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Will Eisner Passes Away at 87

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Will Eisner, one of the most influential creators in comics, has passed away after complications due to quadruple bypass surgery. He was 87.

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.

Every 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.

On a 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.

Derek McCaw

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