The legacy that Will Eisner (1917–2005) had on sequential art cannot be overstated—his innovative storytelling, layouts, and art on his newspaper series The Spirit inspired a generation of cartoonists, and his turn toward an acclaimed run of graphic novels beginning in 1978 with A Contract with God helped pioneer the form. This catalogue includes over 175 selected illustrations, reproduced from the original artwork, from the landmark Will Eisner Centennial Celebration exhibitions taking place in 2017 at Le Musée de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême and the Society of Illustrators in New York. Dual English and French text with essays by Denis Kitchen, Paul Gravett, and John Lind.
- Kitchen Sink Books, March 15, 2017
- ISBN: 978-1-50670-355-8
- 10” x 14”, 176 pages, hardcover
- $49.99 USD
- Order online: Amazon, eBay
As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.
An exhibition catalogue from Will Eisner The Centennial Celebration Exhibition by Le Musée De La Bande Dessinée and the Society Of Illustrators. It appears this catalogue accompanied two separate exhibitions, one from each group. This is a career-spanning look at Eisner’s original art, with a heavy emphasis on the Spirit. Text is presented in two columns, English in the first and French in the second. Several essays introduce periods of Eisner’s work, with more details on specific works.
There are 8 complete stories presented, along with a six-page Escapist story that is quite reduced. Plus many, many more pages of original art: splashes, covers, roughs, and story pages.
- L’il Adam, The Spirit (July 20, 1947), also in Will Eisner’s The Spirit Artist’s Edition (Volume One)
- Quirte, The Spirit (November 21, 1948), also in Will Eisner’s The Spirit Artist’s Edition (Volume One)
- The Island, The Spirit (March 26, 1950), also in Will Eisner’s The Spirit Artist’s Edition Volume Two
- Untitled (Lindsay Campaign for Mayor), New York Herald Tribune (1966)
- The Capistrano Jewels, The Spirit #2 (1973)
- The Ghost at 226 5th Ave New York City, NY, Will Eisner’s Spirit Casebook of True Haunted Houses and Ghosts (1976)
- The Ghost Cavalry of LaBasse, Will Eisner’s Spirit Casebook of True Haunted Houses and Ghosts (1976)
- A Small Business, The Spirit #18 (1977)
All scans are excellent with no visual defects. The pages span Eisner’s career and have aged from off-white to medium tan. A lot of different mediums on display here, along with correction fluid, blue pencil, paste-ups, and margin notes. The art pre-Kitchen Sink is reduced, but most of the later art is presented at original size.
John Lind did the design and editing like the two Kitchen Sink Curator Collections, and this volume shares many design elements. The flow and layout work well throughout, even with two languages. Page numbers when there’s room, but no table of contents. It’s interesting to see the Eisner’s blue pencils on the left and inks on the right, making one imagine if Will Eisner’s A Contract with God Curator’s Collection had been laid out that way instead of pencils in one volume and inks in another.
Production is quite good: a sewn binding of a medium-weight matte paper. The binding is tight and the book only lays mostly flat in the middle pages. There are issues with the glue of the cover and the paper where the covers meet the spine.
There are three full-sized AE format books of Eisner art and several more of original art at a reduced size. With my review of L’Esprit de Will Eisner, I was reminded of this volume and its contents.