10 Artists Boycott Grand Prix d’Angoulême Award

20160107_ComicsWhen the list of 30 nominees for the prestigious Grand Prix d’Angoulême, awarded annually to a comics-author for their entire body of work — think of it as a lifetime achievement award — at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France, was announced, there seemed to be something strange. Where were the women? Yes, it seems that out the many well-deserving female comics-artists, the nominating committee could not find a single one they felt deserving not even of the prize, but a nomination.

The French group BD Egalite first brought the snub to attention in the press on January 5, who called for a boycott of a prize. Soon after, cartoonist Jessica Abel translated and spread word of the boycott on her Facebook page. Soon enough, many of the nominees began withdrawing themselves from competition. As of right now, 10 of the 30 nominees are endorsing the boycott, including Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and Charles Burns, along with the publisher Fantagraphics.

As this was happening, Franck Bondoux, executive officer of the Angouleme International Comics Festival, took to the pages of French newspaper La Monde to defend the lack of women represented in the nominations for the award. “Unfortunately, there are few women in the history of comics,” he said, according to Brigid Alverson at Comic Book Resources. “That’s the reality. Similarly, if you go to the Louvre, you will find few women artists.”

Attempting to pass the blame did not deter the boycott. So yesterday, the festival announced that they were withdrawing the list of nominees, instead allowing the voting committee to pick whomever they like for the award. This doesn’t fix the problem, of course, and the fact that the festival is so reluctant to acknowledge the issue is troubling. Bondoux and others cite a history of misogyny in the comics world, which is true, but isn’t that more of a reason to make a change?

—Craig Hubert (@craighubert)

 (Clockwise starting from left) Photo by Guillaume Paumier/ Photo by Lunovorax/ Photo by Yves Tennevin/ All Courtesy Wikicommons)