Hello! Comic book adventurers! It’s me Rosie, back once again with your regular Dynamite comics roundup. We here at Women Write About Comics are dedicated to unpacking the complex parts of the industry and unwrapping the underwhelming gift that is comics, so we can all enjoy/despair about it together! So, here we are, with another of our monthly collections of all things that are going on at Dynamite Entertainment, home of the sexy variant cover, unexpected creative team, and occasionally great licensed comics.
💣Welcome to Rosie’s Dynamite Round Up💥
It’s been a tough month to be alive with the constant cultural conversation about sexual harassment and assault fresh on everyone’s lips every day. Life has become a constant emotional minefield; we’re all stuck between constantly reliving our own trauma and trying to celebrate those who are brave enough to speak out. As with anything it’s quickly become a male-centric conversation about how hard it is for men to try and navigate what is or isn’t rape. Or alleged male allies speaking out about how terrible sexual assault is only to be exposed as harassers or rapists days later.
What does this have to do with comics? Well, comics has a lot of its own problems with men like Eddie Berganza, Mike Carlin, Scott Allie and Brian Wood—many of whom are (or were until very recently) still employed and working in the same industry where they sexually assaulted, harassed and exploited young and vulnerable creators and critics. What does it have to do with Dynamite? Well, Dynamite does not (as far as I know) have any sexual harassers in their previews this month, which cannot be said for DC, Image or Titan, so there is that! What a depressingly low bar the industry has set for us. But as I looked at this month’s previews, I was struck by the way that Dynamite is constantly happy to exploit women and their bodies whilst rarely hiring them, and this week in particular, that problem seems especially potent.
There is something strikingly depressing about this month’s Dynamite solicits, and it’s really really simple. More than half of the books are sexy girl books. And the thing is, I love sexy women. But there is something profoundly awful about so many books that sell that idea of women without actually bothering to hire any to write or draw them.
Once again there are only a few women in the Dynamite previews; in fact, out of 77 credits on 14 ongoing books there are only five women—three of whom (Marguerite Bennett, Christina Trujill and Maria Sanapo) are on the same book, Sheena #5. Amy Chu is still killing it on Red Sonja and debuting Dejah Thoris #0, and Fay Dalton does a gorgeous variant cover for this month’s Barbarella #2. Colleen Doran is also credited on the Swords of Swashbucklers hardcover, which takes the number of named female creators up to 6 out of the full 94 creators credited in Dynamite’s December solicits.
Each month I make “funny” graphs highlighting how few women Dynamite hires. Ironically, six might be a new record since I started this pubwatch a few months ago. This month I couldn’t bring myself to do it, because it’s not actually funny, it’s devastating. Not just because they rarely hire women, but because in the time I’ve been doing this there has never been one credited black woman. As far as I know and as my research has shown in that same time, there hasn’t been an out trans creator on these books either. I have yet to see a disabled creator I recognize creating a book for Dynamite. And this month it got a bit too much for me.
Comics need to do better. Dynamite needs to do better. I need to do better. Creating funny, snarky, slightly angry posts rounding up how this publisher rarely hires anyone other than white men might be cathartic, but it doesn’t change anything. At best it lets them know that someone is watching and saying “This isn’t fucking okay,” and at worst they do notice, then write me off as an angry SJW.
That’s why this month I’m not listing Dynamite’s solicits unless they include women. Which means the four books that I’ve already mentioned are the only ones that I can include. Until Dynamite decides that real women are as important as the fictional or dead ones they use to sell their books, the shape of this column will change. Into what I’m not quite sure, but for now, I’m signing off till next month—when hopefully Dynamite will get their female creators into the double figures. But I’m not holding my breath.