Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Words from Will Eisner...

Above: Comics legend and teacher, Will Eisner.

Will Eisner was always a wealth of information. Many members of P.I.C. were once students in Will’s ‘Sequential Art’ class at the School of Visual Arts.

And, years later, I continue to learn from Will Eisner. Recently, I was reading the "Cartoonists as Prisoners" editorial in Kitchen Sink’s THE SPIRIT #25 (November 1986). Here, Will stated:

You have to believe in what you’re producing. You must produce it without embarrassment, in an unabashed way. You can’t deny the emotion within you.

Most of the really successful comic book and comics writers had to be honest and believe in what they were doing in order to produce good work. The similarity between Milton Caniff and Jack Kirby is they have a basic honesty and belief in what they are doing. It shows up in their work, and it’s a reason they’re successful.

That is powerful and encouraging.

I am, also, re-re-reading Dark Horse Books’ EISNER/MILLER that was published in 2005. This book is a vast tome of wonderful knowledge from Frank Miller and Will Eisner. I found this statement from Will very interesting:

[National Periodical Publications/DC Comics’ Harry Donenfeld] told the artists, as he told me, "Look, I can replace you." As a matter of fact, the artists working in the field in the late thirties and early forties would not talk to each other about their work for fear that they might be replaced.

I don’t think that the comics industry has changed much in that regard. A colleague once told me that the publisher that we were working for at the time frowned upon its freelancers talking to one another. I’ve written about this before in "When Creators speak out...". Don’t let anyone stifle your Free Speech. Speak freely.

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