Eisner 1917 – 2005

Have you ever read something and actually spoken out loud to yourself out of sheer surprise. I casually read some forum thread titles and when one jumped out like a searing brand I actually said right out loud “What? Oh no!”.

Will Eisner passed away last night.

I met him twice and it was a gratifying experience both times.

Two summers ago at San Diego Comic Con he was at a Comic Book Legal Defense Party party along with Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller and a slew of other comic legends. The front of the Dublin Square pub was open for all and it was jammed. All the comic celebrities were in a lounge in the back part of the pub, but you could only go back there if you were specifically inivited.

Crammed into the front barely able to move let alone get a seat, I saw Scott McCloud’s head bobbing near the entrance as he looked for a way through. Muscling my way over to him, we enthusiastically chatted about how our year had gone. I’ve known Scott since Makeshift Miracle was in swing and he’s always amazing to talk with.

Anyways, he plowed right through to the lounge area and dragged me and my friend Ray with him. Over the next couple of hours I talked with a pile of people there, including Will Eisner.

This summer past, Will was at a Toronto comic convention here as a guest of honor. Before the show opened up, I saw him browsing around the booths and we chatted about graphic novels and our favorite new cartoonists. Later on that day I sat around with 10 or 12 other artists as he chatted over lunch about finding his artistic voice and seeing the comic industry change.

A fine man indeed. The comic book industry is lessened considerably without him.

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