Will Eisner: Profession - Cartoonist (Entertainment One, 1999) D: Marisa Furtado De Oliveira, Paulo Serran. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NNN
Will Eisner was in at the birth of comics. His newspaper insert book, The Spirit, has rarely been out of print since the 1940s and is slated to hit the big screen any day now.
He invented the graphic novel with 1978's A Contract With God and has drawn and written 20 more since then. He employed Jules Pfeiffer and Art Spiegelman of Maus fame, who claims him as a major influence. His Graphic Storytelling And Visual Narrative is regarded as an essential text for aspiring cartoonists. He's so revered that the comics industry named its awards after him, and his work has been translated all over the world.
They love him in Brazil, which is why Brazilian TV devoted three 45-minute segments to his life and work. It's not particularly polished, but here content is everything.
The Spirit, The Dream (about his graphic novels) and Master Class sections offer a professional and biographical portrait of an innovative, energetic and happy artist, businessman and husband.
The directors animate and add some voices to a lot of The Spirit and Eisner's graphic novels, giving a good sense of his writing, visual warmth, humour, expressive body language and shadows. Eisner, Spiegelman and several others deliver biography, philosophy, technique.
Eisner and his wife's amiable natures shine through in the extras, and an image gallery of his portraits and cityscapes shows what a skilled artist he is.
EXTRAS Two Eisner anecdotes, Eisner and wife interview, sketch and painting montage. Full frame.