Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries have just posted full copies (145 regular issues; 5 special issues and 14 index issues) of the Army publication 'Preventative Maintenance Monthly', illustrated by Will Eisner and covering the years 1951 to 1972. [announcement]
The images above are front and back covers in chronological order - mouseover for issue number and date.
New York comic artist, Will Eisner (1917-2005), is a legend in the industry and arguably the most influential comic illustrator of all time. He pioneered what he called the sequential art form and was a leading protagonist for the graphic novel genre and the use of comic strip art as an instructional device.
The early Eisner-Iger Studios (with friend Jerry Iger) employed such luminary artists as Jack Kirby (Fantastic Four/X-Men/Captain America) and Bob Kane (Batman). Eisner's own 'superhero' appeared in 1940 in the highly influential and popular comic, 'The Spirit', revered as "the Citizen Kane of comics": "a crimefighter dressed in a suit, fedora and the concession of a small blue eyemask".
During WW2 Eisner worked for the Pentagon, producing educational comics "whose mixture of hard facts with entertaining cartooning made them memorable and effective". From his post-war company, American Visuals Corporation, Eisner turned out illustrations for 'P*S: The Preventative Maintenance Monthly', one of his longest lasting contracts, published by the US Army between 1951 and 1972.
As a testament to his significance in the industry he helped shape, the Eisner Awards were established in 1988, the most prestigious accolades in the comic art trade. (Eisner reluctantly accepted a few Eisners himself) He died as a result of complications following a quadruple bypass in 2005.
- Will Eisner official site.
- Obits - New York Times; The Guardian.
- Lambiek page.
- Wikipedia article.
- The Library of Congress has an hour long lecture (.ram - film) by Will Eisner in (I think) 2003. In the lecture, Eisner discusses his own approach to writing and illustrating graphic novels and explores his views on the evolution of popular visual media.
- Correction just noted: It's Preventive Maintenance and not Preventative. We imagine what we see we read.