Ah, Marvel! When you’re not queerbaiting us with your films, you’re disappointing us with hires and including violent exploitative trans panic deaths in your flagship books. But for some reason–it’s a mix of nostalgia, endless optimism, and the incredible roster of characters–we still stick around, and as it was a day ending in Y, Wednesday, May 8th saw the launch of another ill-thought out plan from the company who seem to live by the old adage “If it’s broke why the fuck change it?”
In a shockingly bad rollout—that began on the backs of certain floppies—Marvel Comics announced a new… something… that will be attempting to recreate the success of DC’s recent Action Comics #1000 and Detective Comics #1000 releases. Certain fans quickly noticed that the original comics based advertising roll out only included men, to be specific: Brad Meltzer, Alex Ross, Julian Totino Tedesco, Mark Waid, John Cassaday, J. Michael Straczynski, Ed McGuinness, Walt Simonson, Joe Hill, Mike Allred, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Javier Rodriguez, Al Ewing, George Perez, Erik Larsen, Taboo, and Jeffrey Veregge.
Eighteen creators over ten books with not a single woman was certainly a choice, and out of those only a few were creators of color. The only highlight here is that the roll-out included two indigenous creators on the same book with the addition of Taboo and Jeffrey Veregge. Other than that it really looked like more of the same old same, and when Marvel E.I.C. C.B. Cebulski tweeted out that this was just “the beginning” and “Phase One complete” he teased enigmatically that there would be “tweets tomorrow”. It sounded like a strange strategy and it would only get stranger yesterday when at 1 PM ET Marvel creators started to share more of the vague blue images that hinted that they too would be involved in… whatever Marvel was up to.
(UPDATE: It turned out to be the highly-anticipated (not) completely unprecedented (because it’s ridiculous) Marvel Comics #1000. A strange choice as Marvel hasn’t had a title called Marvel Comics since 1939’s Marvel Comics #1 and there definitely haven’t been 999 since)
At first, it seemed like it might have been an attempt to rectify the distinct lack of diversity in the original lineup with the first big names including Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kelly Thompson, Tini Howard, Eve. L. Ewing and Irene Koh. But it soon became clear that actually there was something much bigger going on and it definitely wasn’t focused on balancing out the representation in C.B.’s plan to make a comic which could “sell a million copies.” Twitter account Blerohero was one of the first people to highlight a massive disparity in the split as the number of creators announced climbed towards 40.
Why is Al Ewing writing 9 out of 37 of these? I like Al Ewing but literally 24% of the writers are Al Ewing pic.twitter.com/5GGxDXR9lO
— Black Magic School Bus (@blerohero) May 9, 2019
By the end of the day, 97 creators had been announced for the strange project but it seemed like most of them were white men. Because we are nothing if we’re not painfully detail oriented we got a crack team together and broke down the stats about the people behind the sprawling and confusing new…event? issue? series? plan to finally ensure that Marvel fans have no idea what’s going on? According to our calculations from the current list of creators—which may well change and we will update if it does so—out of 110 credited creator spots (98 if you discount 12 Al Ewings), there were 9 women, 19 credited POC, 12 men who were born in Spain, and 3 women of color. Our very own super-talented Kat Overland has organized this info into some handy graphs to explain the disparity in these numbers.
Before you begin to enjoy these lovely graphs, please note that these are all based on our own research based on the information available and we are always open to corrections and updates.
GENDER BREAKDOWN in MARVEL COMICS #1000:
With Marvel’s ridiculously talented pool of Spanish artists, there were more men born in Spain announced than there were of women born in any country on Earth. There was also an almost equivalent amount of Al Ewing, who we have come to presume is leading the book, as he is credited on more stories than all of the women in the creators put together. Overall the creator makeup features 8.3% women and 92.7% men, including all Spanish, non-Spanish, and Al Ewings.
GENDER BREAKDOWN in MARVEL COMICS #1000 CONTINUED – A.K.A. FUCK YOU MARVEL:
In case this super-succinct graph doesn’t make it clear, as of this writing there are no trans creators involved in Marvel’s rollout.
RACIAL BREAKDOWN in MARVEL COMICS #1000:
In a depressing but not surprising result, 84.4% of the creators involved are white, including a solid 9.8% Al Ewing. That means that only 15.6% of the full list of 110 credited creators—don’t forget those 12 Al Ewings—are people of color.
Though this is unlikely to be the final announcement, with Cebulski calling yesterday “Phase Two” and promising a “Phase Three” later today that would include more news and a new exclusive creator announcement. With the way things are going, we’re expecting the worst. It’s so disappointing that this is still work that needs to be done in 2019 especially with all the incredible talent in comics at the moment. Keep your eyes and ears open because Marvel Comics #1000 is one slow-motion car crash that has yet to stop imploding.
[Editor’s note: a few percentages were tweaked to correct a counting error]
[Editor’s note: this piece was updated to reflect the announcement of the Marvel Comics #1000 issue]