Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Will Eisner is known as the father of the graphic novel. A true master of design and layout, Eisner looked at comics not as what they were, but what they could be. I first discovered his work when the book Comics & Sequential Art was recommended to me:

Among other things, the book taught me the importance of page layout and panel borders:

Comics & Sequential Art was great, but the book I found that really inspired me was The Dreamer.

The dreamer tells the story of Eisner's early days as a comic book artist, which also happened to be at the dawn of the comic book industry. Through sacrifices and a strong belief in himself, the main character "Billy" ( who was a thinly disguised Will Eisner) followed his heart and his instincts in order to carve out a career for himself.

Eisner's best known work is the Spirit. In it, Eisner experimented with the comics medium, stretching the accepted boundaries of layout and design:

His first "Graphic Novel" was A Contract With God. After he did semi - autobiographic works Droopsie Avenue,  A Life Force,  and To The Heart Of The Storm. He also did the visually stunning Life On Another Planet:

When I was an undergrad at Loyola, I did a weekly comic strip. I tried to make it very Eisner-like, changing  the title every week ( which drove my editor crazy) and incorporating the title into the strip.

In 2001, Eisner shared a stage with Neil Gaiman at the Chicago Public Library. After their talk, they had a book signing. Gaiman had a huge line, Eisner didn't, which was fine with me. I walked over to Eisner, introduced myself and shook his hand. He signed my favorite page in The Dreamer, which I took out of the book and framed afterwards.

Will Eisner passed away in January 2005. For more of his life and work go HERE. Also, Amazon.com has a store devoted to him HERE