Comics Lowdown: Analyzing gender representation of 34,476 comic characters

Plus: Calexit sells out, climate change comics, Adam West as the Dark Knight, Becky Cloonan, Gerald Way, Jay Baruchel’s thoughts on Canadian superheroes and more!

A fascinating study takes a look at the gender representation of 34,476 comic book characters. Journalist Amanda Shendruk asks, “Female characters appear in superhero comics less often than males — but when they are included, how are they depicted?”

Wonder Woman gif by Nicole Dirksen

She examined 34,476 different characters. The study results were published with a plentiful helping of graphs, graphs, and more graphs looking at everything from the types of powers a character has, to the gender make-up of their superhero team, to the naming scheme and frequency of character’s aliases. Some of the findings include:

  • The data suggest that less-physical powers — such as empathy, intellect, and telepathy — tend to be more represented among female characters. Men however, often have highly physical powers, as well as those that involve gadgets.
  • 30% of all teams have no women, and only 12% have more female team members than male. The majority of those 12%, however, are exclusively female teams.
  • A full 30% of male characters with gendered names get ‘man’ in their name. That number is only 6% for ‘woman’. However, ‘girl’ is the third-most common gendered name for a female character (13%). ‘Boy’ only shows up sixth for males (5%).

The study was then topped with very cute pixel art by Vancouver’s Nicole Derksen.

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Comics Lowdown: The future of MAD Magazine

Plus: New superhero universe Catalyst Prime, comics to fight fake news, Jillian Tamaki, Rico Renzi’s color palette, and more!

What’s up with MAD Magazine? Mark Evanier lays out a brief history of MAD, which has been part of DC Comics for a long time (it’s complicated!), and updates us on its current status, which is… not good. Like pretty much all print magazines, MAD has been struggling for a while, although Evanier thinks editor John Ficarra has been doing a bang-up job. When the rest of DC packed up and moved to Burbank, California, a while ago, the MAD staff stayed, but they are moving out of their New York office at the end of this year, and DC has not been forthcoming with any news about what will happen next, beyond the fact that the magazine is moving to Burbank and only one staffer, a production artist, will be going with it. The February 2018 issue will be the last one produced by the Usual Gang of Idiots. DC has not made any announcements about what happens next, but Evanier suggests following the blog of artist Tom Richmond, one of the most frequent contributors to the magazine, for updates.

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Comics Lowdown: Camera creeps and Comic Con copyright

Plus: Paco Roca’s Ngozi Ukazu, Mike Norton, a ‘Star Wars Adventures’ update, and the Webcomics Web Archive

Con Creep: Calgary Police are investigating a Twitter account for uploading videos and photos of women and girls without consent, featuring certain body parts in a sexualized way, and even going as far as taking upskirt shots. A Calgary mother is furious that one of the victims is her 14-year old daughter that cosplayed as Harley Quinn at this year’s Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. The person responsible took these images only of cosplayers at the Expo, but of women on the streets and in malls as well. Staff Sgt. Cory Dayley of the Calgary Police Service cyber crimes unit said that the images would be classed as voyeurism under the Canadian criminal code. The Twitter account, @CanadaCreep, has been suspended. Late Wednesday afternoon, Calgary police announced they arrested a 42-year-old man on charges relating to voyeurism and publishing voyeuristic images. Police are asking anyone with additional information to contact the at 403-266-1234, case number 17243516.
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Panel One Comic Creator Festival (Canada)

The Panel One Comic Creator Festival is back for 2017!

After the success of 2016, Panel One Comics Society is bringing back the Panel One Comic Creators Festival this summer! The event will feature Canadian comic creators, workshops and panels throughout the day.

Event Details:

When: Saturday, June 03, 2017 from 11:00 – 7:00
Where: Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association
Entry: $5.00*

We will also be accepting donations to the Calgary Food Bank!

More details about panels, workshops and participating creators will be announced leading up to the festival.

