Frank Kelly Freas who was famous for his many sci-fi illustrations, LP covers, and for his work at Mad magazine, died in his sleep at age 82 on January 2nd 2005. Freas won 11 Hugo Awards for his illustrations, but will remain most famous to me for his Alfred E. Newman images in Mad from the early 60s. Note that there is no resemblance between Newman and Larry Lessig pictured below.
Will Eisner, whose Spirit inspired and even nurtured many comic/graphic artists, died at his home in Florida last night. Eisner invented the terms graphic novel (having done the first serious one) and sequential art as well as exemplifying the kind of serious storytelling that could be done in the comic/comix genre. Just to cite one example of Eisner’s influence, Michael Chabon says that:
I think Eisner was unique in feeling from the start that comic books were not necessarily this despised, bastard, crappy, low-brow kind of art form, and that there was a potential for real art. And he saw that from the very beginning, which was very unusual, and I took that quality and gave it to Joe Kavalier.