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January 18, 2016

Quick Peek In On Things At Angouleme

It's about a week before people start to take off for Europe, eventually ending up in Angouleme for the last weekend of the month. A couple of things jump out.

* the last full statement of substance I've seen on where the vote for grand prix was left came from Jessica Abel last Friday. As you recall, the 0 for 30 nominees long list led to boycotts, a goofy defense in the form of an historical argument regarding the number of women eligible, a half-step towards adding female nominees and finally a hands-up-in-the-air open voting decision -- one would guess to not experience added nominees from declining the "honor."

Abel's post noted that some people are boycotting the vote and some are not; the political implications of such a vote are pretty clear. She recommends people become eligible to vote, because the grand prix voting bloc is male far ahead of any similarly-sized voting block should be at this point in history. You're eligible no matter what country you're from if you have work published in France, so if you're an artist that qualifies you should contact your French publisher -- or hopefully already have, since time is running out.

Abel's ballot provides a suggestion for how a vote might be used. Naming Claire Bretécher at #1 despite the Festival's insistence she isn't eligible because she's such an obvious candidate that there might be some momentum collected behind her; Alison Bechdel at #2 because she's had a full and mighty career of just the kind it seems silly for the nomination-makers to ignore, and then a third of whomever you want but hopefully a female for this of all years.

This is clearly something that will need to be pursued into the constitution of the committee and the voting bloc and the festival's culture. It's such a great show that it deserves an unimpeachable awards as much as it possible for them to have one, and I think it's possible for them to do a lot better.

* Abel makes mention of this note from BD Egalite about the fussiness of the voting process. They won't be participating in this shaggy voting revamp and will continue their pressure on the show entire.

* the controversy at the Grand Prix level provides a different context than most years for the Prix Artemisia, which goes to a female creator and work. That's been going since 2007, and I think the best way to see its winners in the context of the show's core honors is as less an alternate track than as a place where we see future potential grand prix candidates and book of the year fixtures. If I have this rambling article correct, this year's winner is Sandrine Revel for Glenn Gould, une vie a contretemps (Dargaud), with a special jury prize going to Théa Rojzman for the album Mourir (ca n'existe pas) (La Boite a Bulles).
posted 10:55 pm PST | Permalink

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