EARLY EISNER UNEARTHED: Locust Moon Kickstarting Collection of Comic Innovator’s Beginnings

(not final cover)

(not final cover)

“It’s like finding the notebooks of the boy Shakespeare.”

This was Locust Moon Press Publisher Josh O’Neill’s awe-struck reaction upon seeing the newly discovered artwork of Will Eisner — his earliest known comics, drawn when he was just a young man finding his voice.

The importance of Will Eisner in the history of comics cannot be overestimated. The restless innovator, pioneer of the graphic novel, and creator of THE SPIRIT spent the bulk of the 20th Century pushing the comics medium forward. But despite endless scholarship on Eisner and his many achievements, little is known about his earliest work — until now.

His very first known comics, never-before-seen strips from his teenage years, have recently been discovered among a collection of 1930s printing plates. The multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winning Locust Moon Press intends to publish these strips in a definitive edition entitled THE LOST WORK OF WILL EISNER, which will highlight the first origins of one of the forefathers of modern cartooning. They launched a Kickstarter today in an effort to fund the production of this historically vital book.

These remarkable and revelatory comics were lost to history until New Jersey artist and antique collector Joe Getsinger re-discovered them, hidden among an enormous lot of 1930s-era printing plates that he purchased on a lark from a friend at a collectors’ poker game.

Printing Plates small -display05

At first Joe didn’t know what he had — but he became fascinated by two strips, UNCLE OTTO by a mysterious Carl Heck, and HARRY KARRY, credited to another unknown artist named Willis B. Rensie. As Getsinger studied the plates and learned more about the provenance of this massive collection, he found that it was linked to Empire Features, a company that provided printing plates to various newspapers for syndication. Eisner & Iger Studios — the partnership between the very young Jerry Iger and Will Eisner to distribute and publish their many fledgling comic books, strips, and magazines — was one of Empire Features’ many customers.


One day shortly after becoming aware of this connection, Getsinger was looking at a reverse-printed plate and it came to him in a flash: “Rensie” is Eisner backwards. He suddenly knew that what he had here was of extraordinary historical value.

UNCLE OTTO and HARRY KARRY, it turns out, represent the earliest known sequential artwork of Will Eisner — and until now, outside of their titles and a very small smattering of strips salvaged from the few local newspapers that intermittently published them, their contents were almost completely unknown.

Will Eisner Plates-etc-01s

Says Locust Moon creative director Chris Stevens, “In these strips you see Eisner’s imagination expanding, almost in real time. He’s experimenting with the possibilities of serialized storytelling and working through his many influences — there are very distinct E.C. Segar and Alex Raymond phases. By the end of the HARRY KARRY run you see him emerge with a close approximation of the style that brought him success and fame with THE SPIRIT in 1940.”


In an effort to raise the funds necessary to produce this project, Locust Moon is turning to crowdfunding. This is their first such campaign since their multiple-award-winning sensation LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM lit Kickstarter up and generated over $150,000.

“Will Eisner is the pioneer of the graphic novel and one of the architects of our modern cartooning language,” says Stevens. “This material gives people a chance to see where he started, and how he became what he become. These are the roots of Will Eisner.”

UNCLE OTTO-plate-18x

Locust Moon is seeking $20,000 to fund the publication of a prestige hardcover collecting this unpublished artwork, along with contextual essays and an introduction by historian, publisher, and cartoonist Denis Kitchen. Their Kickstarter campaign is ongoing, and ends on December 10th.

“We want to publish this important document of the genesis of one of the most influential and brilliant cartoonists of all time,” says Locust Moon Editor-in-Chief Andrew Carl. “This book will fill in valuable pieces in Eisner’s biography, and constitute a more complete history of the comics medium.”

“But we can’t do it without you.”



Will Eisner appeared at 2004 San Diego Comic Con. Photograph by Patty Mooney, Crystal Pyramid Productions, San Diego, California.

