Despite the icy wind blowing on the ramparts of Angoulême, the public answered the call of the 50th edition of the International Comics Festival. After a blank year, in 2021, and attendance down 25% last year, the return to normal conditions of an event free of health constraints foreshadowed a festive atmosphere.
It was, to a certain extent, the exhibitions, in particular those devoted to manga, having attracted a young and numerous public. Exhibitions where the taste for the strange was often combined with a form of aestheticization of violence and eroticization of bodies, especially women. The whole being, it is true, accompanied by a critical apparatus putting back these works, in particular those of the veteran Ryoichi Ikegami (Crying Freeman), in the context of their time of publication.
Between accusations and threats
Because times are changing. Opposite the Musée du papier, on the banks of the Charente, where the Bastien Vivès exhibition was to be held, canceled after accusations of misogyny and child pornography in some of his works, were wild displays of “child pornography: complicit publishers, guilty broadcasters” or “respect is not censorship”.
In the aisles of the “bubbles” of exhibitors circulated, under the coat, a small red booklet entitled The Reasons for Anger, mocking the platform of a certain number of authors calling on the festival to adopt a charter committing it to ” to carry out its future programming in respect of the rights of people affected by minorities”.
An idea that Franck Bondoux, general delegate of the event, rejects en bloc: “If it is to establish an absolute balance between minorities, it is not! If it’s to talk about oppressed peoples and authors, we already do it. During a round table organized by Le Point on “resistance through drawing”, three authors, the Moroccan Zainab Fasiki, the Iranian Mana Neyestani and the Turkish Ersin Karabulut came to testify about the threats of which they were victims.
Threats which were also the targets of Bastien Vivès, certainly for very different reasons, and members of the festival team, underlines with force Franck Bondoux who regrets that the debate is so complicated to hold. Regret shared by the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, present at this round table, who however recalled the limits set by law: “We cannot incite hatred, violence, anti-Semitism, racism , we cannot promote child pornography, but it is up to the judge to decide. »
An impossible debate
Sign of the difficulty of the debate and the division of the world of the 9th art on the question, two debates were held the same day to evoke these questions. The first, organized by two feminist collectives on the theme of sexism in comics, was done without contradiction but without invective, the former juvenile judge, Anne-Laure Maduraud, being indignant in particular that artists cleared themselves of everything impact of their creations, without however calling for their censorship.
The latter was on everyone’s lips for another debate on the representation of sexuality in the 9th art. “This case goes beyond the Vivès case”, estimated the designer Coco, former Charlie Hebdo. “It’s about this freedom we have to draw everything and it must not be confined by the feelings of the victims, otherwise, we can no longer represent anything. If a line has been crossed, justice must decide and not social media. »
An allusion to the attacks launched on the latter against artists, taking the boards out of their context, as Riad Sattouf did, the yet very consensual author of The Arab of the Future, barely elected Grand Prix d’Angoulême, Wednesday January 25. During his speech, he issued this advice to young authors: “Beware of all ideologies, be indignant at all forms of intimidation and censorship, take advantage of the freedom of expression which is unique in France, make books and more books! »
Independent publishers triumph on the charts
The Golden Fauvewas awarded to The Color of Things, melodrama with black humor whose characters are embodied by circles, signed by the Swiss author Martin Panchaud at Çà et là, an independent publisher who won two other prizes, including that of the public for Naphtaline, by Sole Otero, an exciting family fresco Argentina.
The festival also awarded honorary trophies to the great guest mangakas, Junji Ito, master of horror, Ryoichi Ikegami, thriller veteran, and Hajime Isayama, creator of the Attack on Titan phenomenon (110 million albums sold).
The great absentees of this list are the big publishing houses, and in particular Casterman (also publisher of Bastien Vivès), in the running with The Last Queen, by Jean-Marc Rochette who was among the favorites.