Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature
Will Eisner on the Graphic Novel
A Contract with God
1978 Will Eisner
Will Eisner, universally acknowledged as one of the great masters of comic
book art, discussed the Graphic Novel. This event, which was free and open
to the public, was co-sponsored by the Prints and Photographs Division
and the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon.
A compelling visual storyteller, Eisner is considered to be one of the
most influential comic book artists of all time. He has been called "the
Leonardo of the comic-book form" and the "single person most
responsible for giving comics its brains."
Since the 1930s, Eisner has written and illustrated numerous comic books
and weekly strips, including the internationally acclaimed "The Spirit"(1940-52),
instructional comics for the U.S. Army and 16 graphic novels. The Will
Eisner Comic Industry Award is named in his honor as a testament to his
contributions to the field. Eisner coined the phrase "graphic novel" to
describe a substantial comic book, often over 200 pages in length that
consists of a single dramatic story or several interconnected narratives
told through expressive illustration art. In the lecture, Eisner discusses
his own approach to writing and illustrating graphic novels and explores
his views on the evolution of popular visual media. Images from early wordless
books and a variety of recent graphic novels are be shown, along with a
selection of Eisner's own drawings.