A COLLECTION OF COMMENTS,

REACTIONS, AND ACTIVITIES

REGARDING

WILL EISNER


PS MAGAZINE

Ann (Mrs. Will) Eisner: Thank you for taking me with you on your journey with Will (and beyond) through the inception and workings of PS. I read your book from cover to cover almost the minute it arrived and most of your history is a part of Will's life that I knew little about, only a few anecdotes and reminiscences. I certainly remember the early frustrations in getting [PS] started. As you know, Will was full of stories. I loved the one about you "printer's devils" going into the Japanese print shop and Will using paper and pencil, drawing what he wanted to know. I saw him do this numerous times in other situations. You captured a great deal of his humor, Paul, which others have often missed. It was wonderful, and, to quote Will, "You sure can write!"


N. C. Christopher Couch, co-author of The Will Eisner Companion: Your book is wonderful and amazing. It really reads wonderfully, and it's just crammed with details. I'm so glad you published this yourself. I don't think you could have found a publisher who would "get it" and embrace what you've done. Paul, I'm so GLAD you've done this. Only you could have, and you've just rescued a huge part of Will's career from obscurity in a way that's entertaining, thorough, and gives not just the history of PS, but the military and social context in which the magazine flourished. Great job!


Ger Apeldoorn, writer, comics historian and commentator, The Netherlands: I immensely enjoyed the book. I appreciated the attention to detail and the fact that you seem to have covered every angle of the story involving Will Eisner and PS Magazine. After this no one will ever have to do the research again. You offer a lot of great anecdotes about the magazine and the personnel involved and you make your point, quite rightly, that Will Eisner developed his particular style of story-telling much more in the years with PS than biographers before your book have realized.


Eddie Campbell, in his blog, The Fate of the Artist: It [Paul E. Fitzgerald's Will Eisner and PS Magazine] is a must for the collector of Eisner's work. It is 224 pages of glossy paper, crammed with text and colour pictures on all of thema huge amount of colour reproductions. PS was small in size, seven by five, so the landscape format of Fitz's book allows wraparound covers (an occasional treat at PS) and spreads to be shown complete at their original size. Fitz became PS mag's first managing editor in 1953 and gives us the inside story of the enterprise. So far, we've really only had Eisner's occasional notes on the subject and the story of the founding of the magazine in its entirety has been difficult to reconstruct. The shaky start and the running battles with the top brass make for interesting reading. The important thing the connoisseur hopes to get from a book like this is a sense of how exactly Eisner's style developed from his 1940s Spirit to the one he was using when he set himself to drawing again for a civilian audience in the 1970s. There's enough here to piece together an evolutionary picture.


Nancy Dahlstrom, Professor of Art, Hollins University: Fitzgerald has utilized his years of layout expertise and writing skills to produce a book that is informative, well written, and, like PS Magazine, responsive to the interplay of text, image, and layout.  Each page is a delight and reflective of the innovative layout design techniques that he developed while working with Eisner.


Joe Kubert, head of The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, and current PS contractor for creative art and pre-press production: It's a great book, and is more in keeping with the character and nature of Will than many past attempts by other authors.


Benjamin Herzberg, Eisner’s friend and assistant on Fagin the Jew and The Plot: Fitzgerald's book is really, really good. He has done a marvelous job of telling that story, and it needed to be done. The lavishly illustrated story in Will Eisner and PS Magazine is nothing less than the account of the birth of educational comics, a field that Eisner pioneered and legitimized, leading to his emergence as a leader in the development of the graphic novel. Fitzgerald's firsthand accounts are mesmerizing. The guy knows how to write. He never loses sight of the big picture, and walks his reader through the various periods of the creation and run of PS Magazine, with its ups and down, its cast of characters, its supporters and detractors. He completes his work with a series of interviews providing the key to understanding the dynamics which made the PS Magazine adventure possible. Beyond the interest that this work represents from a historical perspective, what comes out of it is a much better understanding of Will Eisner as a man, dedicated, creative and willing to go to bat for his ideas. And of Fitzgerald, as the best road companion one could ever want.


