Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories

Overview

An intimate self-portrait of the American icon Will Eisner, and a chronicle of the career that launched a new art form.
In what will be the closest thing Eisner fans will see to an autobiography, the great master and pioneer of American graphic arts presents the most intimate and personal perspective yet on his life as a writer, a professional, and an artist. “The Dreamer” and “To the Heart of the Storm” describe Eisner’s gritty early life and career, while “The Name of the ...

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Overview

An intimate self-portrait of the American icon Will Eisner, and a chronicle of the career that launched a new art form.
In what will be the closest thing Eisner fans will see to an autobiography, the great master and pioneer of American graphic arts presents the most intimate and personal perspective yet on his life as a writer, a professional, and an artist. “The Dreamer” and “To the Heart of the Storm” describe Eisner’s gritty early life and career, while “The Name of the Game” chronicles a personal history of his wife’s family. Finally, two shorter pieces illuminate the bookends of a legendary career: “The Day I Became a Professional” —which will appeal to any hopeful young artist—describes Eisner’s first rejection from a potential publisher, and “A Sunset in Sunshine City” provides a poignant portrait of Eisner in old age. The book features famous characters from the world of comics (under pseudonyms, of course) and other historical figures and family members, all drawn with Eisner’s characteristic mastery and technique.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Posthumous collection commemorates the pioneering cartoonist who gave his name to the comic industry's top annual awards, the Eisners. Revered by both his comic-strip peers and the legions of graphic novelists he inspired, Eisner (Will Eisner's New York: Life in the Big City, 2006, etc.) never felt as comfortable with personal revelation in his narratives as many of the younger memoirists who followed his lead. Thus, the subtitle is only partially accurate. Only "The Dreamer" and "The Day I Became a Professional" make direct reference to Eisner's prodigious career, and editor Denis Kitchen had to annotate the former to provide the real names of the pseudonymous characters. The longest piece, "To the Heart of the Storm," is perhaps the most ambitious and overtly autobiographical, detailing the reminiscences of a young soldier on a troop train about the anti-Semitism he and his family have encountered. Yet the flashbacks aren't presented in chronological order, and neither are these stories, though they're the closest thing to a graphic autobiography ever published under Eisner's name. They're presented in the order he created them, with the first story, "A Sunset in Sunshine City," providing an allegory of the artist's twilight years in its tale of the reluctant retirement and relocation of a shopkeeper who has spent all his life in New York. The remaining selection, "The Name of the Game," features a thinly fictionalized biography of Eisner's wife's family. This volume draws far more on personal experience than was usual in such earlier works as The Spirit, but it's telling that the title is Life, in Pictures rather than "my life."Life in all its bittersweet richness, depicted by a masterwho learned from the more personally revelatory work by younger generations who were profoundly influenced by him.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393061079
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/8/2007
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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