Robot 6

10 creators withdraw names from Angouleme Grand Prix list [Updated!]

Julie Maroh's drawing from the BDEgalite website

Julie Maroh’s drawing from the BDEgalite website

Ten comics creators have withdrawn their names from consideration for this year’s Grand Prix d’Angouleme, in protest that the list of 30 nominees doesn’t include a single woman.

As of this morning, Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Riad Sattouf, Joann Sfar, Milo Manara, Pierre Christin, Etienne Davodeau, Christophe Blain and Brian Michael Bendis have indicated, personally or through their publishers, that they are joining the boycott launched by the French group BD Egalite.

Meanwhile, Franck Bondoux, executive officer of the Angouleme International Comics Festival, defended the choices in the French newspaper Le Monde, saying the Grand Prix is a lifetime achievement award for artists who have reached a certain age. “Unfortunately, there are few women in the history of comics,” he said. “That’s the reality. Similarly, if you go to the Louvre, you will find few women artists.”

Speaking with the French website Telerama, Bondoux added, “The festival loves women, but we cannot rewrite the history of comics.” He insisted that in all the online criticism, he hadn’t seen 10 names of essential women creators who deserved the prize. Bondoux also explained that Marjane Satrapi, who has been among the nominees in recent years, is no longer eligible because she declared she’s no longer making comics, apparently applying a different standard to her than to recent Grand Prix winner Bill Watterson.

French Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin commented that while women may be under-represented in the comics industry, she is nonetheless “a little disturbed” that the list doesn’t include a single woman.

Both Clowes and his publisher, Fantagraphics Books, endorsed the boycott, with the cartoonist commenting, “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.”

Sattouf, whose graphic memoir The Arab of the Future won the prize for best graphic novel at last year’s festival, announced his request to be removed from the list of nominees in a Facebook post that was quickly picked up by the French media. He offered some suggestions for women who should be considered: Rumiko Takahashi, Julie Doucet, Anouk Ricard, Marjane Satrapi and Catherine Meurisse.

Burns announced his withdrawal via two tweets from his French publisher, Editions Delcourt: “While I am flattered to be nominated for the Angoulême Grand Prix … I support the reasons for Mr. Sattouf’s boycott and withdraw my name from consideration, as well.”

In an editorial for the French edition of The Huffington Post, Sfar demanded that his name be removed from “this anachronistic list” and countered arguments against inclusiveness:

I am angry when I hear us being called “politically correct.” I have never asked for parity. That would make all the nominated women suspect; people would say that they did not deserve their place and they were there just to satisfy quotas. I simply do not want to participate in a ceremony that is at this point disconnected from the reality of the current comics world. Thirty names without a single woman is a slap at those who have devoted their lives to creating or loving comics.

Manara made a statement in French on his Facebook page:

Given the importance that women have had in my artistic life (and in my life itself) and the fact that I have always tried to be respectful of their role as subject and not object in my work, I wish to remove my name from this list of candidates for the Grand Prix d’Angoulême who forgot to mention even a single woman artist for this important award in our profession.

Burns’ French publisher, Editions Cornelius, tweeted, “Charles Burns wrote to tell us that he refuses to be included in a list of nominees that does not include a single woman.”

Davodeau made his statement in a private Facebook post that was published in the French paper Metro News:

The fact that this list of 30 authors does not include a single female helps fuel the worst cliche, the argument that the art of comics is essentially non-feminine. It turns out that women are making—and reading—comics in larger and larger numbers. I am sorry that the festival has ignored this incontestable fact. This is why I am asking, me too, that my name be removed from the list.

Update (7:48 a.m.): Brian Michael Bendis has also withdrawn his name from consideration, explaining on this blog that:

as i drifted off to sleep last night i thought of my daughters.  my smart, strong willed daughters who will STILL have to fight for their equal rights and how they will STILL have to fend off some men treating them as objects before they can see them as individuals and how insane it seems to me.

so, with that i join my fellow creators in removing my name from the angouleme grand prix list. i hope the people in charge who, again, i do not know rectify whatever happened that created this mess. i truly thank them for the honor and will gladly accept it once the honor is restored to its full power of inclusion to all creators all over the world.

