Google Honors Eisner on His Birthday
If you visited Google yesterday, you might have noticed the search giant paid tribute to Will Eisner for what would have been his 94th birthday. Scott McCloud was also invited by Google to do a guest post about the legend’s legacy:
Eisner influenced comics in dozens of ways. In the ‘40s, Eisner’s The Spirit—a seven-page newspaper feature—introduced an arsenal of visual storytelling techniques still used generations later, and provided an early testing ground for future comics stars including Jack Kirby and Jules Feiffer. (The Spirit also began a tradition of pictorially-integrated logos—inspiring today’s snazzy rooftop doodle!)
Eisner was one of the first cartoonists to understand the power of visual education, and wrote eloquently about the process of making comics in Comics and Sequential Art (1985) and Graphic Storytelling (1996). As early as 1941, he publicly advocated treating comics as a distinct literary and artistic form, and—nearly four decades later—was instrumental in the rise of the graphic novel in America, beginning with A Contract with God in 1978.
For most of his career, Eisner was years, even decades, ahead of the curve. I saw him debating artists and editors half his age, and there was rarely any question who the youngest man in the room was. It helped that he never stood on ceremony. Everyone was his peer, regardless of age or status. None of us called him “Mr. Eisner.” He was just “Will.”