The other female recipient is from France, where proper recognition of its female artist talent had to wait until 2000. That year, Florence Cestac became the first woman ever to receive the Grand Prix at the world’s second-largest comic festival, the Festival d’Angoulême. She’d been an active cartoonist since the 1970s under her own publishing house. Her work now sells at auction.
Female comic artists have always been around, but their efforts were, and sadly still are, often thwarted by organisations with all-male leaderships that didn’t appreciate their talent as comic artists.
Smartphones and technology changed art lovers and readers’ behaviours alike, thanks to webcomic platforms and social media networks. For female webcomic artists, platforms such as webtoons removed barriers to the industry, allowing them to submit their work freely, without prejudice as to whether there would be an appetite for their work.
With social media networks, especially Instagram, female artists can now engage directly with their fans, organically grow their fanbase and extend the reach of their works. Ratings, viewings, word of mouth and engagement form the foundation of their reputations as credible webcomic artists. Their works go on to have a life of their own, branching beyond online: to merchandising or adaptations in video games, animation and drama. Their online reputations are compelling the industry, which is used to overlooking these women, to pay attention and recognise their talent and achievements.