(Note from Bob Andelman: Brian Postman was a student of Will Eisner’s in the 1970s and a frequent correspondent of mine since publication of my biography, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life. When he told me he had been to the world premiered of Andrew D. Cooke’s documentary, Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist, I invited him to submit this review to the site. Your comments are also welcome; click on the “Comments” button at the end of Brian’s post.)
I was looking forward to seeing WILL EISNER:PORTRAIT OF A SEQUENTIAL ARTIST, because I had seen the trailer,and it brought back many memories of studying with him at the School of Visual Arts from September 1977 to June 1980.
I saw the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday night,and it was spectacular. one of the most interesting documentaries I’ve seen in a long time.
There was a lot of footage and photos of the young “twenty-something” Will Eisner,as well as the more “mature” Eisner who returned from World WarII. He talked of his beginnings with “Eisner and Iger” a comic book art studio he started with Jerry Iger in the ’30s ,as well as his ground breaking work on The Spirit,and his life and work after The Spirit,including his close-knit family life and starting American Visuals. This continues right up to him working on A Contract With God, which is considered among the first graphic novels.
Watching this movie really open up the floodgates of my memories of the late 1970s and working with him as a teacher. He was definitely tough,but he tried to instill in us to try and go beyond comic books, and tell stories that were more than just superheroes punching each other!
The only thing in the movie that seemed inaccurate was a part toward the end talking about his teaching at SVA. They showed footage of Peter Bagge, who I’m pretty sure wasn’t one of Will’s students — I knew him at SVA — but then again, it’s been 30 years! It’s possible he took Will’s class briefly.
I really miss Will Eisner; he was a great guy. Go see this movie! — Brian Postman