From the nineteenth century satire to today’s graphic novels, observational comedy to surreal fantasy, ink drawings to entirely digital works, the House of Illustration Comix Creatrix all-female exhibition celebrates some comic wonders.
Comic Creatrix features obvious candidates - Canadian comics artist Kate Beaton, British newspaper cartoonist Posy Simmonds, and American writer and artist Audrey Niffenegger – as well as less well-known rising stars and past artists. Faudet-Harrison designed the exhibit, which has a theme of diversity and is arranged by subject matter.
Image: The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenger
Judging by the exhibition’s colourful contents, Angoulême - one of the world’s largest comic festivals, which failed to name one woman in its 30 nominees for its prestigious award earlier this year – and other comic powerhouses have sorely missed out.
In fact, as worldwide sales of comics and graphic novels increased by 4.39% in 2014, well-written female superheroes are powering through the page and screen and girls are increasingly reading comics.
All great news – but Comic Creatrix goes even further, pointing out women comic creators are neither rare nor restricted to the last few decades, but have been overlooked since the eighteenth century, with the earliest work on show being from 1785 by Mary Darly.
"Unfortunately, there are few women in the history of comics," said Franck Bondoux from Angoulême. Well, hopefully, with more like Comic Creatrix, it will soon be totally debunked that comics are for men, by men – and proved that women have created some of the defining, important works of the medium, and continue to do so.
Comic Creatrix opened on 5 February and runs until 15 May at House of Illustration, King's Cross.