You might be familiar with Ladydrawers from past issues of Bitch, or from regular postings at Truthout. A series that takes on industry statistics in comics form, Ladydrawers explains how “gendered differences in pay, labor conditions, and the education of media creators go far to explain the sexist tropes that show up on the pages of funnybooks.” And it only takes one look at the movies coming out this summer to realize how big of a cultural impact those funnybooks can go on to have.
This month, the Ladydrawers team, led by Anne Elizabeth Moore, is presenting some new data on who’s getting published in the comics industry and who isn’t. Even though, according to their recent research, the comics creator pool is just 54% male and the submission rates by male and female creators are roughly equal, publishers are more likely to accept work by men—and to commission work from male creators. And non-binary creators? Yeah, they’re published even less often.
It’s depressing news, but the comic makes it a little easier to swallow. Here’s a panel:
More than just presenting data in easy-to-read form (which is great!), the Ladydrawers series shines a crucial light behind the scenes of the comics industry. Gender equality is about more than the characters on the pages of comic books—and on the silver screen once those comic books become films—it’s about whose work is being published in the first place.