Here’s some fun with numbers, prompted by yesterday’s post about Marvel’s Ultimate Comics Ultimates and its (unintentional?) sexism. In discussion of the subject, it dawned on me that Marvel only had one ongoing solo book with a female lead, which seemed so unlikely that I had to go check that I wasn’t forgetting something. Turns out, I wasn’t, but I was misremembering the number of ongoing series that Marvel publishes: Only 43 (excluding Icon titles). For some reason, that pushed me towards working out how many of those were solo books, and how many of those solo books had female leads, leads of color, and LGBT leads… and then I did the same thing for DC.
Why? That’s a very good question.
(For the record, books that had two leads (Marvel’s Captain America and Bucky and DC’s Fury of Firestorm and Hawk & Dove) weren’t counted as solo books – although I was really tempted in both cases, for some reason – and neither was Marvel’s Avenging Spider-Man, which is after all pretty much a modern-day Marvel Team-Up.)
Of Marvel’s 43 ongoing Marvel Universe and Ultimate Universe titles:
- 21 (49%) are solo books
- 1 (4.8%) of solo books have female lead (X-23)
- 3 (14.2%) of solo books have leads of color (Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive, Iron Man 2.0, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man)
- 1 (4.8%) of solo books have LGBT lead (Daken: Dark Wolverine)
Of DC’s 52 ongoing DCU titles:
- 33 (63%) are solo books
- 6 (18.2%) of solo books have female leads (Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman, Supergirl, Voodoo, Wonder Woman)
- 6 (18.2%) of solo books have leads of color (Batwing, Blue Beetle, Mister Terrific, OMAC, Static Shock, Voodoo)
- 2 (6.1%) of solo books have LGBT leads (Batwoman, Voodoo)
So… Well, the most obvious thing to take away is that Marvel seriously needs to raise its game when it comes to not showcasing white straight dudes. But that doesn’t mean that DC should feel complacent, especially considering the reaction Catwoman and Voodoo have received from certain quarters…