Thursday, December 25, 2008

A little Christmas "SPIRIT"!

I unintentionally lied in the last post.
I said that the first fan letter I'd written was to Dave Stevens. It wasn't. The first one was to Will Eisner, during the Kitchen Sink Spirit magazine days. In fact that's where my first fan art was published. A short time later I had the chance to meet Mr. Eisner at a book signing at Forbidden Planet in NYC. I showed him my published sketch of Popeye coming to the aid of a dazed Spirit and Will graciously signed it for me, along with a few other items I'd purchased.

A few years later I was publishing the Honeymooners comic book and since one of the issues featured Ralph and Ed coming up against gangsters my partner Norm Abramoff suggested we interview Will Eisner. Our books always featured an interview with either a cast member from the TV show or a personality that would suit the theme. After talking with Will and getting clearances to use art from his latest graphic novel "The Dreamer" and permission to use his distinctive signature logo on the cover art we began a correspondence that lasted for many years.

In the early '90s I began sculpting figurines of obscure vintage characters from animation and comic strips, as well as maquettes of original characters. I sent one of the sculpts I made to Will, based on his character "Kilroy", shown in strip detail below. Will was kind enough to send this greeting card.

Kilroy is the little guy with the peppermint stick in his mouth.
And yes, he's throwing a snowball at Santa!

Here's a quote from Will Eisner that I find inspiring, especially when you consider the year he said it...

Happy Holidays!


foodbin said...

nice blog

max said...

Doh! That's as close as been touched by the hand of God as I can imagine.

Phantom Spitter said...

I love The Spirit! That's great that you did some correspondance with Eisner! Oh, the envy.

By the way, I started a new blog.

Vince M. said...

Thanks, Foodbin.

You're right Max. Mr. Eisner was a wonderful person. Caring, generous and gifted. I was lucky to be in his orbit.

Damn right, Spitter. The man was tops. I like the new blog.

Now onto some related business...

I went to see Frank Miller's film "The Spirit", and it was horrible. It was like an Ed Wood movie with a big budget.

Phantom Spitter said...

Thanks for the warning about the Spirit movie, Vince. I won't even bother seeing it now.

However, I'll always have a soft spot for Ed Wood movies, but I'm sure it wouldn't be as campily entertaining.

Ry's Photo Blog said...

Yes, I've heard the movie is bad....but this was an inspirational story. Thanks for sharing it with us Vin.

Vince M. said...

I too love the wonky feeling of the old Ed Wood films, Mr. Spitter. But they weren't based on the work of someone else, as Miller's film is, so they can be viewed with an uncritical or expectant eye. But this Spirit film is an abomination to the work by and memory of Will Eisner.

Thanks Ry. I'm glad you enjoyed my little recollection. I almost fell over when I opened the envelope and read the card. Eisner was a true gentleman.