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Will Eisner: A Spirited Life Paperback – November 15, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It is highly fortunate that Andelman got to write this authorized biography of the towering American cartoonist Eisner before his death this year at age 87. Following Michael Chabon's insightful introduction, Andelman states that he will not critique Eisner's work, and so barely describes Eisner's innovative "The Spirit" or the contents of his pioneering graphic novels. Andelman thus limits his audience to comics aficionados who are already thoroughly familiar with Eisner's oeuvre; others will be left puzzled as to why he merits a biography. Thoroughly researched, the book confusingly jumps back and forth in time, while presenting vivid portraits of Eisner's colleagues like Jerry Iger, Denis Kitchen and Cat Yronwode. Eisner is depicted as a hardworking, almost universally beloved artistic visionary. Yet Eisner's work indicates that he was a far more complex figure. Andelman briefly touches on intriguing issues, like Eisner's capacity for anger, his obsessive penny-pinching, his religious doubts, and his anguish over his daughter's death, but never probes them sufficiently. A future biography should delve beneath Eisner's public persona to draw connections between his life and his art. Still, so far there are few serious biographies of important figures in American comics. In authorizing this book, Eisner has proved a pioneer yet again.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Michael Chabon contributes a heartfelt introduction to Andelman's first-ever biography of Will Eisner (1917-2005), and the story that follows is a real-life Kavalier and Clay. Present at the comics industry's birth in the 1930s, Eisner revolutionized the field not just creatively in work spanning from his 1940s stories featuring masked crime fighter the Spirit to his later, pioneering graphic novels but also as businessman and entrepreneur, teacher, mentor, and the inspiration of countless young artists. Andelman covers all those roles and points up Eisner's uniqueness among his peers: he retained ownership of his creations, and that allowed him to reprint the Spirit stories at a time, decades after their original publication, when so doing cemented his reputation in a new era of comics fandom and facilitated launching a new career as a graphic novelist with A Contract with God (1978). Besides verifying Eisner's impact on nearly every artist who drew comics in his wake, Andelman shows that Eisner's influence extends to such film directors as Spielberg and Tarantino. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: M Press; 1st M Press Ed edition (November 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595820116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595820112
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bob Andelman is the author or co-author of several best-selling biographical, business, management and sports books, including:

* Will Eisner: A Spirited Life (Twomorrows, 2015), the biography of the legendary artist and writer who is often credited with taking comic books out of the ghetto in the 1940s and establishing the market for adult, long-form comics - graphic novels - in the 1970s. A Spirited Life has been translated for Spanish and Italian editions. Andelman also read for the audiobook edition. http://www.aspiritedlife.com

* The Wawa Way (Running Press), written with Wawa Vice Chairman Howard Stoeckel. Publication Date: April 2014.

* Building Atlanta (Chicago Review Press), written with African-American business pioneer and "bail bondsman" to the civil rights movement Herman J. Russell. (Introduction by former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young.) Publication Date: April 2014.

* Keep Your Eye on the Marshmallow (Berkley/Penguin), written with nationally recognized motivational speaker Joachim de Posada. Publication Date: May 2013.

* Fans Not Customers (Profile UK), written with Metro Bank UK and Commerce Bank US founder Vernon W. Hill II. Introduction by bestselling management guru Tom Peters. Publication Date: October 2012.

* Mind Over Business (March 2012), self-help, motivational nonfiction written with sports and business trainer Ken Baum.

* The Consulate (March 2011), fiction written with former CIA and FBI agent Thomas R. Stutler.

* The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths (Hyperion/Voice, May 2010), written with nationally recognized criminal profiler and frequent CNN contributor Pat Brown. The book has been optioned by Warner Bros. Television and a pilot, "Trooper," was producer by Jerry Bruckheimer in 2012 for CBS and again for TNT in 2013. It has also been sold overseas in Japan, Korea, Germany, Portugal and Taiwan. Audible.com purchased audiobook rights.

* Four Seasons: The Philosophy of a Business (Portfolio/Penguin, 2009), by Isadore Sharp, founder and chairman of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Andelman did not author or co-author this book but came in and helped Sharp near the end of the writing process by conducting dozens of interviews with Four Seasons managers and executives and contributing additional material to the finished manuscript.

