A short biography

Will Eisner, 2004

WILL EISNER was born William Erwin Eisner on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, following complications from open heart surgery, Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.

In a career that spanned nearly seventy years and eight decades — from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics — he truly was the 'Orson Welles of comics' and the 'father of the Graphic Novel'. He broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others.

One of the comic industry's most prestigious awards, The Eisner Award, is named after him. Recognized as the 'Oscars' of the American comic book business, the Eisners are presented annually before a packed ballroom at Comi-Con International in San Diego, America's largest comics convention.

Wizard magazine named Eisner "the most influential comic artist of all time." Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-prize winning novel Kavalier and Clay is based in good part on Eisner. Also in 2002, Eisner received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation for Jewish Culture, only the second such honor in the organization's history, presented by Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman.

An authorized biography, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman, was published in 2005. A new biography, Will Eisner: A Dreamer's Life in Comics by Michael Schumacher has been released in 2010 by Bloomsbury.

A film documentary about Eisner's career, "Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist" from Montilla Pictures (Andrew and Jon B. Cooke), premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

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