Will Eisner’s early years
Here’s a list of most of the reference materials I read while putting together the first part of my Will Eisner profile in episode 4 of The Lakes International Comic Art Podcast.
Alter Ego issue 48
Twomorrows Publishing has a great range of titles exploring comic history. Issue 48 concentrates on Eisner’s early years and includes an interview with the man himself on his days working with Quality comics.
Eisner’s own retelling of his time as a comic book artist before developing the Spirit, it’s a thin volume and essential reading.
Available from Amazon
The Comic Detective
Ken Quattro unearthed the original court transcripts of the DC vs Fox Wonder Man trial.
Comic Book Artist, Vol 2, No. 6
Tribute issue to Will Eisner with contributions from some of the biggest names in comics. Available as a digital download from Twomorrows Publishing
If you’re interested in the period of the birth of the comic book industry, the following books are brilliantly informative…
Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book
by Gerard Jones
Wonderfully evocative exploration of the era.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Paperback
by Michael Chabon
Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Literature, a fictional tale of two comic creators during this era.
Book club with Michael Chabon
Radio 4 interview with Michael Chabon about The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, he talks about interviewing Will Eisner for the book.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival recently announced that this years festival will mark the centennial of Will Eisner’s birth with three exciting projects to celebrate the work and impact he had on the comic industry.
Eisner started supplying strips to comic publishers in 1936, encouraged by his school friend and future Batman creator Bob Kane. He set up a studio with former editor Jerry Iger, employing a staff of comic artists to draw strips for a range of early comic book publishers. The Spirit, Eisner’s most famous and lasting creation premiered in a weekly syndicated Sunday newspaper supplement in June, 1940. Eisner was able to deliver stories to his more mature audience using innovative storytelling techniques, drawing inspiration from cinema and film noir in particular.
After, a stint in the Army during World War II, Eisner continued The Spirit and set up a company producing educational comics, particularly used for training purposes. He produced a number of autobiographical long form comics, helping to popularise the term ‘graphic novel’. He created one of the first major works on comics theory with the publication of ‘Comics & Sequential Art’ in 1985. He continued to produce comics right up to his death in 2005.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is commemorating 100 years since Will Eisner’s birth in the following ways:
A broad sheet sized centennial comic, with contributions from contemporary comic greats such as Sean Philips, Ed Brubaker, Jason Latour and many more.
An exhibition at the Brewery Arts Centre of Eisner’s comic artwork from throughout his long career with rare pages and several complete Spirit stories.
A competition for students to illustrate ‘The Spirit of the Lake District’
Full details of these great events are on ComicArtFestival.com
Keep listening to the Podcast, where we will be examining Will Eisner’s life and his astounding contribution to comic art in future episodes.