A Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro, Marisa Furtado (born in 1963) first met Will Eisner and other major artists of the comics world in 1991, when she worked as the head of International Guest Relations of the first Rio’s International Comic Biannual Convention. At the time she worked as a writer and artist, drawing her own comics, and as a fan wanted to work as close as possible to the artists she admired.
First released in Brazil in 1999, Will Eisner: Profession Cartoonist was a tremendous success with airings in France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Poland and many other countries. But ironically has never been shown in the United States until now. In 2004 Marisa started to work with Eisner for a new version of the documentary, translating the ballons and dubbing the narration. This new version was shown in America at the San Diego Comic Con. Sadly, Eisner died that year before watching the finished product. Now for the first time, this English version is available for American audiences, distributed by Image Entertainment
It also became the first in a series of documentaries depicting the life and work of other great cartoon artists: Jerry Robinson, Henfil and Ziraldo.
Will Eisner: Profession Cartoonist
Will Eisner: Profession Cartoonist, directed by brazilian filmmaker Marisa Furtado, has been aired on cable TV in 36 countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Poland and Brazil.
The documentary consists of 3 episodes, each fifty minutes in length:
Part 1: "The Spirit" focuses on Eisner's most famous character, created in 1940 and syndicated as a comic book insert in newspapers until 1952. His masked detective has subsequently been published around the world, almost continuously, for over fifty years.
Part 2: "The Dream" - Eisner had a "dream" early in his career of being recognized as an Artist through the comics media. Such a notion was considered foolhardy in the 1930s, but his ongoing achievements were instrumental in the wide respect the genre enjoys today. Eisner established much of the medium's storytelling cornerstones. He also pioneered educational comics in the military, the corporate world and in schools. And after having contacted the underground cartoonists in 1978, he created the modern graphic novel, (Contract with God) which revolutionized the field.
Part 3: "Master Class" - The final segment is based on Will Eisner's instructional books, Comics and Sequential Art and Graphic Storytelling. The artist is shown talking about techniques related to sequential art, scripts, storyboards, much with Eisner's live demonstrations at his drawing board.
Besides extensive interviews with Will Eisner himself, the film incorporates clips from American cartoonists Art Spiegelman, Bill Sienkiewicz, Denis Kitchen and Jerry Robinson as well as Lucy Caswell (Ohio State's Cartoon Research Library), Professor
Thomas Inge and Ann Eisner. Brazilian cartoonists Angeli, Guazzelli, Lailson, Mauricio de Sousa, Ota and Ziraldo and French and Belgian artists Charles Berberian, Francois Shuiten and Jano as well as brazilian Professor Alvaro de Moya also contribute.