Known to the general public as the creator
of The Spirit (currently in development for a feature film),
within the comics industry Eisner topped that by popularizing
the graphic novel format. Some argued that the first graphic
novel had actually been done by Gil Kane, but Eisner coined
the term and made great strides in pushing the limits of
what the comics medium could do. One of the reasons for
the popularity of The Spirit in the 1940's was that strip's
stretching of narrative boundaries, interjecting film techniques
and sophisticated storytelling into "kids' stuff."
So great was Eisner's influence on the
industry that he had a prestigious award named after him.
Every year at the San Diego Comic-Convention, top creators
vie for "Eisners" in a variety of categories.
year, too, Will Eisner attended the Con and the awards,
loving the interaction with fans, at 87 still energetic
and vital as a creator. He recently released Sundiata,
and had just been announced as a contributor for Dark Horse's
The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, a fitting
full circle as Michael Chabon's original Pulitzer-prize
winning novel had been heavily influenced by Eisner's work.
Right now, it's unknown if Eisner had completed anything
on the Dark Horse book.
personal note, this comes as a big regret. I've only been
attending the Comic-Con for a few years, and always meant
to meet the man. For five years, I had the opportunity and
kept passing it by, figuring next year I'd make the time.
Next year, I'm taking Garcia along and
getting an introduction to Forrest J. Ackerman and Ray Bradbury.