Wednesday, June 02, 2010
The Spirit's thrice-told tale
Seventy years ago today, June 2, 1940, the Spirit first appeared in his Sunday Comic Book Section. Creator Will Eisner, and his publisher/partner, Everett "Busy" Arnold, had the brainstorm to combine the traditional Sunday funnies with the comic book, and have it distributed in newspapers.
Like most comic book characters whose origins need to be periodically revisited, each origin story brings something new to the legend. In this case I've included the first Spirit episode, scanned from the DC trade paperback, The Best Of the Spirit. The origin was retold in January, 1946, when Eisner, still fresh from his military service, was giving his readers a postwar noir look. This version was reprinted by Denis Kitchen in 1983.
Finally, twenty years later, in 1966, the Spirit was revived for two giant Harvey comics, reprints of some of the best Spirit stories, and yet another new version of the origin.
All three origins have Commissioner Dolan, Denny Colt's "death," and the villain Dr. Cobra, but each tells a slightly different version of events.