Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Will Eisner, dead at 87

Cartoonist Will Eisner, inventor of the graphic novel, died yesterday. I'm sorry to see him go.

Eisner's stuff has always appealed to me. He pushed the envelope, sure, though I admit I've always had a feeling that it could have been a little bit better. Still, he was great, and I class his death as a true loss.

My favorite of his works was A Life Force, which is a heart-rending work of humanity, a story of human dignity and how that dignity remains indestructable, even when it only makes sense that it should be destroyed. It hurt to read it sometimes, but at the same time, it was a very warm and comforting book. Its message is universal, too. Sometimes it feels that the entire world has turned against you, has rejected you, has branded and deemed you unworthy and worthless. I think that's a universal feeling among human beings. Eisner captures that, and reminds all of us just what life is all about.

And as much as I loathe cockroaches, A Life Force makes me think favorably of them sometimes. It convinced me a couple of times not to step on one when I saw it on the sidewalk. Read it; it's worth your time.

I forget who it was who summed up Eisner like this: "When you compare Eisner to other cartoonists, he's this fantastic author, but when you compare Eisner to other authors, he's just a cartoonist."

Rest in peace, boychik. You will be missed.


At Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 11:53:00 PM EST, Blogger Frederick Family said...

What does that quote say about Eisner? It's not much of an epitath -- "He's good for a cartoonist, but that's not saying much."

How about this: "He took what most people considered a throwaway medium -- something just for kids -- and created an art form."

At Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 12:04:00 AM EST, Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

Buddydave, I guess the quote says more about comics as a medium than it does about Eisner. While I think it's accurate, you're right: that's probably not the best thing to put on the man's epitaph, particularly when you consider that I respect him immensely. Yours is a better suggestion

I really was moved by A Life Force. I often think about Eisner's antihero sitting in the alley, looking at the cockroach. There's something very comforting about that, in an odd way.


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