Will Eisner

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William Erwin "Will" Eisner (March 6, 1917 – January 3, 2005) was an American comics writer, artist and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential series The Spirit; for his use of comics as an instructional medium; for his leading role in establishing the graphic novel as a form of literature with his book A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories; and for his educational work about the medium as exemplified by his book Comics and Sequential Art.

The comics community paid tribute to Eisner by creating the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, more commonly known as "the Eisners", to recognize achievements each year in the comics medium. Eisner enthusiastically participated in the awards ceremony, congratulating each recipient. In 1987, with Carl Barks and Jack Kirby, he was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

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Early life and career

Eisner was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the son of Jewish immigrants from Romania and Austria. His parents provided a modest life for their son. His mother was from Romania and served as the more practical and realistic parent, firmly believing that her son’s artistic tendencies would never amount to any kind of success in life. His father, an artist, was born in Vienna. He painted backdrops for vaudeville and the Jewish theater but was also a semi-successful entrepreneur and, at one point, a manufacturer in Manhattan's Seventh Avenue garment district. Believing his son should value creativity and art, the elder Eisners instilled in him a sense of duality, a balance between business and art.[1][2] Eisner attended DeWitt Clinton High School. With influences that included the early 20th-century commercial artist J. C. Leyendecker,[3] he drew for the school newspaper (The Clintonian), the literary magazine (The Magpie) and the yearbook, and did stage design, leading him to consider doing that kind of work for theater. Upon graduation, he studied under Canadian artist George Brandt Bridgman (1864–1943) for a year at the Art Students League of New York. Contacts made there led to a position as an advertising writer-cartoonist for the New York American newspaper. Eisner also drew $10-a-page illustrations for pulp magazines, including Western Sheriffs and Outlaws.

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