Saturday 27 May 2023


[Click images to enlarge]

Here's a comic-book cover by one of the legendary practitioners of the art and a personal art-hero: Will Eisner, creator of the rugged mask-gloves-and-fedora-wearing vigilante THE SPIRIT, and whose later pioneering work, A Contract with God is widely credited for having popularised the graphic novel.


This cover for THE SPIRIT from August 1974 (#3 of 16 issues from Warren Publishing that reprinted Eisner's Spirit stories from the 1940s with new original cover art) typifies the hero's character: clothes shredded from some previous deed of daring-do (but mask, hat and gloves still in place) thundering the sleepers of an elevated railroad seemingly only feet in front of an on-coming train!


Eisner's radical style included using dramatic cinematic angles reminiscent of the makers of the film noir movies so popular with 'forties movie-goers.


Some of Eisner's most memorable work was that produced for the 'flash pages' to his stories for their appearance in newspapers. These fiendishly inventive art-pieces were designed to grab the reader's attention, set-up the story and convey a mood – invariably gritty and broodingly noir – and always embodying the title 'THE SPIRIT often in an artfully whimsical way. Here a few brilliant examples...

I especially like this page that features a physical comic page...

In the 1980s I had a fascinating correspondence with Will Eisner when I and a producer colleague were attempting to sell a television documentary to the BBC about the artist's career which would have been presented in a filmed recreation of the comic-book format including frames, captions and speech bubbles! Sadly, as you will not be surprised to learn, the BBC short-sightedly didn't share our enthusiasm!

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