Why Do We Have a Women-Only Award & Residency?
“We feel our work is not good enough, but who is deciding what’s good enough?” – LDC founder Nicola Streeten at the Angouleme International Comics Festival 2017.
In 2017, at the biggest comic festival in Europe, all 30 award nominees for the lifetime award were male. In fact, in its 43 year history up to that point, only one winner has been female. It kicked up quite the backlash.
Some argue that it’s the lack of women in the history of comics. And it’s an inescapable truth that sexism has historically meant that women have had fewer opportunities in the arts than men.
But then again, the house of illustration in central London hosted an exhibition of Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics featuring artists from as far back as the 18th century.
It could be the genre of ‘comics’ that is considered eligible for the award needs questioning. US superhero comics are considered mainstream, and are famously male-dominated, written by men, for men (for example, stats show that the average percentage of female creators for DC Comics was 17.1% & Marvel at 14.8% in April 2018).
Whereas best-selling comic artists like Marjane Satrapi or Alison Bechdel are producing literary memoirs on family and identity that have since become films or Broadway plays.
Whether it’s a lack of female comic artists, or a lack of acknowledgement, I really don’t know.
But at LDComics we believe the lack of gender parity in the mainstream comic book industry is due to the fact that women don’t currently sit in many decision making positions.
So that’s what we’ve set up the LDC Awards to be.
To raise the representation & awareness of female-identifying graphic novelists in a historically white-male dominated space.