Saturday, February 04, 2006

Will Eisner

On Thursday night I went to the Cartoon Art Museum, which sponsered an illustrated talk by Bob Andelman about his new authorized biography of the cartoonist Will Eisner. Will Eisner's name constantly comes up in well-informed discussions about graphic novels & comics, but I've never really understood why he is so important. & unfortunately the talk did not clarify things for me. Andelman's description of Eisner's career made it sound like the comic book industry is made up of a bunch of crass shysters.

I did enjoy getting glimpses of Eisner's art work as teenager & of his personal sketches. You can see what a skilled artist he is.

Andelman was enthused about his subject but not so experienced at giving these sorts of presentations, so while he read from a copious sheaf of papers, he kept apologizing for having his slides out of order for going on too long. He peppered his talk with personal anecdotes, but I failed to find them amusing or revealing.

Before the event, I had a chance to look at the exhibits in the musuem, & they had a number of anti-American political cartoons. With the current flap over the anti-Islamic Danish cartoons, I wonder if the museum has considered putting these cartoons on display, perhaps along with a Danish flag that has been trodden on.

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