*For each entry, Panel One will donate $1.00 to the Calgary Food Bank

Comics Lowdown: Comics will break your heart

Plus: Jillian Tamaki on Q, Comic Nurse compiles HIV stories, Drawn to Change wins, Chris Ware, Captain Harlock returns

Today’s thoughtful read is a painful one: Maggie Umber chronicles the end of her marriage and the struggle to make 2dCloud a successful indy publisher. It’s a reminder that nothing is ever simple when viewed from the inside—she writes poignantly about the part she played in 2dCloud and the tension between that and her own career as a cartoonist, and the strain that put on her relationship with her soon-to-be-ex-husband Raighne Hogan:

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Comics Lowdown: Satire comic gets Warsaw Comics Festival in trouble

Plus: profiles on ‘Black’ creator Kwanza Osajyefo and ‘Top Ten’ artist Gene Ha, the Ledger Awards shortlist, and Montreal’s AstroBooks turns to crowdfunding to pay its tax bills.

The Warsaw (Poland) Comics Festival will lose three years’ worth of city subsidies, totaling $44,500, because a comic ridiculing Polish nationalists was distributed at this year’s event. Tomasz Lesniak and Rafal Skarzycki’s Poland: The Champion of Poland, lampooned nationalists, racists and anti-Semites, and that didn’t sit well with the local nationalists, who complained to the city council. The council released a statement saying, “After reviewing the comic we explicitly declare that we do not accept its content,” and announced it would sanction the festival.

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TCAF: Translator stopped at Canadian border

While en route to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), translator and agent Anne Ishii was detained at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto for over two hours yesterday as Canadian customs officers questioned her and went through every book in her luggage to determine whether she was bringing comics illegally into the country.

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Prairie Comics Festival – (Canada)

Prairie Comics Festival is a free to attend weekend festival in Winnipeg celebrating the best in comics creation on the prairies!

Festival Info at-a-glance:
251 Donald Street
MILLENNIUM LIBRARY, second floor
Winnipeg, MB
Saturday, May 6: 10:30 am – 5 pm
Sunday, May 7: 1 – 5 pm

This festival will feature a market that will provide a space for creators of comic content, including artists, writers, and publishers, to interact with fans, promote their material, sell their wares, and meet other creators. Eligible content includes webcomics, print comics, graphic novels, zines, comics in non-traditional formats, and cartoons. The focus of this content is on original comic content, along with content created by the artists under license from the copyright holder.
In order to ensure this as best as we are able, the table selection is juried rather than first come, first served.

More than just a space to promote the creation of comics and discover new stories (many of which are unlikely to be found anywhere outside of this festival!), this weekend is intended to be a community experience to share your love of the comics medium! Panels will be held in an adjoining room where you can volunteer to share your passion and knowledge with fans and creators.

Admission and table space is free in order to encourage all to attend!

The event will take place in Winnipeg’s Millennium Library, the venue is accessible.

Have any questions about the festival? Visit the website at prairiecomics.com

Prairie Comics Festival is the initiative of Hope Nicholson, comics editor and owner of Winnipeg comic publisher Bedside Press.

Prairie Comics Festival (Canada)

Prairie Comics Festival is a free to attend weekend festival in Winnipeg celebrating the best in comics creation on the prairies!

Festival Info at-a-glance:
251 Donald Street
MILLENNIUM LIBRARY, second floor
Winnipeg, MB
Saturday, May 6: 10:30 am – 5 pm
Sunday, May 7: 1 – 5 pm

This festival will feature a market that will provide a space for creators of comic content, including artists, writers, and publishers, to interact with fans, promote their material, sell their wares, and meet other creators. Eligible content includes webcomics, print comics, graphic novels, zines, comics in non-traditional formats, and cartoons. The focus of this content is on original comic content, along with content created by the artists under license from the copyright holder.
In order to ensure this as best as we are able, the table selection is juried rather than first come, first served.

More than just a space to promote the creation of comics and discover new stories (many of which are unlikely to be found anywhere outside of this festival!), this weekend is intended to be a community experience to share your love of the comics medium! Panels will be held in an adjoining room where you can volunteer to share your passion and knowledge with fans and creators.

Admission and table space is free in order to encourage all to attend!

The event will take place in Winnipeg’s Millennium Library, the venue is accessible.

Have any questions about the festival? Visit the website at prairiecomics.com

Prairie Comics Festival is the initiative of Hope Nicholson, comics editor and owner of Winnipeg comic publisher Bedside Press.