Sunday, May 04, 2008

Will Eisner's Preventative Maintenance.



New York comic artist, Will Eisner (1917-2005), is a legend in the industry and arguably the most influential comic illustrator of all time. He pioneered what he called the sequential art form and was a leading protagonist for the graphic novel genre and the use of comic strip art as an instructional device.

The early Eisner-Iger Studios (with friend Jerry Iger) employed such luminary artists as Jack Kirby (Fantastic Four/X-Men/Captain America) and Bob Kane (Batman). Eisner's own 'superhero' appeared in 1940 in the highly influential and popular comic, 'The Spirit', revered as "the Citizen Kane of comics": "a crimefighter dressed in a suit, fedora and the concession of a small blue eyemask".

During WW2 Eisner worked for the Pentagon, producing educational comics "whose mixture of hard facts with entertaining cartooning made them memorable and effective". From his post-war company, American Visuals Corporation, Eisner turned out illustrations for 'P*S: The Preventative Maintenance Monthly', one of his longest lasting contracts, published by the US Army between 1951 and 1972.

As a testament to his significance in the industry he helped shape, the Eisner Awards were established in 1988, the most prestigious accolades in the comic art trade. (Eisner reluctantly accepted a few Eisners himself) He died as a result of complications following a quadruple bypass in 2005.

2 comments:

Outlaw 13 said...

Those comic books had a character named Connie, who was quite often nearly nude and who dealt quite frequently in inuendeo...it would never fly today.

Especially when congress-critters are trying to ban Maxim magazine from the PX.

Bob Andelman said...

You might enjoy this podcast panel discussion with three experts on Will Eisner's PS Magazine; as Eisner's official biographer, I also produce a web site and blog devoted to his life and work, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life.