Thursday, January 07, 2016

Angoulême: "Affirmative Action Has No Place in the Arts"

The international comics festival, the Angoulême Grand Prix, announced thirty nominees for its lifetime achievement award. Out of that talented number, not one was female. Several nominees have expressed their surprise at the sexism, and have withdrawn their names from consideration.

Jennifer de Guzman writes for Comics Alliance:

The Angoulême Grand Prix is a prestigious lifetime achievement award for comic book creators; this week, the Festival d’ Angoulême announced the 30 nominees for 2016, the Grand Prix’s 43rd year, and already twelve have withdrawn their names from consideration. The reason? Of the thirty nominees, not one was a woman. 
Brian Michael Bendis, Christophe Blain, François Bourgeon, Charles Burns, Pierre Christin, Daniel Clowes, Etienne Davodeau, Milo Manara, Riad Sattouf, Joann Sfar, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Ware have expressed their desire, on their personal social media or through their publishers, to be removed from the list of nominees. 
In light of this pressure from the creators it sought to honor, Angoulême announced that the list of nominees now includes Marjane Satrapi and Posy Simmonds, who had been nominated for the Grand Prix in previous years, to the list of nominees. At the same time, the statement released by the Festival notes that “The Festival cannot remake the history of comics” and that “positive discrimination” (called “affirmative action” in the United States) “has no place in the arts.” 
Read More: Angoulême Grand Prix Fails To Name Any Women As Nominees |

If you look at the cartooning field (syndicated cartoons, gag cartoons, graphic novels, small press, web comics, etc.) then you can see there are plenty of talented females. They win awards and they make money for publishers.

What with Hilary Price winning the Silver Reuben for Best Comic Strip, Liza Donnelly receiving Best Gag Cartoons, Roz Chast being awarded the Reuben Award for her graphic memoir (not to mention other feamle Silver REuben winners this year); Raina Telgemeier dominating the NYTBR best sellers list; Fiona Staples receiving multiple Eisner Award noms; the Ignatz Awards ALL awarded to talented women in the industry -- HOW is the attitude of "there aren't enough talented women" have an inkling of being anything but a naive and uninformed opinion of another age?

1 comment:

Rick Marschall said...

Back around 1990-91 I was the American representative of Angouleme, and one year I organized a tour packager for cartoonists, publishers and fans who wanted to attend as a group. We had more than 125! Quite an experience. In recent years I have not attended many of the European comics festivals, various circumstances intruding -- but this prize controversy is in a situation that didn't exist back in the day. I applaud your POV, Mike, odd to say that it is brave, maybe suicidal. The crux is -- do you know this? I cannot find this fact anywhere -- how are the nominees picked? If one old warty man who hates women compiles the list, that's one thing. Is it readers, fans, scholars, retailers, critics, who nominate? Otherwise, in some time soon, there will be am ironclad list apportioned between man, women, gays, whites, Polynesians, left-handers, AIDs victims...