Eisner, Will

Alternative names
Birth 1917-03-06
Death 2005-01-03

Biographical notes:

William Erwin Eisner was an American cartoonist, writer and businessman. A pioneer of the comic book industry and one of the most influential innovators of sequential art, Eisner studied art under George Bridgeman at the New York Art Students' League. His early employment was with Eve magazine; his first comic book was for WOW, What a Magazine (1936). He then founded a company with Jerry Iger to produce comics and comic related products and formed Universal Phoenix Features to market their work overseas. In 1939 Eisner joined Quality Comics Group to produce a comic newspaper supplement for the Des Moines Register-Tribune Syndicate, at which time he originated the comic strips The Spirit, Lady Luck, and Mr. Mystic . During the war, 1943-1946, Eisner as an enlisted man did the Joe Dope series for Army Motors. In 1950 Eisner formed the American Visual Corporation and for close to thirty years he was involved in commercial art products--office manuals and magazines in comic book format, giveaway comics, and educational materials. In 1973 he began teaching at the School of Visual Arts, and later published graphic novels, including A Contract with God and The Building . Eisner is known for the strip The Spirit, in which a masked detective fights crime. His work on the strip dates as follows: October 13, 1941 (first appearance) through May, 1942; December 23, 1945-August 12, 1951. Reprints of the comic book appeared in 1966-1967; since 1972 Kitchen Sink reprints have been published. Among his many awards are the National Cartoonists Society's Comic Book Artist of the Year award, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1987. He received the National Cartoonists Society's Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.

From the guide to the Will Eisner Collection, 1934-1983, (The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum)


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