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January 20, 2016

First Round Of Angouleme Grand Prix Voting: Alan Moore, Hermann, Claire Wendling

imageThe first round of voting for this year's Angouleme grand prix -- which went into seizure-driven course diversion when an initial list of 30 had no female comics-makers on it -- has had its results announced: veteran Hermann, the writer Alan Moore and the artist Claire Wendling.

This is a surprise although not in the deeply unpleasant way the initial list was a surprise. This is a surprise in that I could have guessed any number of times who might be a third artist on the finalists list if one were female and I would not have guessed Wendling, despite the fact I'm a fan. Wendling exists at that illustrator/comics-maker nexus, but I'd say solidly in the comics camp for works like Les Lumières de l'Amelou -- she gets a birthday at CR for instance, and an entry at and a lot of pure illustrators don't. She's a past awards-winner at the show for a burst of early '90s work, and I think may live in Angouleme itself.

That makes this an odd contest, and kind of a classic one. Hermann comes out of the 1960s serial tradition and was even published in the early 1980s by Fantagraphics in what seems like a million years before the French-language '90s generation came along and drove change in the awards process. Moore is a known quantity and likely wouldn't want anything to do with the actual process of being a festival president, but is certainly important to the medium and has co-authored several mega-popular works, which is a concern for the show. Wendling looks like an outsider candidate but the grand prix has occasionally made non-traditional choices, favoring one element of a comics-maker's portfolio over another. It'd be an intriguing development if she won, as much as I personally would have loved a more traditional candidate that just happened to be a woman in the running, as more of a direct counter to some of the asinine arguments floated during the initial flurry of debate.

Good luck to all the voters and to the candidates. If nothing else, we're all watching.

PS -- Bart Beaty's Facebook post on the finalists stated that Wendling compared the news to getting an ugly sweater for Christmas. This makes me want her to win everything for which she's ever up.
posted 3:25 pm PST | Permalink

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