Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Wednesday Cover: The Spirit

Yesterday was the late Will Eisner's birthday (March 6, 1917 – January 3, 2005). Eisner was an amazing cartoonist, writer, innovator and teacher. Obviously, his most famous creation, The Spirit, was a huge inspiration to me and influence on my work - especially Femme Noir. In fact, the initial spark of an idea for Femme Noir was to create a "female Spirit" (though I think the character evolved beyond that). I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet Eisner and shake his hand, and I also treasure the extraordinarily kind note he sent me years ago regarding one of my projects.

I met Eisner at the Capital City Distribution trade show in '94, just prior to the release of The Crow motion picture (the first one). Publishers Kitchen Sink Press had both Crow creator James O'Barr and Eisner at their booth. There was a huge line for O'Barr and not a single person talking to Eisner when I happened to walk by. I was shocked by how little attention the man was receiving from the crowd - but also pleased at the opportunity the situation presented. I went over to Eisner, thanked him for all he had contributed to the medium and for all the joy he had given me with his work.

As we shook hands, he graciously thanked me.

I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to tell him how much his work had enriched my life. A year or so later, I sent him a copy of the short-lived crime fiction/crime comics magazine that I created and edited, Noir, on a whim. I was pleasantly surprised when he took the time to send me a short, complimentary note on the first issue. I was walking on air that entire day.

From 1983 to 1992, Kitchen Sink published a regular Spirit reprint title, and Eisner managed to create a new cover illustration for every issue. The cover above, from Issue #38, is one of my favorites.

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