April 26, 2013
7. Will Eisner
Will Eisner’s place on this list is not only due to his remarkable creative ability but also due to his influence on many of the great artists of the Golden Age. Eisner, along with partner Jerry Iger founded the Eisner & Iger Studio in 1936. They were not a publisher themselves but their studio produced on-demand work for various comic publishers including Timely, Fiction House, Fox, Quality, and others. Among the artists who got their starts in the comic business through the Eisner & Iger studio were Jack Kirby, Bob Kane, Lou Fine, and Wally Wood. Eisner is credited with creating or co-creating Dollman, Blackhawk, and Wonder Man.
Eisner left the studio in 1939 and created his long-running newspaper strip/comic hero, The Spirit. The masked vigilante debuted in 1940 and became one of the most popular strips of the day. Part of the charm of the strip was that it was many things at many times…sometimes many things at the same time…crime/action, horror, mystery, comedy, romance. It became noted for its wonderfully madcap rogue’s gallery of villains and even more for its sexy femme fatales like Sand Saref, Silk Satin, and P’Gell. The strip ran until 1952.
In the 1970s Warren Magazines and then Kitchen Sink Press began reprinting the stories featuring new covers by Eisner and several new Spirit stories. In 2009, DC began producing hardcover archive editions of the Spirit as well as new stories. The strip would inspire a big screen film in 2008. Will Eisner would influence many artists over the decades including Jim Steranko, Paul Gulacy, and Frank Miller.
Notable Works: The Spirit, The Eisner & Iger Studio