Happy Will Eisner Week! The Cartoon Library is happy to once again participate in this celebration of Eisner’s legacy, so that we can share with you some of the amazing items in the Will Eisner Collection that resides here. The collection contains original and published work by Eisner and by various artists who worked for him, as well as correspondence, articles, commercial publications and more.
Last year we highlighted originals from The Spirit, a copy of Eisner’s commercial work for Gre-Solvent (the money from which he used to start Eisner & Iger Studio), and an original from Eisner’s military cartoon Joe Dope.
Eisner was drafted into the service in early 1942, and spent his next three years working on a number of cartooning projects for army training programs, including his well-remembered pieces for PS- The Preventative Maintenance Monthly magazine (originally titled Army Motors). Even after returning to civillian life in 1945, Eisner would continue on as the art director for Preventative Maintenance until 1972.
Below, found in the Eisner archive, are his military dog tags, identification card, and Aberdeen Proving Ground Pin.
Will Eisner’s military dog tags. From the Will Eisner Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.
Will Eisner’s military identification card. From the Will Eisner Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Will Eisner’s Aberdeen Proving Ground Pin with photo. From the Will Eisner Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.
Happy Birthday, Will Eisner!
Corporal Will Eisner. Photo from The Will Eisner Collection, of The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
In early 1942, Eisner was drafted into the war- leaving behind his trusted assistants to work on The Spirit during his time on duty. While away, he was given a number of assignments for camp newspapers, and eventually began to work with the Hollabird Depot on a publication called Army Motors. As cartoonist for the magazine, Eisner used his medium to teach G.I.’s about preventative maintenance in their own language. It was there that he developed Joe Dope, an educational comic strip revolving around the clumsy Joe and his mishaps, framed to teach army safety lessons. Eventually, Eisner and Joe Dope moved on to PS, The Preventive Maintenance Monthly, a U.S. Army magazine on proper equipment maintenance. Eisner remained the artistic director from the magazine’s inception in 1951 through 1972.
Below is an original Joe Dope illustration by Eisner, circa 1944 for Army Motors.
Joe Dope. Original illustration from The Will Eisner Collection, of The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Thank you all for keeping up with us during Will Eisner Week! We hope you will come check out Will’s collection at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum sometime soon. For a closer look at the holdings, you can view the finding aid here.
We’ll resume our normal posting format come Tuesday. Have a great weekend!