Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard something about the ongoing controversy surrounding the Grand Prix du Festivale d'Angouleme, a French comics award whose name roughly translates as "stinky cheese produced from the milk of goats who have eaten nothing but other stinky cheese." The award faced criticism from the comics community for failing to nominate a single woman in its list of 30 potential lifetime achievement winners, prompting a boycott of the award, creators asking for their names to be removed from the ballot, a series of petulant and insulting responses from the festival, a response to those responses, and, eventually, the spiteful changing of the ballot to an "open vote." As part of that open vote, one woman was actually nominated, Claire Wendling, though she asked people not to vote for her. In fact, it was beginning to seem that nobody wanted the award after its stature was tainted by the stench of rampant sexism, defiant responses by festival runners, and, of course, stinky cheese. But Angouleme had to get rid of the award somehow; and so they did.
According to reports of a sequence of events EXXXCLUSIVELY revealed to The Outhouse, a team of elite mimes (the French version of ninjas), crept into the home of famed cartoonist Hermann and hid the award underneath a pile of Jerry Lewis DVDs before escaping into the night, or, in the case of one unlucky member of the infiltration team, into an invisible box from which he is still trying to escape. But the damage was done, and Hermann reportedly awoke from a good night's sleep, ate some delicious snails for breakfast, and settled down to watch one of his favorite comedies, only to discover the notorious Angouleme Grand Prix award.
"Sacré bleu!" Hermann reportedly exclaimed upon realizing he had been saddled with the unsavory honor of winning an award that literally no one on the planet (according to a poll conducted by the Le Pew Research Center) wanted to win. According to the official festival rules, when an artist receives the Angouleme Grand Prix award, he, or she, but let's face it, probably he, has just six hours to pass the award to another artist by force or trickery before being stuck with it for an entire year and forced to be the guest of honor at the next year's festival, a position of great shame. Since the award went undiscovered for more than that amount of time while Hermann slumbered, the artist had no choice but to begrudgingly accept it.
"J'accuse..!" an understandably upset Hermann said to fellow artists the next day in the village square, as all of them avoided eye contact with the disgraced legend. Hermann's response was expected, if slightly odd because Hermann is actually Belgian, but just go with us on this. We have a lot more French jokes than we do Belgian ones (relatively speaking, when you consider we have about five that we constantly reuse).
At press time, Hermann was reportedly hard at work deciding who to nominate for the award next year in an act of revenge, and how to redeem his formerly prestigious career after being saddled with such a dishonor. We'll keep you updated.