Ah ! Nana was a French comics magazine published from October 1976 to September 1978, running nine issues. It was published by Humanoïdes Associés, best known as the publishers of Métal Hurlant, or Heavy Metal. It was the first French publication featuring work entirely by women (though each issue invited one man to contribute) at a time when comics were still almost exclusively male environments. It included work by such French cartoonists as Chantal Montellier, Florence Cestac, and Nicole Claveloux, as well as Americans such as Trina Robbins. It sold 15,000 copies on a print run of 30,000, before the ban on sales to minors proved fatal, due to its frequent taboo and controversial material.
The title is a play on words, "nana" being slang for a young woman, and "Ah Nana" being pronounced the same as "ananas", the French word for "pineapple".
Though the magazine was the brainchild of a man, Humanoïdes founder and co-publisher Jean-Pierre Dionnet, it lived up to its slogan "fait par et pour les femmes" ("made by and for women"). It fully embraced both the culture of the French feminist movement and the American underground scene.
At the time, French feminism was starting to use the media to both shock and satirize contemporary society, and French comics (bande dessinée or BD) were reaching maturity and attracting more adult audiences. Ah ! Nana entered the scene at a perfect time for such material. Comics were also an overwhelmingly male environment; many women were shunted into children's illustration, and the few women that broke into the mainstream BD publications were routinely excluded from conferences.
In addition to comics, it carried a feature called "Histoire de la BD féminine", which profiled female cartoonists from all over the world. Its text features covered other female-centric media, including books, television, film, and music. It also did not hesistate to address the pressing social and political issues of the day. From issue 3 on, each issue revolved around a particular, often provocative, theme (for example, issue 3 itself billed itself as about "Naziism Today", though it dealt more broadly with contemporary racism and anti-Semitism).
- Talet, Virginie, "Le magazine Ah ! Nana : une épopée féministe dans un monde d’hommes ?" CLIO: Histoires, femmes et sociétés 24-2006. pp. 251-272