From Publishers Weekly
An iconic figure in the world of comics, Will Eisner has stellar achievements worthy of the reverence shown by Schumacher (Wreck of the Carl D.). Fortified by intimate interviews, Schumacher's work shows an outsider during a Depression-era childhood, "an artistic dreamer and steely realist" determined to use his exceptional talent to forge a career. Eisner, his skills sharpened by an apprenticeship and a stint at Manhattan's noted Art Students League, created one of the first comics syndicates at a peak in the comics trend in the 1930s and '40s, recruiting such top names as Lou Fine, Bob Kane, and Jack Kirby. Despite wars, a congressional probe on the "immorality" of comics, and the cancer death of his daughter, Eisner produced remarkable work over eight decades: as a young artist, as the creator of a classic superhero, the Spirit, and as the father of the American graphic novel with his Contract with God trilogy. This exploration of Eisner, with photos and drawings, provides an absorbing glimpse of an American original who continually set the bar higher in his field. (Dec.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Born in 1917, Will Eisner, now known as the father of the graphic novel, grew up in the Bronx poor but resourceful. Seasoned biographer Schumacher zeroes in on the essence of Eisner’s success: his rare ability to unite art (he inherited his phenomenal gift for drawing from his immigrant artist father) with practicality (his mother’s specialty). After going to work selling newspapers at age 13, it didn’t take long for this tireless “observer of the city” and an ardent fan of short stories and movies to excel in the burgeoning world of comics as the creator of the Spirit, a masked superhero, and as the founder of a thriving comics studio. Drafted in 1942 and put to work making educational comics for the army, Eisner spent the next two decades creating instructional comics until the underground comic movement initiated a revival of his early work and sparked his revolutionary and socially conscious graphic novels, beginning with A Contract with God (1978). Propelled by Eisner’s geyserlike energy and output, Schumacher keenly chronicles Eisner’s brilliant career within a lively history of American comics and creates an inspiring portrait of a perpetually diligent and innovative artist whose belief in comics as fine art fueled a new and fertile creative universe. --Donna Seaman