How to Draw Comics the New 52 Way: Women Get "Fridged" Again

Tuesday, 06 December 2011 04:40 By Mardou and Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
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Earlier this year, DC Comics announced it would "re-boot" its entire spate of 52 monthly superhero books and start all storylines from scratch, with all new creators. The radical move was intended to attract new readers, sure, but it also attracted immediate criticism, since it followed the release of several female creators from the DC roster.

Critics say that number dropped from 12% to 1%—here at Ladydrawers HQ we only tallied creators on DC’s Vertigo line, but 12% does match our findings for women creators at commercial comics publishers in general. When queried about the drop in female creators in July at the San Diego Comic-Con, DC Comics co-publisher Dan Didio responded, "What do those numbers mean to you? What do they mean to you? Who should we be hiring? Tell me right now. Who should we be hiring right now? Tell me."

His response struck many as defensive and deflective. ComicsAlliance editor-in-chief Laura Hudson, echoing our own concerns at Ladydrawers wrote, "Women are half of the world, and a significant percentage of the DC Comics character stable, and yet only 1% of their creators. And the way that you treat and represent half of the people in your world—and by extension, half of the people in the real world who might potentially buy your books—should be more than a marginal concern."

DC followed up with a July 29 letter on its official blog highlighting the notable female creators they currently publish and promising more in the future. So when it launched, we looked at the New 52 carefully. What we found was disturbing—even if you like men in tights.

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Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, Weinberg Fellow at the Newberry Library, a Fulbright scholar, and the author of several award-winning non-fiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press, 2007) and Cambodian Grrrl (2011). Co-editor and publisher of now-defunct Punk Planet and the founding editor of the Best American Comics series from Houghton Mifflin, Moore teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She contributes criticism to The New Inquiry, The Baffler, N+1p and many others and writes a monthly comic strip for Truthout called Ladydrawers on gender, labor, and culture. Her latest book from Cantankerous Titles, New Girl Law, was called “A post-empirical, proto-fourth-wave feminist memoir” by Bust Magazine.


Mardou grew up in Manchester, England but now lives in St Louis MO, with her cartoonist husband, Ted May and their young daughter. She's been making mini-comics for 10 years and her next book will begin a serialization of a graphic novel called 'The Sky in Stereo'. See more of her work at

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