The Eisner Awards are essentially the Academy Awards of the Comic Book Industry and they are so named after the man many of us consider one of the giants who make up the very foundation of the art form.
Will Eisner was a writer, an artist, an educator and a businessman who saw that comic books could be a medium not just for kids or slow minded adults. Eisner, like many of those same giants, saw the connection between comics and film and he believed that some day stories could be published under a single cover that would be 100-200 pages in length and tell a single story. Eisner saw the possibility of Graphic Novels before anyone else.
In Germany in the 1930s there were heavily illustrated books that were ALMOST graphic novels, but it wasn't until Eisner's A CONTRACT WITH GOD did people take notice. Around the same time Art Spiegelman's MAUS and Frank Miller's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS also lit the industry on fire (Maus won the Pulitzer Prize). Eisner couldn't have been happier.
Eisner passed away in 2005 at the age of 87 and since then several books have been released to celebrate his legacy. After the break I'll be back with some Eisner Stories for you.
The Spirit Celebrating 75 Years collects many classics done by Eisner when he got back from serving during World War II.
The Centennial Celebration is a beautiful art book including lavish reproductions of some of Eisner's originals which makes it worth its price alone.
I think Champion of the graphic novel is my favorite of all of these but any of them are great.
All right-- so for the Summer I'm going to run some Eisner Stories here on the blog for your entertainment and as my way of saluting Will, a true gentleman and a mentor I will never forget. Which day they run is going to be up to me.