The renowned Angoulême International Comics Festival has received major backlash after failing to nominate a single female creator for their Grand Prix lifetime achievement award. In a statement that did not make matters any better, Frank Bondoux, one of the festival’s organizers, defended the selection to Le Monde:

When you look at the prize-winners, you see that the artists on it have a certain maturity and are of a certain age. Unfortunately, there are not many women in the history of comics. That’s just reality. If you go to the Louvre, you will also find few feminine artists.

Now, after several of the 30 male nominees dropped out in protest, the festival has agreed to add women to their list of nominations. Before they did, however, several of the nominees released statements and tweeted their discontent with the festival. Riaf Sattouf listed a number of female cartoonists he would gladly cede his place to on Facebook, including Rumiko Takahashi, Julie Doucet, Anouk Ricard, Marjane Satrapi and Catherine Meurisse. American nominee, Daniel Clowes called it “a totally meaningless ‘honor’.” The other men who withdrew in protest are Joann Sfar, Milo Manara, Etienne Davodeau, Pierre Christin, Chris Ware, Christophe Blaine and Charles Burns.

This is not the first time the festival has neglected to celebrate the work of female comic book artists, in their 43-year history, only one woman. Florence Cestac, has won the Grand Prix. It was the Women in Comics Collective Against Sexism that called for the boycott, saying: “It all comes back to the disastrous glass ceiling we’re tolerated but never allowed top billing.” American comics creator Jessica Abel introduced the boycott to English speakers on Facebook, with her own translation of their statement, read it here.

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