The KC Public Library has a traveling exhibit honoring the work of Will Eisner. Eisner may not ring a bell with some readers, but anyone who ever read a DC comic would be familiar with his work. His 1930’s comic book ” The Spirit” totally changed the medium. Before Eisner, most comics were whimsical and fantastic in nature. “The Spirit’ was gritty and based in realism. Eisner is also considered the father of the graphic novel and helped differentiate graphic novels from comic books. ( comics being periodicals with ongoing storyline versus GN’s which are more detailed and tell one story per novel. )
The use of the femme fatale archetype was often employed in both the graphic novel and detective stories. Eisner’s bold imagery was part of a more significant movement of realism that was happening most likely as a result of the escapism that was dominant during the depression years.
Eisner’s work profoundly influenced DC comics especially Batman and Superman. The comics developed a more realistic character development and an exploration of darker themes. A change that continued with the comics being made into the films which have followed his lead.
The Eisner exhibit is at the Kansas City Public Library. There is no admission charge