Will Eisner (1917–2005) is universally considered the master of comics storytelling, best known for The Spirit, his iconic newspaper comic strip, and A Contract With God, the first significant graphic novel. This seminal work from 1978 ushered in a new era of personal stories in comics form that touched every adult topic from mortality to religion and sexuality, forever changing the way writers and artists approached comics storytelling.
This week, we honor his legacy.
Noted historian Paul Levitz celebrates Eisner by showcasing his most famous work alongside unpublished and rare materials from the family archives in Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel. Also included are original interviews with creators such as Jules Feiffer, Art Spiegelman, Scott McCloud, Jeff Smith, Denis Kitchen, and Neil Gaiman—all of whom knew Eisner and were inspired by his work to create their own graphic novels for a new generation of readers.
Today, we’re releasing outtakes from the book, including material that is largely unpublished. Enjoy!
Original art by Will Eisner for two Spirit magazine promo ads for Harvey Comics, 1966.
Western Union telegram from publisher Everett “Busy” Arnold to Will Eisner, December 5, 1940.
What Your U.S. Senator Does by Ivan Klapper, Sterling Publishing Company, 1968. Cover art by Will Eisner.
Class Nite!, program covers for DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, 1934 (left) and 1935 (right).
NEW YORKERS: To conclude Will Eisner Week, Paul Levitz joins Columbia professor Jeremy Dauber for a discussion of Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel on Monday, March 7 at 6PM at Columbia University. It is free and open to the public. If you are interested in attending, click here.
The Cartoon Art Museum celebrates Will Eisner Week with a spirited discussion of the legendary creator’s life and artwork on Sunday, March 8, 2015 from 4-5 pm. San Francisco-based comic creators Mario Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Steve Leialoha (Fables), and Trina Robbins (Pretty in Ink) will discuss Eisner’s career and the impact that his work had on their own artistic endeavors.
About WILL EISNER WEEK: WILL EISNER WEEK
is an annual series of celebrations that takes place in multiple
cities, timed around Will Eisner’s March 6th birthday. Started in 2009,
Will Eisner Week is dedicated to promoting graphic novel literacy, free
speech awareness, and the legacy of Will Eisner. This year Will Eisner
Week is once again a truly international celebration including England, Scotland and Italy.
State University Comics Studies program joins the Will & Ann Eisner
Family Foundation to recognize Will Eisner Week 2016, the annual series
of events held across the country that celebrate graphic novels, sequential
art, free speech, and the legacy of Will Eisner, one of the most innovative
figures in the history of comics and graphic novels.
Comics Studies program will host a special screening of the documentary Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential
Artist followed by a panel discussion of “Eisner the Dreamer.”
participants include Steve Lieber, Eisner-Award winning cartoonist, illustrator
and storyboard artist; Matt Wagner, comics artist and creator of Grendel and current writer of The Spirit; David Walker, an award-winning comic book writer; and
Heidi Kaufman, Associate Professor of English and comics scholar at
University of Oregon.
The event will be moderated
by Brian Michael Bendis, an award-winning writer whose work
includes Powers, Jessica Jones, Avengers, Ultimate Spider-man, and Daredevil, among many others.
Will Eisner (1917-2005) was a
pioneer in the creation of comics during the “Golden Age” of the 1930s and
’40s, achieving fame with his noir crime-fighting superhero, The Spirit. He
later re-invented himself by publishing several graphic novels, including A Contract with God and To the Heart of the Storm. Each year,
the prestigious Will Eisner Awards, the “Oscars of the Comics Industry,” are
presented at San Diego Comic-Con, the world’s largest comics convention.
Friday, March 4, 2016
Documentary screening: 12pm
Panel discussion: 2pm