A lecture by documentary filmmaker Neil Kendricks will be among the events featured during this year’s Will Eisner Week celebration at the San Diego State University Library.

Scheduled to coincide with Eisner’s March 6 birthday, the events will be held during the first week of March. Organized by the library’s Comic Arts Committee, the events at SDSU are part of a series being held at libraries across the nation to honor Eisner’s legacy, free speech and the graphic novel.

Will Eisner Week, celebrating the famed comic artist, is celebrated by San Diego State library. Photo by SDSU NewsCenter

Eisner is a near-mythical figure in comics circles. He created one of the genre’s most lasting characters, The Spirit, whose adventures were first presented in the Sunday newspaper comic book inserts that Eisner produced for select American newspapers every week from 1940 to 1952.

After spending several years running American Visuals Company, which produced instructional manuals in comic book form for business and government, Eisner revived “The Spirit” in a series of reprints starting in the 1970s.

It was also during that decade that Eisner began producing the works that would cement his reputation; a series of “graphic novels,” a term that he helped popularize and that helped bring a new level of seriousness to the comic arts.

As an indication of his lasting legacy, the awards given out at Comic-Con International’s annual ceremony to honor the best works in the industry bear his name: the Eisner Awards.

The exhibit will feature comics from the “Word Balloons” series created by illustration students at SDSU. The exhibit will be available for viewing through March 10.

Comics are everywhere

The lecture by Neil Kendricks, titled “A Comic-Book Odyssey: Through the Paper Menagerie of Graphic Narrative to ‘Comics Are Everywhere!’ then Back Again,” will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, in Love Library 430.

Kendricks serves as film curator for San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art and is currently teaching a screenwriting class at SDSU. His documentary, Comics Are Everywhere, is currently in production.

In addition to the exhibit and the Kendricks lecture, the library will screen the film Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist. This documentary tells Eisner’s story and documents the incredible influence his career had on the comics world.

The film will be shown at 1 p.m. March 5 in Love Library 430.

About Will Eisner Week

The Will Eisner Week events at SDSU reflect the Comic Arts Committee mission to raise awareness of the comic arts in higher education, to coordinate campus efforts surrounding comics and related media, and to work with the broader San Diego community in support of the comic arts.

—SDSU NewsCenter