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Will Eisner's 'New York' comes to Pittsburgh's ToonSeum

The ToonSeum presents “Will Eisner's New York,” a rare collection of original works by legendary comics pioneer Will Eisner.

Press Release from ToonSeum:

The ToonSeum presents “Will Eisner's New York,” a rare collection of original works by legendary comics pioneer Will Eisner, each chronicling the artist's informal history of the city that shaped many of his illustrated masterpieces.

In many ways, Will Eisner's career is the history of the comic book. An enterprising teen when he founded one of the first packaging entities for comic book companies in the 1930s, Eisner would go on to change the landscape of the funny pages, injecting the comics with action and intellect with his sexy-noir adventures in The Spirit. He would soon break new ground as an instructional artist for the military and as a mentor for aspiring artist like Jack Kirby, Jules Feiffer, Frank Miller, and the underground artists of the 1960s. In the 1970s, Eisner again revolutionized the comics medium with the first “modern graphic novel,” the complex and haunting Contract With God. Eisner would continue writing graphic novels into the new century, along the way penning a series of influential comics how-to books and documenting comics history in a series of influential artist interviews.

From the Golden Age of Comics through the creation of the modern graphic novel (a form he was instrumental in popularizing), you will find New York City at the heart of Will Eisner's work. Whether thinly disguised as "Central City" in the pages of his legendary creation, The Spirit, or more directly presented in his autobiographical graphic novels, New York was portrayed by Eisner as only a native of the city could know it.

“Will Eisner's New York” allows audiences to explore the artist's most intriguing character—the ever -changing landscape of New York City from pre-Depression to bustling modernity. The exhibit includes over fifty original works spanning Eisner's seventy-year career, each capturing a glimpse at the city's beauty and squalor. From immigrant ghettos to the claustrophobic subways, dirty alleyways to towering rooftops, ramshackle tenements to grandiose bridges and foggy docks, Will Eisner's New York reveals the artist's powers of observation and empathy, and above all, the brilliance of his brush and pen.

The exhibition is curated by Denis Kitchen and Danny Fingeroth and is presented in partnership with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art New York- MOCCA.

“It’s a pleasure to make Will Eisner’s original art accessible for public viewing,” noted Kitchen. “Even the best reproductions in books can’t do justice to the fine lines and nuances of the actual India ink on paper. There’s an innate humanity to Will’s work.  Seeing his originals in person, with still visible hints of his pencil under drawings, and the sheer boldness of his brush strokes reveals an art that is alive with vitality.”

“Will Eisner's New York” is made possible by the generous support of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation.

The opening reception for Will Eisner's New York will be held on Eisner's birthday, March 6th at 7:00pm. The event is free for members, $7.00 for non-members. Beer and wine will be available for those over 21 and each guest will receive a complimentary “Will Eisner's New York” poster from the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art New York. Tickets can be reserved at www.eisnertoonseum.eventbrite.com For more information, visit www.toonseum.org or call 412-232-0199

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