01/02/2013 04:44 pm ET

Jacques Tardi, French Comic Artist, Refuses France's Top Award 'Legion D'Honneur'

Renowned comic book artist Jacques Tardi had a surprising response this week when he learned he was set to receive the Legion d’Honneur medal, France's top honor. The French cartoonist, best known for his historical fantasy series entitled, "Adele Blanc-Sec," refused the award with "the greatest determination," citing political reasons.

"Being fiercely attached to my freedom of thought and creativity, I do not want to receive anything, neither from this government or from any other political power whatsoever," he said in a statement to the AFP.

While many of Tardi's works are based in history, the 66-year-old artist has also created works of political fiction, such as "Rumeur sur le Rouergue."

Tardi was apparently taken aback when learned he would receive the Legion of Honor Tuesday evening from news reports. According to the AFP, Tardi added that he did not ask for the honor and has not stopped ridiculing institutions, such as the one that grants the annual award.

The Legion of Honor, an order created by former French leader Napoleon Bonaparte, is divided into five categories and awarded on a merit basis to both military officials and civilians.

Last year, Hollywood's Harvey Weinstein received the honor after producing French film "The Artist," which won five Oscars, including the Academy Award for best picture.

This is not the first time an intended recipient has turned down France's top honor, however. In fact, the award has a history of formidable refusals, from Claude Monet to Simone de Beauvoir. According to the Independent, the most common reason the award has been refused is over the implied belief that France should elect an elite in the first place.

What do you think? Is Tardi part of a long line of esteemed objectors, or did he make a big mistake in refusing the award? Let us know in the comments below.



Jacques Tardi