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Larry Rodman on Will Eisner
posted January 6, 2005
via the Internet
Anything I can think of to lead my own Eisner tribute with seems like it would degenerate into cliche. But, in a way, good for him! The man certainly wasn't lacking for attention in his old age. So, never mind any attempts at significance.
I normally try to be selective in the creators I'm willing to approach at book signings; it has to be someone that I'm looking for an excuse to get a word in with (clearly not an unusual motive there, either). These personalized items -- on the basis of the careers they represent -- are some of my happiest possessions. I just found out about Eisner's death today, and I've been reading the message board remorse from those who missed out on a chance to meet him, shake his hand, and thank him for all he'd given us. Luckily, that wasn't my case; I had two brief encounters with him at SPX and The Library of Congress, respectively. Before that, though, at an early dedication ceremony for the ICAF, I sighted him amongst the panel of foreign speakers and actually didn't know it was he --although there was something terribly familiar about the shape of his head. He'd been interviewed on the Masters of Comic Art video, a documentary produced back when Kirby, Kurtzman and Eisner were all still alive. As I began to realize I was in the presence of the master, I was unqualifiably impressed. Having worked at a hot shit gallery once, I happened to be out during Mick Jagger's visit. I live a glamour-starved existence in a non-showbiz town, and seeing him would have been nice, I suppose, but that particular non-encounter only made me wonder whom I might come across to genuinely amaze me to the depths of my jaded soul. It was to be Eisner. (My only regret is that, for some reason, I was never organized enough to bring my copy of The Dreamer
, a favorite, to any of these signings. No clue as to why. Incidentally, I was once such a completist that I also owned his late seventies novelty quickies about astrology and talking to plants.) What a mensch he was!