Panels & Activities at the Locust Moon Comics Festival

This Saturday at the Locust Moon Comics Festival, there will be panels and activities for everyone to enjoy both at the Locust Moon store and in the Rotunda Theatre.


On the Saturday of the festival, four panels (and an after-party) will be hosted two blocks away from the Rotunda at the LOCUST MOON COMICS store, 34 South 40th Street.

life c thompson

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Comics based on real life are everywhere. From autobiographical memoirs to stories about historical events and people, we’ll discuss what makes these types of comics so appealing to readers and why so many cartoonists are drawn to real life subject matter. Moderator Kelly Phillips (Dirty Diamonds, Weird Me) hosts Craig Thompson (Blankets, Space Dumplins), Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, Beef with Tomato), and Andrea Tsurumi (Andrew Jackson Throws a Punch, Prometheus Eternal).


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
An exploration of what it means to be a part of the underground comics tradition commences when Denis Kitchen (Kitchen Sink Press, the CBLDF), Mark Beyer (Agony, Amy + Jordan), Pat Aulisio (Bowman) and Noah Van Sciver (Fante Bukowski, Blammo) are interviewed about their contributions to the comics culture. Moderated by Josh Bayer (Suspect Device).


2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Join us for an intimate hour where we explore the inspirations and motivations behind the man who reinvented superhero comics as we know them today, Chris Claremont (all the best X-Men comics, among others). Moderated by Locust Moon’s Josh O’Neill.

d mack art

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Locust Moon’s Chris Stevens sits down with three of the most singular artists working today, Bill Sienkiewicz (New Mutants, Daredevil: End of Days), David Mack (Kabuki, Dream Logic), and Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats, Sunset Park), to discuss the particular approaches they bring to their comics work as it connects to the broader art world.

8:00 pm –
Costumes heartily encouraged!


In addition the panels above, and plentiful candy for trick-or-treaters of all ages (not to mention ice cream and kittens), the following activities will be open to all attendees in the Theatre room of the Rotunda!

Come lay down a panel in this collaborative comics Frankenstein monster, led by Brett J. Hopkins.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Create your own secret identity with artist & librarian Sheli Hay.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Drawing Workshop:
On Halloween, help turn the Rotunda into an extraterrestrial launch pad with alien expert Dawn Griffin (Zorphbert & Fred).

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm
A festive competition where everyone wins.
And a few will win big.
Dress your best!
Judged by Brett J. Hopkins.


See them all at the
Saturday, October 31 – Halloween!
11 am – 6 pm
Exhibitors & Activities @ The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street
Panels @ Locust Moon Comics
34 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Website – FacebookEvent PageTwitter

Locust Moon Comics Festival’s Halloween Weekend

lmcf dan mazur

Photo by Dan Mazur

The Locust Moon Comic Festival, Philadelphia’s rapidly growing independent comics expo, has announced a star-studded guest list and an expanded slate of programs for its fourth annual event, to be held on Halloween of this year.

The historic Rotunda on Walnut Street will play host to a cross-section of the greatest artists, writers, publishers, designers, and makers in sequential and graphic arts. This year’s guest list includes Bill Sienkiewicz (ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN), Craig Thompson (HABIBI), Chris Claremont (UNCANNY X-MEN), Alexa and Denis Kitchen (KITCHEN SINK PRESS), David Mack (KABUKI), Mark Beyer (AMY + JORDAN), and Noah Van Sciver (FANTE BUKOWSKI).

“For the first time, the festivities will extend for three days across the weekend,” says organizer Chris Stevens. The festival kicks off with an all-star Drink & Draw at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, open to the public and led by all of the aforementioned special guests, on Friday night; and following Saturday’s main event, the fun extends through Sunday afternoon with a long pancake brunch for exhibitors. This will be a weekend to remember for artists, authors, and readers alike.

