The lasting legacy that Will Eisner (1917–2005) has in sequential art cannot be overstated—he is known as the Champion of the Graphic Novel. His innovative storytelling, layouts, and art on his newspaper series The Spirit inspired a generation of cartoonists, and his turn toward an acclaimed run of graphic novels, beginning in 1978 with A Contract with God, helped pioneer the form. Among the honors bestowed upon Eisner are the Reuben Award, the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award, the Yellow Kid Award, and multiple Harvey Awards and Eisner Awards—the latter of which were named in his honor.
This two-floor retrospective—the largest Eisner exhibition ever in the United States—curated by Denis Kitchen and John Lind, comprises over 150 pieces including original artwork from Smash Comics (1939), key sequences from his graphic novels including A Contract with God (1978), Life on Another Planet (1983), A Life Force (1988), To the Heart of the Storm (1991), and over 40 pages of originals from The Spirit (1940–1952) newspaper section. Also included are personal items from Eisner’s career, such as his studio drawing board, brushes, and awards. An oversized hardcover catalogue, published by the Kitchen Sink Books imprint of Dark Horse Books, accompanies this exhibition.
“To me, what Will did was and is timeless.” —Neil Gaiman (The Sandman)
“There is no one quite like Will Eisner. There never has been, and on my more pessimistic days, I doubt there ever will be.” —Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell)
“Will Eisner is, and remains, one of my precious idols.” —Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City)
“Will Eisner is a national treasure.” —Jules Feiffer
“Will Eisner is the heart and mind of American comics.” —Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics)