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Interesting, but more for hard-core students of the art
on January 28, 2014
Comics and Sequential Art is the first of three books in a series of comic book instructional books written by comics legend Will Eisner. The creator of the widely-popular Spirit comic strip from the 1940s, Eisner wrote one of the earliest (if not THE earliest) books exploring the medium of comic book storytelling, dissecting it and distilling it for would-be creators to consume and enjoy.
I first heard of this book when reading Scott McCloud's incredible Understanding Comics, in which he makes multiple references to this book and how much it influenced him personally. Part of me wishes I would have read this one first, because compared to Understanding Comics, this book falls short on the meta-delivery of the information. In Understanding Comics, the entire book is itself a comic book, which uses comic book and sequential art precepts to communicate the instructional and educational components. In Comics and Sequential Art, the entire book is narrative and extant examples taken from Eisner's own creations (with one or two exceptions).
I can see how McCloud was influenced by this book, and how revolutionary and revealing it may have seemed. It still holds up as a book on comics theory, but pales in comparison, depth, delivery and content to McCloud's own books.