A special meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Monday, March 2, 2015 at 7pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.
To celebrate Will Eisner Week, a series of international events timed around the March 6th birthday of comics innovator Will Eisner, we offer two presentations:
THE CONTRADICTIONS AND IMPORTANCE OF WILL EISNER, a talk by Paul Levitz.
Will Eisner was the most successful businessman of comics’ first generation of great cartoonists. Paul Levitz discusses how Eisner’s journey between commerce and art contributed to his importance to the evolution of the field and the graphic novel, based on Levitz’s upcoming Abrams ComicArts’ book: Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel.
PAUL LEVITZ is a comic fan (The Comic Reader), editor (Batman, among many titles), writer (Legion of Super-Heroes, Worlds’ Finest, and many others including four NY Times Graphic Books Best Sellers), executive (30 years at DC, ending as President &Publisher), historian (75 Years of DC Comics: The Art Of Modern Myth-Making (Taschen, 2010)) and educator (including teaching The American Graphic Novel at Columbia). He won two consecutive annual Comic Art Fan Awards for Best Fanzine, received Comic-Con International’s Inkpot Award, the prestigious Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, and the Comics Industry Appreciation Award from ComicsPro. His Taschen book won the Eisner Award, the Eagle Award and Munich’s Peng Pris, and is being released in revised form as five volumes. Levitz also serves on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
SPIRIT AND SHADOW: WILL EISNER AND ORSON WELLES
A presentation by Danny Fingeroth and Arie Kaplan.
Born two years apart, Orson Welles (1915-1985) and Will Eisner (1917-2005) were each giants in their fields, Welles in film, Eisner in comics. With 2015 marking Welles’ centenary as well as the 75 th anniversary of the launch of Eisner’s groundbreaking series, The Spirit, we look at the similarities and differences of the two men’s bodies of work.
From the turmoil of the years leading up to World War II, Welles—already legendary as the radio voice of The Shadow, his War of the Worlds broadcast and The Cradle Will Rock Broadway landmark—blasted into the world of movies with Citizen Kane in 1941. Eisner, having helped put comics on the map with Sheena, Hawks of The Sea, and numerous other features, in 1940 launched The Spirit, which took comics to a new level of sophistication.
Like many of his generation of comics creators, Eisner was quick to credit Welles’ influence on his work—even lampooned him as “Awsome Bells” in a Spirit story—and often visually homaged Welles distinctive filmmaking style. Welles was known as a fan of comics, although his awareness of The Spirit is unknown. Still, both came out of the same crucible of high and low culture—from German Expressionist cinema to the avant-garde work of Man Ray and Salvador Dali to the stories of Guy DeMaupassant and O. Henry—as well as the turmoil of the Great Depression and a world headed inexorably toward war. And both were acknowledged as creators whose work regularly rose above craft to the level of art, who created characters and told tales that endure beyond their lifetimes. Their innovations reverberate through our popular culture to this day.
Tonight Danny Fingeroth and Arie Kaplan will compare the work of Welles and Eisner who, in different media, but with a shared obsession with telling their stories their way—innovating instead of imitating—changed everything in their given fields.
DANNY FINGEROTH was Group Editor of Marvel’s Spider-Man comics line and has written many comics, including Spider-Man, Darkhawk, and Iron Man. He is the author of the books Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us About Ourselves and Our Society; Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero; and The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels. With Roy Thomas, Fingeroth edited The Stan Lee Universe, featuring rarities from the comics legend’s career, and with Mike Manley edited How to Create Comics from Script to Print. Fingeroth has spoken about comics at The Smithsonian Institution, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Columbia University, and has written about them for publications including The Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun. He was Sr. VP of Education at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA), and has taught comics writing and history there and at The New School, NYU, and the MiMaster Art Institute in Milan. Fingeroth is a programming consultant to Wizard World comics conventions, inventing, organizing and moderating a diverse array of panels at their nationwide shows. Find out more at http://www.dannyfingeroth.com.
ARIE KAPLAN has written comic book stories and graphic novels for DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, MAD Magazine, IDW, Bongo Comics, Penguin Young Readers Group, Capstone, and other publishers.
He is the author of the award-winning nonfiction book From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books (Jewish Publication Society, 2008). His latest nonfiction book is Saturday Night Live: Shaping TV Comedy and American Culture (Lerner Publishing Group, 2014).
Arie’s also a screenwriter for television, videogames, and transmedia. His television writing credits include TruTV Presents: World’s Dumbest…, the PBS Kids hit Cyberchase, and MTV’s TRL.
Find out more on his website, http://www.ariekaplan.com.