of female writers and artists getting regular work in comics is a very short list and always has been since I've been reading comics. I'm talking nearly 40 years of loving the medium despite itself, and during that time seeing vast improvements in other areas of publishing. Comics meanwhile have made a lot of progress in being recognized as art. But comics are still hampered by male-only perspectives.

    I want to see comics written and drawn for women and girls, not just for men and boys. In theory, I wouldn't care who writes or draws them as long as they truly are for us and speak to issues that concern us. (And a full range of issues, too.) But in reality, I want to see women writing them, not men. Why? Because so far the men have been doing a lousy job of writing anything that appeals to me. So start with having women write for women. Then we can talk about male artists learning not to do underwear shots all the time or drawing all female characters to look like strippers.