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Thomas Woodruff Removes His "Graphic Opera" From Eisner Nominations

In recent days, there has been plenty of comment regarding Thomas Woodruff receiving four Eisner nominations.

In recent days, there has been plenty of comment regarding Thomas Woodruff receiving four Eisner nominations for Francis Rothbart! The Tale of a Fastidious Feral published by Fantagraphic. The book, described by Woodruss as a "graphic opera" was nominated for Best Graphic Album—New and Best Publication Design categories, while Woodruff was nominated for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (Interior Art) and Best Lettering categories. Thomas Woodruff and his history teaching at School of Visual Arts in New York City for 39 years, Chair of the BFA Illustration and Cartooning Department for 20 years, and only stepping down as Chair Emeritus in 2021.

Francis Rothbart! The Tale of a Fastidious Feral published by Fantagraphics is described as "A stunning, head-turning, "graphic opera" masterpiece from an acclaimed painter and illustrator." The term 'graphic opera' , a phrase created by Woodruff for this publication, has received plenty of mocking criticism, more seriously are some people's trouhles with the whole Mowgli-ness of "Francis Rothbart! follows a feral child who is raised by magpies and other creatures and is repeatedly struck by lightning. Because of the phenomena, the child develops eccentric talents, which he then abuses, leading to his ultimate destruction by the same natural world that once nurtured him."

Comic Creators React to Thomas Woodruff's Eisner-Nominated Graphic Opera

But since the announcement, there have been large amount of comments expressed on social media regarding Woodruff's relationship with his students, racial issues regarding the graphic novel, as well as the leaked sales of the book making any vote impossible. As a result of the continued media attention, including a petition for the Eisner Judges to withdraw Woodruff from nomination, Woodruff has asked just that. Fantagraphics have forwarded the following statement.

I have decided to respectfully decline the four nominations for my book, Francis Rothbart!, from this year's Eisner awards. I greatly appreciate the people at Fantagraphics and the Eisner Organization for their support of my metaphorical comics fable about an outsider and his struggles for acceptance in a hostile society. My graphic album being recognized by the panel of judges is a wonderful honor. I wish the best to all of the deserving and talented other nominees, and I applaud their achievements.

However his nominations are still present on the Eisner Awards list. America has a holiday weekend, might it change after that?

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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