Apparently they are rioting in Canada over the fact that a man was nominated for the Kim Yale award.
If by rioting, you mean writing some articles for the internet. Von Allan , the man in question nominated for the previously all-female Kim Yale Award for Most Talented Newcomer (one of the Lulu Award categories) was interviewed by the CBC and this gave rise to a couple of pieces, noting what a groundbreaker he was being nominated for an award traditionally given to women cartoonists:
Allan is delighted to see his book getting attention, but he said the question of whether he should be eligible is a “challenging debate.” “It’s tough. The problem is, most writers, most artists in the comic industry are men, and it’s traditionally been that way. It’s not right and I wish it was way more 50/50, but you could also argue the same thing about genres,” Allan said. Some commenters in the graphic novel world have suggested juried panels, instead of fans, submit nominations for the Lulu Awards to ensure more women are on the ballot.
Outgoing FoL president, Valerie D’Orazio delivered her “Farewell to Lulu” speech and told the CBC:
Valerie d’Orazio, president of the Friends of Lulu, the group that created the awards, has gone to bat for Allan’s nomination, saying there do not appear to be any rules that would disqualify him.
“The official rules, as far as I knew, didn’t specify a female-only award recipient, and even if it did that might be illegal because non-profits can’t discriminate according to gender,” she said in an email to CBC.
“And further … I had no big personal preference whether Von was on the ballot or not. He did a comic about strong female characters” and that should qualify him, she added.
There was some twitro-versy over all this, and it stirred some memories. If you’re going by Founder’s intent, I know for a fact that the Kim Yale Award was meant to be given to a woman. But had this ever been spelled out? I thought for sure it had to have been at least mentioned. Was I going crazy?
I sifted though the evidence. On the most recent Friends of Lulu blog post regarding the awards, it reads that the awards were established:
to bring attention to the best, most women-friendly and reader- friendly work in comics and to recognize the work of women comics creators of the past, Lulu members vote each summer for new inductees for the Women Cartoonists Hall of Fame, “Lulu of the Year,” and the year’s most promising new female talent. The New Talent award is named for comics writer Kim Yale, a founding member who passed away in 1997.
“Most promising new female talent.” Pretty unambiguous.
On the Comic Book Awards Almanac, (sadly, no longer updated) the award is listed as:
Kimberly A. Yale Award for Best New Talent: Awarded to a woman who has worked in the comic book & comic strip industry for less than two years. The category is named for a comic book writer & Friends of Lulu founding member who died in 1997.
So there you go. Some precedent for the supposition that the award was meant to be given to a female creator. Over the last few years, the name of the award was changed, and this year, the eligibility was also changed. But at least I’m not crazy.
A few weeks ago, I wrote:
Also, I remain committed to keeping the Friends of Lulu Awards going in some capacity. If we can have The Glyph Comics Awards and GLAAD Awards, we can have some kind of awards for Women in Comics — although they are certainly winning the co-ed awards in increasing numbers.
I still like the idea of an award for women in comics. Apparently I am alone in that opinion. However, I was researching the nominees this year (some of whom I’d never heard of) and found this on the blog ofCarolyn Belefski, of Curls Studio, (art above) who was also nominated for the Kim Yale Award:
I looked up Kim Yale on the internet and found out this information about her: Kim Yale was an American writer and editor of comic books for multiple comic book companies, including Marvel Comics, DC Comics, First Comics and Warp Graphics. She was heavily involved with the Friends of Lulu, working as a member of the board, an organization promoting women in comics. The award for the Best New Female Comics Creator has been named in her honor. Yale died of breast cancer in 1997, aged 43. (via Wikipedia)
So there you go, a talented young artist learns about Kim Yale, keeping her name and spirit alive a little. Some good has come of all this after all.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.