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will eisner, 1917 - 2005

Post #445 • January 5, 2005, 7:04 AM • 2 Comments

Will Eisner has died.

I had the good fortune to see Eisner speak at the 2003 Miami Book Fair, where I asked him what aesthetic or literary problems were still awaiting a solution in comics. He replied that there were still not good methods for representing peoples' internal states, and that there was still far too much reliance on the injustice-revenge narrative.

As fate would have it, the man who invented the term graphic novel and wrote the only book worth reading about how comics function until Scott McCloud came along lived in Tamarac, Florida, and I had it in my head that once the first few comics titles came out of Drawing Project, I would take them up to him to get his feedback. I note with sadness that this will not come to pass. He played a crucial role in the development of his medium and his successors will feel his influence indefinitely.

Comment

1.

Kriston

January 5, 2005, 8:28 PM

Yes, it's very sad. He revolutionized the form twice—first, by being a creator who insisted on maintaining many rights to his primary character, The Spirit. And then by (as you note) dreaming up the graphic novel with A Contract with God.

2.

young flatboy

January 10, 2005, 6:05 AM

The futility of class is nowhere better expressed than in the works of Eisner. And he could draw like an angel/devil...the ultimate neomaterialist, to borrow from Lacan. We must either accept Eisner as submodern discourse or conclude that truth is static. The latter is the fatal flaw of modernism.

Marx said "Culture is intrinsically unattainable" but Eisner shows that by not attaining it, it is attained. This is the paradox of the neomaterial perdicament. By denying the validity of the elite, one becomes elitist.

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