Pop Culture Safari: For twenty-one years following his Spirit comic strip and before launching a new career as a pioneering "graphic novelist" cartoonist Will Eisner worked on PS Magazine, a U.S. Army publication focused on preventive maintenance of military equipment. Sounds dull, right? But not with Eisner involved. The result was an innovative comic-strip-oriented, graphically interesting approach to conveying information to readersin this case, Army personnel. It's fascinating stuff. And we civilians get a chance to take a look and learn more about this aspect of Eisner's life in a new book penned by [the first managing editor] on that project, Paul E. Fitzgerald. So far, Fitzgerald's lavishly illustrated book is only available in an autographed limited edition, yet it looks as if a paperback edition is eventually planned. It looks great.


David Kirkpatrick: Just a quick note to thank Paul for doing this book. It is a wonderful book and an excellent resource on a little-discussed era in Will Eisner's life. I'm glad to finally have a copy.


Mike Lynch: BEAUTIFUL book. Just stunning. I really cannot tell you how wonderful looking it is…this treasure trove.


Dave Gibbons: …really comprehensive and detailed, exactly the sort of nuts and bolts (No pun intended!), behind-the-scenes stuff that I love! Not to mention the beautiful art, not only Will's but Murphy Anderson's and Joe Kubert's, also favorites of mine. I appreciate the inscription, too.


Stuart Henderson, PS Magazine Production Manager: From its bright red cover to its final appendix, Paul Fitzgerald's Will Eisner and PS Magazine is a beautiful tribute to both the celebrated artist and the quirky little U.S. Army comic book that is still educating and motivating soldiers fifty-eight years after its inception. Those of us who work here at PS are thrilled to have the events of those formative years of our publication nailed down in Mr. Fitzgerald's pithy prose. Everyone raise a glass as we toast the arrival of the true story of Will Eisner and PS, the Preventive Maintenance Monthly. It's a good one.


Yves Kerremans, Belgium: The books arrived in good order and they look beautiful!


Dr. Roger Bertholf: I am enthralled with your historical account of PS Magazine, and the tribute to your friend Will Eisner. Thank you for the thoughtful inscription, which I will treasure.


John Pancake, Arts Editor (retired), The Washington Post: The book is handsome!


Bob Andelman, Mr. Media and author, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life: Your book is beautiful! It is an absolute must for any Will Eisner collector and fan.


Pete Carlsson, The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art: It looks great—clear, open, accessible. I can't imagine it in any other format. Congratulations on a good-looking book.


William D. Watson, retired warrior and educator: A masterful job, sir. Masterful. You hit all the right notes and covered all the bases while giving a complete account of PS Magazine. The attention to detail and the delicate way you treated the assholes was artful. Good on yer, mate!


Robert (Ken) Crunk, retired PS Magazine Editor (9/01-4/07): You have produced a work of art on a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I really wish I could have worked with Eisner, warts and all. He seems, through your eyes and those of the others you talked to, to have been one of a kind—much like Jim Kidd [PS Magazine Editor, 9/53-12/82]. You don't get the chance to meet them often enough. I am proud for the truth telling that you got from the living editors.


Mason Adams, The Roanoke (Va.) Times: Beyond the opportunity to view the evolution of a comics master, Will Eisner and PS Magazine also tells a story—or rather, several stories. There's the story of PS itself, and how it changed to reflect a changing military and culture. There's the story of how Eisner—a civilian—and members of his shop struggled in their dealings with the Army bureaucracy.  And, there's also the story of Fitzgerald and Eisner's personal friendship. Fitzgerald obviously felt a close connection to Eisner and his work for PS, and the warm tone of his writing reflects this. The final appendix is dedicated to interviews with other PS artists--many of whom will be familiar to comics readers. Mike Ploog, Murphy Anderson, and Joe Kubert were among those who drew for the magazine and are interviewed here.


Mike Mayo, author of American Murder and film critic: Wow! My first reaction was amazement at the quality and clarity of the art. Stuff just jumps off the page. You really have something to be proud of here.


Sara Krohn: Yay, Paul! Good for you for persevering and making your dream come to fruition! It's really lovely.


Kelley Lane-Sivley, Redstone (Arsenal) Rocket: [Fitzgerald's] book captures the spirit of PS Magazine's cartoonist…Eisner spent twenty-one years creating characters and designs for PS. While their look may have changed over the years, some of his characters soldier on within PS Magazine's pages today.

 

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