“The intimacy of our festival is what sets it apart from other shows,” says co-runner Josh O’Neill. “What other convention would invite its attendees to have drinks at an art museum with Bill Sienkiewicz and Craig Thompson? It’s not about fans meeting creators and getting books signed. At Locust Moon Comics Festival we all come together as lovers of comics and have a great party.”

The donation-based event on Saturday, October 31 is free to children under 12, and will feature complimentary programming for kids including comic-making workshops, face-painting, and a Halloween costume contest.

Programming throughout Saturday at the Locust Moon store will include a conversation with Chris Claremont, a panel on underground comics featuring Denis Kitchen, Mark Beyer, Pat Aulisio and Noah Van Sciver, an exploration of what it takes to “Draw on Life” with Craig Thompson, Dean Haspiel and Andrea Tsurumi, and a discussion on comics in fine art contexts with Ronald Wimberly, Bill Sienkiewicz and David Mack.

More than just a convention, this community-focused event will honor comic creators and their creations, and for one day, break down the barriers between professional creators, passionate fans, aspiring artists, and curious new readers.

Says organizer Stevens, “Locust Moon Fest brings the world of comics to Philadelphia, and the comics of Philadelphia to the world.”

Find further information about the event and more guests on the Locust Moon Comics Festival website (locustmoonfest.com), Facebook (facebook.com/locustmoonfest), and Twitter (twitter.com/locustmoonfest).

Locust Moon Fest 2015 Poster ws

– Schedule of Events –

6pm-9pm: Drink & Draw @ Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy)

11am-6pm: Comics Festival & Kids’ Activities @ The Rotunda (4014 Walnut St)
12pm-6pm: Panels @ Locust Moon Comics store (34 S 40th St)
8pm-???: Halloween/After-Party @ Locust Moon Comics store (34 S 40th St)

12pm-3pm: Artists’ Brunch @ Locust Moon Comics store (34 S 40th St)

“Batman, Superman—Prometheus?” Museum Signing on Wednesday 10/28!

prometheus is here

Join The Philadelphia Museum of Art for a panel discussion and book signing in celebration of Prometheus Eternal, the Museum’s first comic book, as inspired by the Rubens masterpiece Prometheus Bound and part of the Museum’s fall exhibition, The Wrath of the Gods: Masterpieces by Rubens, Michelangelo, and Titian. Artists Bill Seinkiewicz, Yuko Shimizu, and David Mack will be joined by Josh O’Neill, publisher of Locust Moon Press to discuss the collaboration and how Prometheus Bound inspired this contemporary re-telling of the ancient myth.yuko CU

Copies of Prometheus Eternal will be available for purchase and signing. This talk is moderated by Christopher Atkins, The Agnes and Jack Mulroney Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1900.

Wednesday, October 28
6:30pm – 8:45pm
Lenfest Hall (West Entrance)
$10 ($8 members)

Facebook event




In what editor Andrew Carl calls, “perhaps the greatest comic ever about a single father necromancer,” New York writer Ben Kahn and Barcelona artist Bruno Hidalgo have teamed up to bring their debut creator-owned graphic novel to stores.

In a universe populated by superheroes and megalomaniacal villains, death is nothing more than a temporary nuisance. A hero makes a noble sacrifice only to come back seven months later thanks to an implausible story contrivance. But what if resurrection was the domain of one, unpredictable man? That is the question Shaman seeks to answer.

Shaman collects five chapters of witty and wild adventures in an urban-fantasy setting. Comicosity writes, “Shaman will stretch the limits of your imagination and provide a poignantly sharp and thoughtful presentation on superhero absurdity that fans of Constantine and The Venture Brothers will be easily drawn to.” Ben and Bruno set the Shaman and his adoptive family against an imaginative array of villains, from skeletons and space heroes, to zombies and baseball monsters. Shaman is a gleeful dismemberment of superhero tropes that follows the one man in control of superhero comics’ infamous revolving door of death.


Now, Locust Moon Press is ready to unleash this creation upon the world. Shaman is available in stores everywhere. The 132-page graphic novel features art by Farel Dalrymple, Alice Meichi Li, Rob Woods, JG Jones, James Comey, and Jim Rugg.

