Topic: Comic Book Movies
TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3202:
Saturday night we watched the DVD of the film "Will Eisner: Portrait Of A Sequential Artist'.
This brand new release was brought to my attention by the Director of the film, Andrew D. Cooke of Montilla Pictures, when I met him at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con International, (SDCC).
The film was one that Tina and I had see a premiere of a while back at an earlier SDCC. Unfortunately we had not seen it all at that time due to program scheduling conflicts.
The fact that it was in association with 'Comic Book Artist' Magazine, and its Editor, Jon B Cooke - who was the writer this film, was an additional plus to my wanting finish viewing this film on DVD and mention it here in my Blog.
Before I start though, I'll be upfront with you, my blog reading audience.
When I first started reading comics in the late 1950's, Will Eisner was already out of comics / comic books. He had closed down the publication of 'The Spirit' in 1952 due to the ever increasing cost of newprint.
Will didn't come back to 'comics' until being invited by the late Phil Seuling in 1972, when Phil invited him to attend his comic con in NYC.
There he was amazed at how underground comics had come into being, after being introduced to them by Dennis Kitchen.
(Side note by Michael: By that time, I had already caught the 1st Wave of Marvel Comics Madness. DC Comic Book Titles were mostly over 100 issues by the time I started to 'collect' comics in 1962. Marvels were mostly starting with number ones. Being a 'completist' at heart, and loving the 'Marvel Way' of doing things, along with my hero worship of Stan Lee, I became an early 'Marvel Zombie'. Thus Will Eisner wasn't even on my 'radar' in the early 1970's.)
Will's return to comics was prefaced by reprints of his 'The Spirit' newspaper supplements by Dennis Kitchen of Kitchen Sink Press, until his first sequential art novel, which he called a 'Graphic Novel', 'A Contract With God' was published.
The film goes back to his roots. His parents, their meeting, and ensuing marriage in 1915, and his being born in 1917.
In the Summer of 1939 Will developed 'The Spirit' for 'Busy' Arnold, but Will retained all rights.
A Side Note: There were many quick stories told in this 96 minute film. One that struck me was his love for 'Krazy Kat', which is celebrating its 100th Birthday this year. As announced in the 2010 Comic-Con International Souvenir Book I blogged about earlier here.
Other stories were told by Trina Robbins, Sergio Aragones, Scott McCloud, Dennis Kitchen, Stan Lee, Jerry Robinson, Art Spiegelman, Kurt Vonnegut, Joe Kubert, Gil Kane, and oh so many more well known individuals!
Several of those shown in the film have passed away. I remember seeing so many of the them in panels at the SDCC in earlier years.
Matter of fact, the film has several clips of some of those persons mentioned above in interviews conducted at the SDCC.
For those of you that don't know of Will Eisner's previous works, his history, and what he contributed to the comics industry, this is a really good film on DVD for your reference library!
In addition to the film itself, there are a few additional Special Features on the this DVD:
1) Shop Talk Takes - Interviews recoded on cassette tapes by Will for his column'Shop Talk' conducted during the 1980s. Some taped inteviews were with Neal Adams, CC Beck, Milton Canniff, Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon among others.
2) Selected artwork - There was good music playing in the background while the photos and illustrations were shown. Which was good because the early pictures shown in this feature were direct from the film. The colorized versions were also shown as well as this feature unraveled. Many more additional photos & illustratins were added as the feature continued. We watched the whole of this featurette.
3) Credits / Links - Lots of credits and links for follow up reasearch if desired by the viewer!
Whew! There was a LOT to this film and features on this DVD. It made a perfect showing for our Saturday evening, coming down from our previous weekend's high at the San Diego Comic Con International itself!
For those of YOU that would like to see a clip of the Film itself, here is the link to the trailer!
My comic book grade for this DVD is a NEAR MINT (NM) 9.4! Because it was well researched, very well presented, Plus there were additional valuable features added on the DVD itself!
You can find it for sale at the web site: Montilla Pictures. The cost of the DVD version is $19.99 plus shipping. The Blu-Ray version is $25.99 plus shipping.
BTW, We have a couple of back issues of 'Comic Book Artist' Magazine in our online store. We picked up another couple of dozen of them at the SDCC, which we will be listing shortly. You can find those issues of 'Comic Book Artist' listed here in our online store.
As an Addendum, both my wife, Tina, and my youngest son wanted to add a couple of thoughts to this blog post today on the film:
Tina: She thought that this was a good history of the man she had seen briefly at several Comic-Cons before Will's passing on January 3rd of 2005. Her comic book grade for this DVD is a VERY FINE PLUS (VF+) 8.5 grade.
Vinnie, (my tween-aged youngest son):
NOTE: Before this film, I knew nothing about Will Eisner except for the Eisner Awards named in his honor. This past Saturday night, we watched the film, 'Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist'.
It taught me much of the history of when Will Eisner was a kid all the way up until his death. I learned about how The Spirit was first in the comic strips of newpapers, then later became reprints in magazines.
What I found interesting about his work was that the title, "The Spirit," was never lettered the same way twice. Each issue would have you almost thinking it was a different magazine with the same title, because the way Will designed it ranged from being written in calligriphic-looking writing to being written in the scenery or in what appeared to be pipes or electrical cords. He obviously put much detail into the titles themselves, as well as time for thinking up the new style.
Overall, I believe Andrew D. Cooke did a magnificient job on the presentation, and putting it all together to direct this film. If I had to give it a Comic Book Grade, I would give it a Very Fine Plus (VF+) 8.5.
In Summary, my thanks again to Andrew D Cooke for bringing to my attention that the DVD / Blue-Ray format of this Film was premiering at the SDCC. And that it would also be For Sale this past week at their online web site. It was great to meet You at the SDCC and to finish watching the film! Plus being able to view the Special Features only found on the DVD once we arrrived home!
PLUS...My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now at the 3,200 total posts in number! I do appreciate your continued reading and support of this Blog!~ Michael D Hamersky @ ComicBookCollectorsBlog.com
Note: Our online comic book shop carries many different genres of comics, magazines, graphic novels, and comic con promotional items at the link seen below.