Sunday, November 22, 2009

Number 633

Stormy Weather is "just Fine..."

On October 30 I showed you a Spirit story by Will Eisner. This story, drawn by Lou Fine and probably written by author Manly Wade Wellman, is from an underappreciated era of the Spirit, from the World War II years when creator Will Eisner was in the armed services.

This Spirit story doesn't have the cinematic flair that Eisner brought to the strip, the film noir elements from the postwar period, but it's a well drawn story, nevertheless. All of the non-Eisner stories, I believe, have been reprinted in The Spirit Archives, but I don't own any of those books. I got this from The Spirit #3, 1945.

Hedging his bets that Eisner might not come back alive from the war, publisher Everett "Busy" Arnold had the character Midnight, visually a Spirit-clone, appearing in Smash Comics. How Eisner tolerated such an abuse, a blatant infringement on the Spirit, is beyond me. But Busy was his partner on the Spirit, so it was probably just a business decision. Early on, after the initial appearance of Superman, Victor Fox hired Eisner to make Wonder Man as much like Superman as possible, and Fox lost a lawsuit from Superman's publisher. Eisner knew about plagiarism.

The non-Eisner Spirit looks more to me like Midnight than Eisner's Spirit, but there was a time when they co-existed.


K. Nacht said...

Lou Fine is amazing! Eisner is quoted as saying he was the finest anatomist in the biz!

Terry Beatty said...

A friend of mine used to own the original art for that splash page --- saw it hanging on the wall at his place many times....