cover image Will Eisner's Life, in Pictures

Will Eisner's Life, in Pictures

Will Eisner, . . Norton, $29.95 (493pp) ISBN 978-0-393-06107-9

In these rare examples of autobiographical work from comics master Eisner, we see the artist looking back on the expanse of his life. Shown are the New York of his childhood, a family that came together more out of necessity than love, the young artist at war and the ramifications of anti-Semitism at home and in Europe. In an enthusiastic introduction, Scott McCloud tells us, “When you enter a 'graphic novels' section of a bookstore, you're looking at Will's handiwork.” Indeed, the sense of witnessing history is strong. In “The Dreamer,” Eisner tells the story of his entry into and hand in creating the comics industry. This section is thinly veiled as fiction but a helpful annotation from the publisher makes clear what the real-world business corollaries were. The central piece of the book is “To the Heart of the Storm,” in which the artist rides a train through Europe on his way to the war and, as he looks out his window, sees scenes from the past. Eisner's childhood in the Bronx is played out, as are his parents' early lives. This is a rich story, and Eisner's expression of the difficulties faced by Jews in the early part of the 19th century reveals his gritty side. (Oct.)