Tonight is the comic book industry’s version of the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, and the Tonys — the Eisners!
This is the day every year when the comic industry’s elite meet up at Comic-Con International in San Diego to celebrate their best and brightest with the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards!
Here is what some pros had to say about the event as reported in my authorized Eisner bio, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life, a biography by Bob Andelman:
Eisner demonstrated his strength of character and enduring physical wherewithal by standing on stage throughout the entire presentation, shaking hands and personally congratulating the winners. Although each presenter gives out three awards, no one else stood for as long as Eisner.
“You know,” said Amazing Spider-Man writer J. Michael Straczynski, during his acceptance speech at the 2002 Eisner Awards, “you get the Emmy, you don’t get it from ‘Emmy.’ You win the Oscar, you don’t get it from ‘Oscar.’ How freakin’ cool is this?”
“Will was the elder statesman in our field,” said Maggie Thompson, editor of the Comics Buyer’s Guide. “I don’t know another case where the best-of-an-industry award was named for a living person. In comics, we were smart enough to realize this was richly deserved.”
Thompson noted that no matter how high a pedestal Eisner’s fans and fellow professionals in the business built for him, it only took a cockeyed look from the artist’s wife to bring him back to earth.
“He routinely received standing ovations wherever he appeared,” she said. “But at the Eisners, Ann sat there with that expression that said, ‘He’s only Will.’ They were a fascinating couple. I don’t know if he could have managed it without her. There is a strength and support there—although sardonic—that I think benefited our industry.”
“He was absolutely an artist’s artist,” Neil Gaiman said. “It’s why we take pride in having an award named after Will.”
If you’re at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week, drop by the TwoMorrows Publishing booth (Booth #1301, next to the Golden and Silver Age Pavilion, inside the main entrance to Hall B.) and pick up a copy of the only Will Eisner authorized biography, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life! And post a picture of yourself with it, please!