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Comic book pioneer dies...

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Comic book pioneer dies...

Postby wkelly91 » Tue Jan 04, 2005 8:59 pm


Comic book pioneer Will Eisner dies at 87

MIAMI (AP) — Will Eisner, the artist who revolutionized comic books with the popular newspaper supplement The Spirit and taught generations of soldiers how to maintain their equipment with the Joe Dope series, has died. He was 87.

Eisner died Monday at Florida Medical Center in Lauderdale Lakes of complications from quadruple bypass heart surgery last month, according to Denis Kitchen, Eisner's publisher for three decades.

"He was absolutely the greatest innovator the industry ever saw," Kitchen said.

Eisner started making comics in the 1930s and was the first to use "silent" balloonless panels to emphasize characters' emotions by focusing attention on finely wrought facial expressions.

He addressed subjects considered unthinkable in comic books and rarely seen at the time in newspaper comics: spousal abuse, tax audits, urban blight and graft.

In 1940, he created a weekly newspaper supplement titled The Spirit, which at its height had a circulation of 5 million in 20 Sunday newspapers. The supplement consisted of a comic book with three self-contained stories, and The Spirit became the most popular.

Its title character was a coroner named Denny Colt, believed murdered by a mad scientist's potion but actually buried alive. He protected the fictional Central City, which was based on New York.

"I had been producing comic books for 15-year-old cretins from Kansas," he told The Associated Press in a 1998 interview. With The Spirit, he was aiming for "a 55-year-old who had his wallet stolen on the subway. You can't talk about heartbreak to a kid."

Eisner was drafted during World War II, and the Army had him create Joe Dope to teach Jeep maintenance to soldiers with a bumbling comic-strip character.

After the war, he went back to The Spirit and continued the series until 1952. The Army also hired him for more instruction manuals, which he produced until the 1970s, Kitchen said.

Eisner's first graphic novel, A Contract with God, was published in 1978, combining elements of comic books and literary novels

An unappreciated artist RIP
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Postby Rico The Retard » Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:02 pm


"Hey honey, ya think KFC's still open"-Will Ferrell

Mark my words: Oliver Perez will be 2005 NL Cy Young Winner
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Postby Madison » Tue Jan 04, 2005 10:11 pm

Yes doctor, I am sick.
Sick of those who are spineless.
Sick of those who feel self-entitled.
Sick of those who are hypocrites.
Yes doctor, an army is forming.
Yes doctor, there will be a war.
Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
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Postby Rkiivs » Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:31 am

From another board, here's Neil Gaiman's eulogy to Eisner:


Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Will Eisner, 1917-2005
posted by Neil Gaiman 1/4/2005 10:12:11 AM

I interviewed my friend Will Eisner a few year ago, at the Chicago Humanities Festival. At one point I asked him why he kept going, why he kept making comics when his contemporaries (and his contemporaries were people like Bob Kane -- before he did Batman -- remember) had long ago retired and stopped making art and telling stories, and gone.

He told me about a film he had seen once, in which a jazz musician kept playing because he was still in search of The Note. That it was out there somewhere, and he kept going to reach it. And that was why Will kept going: in the hopes that he'd one day do something that satisfied him. He was still looking for The Note...

Will Eisner was better than any of us, and he kept working in the hope that one day he'd get it right.

I was woken up this morning, with the news that Will had died last night, aged 87, and I've let a few friends know, and already had to speak to one journalist about who Will was and what he did ("It's as if Orson Welles had made Citizen Kane and redefined what you could do in film, and then carried on making movies until now," I said, wishing I could come up with a better analogy, and knowing that that didn't explain it. And I didn't mention how proud he was of any of us who did good comics -- how much he cared about the medium -- or how glad I am that I got to tell him that I wouldn't have written comics if it wasn't for him. There's a reason that the Oscars of comics are the Eisner Awards.)

I'm suddenly very grateful for the time I've had with Will over the years, in England and Germany and Spain and the US, for the times that I went over to see him and Ann when I was in the Fort Lauderdale area. I'm glad I was there in Erlangen, when they gave Will an award and the place erupted into a standing ovation that went on and on until I thought that the walls would collapse and the Millenium come and we'd still be in that theatre cheering and clapping, with Will beaming down at us from the stage.

I'm going to miss him enormously, more than I can say. I made a speech last year, where I said how strange it was to discover that the gods of comics, the people who made the medium, were, when I met them, cranky old Jews. Will Eisner wasn't cranky, and he was never old. He was, in all ways, a mensch.

And I keep weighing it in my head, the sorrow at losing Will with the knowledge of how fortunate I was to have known him ("you're always sorry, you're always grateful," as Sondheim said about something quite different).

I'm more grateful than sorry.
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