Where Do We Stand? Women in March’s Comics and Graphic Novel Sales

When I saw this month’s numbers, I couldn’t wait to share the news. March was stellar for making women feel a little more comfortable in comics; read on to hear all about it.

Princess Leia #1 coverHold on to your hats, we have two back-to-back months of female-led titles nabbing the top single issue spot. In February, it was IDW’s Orphan Black #1; for March, Marvel’s Princess Leia #1 tops the list. Princess Leia #2 also breaks the top ten list at the number 5 spot. Yes, the Star Wars name does give it a big boost, but the story arc is solid and I’m personally enjoying it a lot. Marvel’s domination over the top ten continues claiming nine spots on the list; DC Comics sneaks the last one, with surprise, a Batman title, Batman: Arkham Knight #1.

Nemo River of Ghosts coverWomen abound on the top ten graphic novel list as well. The female pirate-led book, Nemo: River of Ghosts takes top billing, but it may have to do with the fact that Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) is attached to the book. Close behind in the second spot is Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why. For those following along, that’s two back-to-back months on the top ten list for Kamala Khan. For fans of the popular cartoon Bob’s Burgers, the creators have also be working on a comic book published through Dynamite. Its first trade paperback sneaks in to grab the number 10 spot.

Again this month, DC’s shrinking representation in both the Top 10 lists—with only one title in the top ten single issues and none in the top ten graphic novels list—gave me pause.

Screenshot 2015-04-14 at 7.48.37 AM March Singles by Publisher

When browsing their  local comic book shops, readers would have found that the top 10 single issues included women on seven covers; the trades and graphic novels list had six. When you chart the progress month over month, there doesn’t appear to be much change. December 2014 had 5 women on the covers, but 4 out of 5 were represented as part of a group shot. For March, 4 out of the 7 were women featured as primary characters to the title. The number of titles where women are either the primary character or one of them appear to be on the rise with Princess Leia, Spider Gwen,  Saga, Nemo, Bob’s Burgers and Ms. Marvel among them.

Females on Covers March chart

Admittedly, it’s faster to add female representation to your cover art than to creative teams, but for March, we’ve taken a step backward. Like December and January, none of the single issues included women creators. Trades and graphic novels bring us one extra from February, for a total of three: Fiona Staples for Saga Vol. 4, G. Willow Wilson for Ms. Marvel Vol. 2 and as whole host of women credited for Bob’s Burgers Vol. 1.

The Walking Dead Vol 22 coverOn the NYT list, Raina Telgemeier and Roz Chast are still holding strong. The Killing Joke appears for all four weeks of March, but I don’t think that’s due to the debate surrounding the Batgirl cover. The Killing Joke is always weaving in and out of the NYT list. I’m always surprised to see it, but with over 140 weeks on the NYT, I guess I shouldn’t be.

Also big on the NYT list this month was The Walking Dead. Three titles conquered the NYT list for all four weeks: The Walking Dead Vol. 22 and The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1 and Compendium Vol. 2.

More female led comics make me so happy! More women hopefully means more diversity in their characters and stories. Women can move on from being a token character responsible for representing everyone to rich, stories characters in their own right. Truth be told, even outside of the top ten lists there are lots of current titles with interesting female characters and fantastic women on creative teams. I challenge you to try a new title and see what you think. Until next month, keep on reading!

Each month, Diamond Comics Distributors releases data on the top selling products from single issue comics, to graphic novels and trade paperbacks, to toys. Their sales data represents items sold through comic book shops.

I also include information from the New York Times’ weekly bestsellers’ list for graphic books. Their list comprises sales data for items sold through venues other than comic book shops, like bookstores. As it’s weekly, it won’t be an exact picture of all the days in the month, but it’s valuable way to see what fans who aren’t buying at comic shops are reading.

Brenda Noiseux

Brenda Noiseux

Community builder, artist, convention organizer, gamer, geek writer @womenoncomics, @Sidequest_BHP. Owner, Bittenby Studios

2 thoughts on “Where Do We Stand? Women in March’s Comics and Graphic Novel Sales

  1. Thanks for posting this kind of info. I’d love to see the larger trend over an extended period. Also awesome the Bob’s Burgers has a comic now 😛

    1. Thanks for reading! Are there any long term trends in particular you’d be interested in seeing?

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