Where Do We Stand: July’s Look at Women in Comics and Graphic Novel Sales

July is a mixed bag when it comes to female representation best selling comics. It’s a month where the one-step forward, one step back and now we’re cha-cha-ing dance feels more relevant than others.

Secret Wars 4Secret Wars Still On Top

For the third month in a row, Secret Wars takes the top single spot, this time with Secret Wars #4.  We’re now half-way through the limited eight issue run and word on the street is the story line is solid. So far it bodes well for the lead up to Marvel’s big relaunch this fall.

Marvel continues to dominate the top ten singles list, capturing eight of the ten spots. The remaining two go to DC for Batman #42 and Archie Comics for Archie #1.

Fables vol 22The End of an Era as Fables Says Farewell

Before there was the Once Upon a Time TV series or The Wolf Among Us game, there was a little comic book known as Fables. For the past thirteen years, the stories of characters from fairy tale and folklore forced out of their “Homeland” and living clandestinely have intrigued readers. It’s no surprise that the final trade paperback, Fables Vol. 22: Farewell is July’s top selling graphic novel/trade paperback.

 Representation On Covers

With Marvel dominating the best-selling singles, we need to be diligent in demanding representation. Only three titles had women on the cover. As a consolation prize, the covers featured women with agency, so it seems that July should be dubbed quality over quantity.

Graphic novels and trade paperbacks as usual fair hold steady this month with five titles with women on the cover and although there isn’t a lot in the way of agency, there is some fun art.

Representation On Creative Teams Continues to Depress Me

Thankfully, in the top 10 single issues we have at least one creative team with a woman. Drum roll, please: it’s Fiona Staples for her work on Archie #1. With her work on Saga, she’s usually holding down the fort on the graphic novels and trade paperbacks list. That means for the first seven months of 2015, 6 of 70 top ten single issues had women on the creative team or a whole nine percent.

The graphic novels and trade paperback list showed  variety in titles and publishers this month, but alas, women on creative teams didn’t fare so well. There were two titles with women credited on the team, but in both cases the women were part of male heavy teams; for example, Gail Simone was the only woman of the seven people credited on Red Sonja #1973 and Annie Wu was one of five listed for Hawkeye Vol. 4: Rio Bravo.

Batgirl Vol 1New York Times’ Bestsellers’ List

On one beautiful week in July, nine out the ten paperback titles were by women. Congrats ladies! Since I haven’t mentioned it in a bit, Raina Telgemeier continues to have three of the top selling graphic paperbook titles. At this point, Smile has made an appearance on the list for 164 weeks, Drama for 105 and Sisters for 50. Her latest collaboration for The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix series is making regular appearances as well. For the hardcover list, Batgirl Vol. 1 makes a promising three-week appearance.

July confirmed my trepidation with Marvel monopolizing the top single issue title. Hopefully with the relaunch this fall we’ll see more women showing up on covers and popping up on creative teams. Let’s continue to support the women in comics we love and look to a brighter tomorrow.

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 a 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