Comic-Con International revealed the art for this year’s Souvenir Book at a special event co-sponsored with the CBLDF. The event, part of Will Eisner Week, was held at the Society of Illustrators in New York City on Wednesday, March 4. The CCI/CBLDF event was part of an ongoing series of education programs offered by the two organizations.
This year’s book features an incredible cover by illustrator Michael Cho (whose book, Shoplifter, was one of the best reviewed graphic novels of 2014), celebrating the legacy of Will Eisner’s The Spirit. Eisner’s character debuted in 1940 as a Sunday newspaper supplement and in its heyday reached over 5 million readers each week. Eisner ended the strip in 1952, but it went on to have an amazing afterlife in both reprints and new stories, starting in the 1960s and continuing through today. It’s a testament to Eisner’s work that The Spirit has stood the test of time and continues to entertain and inspire fans, readers, comic creators, and filmmakers. Eisner’s vivid and cinematic storytelling, rich with characterization, wit, and just plain great drawing, is as enjoyable today as when it was first published.
In addition to cover artist Michael Cho, the event featured artists John Cassaday (Star Wars), Paul Pope (Battling Boy), and editor Charles Kochman (Abrams ComicArts, editor of the upcoming book, Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel by Paul Levitz), in conversation with CBLDF executive director Charles Brownstein (whose book Eisner/Miller featured a long interview between Will and Frank Miller). The panelists discussed Eisner’s ongoing influence and inspiration for creators and why he is considered one of the masters of comic art. Eisner would have been 98 years old on March 6. He died in 2005, creating new graphic novels up until the very end. Will Eisner Week is an annual celebration in March promoting graphic novel literacy, sequential art, free speech awareness, and the legacy of Will Eisner.
The Comic-Con International Souvenir Book is a full-color, keepsake trade paperback that is published each year and given free to all attendees at the event (while supplies last). Comic-Con International 2015 will be held July 9-12 at the San Diego Convention Center.