At a special event in New York, hosted by the Society Of Illustrators and co-sponsored by Comic-Con International and the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund, the cover art of this years San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir Guide was unveiled to a glittering audience, on Wednesday 4th March.
The event was held as part of Will Eisner Week – and, fittingly, the cover features Eisner’s signature creation The Spirit in a bold and stylised piece, illustrated by acclaimed award-winning artist, Michael Cho. The Week is an annual celebration in March, ‘promoting graphic novel literacy, sequential art, free speech awareness, and the legacy of Will Eisner’. (Eisner would have been celebrating his 96th birthday on the 6th March this year – the legendary master of comic art passed away in 2005.)
The Spirit is celebrating his 75th Anniversary in 2015 and the CCI/CBLDF event, part of a ongoing series of education programs offered by both organisations, was a fitting venue with which to reveal the cover, with Star Wars artist John Cassaday, Paul Pope (Battling Boy), and editor Charles Kochman (ed: Paul Levitz’s Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel) in conversation with CBLDF executive director Charles Brownstein.
The Souvenir Book trade paperback, handed out free to every San Diego Comic-Con attendee, has become the premier take-away keepsake of the convention; over the last few years, the paper quality has improved, the cover thickness has increased and, appropriately, some of the world’s best artists have had work grace the cover. In 2014, Batman fans were treated to an incredible penciled and inked Jim Lee cover, featuring a rain-soaked Dark Knight (coloured by Alex Sinclar).