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Celebrate Will Eisner Week at the San José Public Library!

Will Eisner Comics tiled, covering the left side of the image, with an image of Will Eisner on the right at the 2004 San Diego Comic Con

What is Will Eisner Week? 

Will Eisner Week is a celebration on the first week of every March for the man who championed graphic novels for the general public, as well as how graphic novels assist the promotion of literacy and free expression.

Who Was Will Eisner?

Eisner, born in 1917, began creating comics in the 1930's through a small comic publication, The Spirit. The Spirit featured a hero who, instead of having superhuman abilities, used his intellect to fight for justice. In World War II, Eisner was drafted and began creating instructional comics for the military.

After World War II, Eisner ended The Spirit and focused on creating more educational comics, similar to the comics he had created for the military. His book, A Contract with God is noted by many people as the first graphic novel. Eisner passed away in 2005, leaving a legacy of achievements to inspire comic fans and creators everywhere.

Due to his multiple accomplishments, one of the highest accolades in comics, the Eisner Awards, is named after him.


Join the San José Public Library All Week Long for Graphic Novel Events!

The San José Public Library will feature events celebrating Eisner Week, including two special events on Saturday, March 7, 2020: Drawn Together and Punk Taco. Throughout the week, make sure to stop by the library for fun craft events where you'll be able to make Captain America wristbands and superhero bookmarks. Find out more about these events below.


Special Editions: Drawn Together & Punk Taco!

Drawn Together Documentary Screening, book cover

Drawn Together Documentary Screening

Celebrate Will Eisner Week 2020 with a special screening of the award winning documentary Drawn Together - a film that traces the fascinating journey of three comic creators who challenge the notion of race, appearance, and gender stereotypes through cartoons, comics and cosplay.

To learn more about Drawn Together, watch the documentary trailer online.

This program will take place at Village Square Branch Library on March 7 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The screening is free to all attendees, no registration required.


Punk Taco Author Visit with Adam & Makana Wallenta, book cover

Punk Taco Author Visit with Adam & Makana Wallenta

Say hello to Punk Taco, an intergalactic space taco, and his band of punk rocking misfits working to fight against evil and bring peace and love to the galaxy!

Sound interesting? Drop by to meet graphic novelist Adam Wallenta and eight-year old co-creator Makana to explore the world of Punk Taco and learn more about how to make your original ideas into comics of your very own. With Adam's help, participants will also have the opportunity to develop their own original character just like Punk Taco!

Copies of Punk Taco will be available for sale (while supplies last), and Adam will be on hand to sign books at the end of the event.

This program will take place at Santa Teresa Branch Library on March 7 from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM. This event is free to all attendees, no registration required.


Make Captain America Wrist Shields and Super Hero Bookmarks this Week!

Learn More About Will Eisner

Will Eisner was essential in molding the development of the graphic novel genre. He began his career by drawing comics for a short-lived pulp magazine called Wow, What a Magazine! at the start of the comic book industry in the late 1930s.

Eisner met Jerry Iger, a fellow cartoonist from the magazine, during the duration of his employment. When Wow, What a Magazine! ended its run, Eisner and Iger teamed up and founded Eisner & Iger, an independent comic publisher. During this time, Eisner created multiple characters, one of which he is most well known for today, The Spirit.

When he was drafted into the army during WWII, Eisner changed his focus from superhero comics to instructional comic strips for military magazines. Most starred Joe Dope, the dumbest private to ever serve, to teach soldiers what not to do.

After WWII ended, Eisner returned to writing The Spirit, but his interest had been caught by the idea that comics could help educate readers instead of simply being entertaining. Concluding The Spirit in 1952, Eisner formed the American Visual Corporations. His company focused completely on creating educational comic books for schools, businesses, and the government.

25 years later, Eisner evolved beyond superheroes and comic strips. He wrote four short stories that were published as A Contract with God, one of the first graphic novels to gain public interest and begin the popularization of the term “graphic novel.” Eisner continued to publish comics and graphic novels until his death in 2005, his final graphic novel being The Plot: The Secret Stories of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Graphic Novel Recommendations by Library Staff

As an added bonus, we wanted to share some of San Jose Public Library staff's favorite graphic novels with you. We hope you'll like them as much as we do!


(Image Credit: Pattymooney, Will Eisner (San Diego Comic Con, 2004), size/collage layout by anonymous, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Blog Category
Graphic Novels


Submitted by Ralph on Fri, 02/28/2020 - 3:59 PM


Your Comment
I came across Will Eisner's "The Spirit" comics as a teenager in the 1970s while hitting the various comic shops that were Downtown (mostly along San Fernando Street). The art and the stories are great. My collection of "The Spirit" dates back to the 1940s (Sunday comics sections), and includes Spanish language issues from Mexico. One of my favorite current graphic novel artists is Canadian Seth (Gregory Gallant) with works like "Palookaville" and "Clyde Fans."

Your Comment
Thank you for sharing! It's so cool that you have actual prints of "The Spirit", including actual translated issues from Mexico.

I'm going to have to check out Seth's works now. Thanks for the rec!

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