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Will Eisner: A Spirited Life (Deluxe Edition) Hardcover – Special Edition, June 2, 2015
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. Drawing from direct interviews
with Eisner, family, friends and professional
associates spanning some 60 to 70 years, this
book is at once the historical goldmine and
an anecdotal treasure house.
Those who have long wondered about Eisner's
art, cultural background, and how he parlayed
all this into a life's work which crosses
idioms and sets standards even now, will
find this book to be a magnificent
revelation into the nature by which
pioneers are born.
Those who know nothing about THE SPIRIT, the
connections with generations of Sequential
storytellers from Kubert and Kirby to Miller
and Gaiman, or the vast reshaping of an art
form some 30 years after "retirement", will
simply find a most absorbing read about a
man who grew up poor, hungry, and oppressed,
yet refused to live his life as a victim.
A SPIRITED LIFE is the tale of a talented
man who made his aesthetic mark upon the
ages, and made a lucrative living without
How Eisner did this in a field still
largely known for robber baron business
practices, while exuding a charm and
grace which complemented the succinct,
no-nonsense demeanor of his images and
words, is the magic which comprises
WILL EISNER: A SPIRITED LIFE. Clearly,
a read which is more than worth the
lifetime that many have waited for
its pages to be filled, and its
heart-stirring tale to be
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. Was there something special that drew Jews to comic work, is what he essentially wound up asking. In response Eisner commented, "We have this history of impossible solutions to insoluble problems." Struck by the wisdom and beauty of this remark, Chabon turned it into the epigraph of his novel. There's a recent biography of Ray Bradbury with some of the hagiographic tone of A SPIRITED LIFE, but this work is superior because of its massive research and its real insight into the mind of Ann Eisner and the terrible tragedy that was Alice's death at 16. He makes the readers of the future sorry they never met the legend who invented the graphic novel.