Will Eis­ner: Cham­pion of the Graphic Novel

Comic leg­end Will Eis­ner el­e­vated car­toons from throw­away fare to high lit­er­ary art­form. This coffee-ta­ble book shows you why…

ImagineFX - - Inspiration | Books -

Au­thor Paul Le­vitz Pub­lisher Abrams ComicArts Price £25 Web www.abram­scomi­carts.com Avail­able Now

Ev­ery artist with an in­ter­est in graphic nov­els needs to know about New York artist Will Eis­ner. His sem­i­nal 1978 work A Con­tract With God is widely con­sid­ered the first sig­nif­i­cant graphic novel, ush­er­ing in a new kind of per­sonal, non­super­hero sto­ry­telling that changed the art of comics for­ever.

Fea­tur­ing over 200 colour il­lus­tra­tions, and mak­ing full use of its large page for­mat, this hard­back vol­ume is as com­plete a col­lec­tion of Will’s work as you’re ever likely see, stretch­ing from his 1930s news­pa­per car­toons and iconic 1940s strip The Spirit, right up to his work for Dark Horse Comics, just be­fore his death in 2005 at the age of 86.

Paul Le­vitz, his­to­rian and for­mer pres­i­dent and pub­lisher of DC Comics, traces Will’s evo­lu­tion as an artist with a clear sense of pas­sion, draw­ing you into the de­tail of the artist’s life. But what re­ally keeps you turn­ing the pages, is the art it­self.

The teem­ing life of an im­mi­grant city burned into the young Will’s eyes on his ar­rival in New York, and the earthy im­me­di­acy and vis­ceral na­ture of his street scenes still have the ca­pac­ity to en­thral and amaze to­day. As Brad Met­zer ar­gues: “It wasn’t that he was one of the first to cre­ate ‘se­ri­ous comics’. It’s that he was one of the first to show the world that comics should be taken se­ri­ously.”

A de­tail from Will Eiser’s cover for A Con­tract With God, his 1985 comic on the hu­man con­di­tion.

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