Earlier this year when Angoulême, one of the world’s biggest comic-book festivals, failed to include a single woman on its 30-strong Grand Prix shortlist, it created a widespread of fury and several prominent artists and campaigners threatened to boycott it.
Women have always been present throughout the evolution of the comics medium and produced some of its defining works, but their contribution has been often overlooked. Debunking the myth that there are very few female creators in the industry, Olivia Ahmad has been working together with journalist and comics enthusiast Paul Gravett to curate a new exhibition called Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics at the House of Illustration in London.
Featuring original comic artworks, graphic novels, comics and zines from 100 pioneered female comic artists from 18th-century caricature to today’s graphic novels, it is the UK’s largest ever exhibition ever displayed, working across genres and generations, from observational comedy to surreal fantasy, challenging biography to subversive dissent.
Mary Darly’s 1775 portrait, Corporal Perpendicular, is the earliest work in the exhibition. She was among the first professional caricaturists in England. When working in the 1920s and 30s British cartoonist Anne Harriet Fish signed her work with the gender ambiguous ‘Fish’ to avoid discrimination, drawing cartoons satirising the ‘flapper’ lifestyle for the Tatler, American Vogue, Vanity Fair.
Other highlights include work from Jackie Ormes, the first African-American woman to create a syndicated comic strip in Torchy in Heartbeats (1954), as well as Miriam Katin’s We Are On Our Own, a moving account of her escape from the Nazi invasion of Budapest. No subject is taboo, art of protest or with hard hitting social themes also feature prominently at Comix Creatix: Una addresses the ocean of unreported sexual assault in Becoming / Unbecoming. Nina Bunjevac’s Fatherland traces the life of her father Peter, a Serbian nationalist who was killed in an explosion while preparing a bomb intended for supporters of Yugoslavian President Tito.
Images courtesy of the House of Illustration
The 100 artists are: Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Alison Bechdel, Alison Sampson, Angie Hofmeister, Angie Mills, Anke Feuchtenberger, Anne Harriet Fish, Annie Goetzinger, Art is a Lie, Asia Alfasi, Audrey Niffenegger, Aurélie William-Levaux, Aya Morton, Barbara ‘Willie’ Mendes, Barbara Yelin, Blackjack, Brigid Deacon, Carla Speed McNeil, Carol Swain, Cat O’Neil, Catherine Anyango, Chantal Montellier, Charlotte Salomon, Chie Kutsuwada, Claire Bretecher, Claudia Davila, Corinne Pearlman, Dale Messick, Denny Derbyshire, Donya Todd, Eleni Kalorkoti, Ellen Lindner, Emma Vieceli, Evelyn Flinders, Fay Dalton, Florence Cestac , Francesca Ghermandi, Hannah Berry, Hwei Lim, Isabel Greenberg, Jackie Ormes, Jacky Fleming, Joana Estrela, Josceline Fenton, Julie Doucet, Karrie Fransman, Kate Beaton, Kate Brown, Kate Charlesworth, Kate Evans, Katie Green, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, Kripa Joshi, Laura Callaghan, Laura Howell, Leela Corman, Leila Abdul Razzaq, Lily Renee, Lizz Lunney, Lorna Miller, Lynda Barry, Lynn Paula Russell, Manjula Padmanabhan, Marcia Snyder, Maria Stoian, Marie Duval, Marion Fayolle, Mary Darly, Maya Wilson, Miriam Katin, Nadine Redlich, Naniiebim, Nell Brinkley, Nicola Lane, Nicola Streeten, Nina Bunjevac, Pat Tourett, Patrice Aggs, Philippa Rice, Posy Simmonds, Rachael Ball, Rachael House, Ramona Fradon, Reina Bull, Reshu Singh, Roz Chast, Rutu Modan, Sarah Lightman, Shirley Bellwood, Simone Lia, Sophie Standing, Suzy Varty, Tarpe Mills, Tijuana Bibles by Horizontal Press, Tillie Walden, Tove Jansson, Trina Robbins, Tula Lotay, and Una.
So do not miss this fantastic exhibition as it is running until 15 May.
Until 15 May 2016
House of Illustration
2 Granary Square
London N1C 4BH