by N.C. Christopher Couch and Stephen Weiner
The Will Eisner Companion
D.C. Comics, November, 2004.
Hardcover, 174 pages.
He is one of the grand masters of comic book art. His newspaper comic book insert, The Spirit revolutionized narrative seqential art in the 1940's. He is also widely considered to be the founder of the modern contemporary graphic novel form with his work A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories. As one of the so-called "Underground" cartoonists in the 1970s, Eisner believed that comics should be used as a tool for personal and political expression -- not just as a medium for pulp serials. His career has spanned decades, yet no comprehensive study of his work has been done until now. The Will Eisner Companion contains history, criticism, an index of characters, a bibliography and even a suggested reading list. The comics themselves are presented in black and white, with a special, color, glossy section of The Spirit, the masked crime fighting detective. The Spirit broke ground by having a subtle feminist slant; the daughter of The Spirit's confidant is elected mayor, then proceeds to clean up the corruption in Central City.
Christopher Couch and Stephen Weiner have done an excellent job in presenting the source material of this important author, and in presenting interesting new essays on Eisner's work. The Will Eisner Companion is a must-have for any dedicated comics fan, and would make an especially nice gift for anyone who aspires to write in this visual medium.
The Will Eisner Companion is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the November-December, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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