Will Eisner

William Erwin "Will" Eisner was an American cartoonist, writer, and entrepreneur. He was one of the earliest cartoonists to work in the American comic book industry, and his series The Spirit was noted for its experiments in content and form. In 1978, he popularized the term "graphic novel" with the publication of his book A Contract with God. He was an early contributor to formal comics studies with his book Comics and Sequential Art. The Eisner Award was named in his honor, and is given to recognize achievements each year in the comics medium; he was one of the three inaugural inductees to the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.
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The revolutionary work of graphic storytelling that inspired a new art form.

Will Eisner was present at the dawn of comics. In the 1940s, he pushed the boundaries of the medium with his acclaimed weekly comic strip The Spirit, and with the publication of A Contract with God in 1978, he created a new medium altogether: the graphic novel. It was unlike anything seen before, heralding an era when serious cartoonists were liberated from the limiting confines of the comic strip. Eisner’s work was a shining example of what comics could be: as inventive, moving, and complex as any literary art form.

Eisner considered himself “a graphic witness reporting on life, death, heartbreak, and the never-ending struggle to prevail.” A Contract with God begins with a gripping tale that mirrors the artist’s real-life tragedy, the death of his daughter. Frimme Hersh, a devout Jew, questions his relationship with God after the loss of his own beloved child. Hersh’s crisis is intertwined with the lives of the other unforgettable denizens of Eisner’s iconic Dropsie Avenue, a fictionalized version of the quintessential New York City street where he came of age at the height of the Depression.

This centennial edition showcases Eisner’s singular visual style in new high-resolution scans of his original art, complete with an introduction by Scott McCloud and an illuminating history of Eisner’s seminal work. Now readers can experience the legendary book that launched a unique art form and reaffirmed Will Eisner as one of the great pioneers of American graphic storytelling.

Will Eisner—best known for his influential comic book series The Spirit and his groundbreaking graphic novel A Contract with God—believed in the teaching power of comics, and from 1951 to 1971 he produced PS magazine for the U.S. Army. This Preventive Maintenance Monthly (called PS because it was a postscript to the standard technical manuals) was aimed at teaching American soldiers everything about weapons safety for vehicles, aircraft, firearms, and electronics. Eisner illustrated these vital lessons in drawings, pinups, step-by-step guides, and comic strips. This collection contains the best of Eisner’s 227 issues of PS, reproduced in a portable digest format. This relatively unknown work by Eisner is finally explored—the missing link between his comic books and his later, more mature graphic novel style.

Praise for PS Magazine:

"For the first time, Will Eisner’s superlative work for the U.S. Army has been assembled into a single collection. The result shows the artist’s keen understanding of the educative power of graphic storytelling. From 1951 to 1971, between The Spirit and A Contract with God, Eisner produced PS Magazine for the army in order to teach the common soldier how best to use, maintain, repair, and requisition their equipment. From explaining how to load a truck correctly to why it won’t start, Eisner used a combination of humor, sound technical writing, and graphic storytelling to educate the soldiers. His magazines could be found at the front lines, in the officer’s mess, and in the quarters of senior military officials. It featured a cast of recurring characters like the loveable Joe Dope and the voluptuous Connie Rodd, who headlined featured segments like “Joe’s Dope Sheet” and the provocatively named “Connie Rodd’s Briefs.” With Eisner’s wonderful artwork and clarity of style making sometimes difficult concepts easy to understand, it’s no wonder PS Magazine was so popular with military personnel. A fascinating document for both fans of Eisner and military history buffs." 
- Publishers Weekly starred review  

“These amusing yet pragmatic sketches provide a ‘missing-link’ comics document for fans and demonstrate the same mastery of his craft that marked Eisner’s better-known works.”
—Booklist

“An instructional model for today’s producers of non­fiction comics, which too often lack such visual traction, this also has appeal for military buffs, vehicle junkies, and Eisner fans.”

—Library Journal 

“The enthusiast who’s been nurturing a curiosity about Eisner’s lost years will find all he needs to know from this beautifully produced little volume.” —The Comics Journal


"Eisner understood comics' potential for education decades before his peers, and PS magazine was his first laboratory. This thoughtful new collection is an essential addition to the Eisner library." 
-Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics

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