Thursday, January 7, 2016

Really, in this day and age? 30 nominees for a grand prize in comics, and how many are female?

The biggest comic festival in Angouleme, France, has as the most prestigious prize a career prize, the grand prix. Of all the past winners since 1974, there was only one woman. They write about their prize: "Le Grand Prix décerné chaque année vise à récompenser un-e auteur-e pour l'ensemble de son œuvre et sa contribution à l'évolution de la bande dessinée."

This year, 30 cartoonists are nominated: they are all men. Apparently, this at a time where there are plenty excellent female artists. While I've heard of many of the nominees, (while aiming to not lose my remainder of my french, I started to read comics or graphic novels, and got a little hooked for a while) it is indeed easy to come up with female names that would be in no way stand out as not belonging among the very best of this list: 
Marjane Satrapi and Posy Simmonds (both have apparently been nominated in the past), Alison Bechdel,  Rutu Modan, Claire Bretecher...

In light of this, two of the nominees declined to be nominees for this prize: Both big figures in the comics world, one french, and one I believe american.

Riad Sattouf writes:
J'ai découvert que j'étais dans la liste des nominés au grand prix du festival d'Angoulême de cette année. Cela m'a fait très plaisir ! 
Mais, il se trouve que cette liste ne comprend que des hommes. 
Cela me gêne, car il y a beaucoup de grandes artistes qui mériteraient d'y être. 
Je préfère donc céder ma place à par exemple, Rumiko Takahashi, Julie Doucet, Anouk Ricard, Marjane Satrapi, Catherine Meurisse (je vais pas faire la liste de tous les gens que j'aime bien hein !)... 
Je demande ainsi à être retiré de cette liste, en espérant toutefois pouvoir la réintégrer le jour où elle sera plus paritaire! Merci!
On se voit à Angoulême!

and Daniel Clowes" "I support the boycott of Angouleme and am withdrawing my name from any consideration for what is now a totally meaningless 'honor.' What a ridiculous, embarrassing debacle," says Clowes."

I have to admit, I'm a little surprised. 30 is a big number...

An update: As of yesterday night (the night of Jan 6), that number has climbed to 9. So, of the 30 men nominated, 9 declined to be nominees... And the prize committee actually announced that they will generate an expanded list...

A second update: I have to admit, I was quite impressed with almost a third of people (and not the third that had the lowest chances of winning) to decline to be nominated. As of today (January 7), the prize committee decided not to generate a list of nominees but make everyone eligible to be voted on. 

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