The Washington Post

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WILL EISNER: Clearly, the legend’s creative spirit lives on

"WILL EISNER was a rarity, a man who wrote as well as he drew — and he was a master at both," Stan Lee has told Comic Riffs. "Not only was he a great creator of graphic novels, but his talent as a designer was awesome, as evinced by the magnificent opening pages of his famed 'The Spirit' strip.

"Will's lasting legacy was,” Stan the Man continued, “and always will be, an inspiration to creative people everywhere."

Today is the 95th anniversary of the birth of William Eisner, a Brooklyn-bred legend who — seven years after his death, at age 87 — indeed continues to inspire creatives everywhere.

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State is hosting a reading today as part of its Will Eisner Week; UMass-Amherst is screening “Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist”; and the Toonseum in Pittsburgh is exhibiting a collection titled “Will Eisner’s New York” through May 27.

“Eisner was one of the first cartoonists to understand the power of visual education,” Scott McCloud wrote last year for Google, which celebrated Eisner with a Doodle.

“For most of his career," McCloud added, "Eisner was years, even decades, ahead of the curve."

[WILL EISNER’S GOOGLE LOGO: Doodle marks cartoonist’s 94th birthday]

For “The Spirit,” for his government-issue cartoons, for his illuminating books about comics and sequential art, and for his graphic narratives such as “A Contract With God...,” Comic Riffs salutes his legacy.

Happy birthday, Will.

[THE UNEXPENDABLES: Re-reading “A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories”]

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.


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