Tag Archives: Ah! Nana

Symposium Report for “Drawing Gender: Women and French-language Comics”

by Morgan Podraza

French Comics Poster

During the weekend of 28–29 February 2020, scholars from France, Belgium, the United States and the United Kingdom came together for “Drawing Gender: Women and French-language Comics,” a symposium presented and sponsored by the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in partnership with the Department of French and Italian at the Ohio State University. Framed by the events surrounding the 2016 Angoulême International Comics Festival in which the nominations for the Grand Prix included all men and happening in coordination with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum’s exhibit “Ladies First: A Century of Women’s Innovations in Comics and Cartoon Art,” the symposium was dedicated to the representation of and contributions by women in comics within the Francophone world. Thus, central discussions during the symposium were concerned with not only bringing the work of women to the foreground but also calling attention to the ways that women’s experiences and identities are conveyed through such work. Importantly, these conversations also highlighted and engaged with artists and works that expanded beyond the boundaries of any one identity—including a range of languages; nationalities; sexual and gender identities; and social and cultural backgrounds—in order to further emphasize the incredible contributions of creators who have not been historically canonized.

Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Two Glorious Years of Ah! Nana by Trina Robbins

Some time in 1976 I received a phone call from a Frenchman in the comics industry, who lived in New York and was somehow connected to various comics venues.[1] He told me that a new magazine was being published in France, featuring women cartoonists, and that he could get me into the publication by acting as my agent and taking a percentage of my pay. That was fine with me, until shortly after that I received a letter from Jean Pierre Dionet, inviting me to contribute to the magazine, which I now learned was to be called Ah! Nana, a pun on the word for pineapple and French slang for girl. Needless to say, I never had to pay the French guy a thing, and it was pretty sleazy of him to even try to make money off me.

From the first issue, I was thrilled to be one of a handful of American women [2] included along with a galaxy of brilliant European women cartoonists. My God, I was being published in France! I had really arrived!

Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: , , ,

Ah! Nana: The Forgotten French Feminist Comics Magazine by Catriona MacLeod

The process of female integration into French-language comic strip (or bande dessinée) creation in the twentieth century was slow, with women linked to this domain much more likely to inhabit the role of illustrator for children’s books. In the late 1970s, however, as Claire Bretécher and Annie Goetzinger made their mark as pioneering but exceptional female creators in the Francophone medium, a new publication appeared with the potential to expedite the slow inclusion of women artists into the bande dessinée by providing an unprecedented vehicle both for semi-established and previously unpublished female creators to present their work. The journal Ah! Nana did not fulfil this potential, however, and after falling foul of strict censorship laws and the restrictive economic sanctions that accompanied them, folded after only nine issues.

Ah! Nana was certainly short-lived, producing its first issue in October 1976 and its last in September 1978, however, as the only journal in French history created entirely by women featuring regular bandes dessinées – although male artists were occasionally invited to contribute – it constitutes an innovative experiment in the development of the adult Francophone BD. In spite of this, it has, like so many other female-led artistic endeavours, been largely ignored in chronologies and encyclopaedias of the Francophone medium. Patrick Gaumer’s 2004 Larousse de la BD does not mention it at all, whilst the 2003 BD Guide devotes one short paragraph of its 1525 pages to the journal, simply noting its creation by women, the name of its editor Janique Dionnet [1], and the fact that it was eventually censored.

Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: , , ,

%d bloggers like this: