Readership Statistics IV: The Role of Marketing

The Role of Marketing

Do you think comics are effectively marketed to women?
Yes 79 4%
No 1630 92%
What forms of marketing comics do you think are most effective in selling comics to women?
Previews (the catalog) 266 17%
Individual comic shop marketing 518 33%
Television and movie adaptations 1084 69%
Previews (advanced views at a comic) 466 30%
Reviews 841 54%
Interviews and feature articles on comic sites 721 46%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Do you think comics publishers are better or worse at marketing to women than companies in other typically male-driven industries like video games?
Better 594 34%
Worse 1008 57%
Do you think the direct market is good at marketing itself and its products?
Yes 584 33%
No 974 55%
Between the community, the cultural preconceptions, the content, or the marketing, which do you think plays the biggest role in the low percentage of women in comics?
Community 84 5%
Cultural preconceptions 812 46%
Content 163 9%
Marketing 73 4%
All of the above 510 29%
Other 121 7%

Readership Statistics, III: The Role of Content

The Role of Content

What’s the gender of your favorite comic book character?
Female 548 31%
Male 1033 59%
Other 182 10%

Not sure what people count as “other” BUT I’m interested to see how close this divide is to the divide in gender of respondents.

Do you think content is a deciding factor for women who do or don’t read comics?
Yes, I think the current content of comics keeps women away. 931 53%
Yes, I think the current content of comics brings women in. 128 7%
No, I think the current content of comics is fine and women aren’t reading for other reasons. 478 27%
No, I think the current content of comics is fine and women are reading them. 159 9%
Do you think women in comics are accurately portrayed?
Yes 48 3%
No 428 24%
Sometimes 1249 71%

Yes, I realize this was vague given the broad amount of genres it covered.  But it’s still an interesting breakdown.

Do you think female creators are better at portraying female characters?
Yes 1168 66%
No 511 29%
Do you think increasing female creators in comics would increase female readership?
Yes 1365 77%
No 340 19%

Is gender of comics creators a deciding factor in your comics purchases?
Yes 139 8%
No 1575 89%

Readership Statistics, II: Perceptions of Gender

Perceptions of Gender in the Comics Industry

Is gender of comics creators a deciding factor in your comic purchases?
Yes 128 7%
No 1614 92%
Do you think comics, as a form of media, are something that appeals to most women?
Yes 507 29%
No 1234 70%

This is the response that concerns me the most.  I’m hoping most respondents didn’t understand what I meant – which is in regards to the FORMAT, not the CONTENT.  It seems really odd that 70% of people would think that pictures and words together in comics form don’t appeal to a specific gender.

Do you think the comics industry as a community appeals to most women?
Yes 275 16%
No 1434 81%

This one doesn’t surprise me because I think it has a lot to do with the responses to my last question – which is that most people think cultural preconceptions keep women away.  If that’s true, then the community wouldn’t appeal to women who see it as juvenile and/or only meant for guys.

Do you think comic book shops, as a whole, are welcoming to women?
Yes 923 52%
No 831 47%

This response surprised me in a positive way – I expected far more people to think that comic shops are a big part of the problem.  

Do you think offering comics digitally will increase female readership?
Yes 1213 69%
No 491 28%
Do you think comic conventions are welcoming to women?
Yes 1094 62%
No 536 30%


Do you think the comics industry is accepting of women as a part of the industry?
Yes 1108 63%
No 553 31%
Where do you think the comics industry is in terms of acceptance of women based on its history?
A lot better than it used to be 553 31%
A little better than it used to be 730 41%
About the same as it’s always been 135 8%
A little worse than it used to be 34 2%
A lot worse than it used to be 5 0%
I’m not sure. 262 15%

Readership Statistics, I: Participant Information

We’re really excited to publish research conducted by Janelle Asselin on gender and comics audiences on Ye Olde Ladydrawers Blogge. Email her at

Howdy folks!  You ready for statistic overload? I’m currently a grad student at Pace University studying publishing and also an associate editor in comics. Because of my passion for the field and my concern about the place of women in it, I opted to write my thesis on the topic of “How can the comic book industry increase sales among women?”

To support my thesis, I put together a lengthy but casual survey on women and comics, especially focusing on how the industry perceives itself currently, and distributed it through my Twitter and Facebook feeds and the feeds of any willing cohorts. Because I think it’s important for people to see outside of the context of my thesis, here are the stats from the multiple choice and yes/no questions on the survey (AKA the easy ones to do statistics for). I avoided commentary for the most part to allow the stats to speak for themselves.

1,763 responses

Participant Information

What is your gender?
Female 678 38%
Male 1043 59%
Non-binary 29 2%

What is your age?
Under 18 82 5%
18-25 588 33%
26-34 686 39%
35-50 369 21%
50+ 25 1%

How long have you been reading comics?
Less than a year 63 4%
1-2 years 106 6%
3-5 years 262 15%
5-10 years 274 16%
10+ years 1026 58%
I don’t read comics! 16 1%

What sorts of comics do you read?
Superhero 1495 86%
Crime 675 39%
Autobiographical 439 25%
Fantasy 1101 63%
Licensed (based on movies, TV, etc) 565 32%
Horror 659 38%
Comedy 838 48%
Western 375 22%
Manga 842 48%
Other 380 22%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
What is the gender of your favorite comic book creator?
Male 1438 82%
Female 293 17%

It’s Even Worse in the Comics Industry

This season’s LADYDRAWERS course at SAIC investigated gender inequities among freelancers and editors at the top 12 comics publishers in the United States. We then made a series of postcards based on our findings, and if you’ve found this site, it’s probably because we sent you one.

We’ve also got some big news: We’re putting together a book based on this work at Ox-Bow this summer, and, in conjunction with comics artists like MariNaomi and Esther Pearl Watson, I’ll be doing a semimonthly column on gender and comics at Truthout starting in a couple weeks. Watch for it!

In the meantime, you can check out the data we collected on the most recent 30 titles released in North America here: