The first week of March will mark the inaugural Will Eisner Week, a celebration of Will Eisner’s legacy in graphic novel literacy and free expression. A collaborative project of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation, and a variety of comics institutions, Will Eisner Week is chaired by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s Assistant Professor Barbara Schulz. Will Eisner Week will be celebrated this year from March 1 to March 7, commemorating the 92nd anniversary of Eisner’s birth.
Will Eisner Week is intended as an ongoing celebration that will promote graphic novel literacy, free speech awareness, and the legacy of Eisner himself to a broad audience. This first annual celebration is themed “The Spirit of A Legend,” examining Will Eisner’s seminal Spirit comic, as well as the spirit inherent in his work that has inspired generations of comic readers and artists. This theme will be explored at events in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, in Savannah at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and in New York City.
In addition to events, a variety of academic papers and group activity assignments are available on WillEisnerWeek.com. These include:
Diana Schutz: Comic Artist Will Eisner
Diana Green: Other Trench(ant) Coats: Dr. Drew and the Wraith as Spirit Pastiches
Frenchy Lunning: The Hero High Above the City
Ivan Brunetti: Worst. Page. Ever.
Paul Karasik: Will Eisner, Grandaddy to the SuperHero Generation.
Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation President Carl Gropper says, “The Foundation is very excited to be working with three such prestigious organizations to celebrate the accomplishments and the position of the Graphic Novel in current culture. Will Eisner spent his seven decades-long career showing what could be accomplished with Sequential Art and Will Eisner Week will continue that work. In 1978 no mainstream publisher would publish Will Eisner’s first graphic novel and in 2008 the graphic novel was the one of the few areas of growth in all media including publishing, television, and the movies adding billions to the worldwide economy.”
CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein says, “Will Eisner was a staunch advocate of comics and free expression throughout his life. His work for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was tireless, and we are proud to honor his legacy through this initiative. Over time, we hope that Will Eisner Week will be used to focus ever more attention on graphic novel literacy and the wide range of free expression that comics encourage.”