Posthumous collection commemorates the pioneering cartoonist who gave his name to the comic industry’s top annual awards, the Eisners.
<\b>Revered by both his comic-strip peers and the legions of graphic novelists he inspired, Eisner (Will Eisner’s New York: Life in the Big City, 2006, etc.) never felt as comfortable with personal revelation in his narratives as many of the younger memoirists who followed his lead. Thus, the subtitle is only partially accurate. Only “The Dreamer” and “The Day I Became a Professional” make direct reference to Eisner’s prodigious career, and editor Denis Kitchen had to annotate the former to provide the real names of the pseudonymous characters. The longest piece, “To the Heart of the Storm,” is perhaps the most ambitious and overtly autobiographical, detailing the reminiscences of a young soldier on a troop train about the anti-Semitism he and his family have encountered. Yet the flashbacks aren’t presented in chronological order, and neither are these stories, though they’re the closest thing to a graphic autobiography ever published under Eisner’s name. They’re presented in the order he created them, with the first story, “A Sunset in Sunshine City,” providing an allegory of the artist’s twilight years in its tale of the reluctant retirement and relocation of a shopkeeper who has spent all his life in New York. The remaining selection, “The Name of the Game,” features a thinly fictionalized biography of Eisner’s wife’s family. This volume draws far more on personal experience than was usual in such earlier works as The Spirit, but it’s telling that the title is Life, in Pictures rather than “my life.”
Life in all its bittersweet richness, depicted by a master who learned from the more personally revelatory work by younger generations who were profoundly influenced by him.