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: ‘Abadazad,’ ‘Ghost Rider’ artist Mike Ploog to retire

Plus: designing variant covers, Sonny Liew, Tillie Walden, Simon Hanselman, food in San Diego.

Veteran artist Mike Ploog, known to comic fans as the co-creator of Ghost Rider, announced he will be retiring after a 47-year career. His career began with Filmation, as a clean-up artist on Batman and Superman, and eventually was promoted to layouts. He moved onto Hanna-Barbera, continuing his layout work until he became the assistant to Will Eisner.

He made his comic book debut on Werewolf by Night in 1972. Since then, he was credited as a co-creator of Ghost Rider and notable artist on Man-ThingPlanet of the Apes and The Monster of Frankenstein. Later in his career, he did minimal comic work, but teamed with J.M. DeMatteis on Abadazad in 2004.

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Comics Lowdown: Rest in peace Sam Glanzman, George Romero

Plus: teen romance, and Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and others become Disney Legends

Sam Glanzman (1924-2017): Navy veteran and and Eisner Award-nominated comic artist Sam Glanzman, 92, passed away July 12. Over the span of his 75-year career in comics, Glanzman worked for Marvel, DC Comics, Charlton, Harvey and Dell, among others, on titles like G.I. Combat, Sgt. Rock, Hercules, Jonah Hex, Fightin’ Army, Savage Tales, Semper Fi, Zorro and Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle. Marvel published his A Sailor’s Story graphic novel in 1987, a personal account of his time on the U.S.S. Stevens during World War II. A sequel followed. New stories about his time on the U.S.S. Stevens appeared in DC’s Joe Kubert Presents six-issue anthology limited series, and those stories, along with the two volumes of A Sailor’s Story, were collected in U.S.S. Stevens: The Collected Stories, which is nominated for the Eisner Award this year. A successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Red Range, a story drawn by Glanzman and written by Joe R. Lansdale, recently wrapped up.

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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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