Women compose nearly half of comic book readers, but the industry has problems including them in the creative process and on the page. This digital humanities project starts with Marvel and DC in the 2000s and tracks it until 2018, utilizing web-scraping scripts to download data at an issue level and information visualization tools to display the gender of creative talent and the gender makeup of their issue output. Some of this information will be compared to data from Image Comics (an independent publisher) to see if women write or draw different stories there, in an environment where creators own their own comics and are not being hired to write and draw for previously created characters. Questions to be answered include: have these publishers increasingly hired women writers and artists, has there been an increase in titles with a female protagonist, do women writers and artists tend to be assigned mostly titles about women at DC and Marvel, and does this correspond with the demographics of the work women create at Image? Examples from this project will serve as tutorials on how to gather, clean and process data for DH students, librarians and archivists, teaching: web-scraping with BeautifulSoup, gathering online data with an API, data-cleaning with scripts and information visualization with Tableau. Additionally, the data I collect will also work to create a near comprehensive list of comics written or drawn by women at these three major publishers which will help librarians collecting for graphic novels.
Laurin Paradise– Reference & Instruction Librarian, Manhattan College