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Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories Hardcover – October 17, 2007

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Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories + Will Eisner's New York: Life in the Big City + The Contract with God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue (A Contract With God, A Life Force, Dropsie Avenue)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In these rare examples of autobiographical work from comics master Eisner, we see the artist looking back on the expanse of his life. Shown are the New York of his childhood, a family that came together more out of necessity than love, the young artist at war and the ramifications of anti-Semitism at home and in Europe. In an enthusiastic introduction, Scott McCloud tells us, When you enter a 'graphic novels' section of a bookstore, you're looking at Will's handiwork. Indeed, the sense of witnessing history is strong. In The Dreamer, Eisner tells the story of his entry into and hand in creating the comics industry. This section is thinly veiled as fiction but a helpful annotation from the publisher makes clear what the real-world business corollaries were. The central piece of the book is To the Heart of the Storm, in which the artist rides a train through Europe on his way to the war and, as he looks out his window, sees scenes from the past. Eisner's childhood in the Bronx is played out, as are his parents' early lives. This is a rich story, and Eisner's expression of the difficulties faced by Jews in the early part of the 19th century reveals his gritty side. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Eisner’s career encompassed much of the history of comic art, from the birth of comic books, in the nineteen-thirties, through the contemporary efflorescence of the graphic novel (a term that Eisner popularized with the 1978 publication of "A Contract with God"). Creating the detective feature "The Spirit" in the nineteen-forties, he developed a flexibility of page layout that married visual complexity to storytelling sophistication. Late in life, inspired by the autobiographical focus of R. Crumb, Eisner began publishing stories based on his own life. The five pieces collected here include evocative accounts of suffering at the hands of anti-Semitic bullies in the Depression-era Bronx, and of early adventures in the comic-book industry. Whatever the subject, Eisner manages a light touch: every page is sure-handed, carried out with subtlety, grace, and wit.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; F First Printing edition (October 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393061078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393061079
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #959,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

WILL EISNER was born on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Will Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.

In a career that spanned nearly eight decades - from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics - Will Eisner was truly the 'Father of the Graphic Novel' and the 'Orson Welles of Comics.' He broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena, and countless others.

During World War II, Will Eisner used the comic format to develop training and equipment maintenance manuals for the US Army. After the war this continued as the Army's "PS Magazine" which is still being produced today. Will Eisner taught Sequential Art at the New York School of Visual Arts for 20 years. The textbooks that he wrote were based on his course and are still bestsellers. In 1978, Will Eisner wrote "A Contract with God," the first modern Graphic Novel. This was followed by almost 20 additional graphic novels over the following 25 years.

The "Oscars" of the Comic Industry are called The Eisner Awards, and named after Will Eisner. The Eisners are presented annually before a packed ballroom at San Diego Comic-Con, America's largest comics convention.

Wizard magazine named Eisner "the most influential comic artist of all time." Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-prize winning novel "Kavalier and Clay" is based in good part on Eisner. In 2002, Eisner received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation for Jewish Culture, presented by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman.

"Like" the Official Will Eisner Facebook Page and visit for more information about Will Eisner.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Babytoxie on December 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Will Eisner's LIFE, IN PICTURES: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL STORIES collects three of Eisner's full-length graphic novels plus a couple of short stories in one affordable 500-page hardcover. One of three such collections from publisher WW Norton, this volume contains those works most closely associated with Eisner's life, providing insight on old age, his years as a struggling artist during the Great Depression, growing up Jewish, World War II, and even his wife Ann's family history.

In the short "A Sunset in Sunshine City", a widowed retiree moves to Florida, leading to big changes not only for himself, but also his family.

"The Dreamer" is a revealing look at the birth of the comics industry in the late `30s - early `40s, warts and all. Will's caricatures of himself, other Golden Age personalities, and events are explained in fascinating annotations by Dennis Kitchen.

"To The Heart of The Storm" is told in flashbacks as a newly-drafted Eisner heads for camp via train. During the journey, he reflects on the joys and trials of his youth, his family history, and his experiences with anti-Semitism.

"The Name of the Game" shows the great lengths people will go to in order to increase their social standing through marriage.

The collection concludes with another short story - "The Day I Became a Professional" - and several pages of character studies.

While these stories are not exact representations of Eisner's life and family history, they do provide fascinating insight as to what makes him tick. The three longer stories are available in their own paperback editions, but for the money, you're better off buying this hardcover. It's a true bargain.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Helle Sannig on June 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After a lifetime of loving graphic novels I ran into Will Eisner compáratively late and it was a revelation. He draws people better than anyone could see them with their own two eyes, and his sketches of New York makes me want to go back to The Big Apple so I could cry with it!! Also, no matter how satirical he chooses to be, his compassion with the whole big muddle shines through in every panel on every page. Nobody in graphic arts should ever miss out on Will Eisner - he is a genius!
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By Christine Klunder on February 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What is perhaps his last work, this book contains three graphic novels and two stories, with introductions that not only tell the stories behind the stories, but place them in context of early life in the comic field and in American Jewish culture of the time.

I've loved his autobiographical work since I met him at a Smithsonian program on comics 20 years ago, have most of his books, and bought this particular book with a gift card I received for Christmas. It cost me only a few bucks, and its bottom edges are shelfworn down to the cardboard, but... has a tag that says it belonged to the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the New York Public Library. The city in which he lived for most of his life. Priceless.
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All of Mr. Eisner's works are brilliant. He is a true creative genius. This autobiographical effort is a particular favorite of mine, and I think it's some of his very best work. It's amazing that he was able to produce the sheer volume of work that he did in one lifetime. Fascinating stuff.
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