* The Profit Zone: Lessons of Strategic Genius from the People Who Created the World's Most Valued Companies (Times Books/Random House, 1997), with Adrian Slywotzky and David Morrison, partners in Boston-based Mercer Management. The Profit Zone is Andelman's best selling book overall with more than 100,000 hardcover copies in print after 10 printings. Worldwide, The Profit Zone has been translated into Chinese (Complex and Simplified), Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

* Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion (Times Books/Random House, 1999), on which he collaborated with Home Depot co-founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank. CNBC's "Mad Money" host Jim Kramer endorsed the timelessness of Built From Scratch when he told his viewing audience, "Built from Scratch is the best of all those business biographies." Built From Scratch was translated for a Japanese edition.

* Mean Business: How I Save Bad Companies and Make Good Companies Great (Times Books/Random House, 1996), with Albert J. Dunlap, chairman and CEO of Sunbeam. Published in hardcover, paperback and audiocassette. Mean Business was a finalist in the Financial Times of London Global Business Book Awards.

Since February 2007, Andelman has also produced and hosted the popular "Mr. Media Radio" celebrity and media newsmaker online interview show heard and seen on his own site, http://www.mrmedia.com, as well as syndicated to iTunes, BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, Networked Blogs and YouTube. The show averages approximately 2,000 visitors/archive downloads a day.

Andelman and his wife of 22 years, Mimi, live in St. Petersburg, Florida with their 14-year-old daughter.

For more information:
Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, mbourret @ dystel.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobandelman
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Media-Interviews-by-Bob-Andelman/10847855738
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/andelman
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MrMediaRadio
Archive: http://www.andelman.com

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael F. Hopkins on November 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
superb study of a great literary genius. Drawing
enormously from a vast wealth of previously
unavailable resources, the M Press book is made
all the finer by the biographer's decision to
focus on the man and, in doing so, draws a more
acute, highly intimate bead on the influential
work Eisner produced across the greater 20th
century, and beyond.
That being said, I question the logic of the
Publishers Weekly reviewer, who felt that
Andelman's decision to place Eisner's life
as the primary focus, rather than fixate
upon his technique, would somehow limit
the book's readership to comic book
One would think that just the opposite would be
true; that a book principally aimed at discussing
technical aspects would have come across as far
too in-clubby and far less audience-spanning for a
biographical work. Too, considering that Eisner's
personal life has almost never been a topic for
audience discretion, one has to wonder what the
Publishers Weekly reviewer had in mind for a more
appropriate biographical subject?
One ponders if that reviewer was the same one
who wondered if the sobering subject of Eisner's
final work, THE PLOT, was appropriate for the
medium of comics?!! It might do such critics
well to actually read the material they're
reviewing, and gain some wisdom -not
stereotypes- about what they purport
to talk about.

Few places could provide a better start into
the inner workings of a classic storyteller
than this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on May 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Andelman writes with an excited glee that bounces the story along in hoops and bounds, from one heroic moment to another. After awhile I forgot I was reading about a comic artist, for the tone is so reverential you might think you were reading the life of a great freedom fighter or martyr like Martin Luther King. Maybe A SPIRITED LIFE needs a few drops of (I won't say "reality") perspective to make it really stand out and be the book that it wants to be, but uniformly everyone apparently loved Eisner and only occasionally, by mistake as it were, do you get the feeling of a three dimensional man beneath the glossy surface. But how can you blame Bob Andelman, I would have written this exactly in the same way. I do wonder however why Eisner is always right. He stops drawing The Spirit--it's a complex artistic decision. He starts drawing again--it's fate bringing back a neglected American master. To pull this off, Andelman's strategy insures that he has to make everyone else look bad, especially Jerry Iger. And what about poor Cat Yronwode? While Andelman admits she brought some needed assistance to the lives of overworked Will and Ann, so that they began to depend on her almost as a daughter, he otherwise makes her seem like a crude, sexually aberrant nudist without an ounce of couth--a wild Maenad in fact, who tells Howard Cruse that homosexuality is sick, so that Eisner seems like a besozzled idiot for keeping her around. Why trash the woman, did she do something terribly wrong to Andelman in private life?

When Michael Chabon began rseearching KAVALIER AND KLAY he interviewed Eisner about the early days of comics and what it wa slike being a young American Jew in the era when Hitler was rising to power, a shadow across Europe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Kaplan on January 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For me, this book doesn't say enough bout Eisner's creation of the Spirit and his early years in the comic business, but it will tell you all you want to know about his construction of instruction manuals for the army or how Cat W. created the master archive list to all eisner's work.
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