Kahn imbues Shaman with energy and wit. He crafts tales of imaginative characters on mind-bending adventures. And it is in Hidalgo’s deft hands that the book comes alive. Thanks to Hidalgo’s unique style, Shaman bursts at the seams with charm and character.

Shaman is available now in stores (DIAMOND CODE JUL151468), through www.locustmoon.com, and via the spirit realm.


Bruno Hidalgo is a Spanish illustrator and cartoonist. He’s the co-creator of Shaman and has had his work featured in Dark Horse’s Once Upon A Time Machine.

Ben Kahn is a New York based writer. He is the co-creator of Shaman and a writer on several mobile adventure games. The graphic novel represents Ben’s comic-making debut.

Ben Kahn is available for interviews and press appearances. Contact him at kahanartist@gmail.com or 203.644.2522.


Trade cover by Farel Dalrymple


Issue 1 cover by Bruno Hidalgo


Issue 3 cover by JG Jones


Issue 5 cover by Jim Rugg

Tuesday Tease

Prometheus Eternal Cover frontToday we’re sharing a beautiful page from a book that’s been a true gift for us.

Prometheus Eternal is a 24-page comic (with, really, 28 pages of content – not even an inside cover goes unused!) that represents the first collaboration between the historic Philadelphia Museum of Art and little old Locust Moon. Just a few months ago now, the Museum called us in to see if we could conjure up some kind of project to tie into their fall exhibition, a collection of art that seemed to share deep connective tissue with the modern heroics of comic book superheroes. They didn’t even realize, at first, that comics re-exploring mythology and calling back to classic historical art were precisely our specialties.

And what followed was an exhilarating ride – we managed to (successfully!) wrangle some the best folks working in comics, including a few legends with whom we’d never had the chance to work before. By turning the project into a miniature anthology, we could make the turnaround time as feasible as possible (even if it was still dangerously tight), given that no creator would be on the hook for more than 5 pages of work. But we also, then, had to keep all that many more plates spinning at once, with no room for error. And, one way or another, we actually did it. The comics were delivered from the printer directly to the Museum just in time to go on display and into the gift shop. And they are beautiful.

The exhibition, “The Wrath of the Gods,” opened this past week. And displayed there, right alongside works by Michelangelo, Titian, and the centerpiece Prometheus Bound painting by Peter Paul Rubens, you’ll find a readable copy of Prometheus Eternal. (Of course there are copies for sale, too.)

The artists in this book all refer back to Rubens, to his mythical subject Prometheus, and to the grand tradition of using art to capture mortal defiance of and punishment by the gods. Grant Morrison & Farel Dalrymple, Dave McKean, Andrea Tsurumi, David Mack, Josh O’Neill & Lisk Feng, and James Comey all wove their own Promethean tales, while Paul Pope, Bill Sienkiewicz (with his front and back covers), and Yuko Shimizu contributed paintings and illustrations inspired by Prometheus and Bound.

So here is “A Portrait of Prometheus Sans Titan” from Yuko Shimizu:


Bill Sienkiewicz Brings Fire to PROMETHEUS ETERNAL

We’re putting PROMETHEUS ETERNAL, our collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to bed today. It’s off to press with the appropriately named Fireball Printing tomorrow. This thing features work by Dave McKean, Grant Morrison, Yuko Shimizu, Lisk Feng, Paul Pope, David Mack, Andrea Tsurumi, James Comey and Farel Dalrymple. These comics will be displayed alongside artwork by Michelangelo, Rubens and Titian, and stands proudly and rightfully beside the work of the Old Masters.

But if you want to get to the amazing stories inside, you’ll have to brave the hellfire on Bill Sienkiewicz’s startlingly powerful cover.

Prometheus Eternal Cover front
Keep your eyes on the skies, friends. This book is a gift from the heavens.

-Josh O’Neill