Will Eisner, prolific cartoonist and “grandfather” of the modern-day graphic novel, died in January, 2005. Although much has been published about Eisner and his literary output, Andelman’s biography is the first to explore all facets of his fascinating life and six-decade career in the comics industry. Much of Andelman’s information has been gleaned from extensive interviews with Eisner and the many colleagues who have been influenced over the years by his work.
Michael Chabon’s stirring introduction sets the stage for reminiscences by fellow cartoonists and writers. Andelman is very thorough in documenting Eisner’s career, from his early days in the 1930’s during the birth of comics to his successful and enduring superhero, The Spirit. He recounts Eisner’s stint in the Army, where he wrote technical manuals in comic format. Eisner’s early work laid the foundation for his most personal work, the graphic novels which depict the lives of Jews living in the teeming tenements of New York’s Lower East Side.
Readers of Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and fans of graphic novels will revel in the details provided in Andelman’s biography. The story of Will Eisner is as interesting as any found within the pages of a comic book.