Comments

20 Comments

Here are some women who are comics/cartoonists that should be on a life achievement list, just off the top of my head: Claire Breteche, Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, Nicole Hollander, Rutu Modan and there are more, I am sure.

Some incredible double talk by Bondoux there.

I loath the overly politically correct age where every utterance leads to a virtual s..storm and everybody feels forced to bother the world with unecessary outrage.
So no women were nominated? Behold, the world will stop turning, what about recent years? How many women were nominated? Just to put them on a list for gender equality is rubbish. If the board decided not to nominate one bad luck, maybe next year, or the following.
Then those artists jumping on the bandwagon. Please, where were your complaints in recent years?

Japan alone has produced women worthy of the prize. Rumiko Takahashi, CLAMP, Naoko Takeuchi…

https://twitter.com/acosmos/status/684773590726754304

Bill Watterson was still drawing comics in 2014 when he won the award. http://time.com/3559431/bill-watterson-calvin-hobbes-funny-new-comic/ This seems to disprove your statement about the double standard.

11. Bill Sienkiewicz has as well.

@John Trent,
Calvin & Hobbes ended in 1995. That one piece from 2014 is about the only comic-related work he’s done since the end of Calvin & Hobbes and his announce retirement a decade ago . It’s a bit of a stretch to call that “still drawing comics”.

This is so stupid

I can’t tell if the comment by @John Trent is a joke or not. The comic the article refers to is the show poster he drew for the festival after becoming president. The presidents draw the show poster, that’s a thing they do. If Marjane Satrapi became president in 2017, she’d draw a poster for the show, and therefore become an active cartoonist once again?

Women have always made comics. Women will continue to make comics. Some women have made incredible comics for decades. To say that we have not is to willfully ignore us, make us invisible, and disrespect our achievements. If they cannot see the quality of the work of women, they are not looking hard enough. It is not that we aren’t there, it is that they choose not to see.

@Sarah,

You say “us” and “we”. Are you a comic book artist? Or a writer? I don’t see why you’d need to co-opt the achievements of other people, be they women or white or of any other vague and useless description to find something of “meaning” to rally yourself for.

Who cares. If they have any integrity they won’t change the list over people getting mad at them or they’d be picking people out of reaction and not out of earnest appreciation.

@Zach

She is. A quick google search could’ve taken care of that for you.

We care. Obviously. If they have any integrity, they’d find someone who has a broader appreciation of comics and doesn’t rely on “online criticism” to find women comic artists who have been producing prolific work for decades.

If this committee had any integrity they would cancel this ceremony/award this year. I can’t imagine anyone would want to accept an award after this embarrassment.

Bill Watterson doesn’t do comics anymore? I guess his comics work in Pearls Before Swine and the work he did on the Angouleme poster don’t count?

Awards are stupid anyway. I don’t an award to tell me who’s good.

@derr

Do you want to nominate a teenager for a lifetime achivement award?!?! LOL…

Bill Watterson did some guest comics for Pearls Before Swine so, yes, he is “still drawing comics”. As a comic news website, you should at least be accurate with your facts. I support the boycott but they weren’t applying a different standard for Bill Watterson. You’re misrepresenting the facts to support your own bias.

So Raina Telgemeier, Eisner Award winner and one of the first comic artists to have the TOP FOUR of the Top 10 NYTimes Graphic Novel Bestsellers back in May of 2015* doesn’t count?

* http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2015-05-17/paperback-graphic-books/list.html

so you think that a couple of guest spots, basically favors, are enough to constitute a going concern?

Interesting. Now why don’t YOU stop misrepresenting reality to support YOUR bias.

[Updating apparently removed earlier comments. Editing or revisioning?]

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