Will Eisner was one of the biggest and most important people in the comic book industry. His influence was so great that there is even an award named in his honor. Just recently Dark Horse celebrated what was supposed to be his 100th birthday by releasing “Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration 1917-2017” and it is a great celebration of this man’s life.
Obviously, this celebration features comics from Eisner’s most famous work “The Spirit.” For an early comic about a masked vigilante (and some of the racism/sexism of the period), it gives off the right kind of vibes. It’s campy and the action is nicely drawn.
The early pages showcase Eisner’s non-comic work and It’s pretty amazing. The most amazing one his painting of a nude woman. It shows off that he had a ton skill with a brush and it goes beyond just comic art.
This book also shows Eisner’s other comics. One of the fascinating ones is his military posters. As with many military posters during World War II, these are there to rally people and warn them of the dangers of certain things that will give the enemy the advantage. What’s unique about them is that his posters are the rare ones that are funny. These posters are similar to what Warner Brothers did with their “Private SNAFU” shorts: They’re hilarious but also warn people of the dangers of doing otherwise harmless things will cause great consequences.
On top of all that, there are short pieces written about Eisner’s life and his work. While they do give some insights, many people will just skip over them and just look at Eisner’s work. One reason is that it just talks about his work and not so much the man. There needs to be something about the man. Many in another book we’ll get a full biography.
“Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration, 1917-2017” is an enjoyable read for those interested in Eisner’s work. It shows his many works, styles and even a little biography but not enough biography to satisfy people wanting to know more about him.