Will Eisner passed away

The Comic-con community named their awards after him. You might have read Will Eisner's "The Spirit," or knew that from his works was born the concept of the graphic novel, or maybe you were even taught by him at New York's School of Visual Arts. He was a very pivitol one of the fathers of comics, but according to the Will Eisner site, "Will Eisner passed away on January 3rd, 2005 at the age of 87 following quadruple bypass heart surgery."

You can read about Mr. Eisner at Wikipedia. I pulled the following information about Mr. Eisner from a cached Googled page:

Will Eisner was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917, as the son of Jewish immigrants. He went to school at De Witt Clinton High School in the Bronx, and his first drawings were published in the school's newspaper. He made his debut in comics in 1936, when WOW What a Magazine! published his first work, 'Karry' and 'The Flame'. The magazine folded, but Eisner teamed up with his friend Jerry Iger and founded the Eisner-Iger Studio. They produced a tremendous amount of comics in all genres and styles, and recruited young artists such as Bob Kane, Lou Fine, and Jack Kirby. A memorable title Eisner made in this period is 'Hawk of the Seas', which originally started as 'The Flame'.
In 1939, Will Eisner left the studio to join the Quality Comics Group, where he worked on a syndicated 16-page newspaper supplement for which he created his most famous comic, 'The Spirit'. This innovative strip about a masked detective soon became the most popular feature of the comics section (for which Eisner also drew three other titles) and it was renamed The Spirit Section. Eisner's style stood out for the use of so-called "splash-pages" - one picture filling the page like a movie poster with the lettering fully integrated into the image - and his unmatched capacity for rendering atmospheres: mist, nighttime skies, fuming sewers, and the like.
In 1942, Will Eisner was drafted into the Army and served his country by producing posters, illustrations and strips for the education and entertainment of the troops. When he returned, he resumed 'The Spirit' (which had been drawn by others in his absence) and started cooperation with young artists like Jules Feiffer and Wally Wood.
Will Eisner founded the American Visuals Corporation, which created comics, cartoons and illustrations for educational and commercial purposes. One title Eisner revived was 'Joe Dope', a strip about a soldier he created during the war. The work for his corporation proved so lucrative, that Eisner abandoned 'The Spirit'. Dutch editor Olaf Stoop of The Real Free Press reprinted 'The Spirit' in the early 1970s and revived the interest in Eisner's work. This prompted Eisner to create 'A Contract With God' in 1978, four short stories about life in the Bronx slums in the 1930s, told with such literary agility and graphic accomplishment, that a new comics form was born: the graphic novel.
Kitchen Sink Press published Eisner's following graphic novels, like 'The Building', 'The Dreamer' (in which he describes his Spirit days, telling the tales of the time when comic artists were more like conveyor belt workers - obliged to work on pages with pre-printed panels) 'A Family Matter' and the semi-autobiographical 'To the Heart of the Storm'. Besides these, Eisner also started out in the field of comics theory. His 'Comics and Sequential Art' is a classic in its own right, and would later inspire Scott McCloud in the making of his monumental work, 'Understanding Comics'.
For the celebration of its 15 year existence in 1983, Lambiek proudly produced a Yiddish edition of the lead story of 'A Contract With God', both in Latin and in Hebrew lettering.
From 'A Contract with God', Yiddish version, by Will Eisner
Will Eisner can rightly be considered as the godfather of American comics, not only for adding 'The Spirit' to the long list of brilliant American comic strips, but especially for proving that comics can match literature and are not just a dubious means of entertainment for children (as people tought in the 1950s). Eisner was a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in New York and wrote two standard works on the creative process of making comics, 'Comics and Sequential Art' and 'Graphic Storytelling'. In 1988, the Eisner Awards were established, coveted comics prizes which Eisner still presides over at the yearly Comic-Con in San Diego.

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Read Comments (1)

Jonathan commented at 12:31 AM on January 12, 2005:

Wow. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have heard this news. I can''t believe a guy like Eisner is known to comic fans, but doesn't even register on "mainstream" radars.

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