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Will Eisner

Will Eisner was born William Erwin Eisner on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Will Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.

In a career that spanned nearly eight decades—from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics—Will Eisner was truly the 'Orson Welles of comics' and the 'father of the Graphic Novel'. He broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others.

During World War II, Will Eisner used the comic format to develop training and equipment maintenance manuals for the US Army. After the war this continued as the Army's P.S. Magazine, which is still being produced today. Will Eisner taught Sequential Arts at the New York School of Visual Arts. The textbooks that he wrote based on his course are still bestsellers. In 1978, Will Eisner wrote A Contract with God, the first modern graphic novel. This was followed by almost 20 additional graphic novels over the following 25 years.

The "Oscars" of the Comic Industry are called The Eisner Awards, and named after Will Eisner. The Eisners are presented annually before a packed ballroom at Comic-Con International in San Diego, America's largest comics convention.

Wizard magazine named Eisner "the most influential comic artist of all time." Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-prize winning novel The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is based in good part on Eisner. In 2002, Eisner received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation for Jewish Culture, only the second such honor in the organization's history, presented by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman.

Awards

Books by Will Eisner

  1. Book CoverThe Building


    An extraordinary and classic graphic novel celebrating the Big Apple, from the master of American comics art.More

  2. Book CoverCity People Notebook


    One of four extraordinary graphic novels celebrating the Big Apple, from the master of American comics art.More

  3. Book CoverComics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist


    "Comics and Sequential Art is a masterwork, the distillation of Will Eisner's genius to a clear and potent elixir."—Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.More

  4. Book CoverA Contract with God


    The first graphic novel—a mesmerizing fictional chronicle of a universal American experience.More

  5. Book CoverThe Contract with God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue


    The legendary graphic novel and the sequels that launched an art form.More

  6. Book CoverThe Dreamer


    An extraordinary autobiography story from a legend in American comics.More

  7. Book CoverDropsie Avenue


    “Eisner was not only ahead of his times; the present times are still catching up to him.”—John UpdikeMore

  8. Book CoverExpressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist


    The final volume of Will Eisner’s celebrated instructional trilogy explores the critical principle of body grammar in comics storytelling.More

  9. Book CoverA Family Matter


    This powerful graphic novel confirms Will Eisner as a master of the genre.More

  10. Book CoverGraphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative


    "There isn't a comics artists alive who hasn't benefited from Will Eisner's masterful work and formidable wisdom."—Scott McCloud, author of Understanding ComicsMore

  11. Book CoverInvisible People


    One of four extraordinary graphic novels celebrating the Big Apple, from the master of American comics art.More

  12. Book CoverA Life Force


    “Eisner was not only ahead of his times; the present times are still catching up to him.”—John UpdikeMore

  13. Book CoverLife on Another Planet


    This powerful graphic novel confirms Will Eisner as a master of the genre.More

  14. Book CoverLife, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories


    An intimate self-portrait of the American icon Will Eisner, and a chronicle of the career that launched a new art form.More

  15. Book CoverMinor Miracles


    This powerful graphic novel confirms Will Eisner as a master of the genre.More

  16. Book CoverThe Name of the Game


    Four extraordinary autobiographical stories from a legend in American comics.More

  17. Book CoverNew York: The Big City


    One of four extraordinary graphic novels celebrating the Big Apple, from the master of American comics art.More

  18. Book CoverThe Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion


    A work more disturbing than fiction from "the father of graphic novels" (New York Times). "The ultimate illustration of how absurdly comical and cancerous The Protocols has been to mankind."—Thane Rosenbaum, Los Angeles Times Book ReviewMore

  19. Book CoverTo the Heart of the Storm


    An extraordinary autobiography story from a legend in American comics.More

  20. Book CoverWill Eisner Reader


    Four extraordinary autobiographical stories from a legend in American comics.More

  21. Book CoverWill Eisner's New York: Life in the Big City


    "An American storyteller, like Ray Bradbury, like O. Henry."—Neil GaimanMore