Monday, March 06, 2017

It´s Comic Master Monday with Will Eisner

A man is running down an elevated train track, right at me with the train right behind his. His clothes are tattered, his face looks tired but he still is trying to outrun the train. This is the first image that comes to my mind.

I´m talking of course of the cover to the third issue of the Warren reprint magazines of Will Eisner´s THE SPIRIT. After the last few days I thought I could take the day off from blogging and do a bit of sorely needed sleeping and clean out the laptop but as always the gods had other plans for me.

First off I forgot that Today is my Mom´s birthday and I had planned to make the trek to Ludwigsburg to get her a present. Then when I went over Today´s birthday list I saw that Will Eisner was on it and since I never got around to do the follow up post to my BLACK AND WHITE post on Will Eisner´s THE SPIRIT ( which was the first black and white post I made ) I knew I had enough material to pay homage to one of the greatest comic artists who ever lived. Since I have already elaborated at length why THE SPIRIT is such a great comic I am not going to bore you with it again ( for that you just have to use the link above and read my first post ) so here is a selection of personal favorite covers and pages of THE SPIRIT series.

As always we have a few thank yous to give and links of interest to share starting with M. K. McFarland´s article on WIRED about a new bio on Will Eisner which may be a bit old but there are twelve beautiful pieces of Will Eisner included, two of which ended up in this post so kudos and speaking of biographies, for more info on Will Eisner you can go to WIZARDS KEEP .

There also is an interview with Will Eisner about the Warren reprints from Comic Book Artist 4 on TWOMORROWS website and a post from partner blog DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND that did not make it into my first Will Eisner THE SPIRIT post is The Fortune from Warren´s The Spirit 11.

Today´s rather short and - to the relieve of a lot of my readers - almost completely babe free entertainment section starts with Michael Bernd Schmidt who celebrates his 49th birthday. The name may not be familiar to many people but at least my german readers should know more if I tell you that he also goes by the name of Smudo and is one of the members of Die Fantastischen Vier and I am not talking about Marvel´s first family here.

Speaking of family, when I first saw Kieron Dwyer´s art in the now classic Captain America No More story line in which Steve Rogers gave up the mantle of Captain America and the Superpatriot became the new sentinel of liberty I did not know that he was the stepson of John Byrne. Although I don´t think that had any big impact on his career. Besides working on Captain America he has worked on various books - mostly for Marvel - like Kurt Busiek´s Avengers Assemble series where he was one of the artists that followed George Perez and drew the finale of the Kang War. He also stayed on the title under Geoff John´s short reign. Kieron turns 50 Today.

Speaking of the Avengers, Al Milgrom who celebrates his 67th birthday has been everything from penciler to inker to writer and even editor and besides his eight year stint as inker of X - Factor he is best known for his work on the Whackos how the West Coast Avengers are lovingly referred to by their fans. A few years back I wanted to buy the first omnibus as a birthday present for my brother since it was offered at a very low price but because he said he was not interested in that kind of material I let the opportunity pass by. Since then I have gotten volume two ( mostly because I want to read the famous time travel story ) and the Avengers by John Byrne omnibus but so far I have not found the time to read it. 

When you are not doing a special post it is always difficult to sum up a career in a single paragraph but thankfully it is much easier with a video.

We start our Dearly Departed section with Bill Ward who is best known for creating Torchy and his knack for drawing the female anatomy. A few years back I ordered The Glamour Girls of Bill Ward from Fantagraphics Books via amazon and because of the price I thought I had ordered a softcover book. Just a few weeks ago I had bought The Pin Up Art of Dan DeCarlo and thought this would also be a manga sized booklet. Imagine my surprise when it was not only in hardcover but the size of european comic albums.

Next we have two comedians starting with Jürgen von Manger who is best known to german audiences as Ruhrpott original Adolf Tegtmeier based on the real life version of his alter ego whom he met at a party. He originally created the character for radio but after his first show in the Ruhrpott dialect on Sylvester 1961 was a surprise success he went on to play the role on television, most famously on Tegtmeier´s Reisen. Besides the Commander´s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Order of Merit of North Rhine - Westphalia he has a star on the Cabaret Walk of Fame at the Romano - Guardini - Platz in Mainz.

Our last birthday shoutout goes to Lou Costello, one half of the best known comedy duos. As a big horror movie fan I was looking for Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein but since I could only find short clips from that movie here is one of the most famous sketches in history instead.

It is probably unnecessary to explain comic legend Will Eisner to people of my generation but for the younger comic readers out there I want to add this video. Unlike Alan Moore´s much hyped Watchmen his A Contract With God really was a graphic novel and although some comic people have nothing better to do than to debate if it really was the first graphic novel I can´t help but wonder if Will knew what he started when he drew it.

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Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don´t matter and those who matter don´t mind.


Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Ahh. Classic. Annoyingly, because there is no big movie and no super heroes from Marvel or DC Will Eisner gets ignored a lot yet Akan Moore farts and there are pages of comment about his 'brilliant masterpiece'! Dwyer is Byrne's stepson? I thought that was just a joke. Oy! And that Abbott and Costello sketch is pure classic! Great post!

SUBZERO said...

Well, according to what I could find out Kieron Dwyer´s mother and John Byrne were married for a time but they are not together anymore. It´s not more than an interesting footnote since Kieron Dwyer never tried to use the connection to get any jobs or anything.

And yes, Will Eisner doesn´t get much play but every time when I´m frustrated with the current state of comics I pull out some old SPIRIT stuff. I thought about writing something about DC´s THE SPIRIT - A CELEBRATION OF 75 YEARS but no matter which stories you select there are no bad SPIRIT stories.