The Will Eisner Companion

Product Code: 47617
The Will Eisner Companion

The Will Eisner Companion

Product Code: 47617
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From Publishers Weekly:

Early in this work, co-author Weiner explains that when he realized how little comics criticism there was, he decided to do a serious study of the works of Will Eisner. One of comic books' founding fathers, Eisner created in 1940 the Spirit, a masked crimefighter whose series became a dazzling showcase of visual storytelling virtuosity. From 1978 to his recent death, Eisner pioneered the contemporary graphic novel as a vehicle for significant, often autobiographical themes. But Couch and Weiner's attempts at scholarly critiques merely skim the surface. Still, this companion provides a valuable history of Eisner's long career. "The Spirit: A to Z" section, a mini-encyclopedia of the series, should revive happy memories for "Spirit" aficionados. Another section recounts the plots of Eisner's graphic novels through biographies of their characters. Nearly every page in the book features panels from Eisner's work, demonstrating his unique blend of caricature and realism, and his command of chiaroscuro effects. Two complete "Spirit" stories are included, but the first, a 1966 retelling of the Spirit's origin, fails to transcend its melodramatic cliches. The second, however, is the 1948 classic "Gerhard Shnobble," a fable about an apparent nobody who briefly succeeds in flying. Marred by its sentimental ending, the story is nonetheless a fine example of Eisner's mastery of the comics medium. This is a solid overview of Eisner work, even though it lacks in-depth analysis.

From School Library Journal:

This book is part mini-biography and part summary of the major works of the man who invented and reinvented the art of the graphic novel. Eisner's desire to bring a new sense of realism to comics started in the 1940s and developed in a unique strip, The Spirit, working in more realistic characters and problems of day-to-day life alongside the standard action stories. Companion includes a useful character and plot guide and a wonderful full-color reproduction of the first strip from the series. The final two thirds of the book focus on the artist's creation of and experimentation with sequential art. After several decades away from the medium of comics, Eisner returned in the 1970s with A Contract with God, a complex and character-driven story that tackled serious issues of faith, religion, and modern life. Over the next 30 years, he created more titles, each one playing with and expanding on his chosen medium and using different styles and subjects. The authors explain the themes of character, religion, and social awareness so integral to Eisner's stories, doing a fair job in short, "Cliffs Notes"-type entries on characters, plot, and theme. Numerous black-and-white examples of Eisner's art are included, adding to the understanding and appreciation of his work as a whole. Although this book does not offer expansive criticism, it is an effective and useful introduction.

-- Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale

Eisner, Will
Couch, Stephen Weiner, N.C. Christopher

Condition & Attributes

Very Fine in Near Fine dustjacket

Publishing Information

New York
DC Comics
2004
1st
978-1401204228

Physical Description

9.75 inches
6.5 inches
176 pages
over 100 black & white illustrations with 16 pages in color
Hardcover
English

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