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2018 Top 50 Comic Book Writers #40-36

37. Will Eisner - 258 points (6 first place votes)

For years, every week Will Eisner had to come up with a compelling Spirit story in just eight pages. His approach was to embrace the odd format and use it to try out different and sometimes outlandish idea. Like this early Spirit story where a crook is about to kill a "rat" when a scientist approaches him to have him test a drug that lets people see the future....

A whole fight sequence set in the FUTURE! That's a cool idea NOW - in 1941 it was exceptionally trippy.

After The Spirit ended in the early 1950s, Eisner spent the next two decades working for the military on various publications and also working as a freelance designer. In the late 1970s, he returned to comics with a series of graphic novels of a personal nature - most famously "A Contract With God."

36. Gerry Conway - 293 points (4 first place votes)

Thrown into the mix of being the first ongoing scripter of Amazing Spider-Man after Stan Lee was a daunting task for young Gerry Conway (only in his early 20s at the time), but Conway responded to the call with flair and distinction with a memorable run that still resonates to this day.

In his 40 issues on Amazing Spider-Man (#111-149), Conway did more than you'd see in a HUNDRED issues of most other comics. He introduced one of Marvel's biggest characters, the Punisher, he developed Mary Jane Watson into one of the best supporting characters in Marvel Comics history, he introduced the world to the idea of the "Clone Saga" and, most notably of all, he wrote one of the single most famous Spider-Man storylines, the Death of Gwen Stacy, as Peter Parker loses his girlfriend to his nemesis, the Green Goblin.

The original Goblin later dies in battle with Spider-Man and Conway later establishes the second Goblin, Peter's best friend, Harry Osborn!

Conway then ended up at DC Comics, where he worked for the tail end of the 1970s and most of the 1980s, doing a number of major projects, including long runs on both Justice League of America and the Batman titles, where he was the first writer in decades to take control of both Batman titles to tell an interconnected story. Conway also created Power Girl, Firestorm, Vixen and Vibe during this stint.

Conway then returned to the Spider-books thirteen years after his first run ended to do a well-received run on Spectacular Spider-Man from #137-174 and Web of Spider-Man from #47-70 (only plots on some of the stories). In that run, he introduced the villain Tombstone and did some very strong work with Joe "Robbie" Robertson and Puma. While his original run on Amazing Spider-Man was bold and very much flying by the seat of your pants, his Spectacular/Web run was calculated and well-crafted, very much the distinction between a young writer and an experienced veteran.

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