Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Will Eisner!

I don't remember when I first heard the name "Will Eisner," but it was probably sometime close to my mid-teens. I grew up in the 70s and 80s, so by the time I started reading comic books Mr. Eisner had retired from the industry. His major creation is, of course, The Spirit, who had his heydey in the '40s and early 50s. Mr. Eisner was doing the first "graphic novels" at about this time, but I was knee-deep in the superhero craze and never read these. Besidese, they are geared more for adult tastes. However, I'm embarassed to say that I never have gotten around to reading any of them! I just went to the Columbus Library page and reserved what is commonly referred to as "the first graphic novel," Will Eisner's A Contract With God. (Only about 30 years too late....sorry!!!)

When DC Comics started publishing brand-new Spirit stories in 2005, I eagerly bought every issue. There was something special about this book; it seemed to bring out the best in the talented artists and writers who worked on it. And what writers and artists! It seemed liked everybody who was anybody wanted to work on this book. Jeph Loeb, Darwyn Cooke, Fish-Bone, Dick Giordano, Brian Bolland, Mark Evanier, Sergio Aragones, and Mike Ploog were just some of the extraordinary talent to work on this book. It was probably released to coincide with the movie THE SPIRIT, written and directed by Frank Miller, which came out in 2008. I was psyched to see this film until every review I saw panned it savagely and it went away before I could take the time to get to it. I still haven't seen it! (Only about 5 years too late....? haha)

Since 1988, the US comic-book equivalent to the Academy Awards have been called The Eisner Awards, and are awarded to excellence in the US comic-book industry every year at a ceremony held at the Comic-Con in San Diego.

March 6 would have been Mr. Eisner's 96ths birthday.

Happy Birthday, Will Eisner!

Gabriel Macht as The Spirit (2008)

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