And it was starting to look like they, as in the books of Agatha Christie, may be none.
But as big name after big name withdrew from being nominated in the Angoulême Grand Prix, the most prestigious award in comics, recognising a creator's lifetime of work, over the lack of any female representation on the list, things changed.
They have explained that the Festival cannot remake the history of comics. That when it introduced authors such as Marjane Satrapi and Posy Simmonds in previous years they received very few votes from the 3000 creators.
That it runs programming that looks at and studies gender in comics, including the all-female panel by Lisa Mandel "The role of men in comics", and has panels "Women in French and Swedish comics" and "Feminine Traits, Male Trait, Guess Who Designed What?" planned for this year.
But it now recognises that "today women and men are sensitive to the issue of the presence of female creators in comic. This also includes the symbolic dimension attached to it, as a 'lighthouse event', to be an opportunity for them, to voice this concern and in the defense of this cause."
And that is why they are adding female names to the list, in the hope that it will allow the debate to make solid progress and be a marker for the coming years.
Hmmm… I'm not sure if adding names for symbolic reasons or for debate is going to win people round, when the argument is that there are plenty of women whose position on that list should be a given.
But it may do for now.
By the way, I just told Bill Sienkiewicz that he had been nominated. No one else bothered to tell him it seems… he didn't even have the chance to pull out! He told me
"Wow. Zero Women? That's Unfortunate to say the least. These kinds of situations always remind me of Joni Mitchell's response to a critic calling her the world's best woman songwriter: "screw that 'woman' stuff…just say 'best songwriter'." On that note: WHY the Hell hasn't Jill Thompson won this already?!