Will Eisner's Ideals: A Panel Discussion on Comics and Society @ UMass Amherst
Start Time: 4:00PM End Time: 6:00PM
Howard Cruse, Gary Hallgren, and Sophia Wiedeman -- artists whose careers embody the ideals embraced by Will Eisner -- are the featured panelists at “Will Eisner's Ideals: A Panel Discussion on Comics and Society."
Will Eisner, the creator of the Spirit and the Father of the Graphic Novel, was always an idealist about comics. In 1941, he predicted that the best artists and finest novelists would create comics in the future. He believed in the educational potential of comics, and created them for the Army and many other organizations. He believed in artists' rights, and in publishing his own works. And at the end of his career, he published powerful graphic novels that took a stand against anti-Semitism. This panel includes artists whose careers embody the ideals embraced by Will Eisner. Howard Cruse is the creator of the award-winning graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby (DC Comics, 1990), a powerful examination of gay life as well as the Civil Rights Movement in the South of the 1960s, and other comics embodying the ideals of tolerance and embracing diversity in society. Gary Hallgren was one of the Air Pirates, artists who satirized, were sued by, and lost to the Walt Disney Company, a blow to freedom of expression. Now he is one of the world's most widely appreciated educational cartoonists, drawing the illustrations for You the Owner's Manual and the other bestselling health and wellness books by Dr. Mehmet Oz. New York-based artist Sophia Wiedeman won a prestigious comics self-publishing grant from the Xeric Foundation of Northampton, Mass., which funded the publication of her first comic book, The Deformatory. Her illustrations are regularly featured in Time Out New York magazine, and she holds a MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. Cruse, Hallgren and Wiedeman will discuss their own work and careers and the influence of Will Eisner and his ideals on comics and graphic novels.
This event is part of a national, annual celebration of Will Eisner's life and work, Will Eisner Week, including events at public and educational institutions around the US, and is offered in conjunction with the course, History of the Jewish Graphic Novel, offered this semester for the first time in the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, with support from the Posen Foundation in Jewish Secularism, taught by Professor N. C. Christopher Couch. The event is sponsored by the Departments of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Posen Foundation in Jewish Secularism. This event is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.
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