Comic Fodder

Joe Quesada Angers The Entire Female, Comic-Reading, Population


Marv(el) Hates Women

Joe Quesada got caught with his pants down with a nonsensical answer to a question at last week’s New Joe Fridays.

NRAMA: Noticeably absent (and for some time) is a female creator in that group. Big picture wise, why hasn’t a women creator made it into the tight circle of Marvel creators?

JQ: Because currently there aren’t any female writers working on any of our major titles. That said there are female editors at the summit.

The first in the blogosphere to take notice was Dorian of Postmodern Barney, who said:

I think that’s right up there with “we can’t publish comics with gay leads without making them adults only.”

Others soon followed:

Focused Totality (Mark Fossen)

It’s a weak evasion, and a weak piece of interviewing to let it stand.

there aren’t enough comics female writers working on comics period, and in the select ranks of The Big Two there are even fewer. I’d really rather not hear from DC fans that Dan Didio is somehow more enlightened due to the presence of Gail Simone and Devin Grayson: two exceptions does not parity make.

Written World (Ragnell, our very own Lisa Fortuner) takes him to task:

So basically you didn’t invite any female creators to the editorial meeting that plans your creative direction, because you haven’t hired any female creators?

Excuse me, I need to go dig out my clue-bat.

Marionetee of Dance of the Puppets gives her two cents as well as discussing it at

Having satisfied the eager reporter with the information that the reason there were no female creators at Marvel was because Marvel didn’t have any female creators working for them, big Joe went on to inform him that water was wet and fire was hot.

I’m sure When Fangirls Attack will be following this story closely.

Wow. As you can see Joe Quesada, Marvel Comics, Editor-In-Chief, the mouthpiece of the Marvel Universe has his foot firmly planted in his mouth at this point. I'm sure in the following weeks Joe will be back to clear up what he said, citing that he wasn't prepared and didn't say what he meant when asked about women at Marvel. Keep your eyes peeled for lots of backpedaling.

That said, let's examine EXACLTY what Joe said and why it was or WASN'T wrong. The question was, "Why hasn't a woman creator made it into the tight circle of Marvel creators?"

The first answer that pops into my mind is similar to Joe's own, "There just aren't enough female creators working for Marvel." This is the truth, however unfair it may seems. DC Comics has Devin Grayson and Gail Simone on their payroll; Marvel has no female creators at all that I know of. Whose fault is this? Is it Marvel's for not hiring enough women? Or perhaps Marvel has yet to come across a story pitched by a female creator that blew them away enough to want to hire that creator. Are they supposed to hire a woman just because she's a woman, even if they don't see eye to eye with her creatively? Surely that would be just as insulting to women as having no women at all is.

A majority of the female creators I know aren't as into superhero stories as they are into creating their OWN comic stories and characters. Perhaps the problem has its genesis in our youth. There were far less girls I knew who were into comics than boys. The few girls I knew who did like comics tended to shy away from the mainstream superhero books, maybe this opened them up to want to create new and alternative things, while the boys wanted to grow up and play in the Marvel Universe sandbox. The girls wanted to provide the types of books they wished had been available to them as children, while the boys just wanted to take a swing at a Spiderman tale or Disassemble the Avengers.

My point is this: let's not hang Joe Q. by his toenails and throw rocks at him. It seems to me that he was speaking from his gut, telling the truth. The truth, as they say, can sometimes hurt. I say, prove'em wrong. Are you female? Do you love comics? Do you want to create comics? There's no better time than now to inundate Marvel with your stories and pitches. Let them receive a slew of female hopefuls, maybe by this time next year there will be three or four strong female writers hanging out at the Marvel Creative Summit.

What are you waiting for ladies? Get out there and write some comics!

Shawn, I agree. wWhile I beleive Marvel would benefit greatly by more female creators, the sad truth is are aren't more, and two of the more prominant ones happen to be DC exclusive.
Joe is being crucified for telling the truth? Should he have bullshat an answer? Maybe, but instead he levelled with the interveiwer and answered honestly.

-- Posted by: The Mets? Yeah, they rule. at July 5, 2006 10:00 AM

Don't know if anyone's still reading this thread, but I'm one of those Marvel female editors that Joe Q. mentioned. You can count me among those who would be glad to see more female creators represented at Marvel. But I agree that it's a little more complicated than it would seem on the surface. The fact is that the vast, vast majority of submissions that cross my desk are from men, and while many are talented, it's extraordinarily rare to see submissions that actually fit the bill of what Marvel might be looking to publish in that moment. So yes, I would agree that the lack of female creators at Marvel is largely an issue of statistics, coupled with the type of material we are inclined to publish.

I'm speaking for myself and not as a representative of Marvel when I say this, but if you are a female comic creator, you are doing the industry a huge service just by creating the kinds of comics that you would want to read. If those are the independent-styled, non-superhero kinds of stories that many of us favor, more power to you. Those are not the kinds of stories that Marvel generally publishes, but they happen to be the kinds of stories I prefer to read outside of my work, and the comic industry will benefit from more quality work of that kind. My advice is not necessarily to send your work to Marvel, but to send it wherever it will get the most support and find the widest audience.

On the other hand, if you're a female creator at professional level, and you know your way around the superhero genre and/or the Marvel Universe, then we need to know about you. Go to Marvel's website, go to the submission section, fill out an Idea Submission form and start sending us your stuff.

-- Posted by: Nicole Boose at July 11, 2006 11:07 AM


Thanks so much for reading this slowly growing blog and for taking the time to comment on this topic. I agree one thousand percent with what you've said here. I think ANY female creator doing anything is a positive for this industry. I applaud your open invitation for the pro female creator population to contact Marvel, even if it's just to say, "We're here if you need us."
I think a good story is a good story. Good art is good art. It doesn't matter what the sex of the creator is but it certainly helps bring a different and broader perspective to the industry as a whole to have BOTH male and female superstar creators.

Thanks again for reading and posting. Hope you enjoy what we're doing here. Feel free to lurk around anytime.

--Shawn D

-- Posted by: Shawn D at July 11, 2006 12:23 PM

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-- Posted by: Katherine at March 30, 2008 7:55 AM

It sounds like Joe didn't catch the question, it just wasn't a logical answer so he could've interpreted it wrong. Have you ever been talking to someone and your thoughts are drifting on a point you want to talk about which makes you pick up half of what they are talking about? It's only human.

What would be interesting and give you and the people responding to this article something to talk about is: how many female creators have tried to get hired at Marvel and how many got the job. Why or why not? Assuming there are a lot more male creators trying to get hired there, it wouldn't be a fair ratio to compare but that in itself seems to say something.

The question, IMHO, is not why aren't there (m)any female creators working at Marvel ( there are quite a lot in editorial positions and that is more powerful and creative than most will acknowledge )- the question is, why doesn't Marvel publish titles female writers want to write?

Sure, there are the Kitty Prides and "Ms." Marvel's of the Marvel U, but it's clearly a genre that has always appealed more to guys. I think this is why Manga has been so successful, because Marvel ( arguably ) doesn't have such a strong appeal to female readers.

As for "gay lead characters" in Marvel books ( what does that have to do with female creators?), that would be corporate suicide. Just be honest about what you are looking at, articles like this tend to pull all the flamers out of the woodwork. Quesada has gone way out of the traditional boundaries of Marvel and is maybe more forward thinking than a lot of fans ( consumers ) would like. So I think the knee jerk reactions can be cooled with a little straight thinking about what it is Marvel is selling and who their key demographic is.

-- Posted by: Tang Jie at July 6, 2008 10:42 PM