I, like most of you, am hunkered down in my digs for the foreseeable future—diligently processing a Silver Age collection I’d purchased right before the quarantine hit. In doing so, I came across a few Will Eisner items which sent me down a black hole of comic history.
Wait. Do you know who Will Eisner is??? That’s probably a blog post for another day, but I can sum him up right quick by telling you that he created The Spirit, focused on “real life” stories (as opposed to Superhero stories), and—depending on who you ask—invented the Graphic Novel. Oh, and he’s just ONE OF THE GREATEST COMIC CREATORS OF ALL TIME.
I, myself, have pretty stellar Will Eisner collection, but, as I said, that’s a blog post for another time; however, I do want to tell you about an artist & author that inspired Eisner in his youth.
Ladies and Nerds, I give you…
Gods’ Man: A Novel In Woodcuts by Lynd Ward
"Morty *belch*, it looks like we’re inside some nerdy, bookman’s home office!
Quick—grab that novel and let’s scram!"
Ward published Gods’ Man in 1929 and he did so without the use of words. Inside this book is a series of individual woodcuts (139 to be exact) that chronicle the life of an up-in-coming artist who’s given a magic paintbrush by a mysterious stranger. Ward’s wordless novel is not the first of it’s kind (it’s probably the second or third known instance of the technique) but Ward’s work had a huge impact on Eisner.
I purchased this book over a decade ago when I was a bookseller, myself. I want to tell you that I was SUCH a HUGE Eisner fan that I tracked down everything that inspired him, but that’s simply not true. I bought this book because of the gift inscription on the front flypaper.
It was a happy coincidence that I was just able to add it to my Eisner collection.
Enjoy these few images from Ward’s book and track this beauty down if you can. My copy is a 4th printing from 1930—so not a true first—but a true first wouldn't have this inscription.
Stay safe and take care!
I’ll see you all soon. …hopefully.