After two weeks of uproar surrounding the multiple nomminations for a controversial comic (and its author), the organizers of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards have agreed to remove all four nominations for Thomas Woodruff and his graphic novel Francis Rothbart! The Tale of a Fastidious Feral for consideration for awards.
"We have been notified that the creator of an Eisner-nominated book has requested that any nominations for the work be removed from consideration," reads a statement provided by the comnunications and strategy department of the Comic-Con International: San Diego, the organizer of the Eisner Awards. "While it is not possible to remove the work from the ballot, any votes cast for it will not be tabulated, and the work is no longer in consideration."
By the organization's wording,the Eisner committee is sticking with its original nominations in the sense that Woodruff and his works are "Eisner-nominated", but that his nominations are no longer up for vote ("consideration") towards the awards.
This comes after uproar for the Eisners Awards' 2023 judges giving a pedestal to Woodruff and his book, given numerous emotional and workplace abuse accusations against him during his time as chair of the Illustration and Cartooning Department at the School of Visual Arts, as well as the controversial nature of the book itself.
Following an initial statement from Woodruff and his publisher Fantagraphics in defense of its nominations, Popverse on Saturday received a statement from Woodruff via his publisher asking that his four nominations be stricken.
Following that public request from Woodruff, the Eisners accepted the author's request.
Earlier in the week, a source close to this year's Eisner Awards judging shared some context as to how the nomination came to be, as well as the internal reaction among the judges. It wss summed up as "Distress and some recriminations, really."
The Eisner Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place Friday, July 21, 2023 during the annual Comic-Con International: San Diego event. You can read the revised nominees for the 2023 Eisner Awards here.
Editor's note: This article has been clarified to more accurately reflect the sitiation as we know it.