New Bio of Comics Legend Will Eisner Is Packed With Rare Art
Will Eisner’s 1978 short story cycle A Contract With God didn’t create the term “graphic novel,” but it’s credited with popularizing the term. That isn’t even Eisner’s most recognizable contribution to comics: that’d be The Spirit, his masked crimefighter who appeared initially in a Sunday newspaper insert, and then later in other incarnations. (It got a pretty wretched Frank Miller-directed film in 2008, but don’t let that tarnish the man’s legacy.)
Now, former DC Comics President Paul Levitz has written Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel, a new biography of the artist and writer that presents “the first comprehensive overview” of the man whose name graces the highest award in comics. It follows Eisner’s career from dropping out of high school during the Great Depression, to The Spirit’s initial run in newspapers, to A Contract With God pushing the boundaries of the form. Levitz interviewed Jules Feiffer, Neil Gaiman, Denis Kitchen, Scott McCloud, Jeff Smith, and Art Spiegelman for the book, which features “rare and unpublished art, photographs, letters, and sketches from the family archives alongside his most famous work.”
We selected our favorite pieces of Eisner’s art featured in Levitz’s book (out now from Abrams ComicArts), spanning nearly 65 years of the late comic artist’s career.