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January 5, 2016

Boycotting Grand Prix Nominees List Grows; Should Continue To Grow Until Story Changes


I was told last night from a number of sources that several cartoonists nominated in the all-male 2015 long list for grand prix consider at the Angouleme Festival would join Riad Sattouf and Dan Clowes in removing themselves from consideration and backing the aims of a nascent boycott effort either explicitly or implicitly.

At 9:00 AM ET, the well-connected cartoonist Matt Madden has the list at Sattouf, Clowes, Christophe Blain, Charles Burns, Pierre Christin, Etienne Davodeau, Milo Manara, Joann Sfar and Chris Ware. More are expected, at least until the story changes in some way where this reaction might be moot. I don't think a lot of those cartoonists are social-media driven, so I'd guess these have come from publisher statements. My hunch is that the majority of that list of people bailing, given the reduction of nonsense this mini-crisis will hopefully engender, are the kind of forceful cartooning talents that would be in line for the grand prix at some point in their careers, that would surprise no one if named at some point. This is a list from the heart of the nominees list, not its periphery.

That is a staggering number of world-class talents, enough that to move forward with the remaining list -- or however it survives -- would be willful in a way that would be as shocking as the initial list.

I think this is all good. It's a dumb list if it somehow manages to include no women with that broad of a purview. There's a history of male dominance with the prize far ahead of how anyone I know conceives of the medium. That's a deadly combination. If you're asked to participate in something that you feel doesn't do honor to you if you win or by being listed, you decline to participate. I feel that's true of American awards, too.

I'm not sure what you do at this point, but for someone out there this is a full-time gig and I'm sure some solution can be found. Even if the award is eliminated this year, it's not like this harms anyone. There are of course dozens upon dozens of cartoonists that are women that can swing with the group named. One name that's come back up, since her special award wasn't a grand prix award, is Claire Bretécher, whose profile I think dwarfs all but about five or six of the people on that original list. I'm not sure how you'd approach anyone not on the original list to be on a new list. What a mess.

Update: The BBC covers the controversy.

Update: This Le Monde article provides provenance on a couple of the announcements and gives some general contextual information in easy-to-parse form.

Update: Here's the BD Egalite piece that got this moving; although I think people were stunned about the initial list, a lot of people are so used to this kind of thing that it took a nudge for them to notice.

Update: Robot 6 has a nice grab-and-gather here. That response from the Festival is embarrassing, contemptible and idiotic. Relative parity isn't at issue. A view of comics where no woman cartoonist older than 37 can crack a top 30 for lifetime achievement consideration is. That is a shitty list. If you want to double down on that, good luck to you. You've put a lot of your potential guests in an embarrassing situation through this bizarre view of things, and they are reacting accordingly.

Update: Missed this funny no thank you from Brian Michael Bendis.
posted 11:05 pm PST | Permalink

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