Friday, November 19, 2010

Number 845

Getting into the Spirit of the thing

I recently read the 2007* DC trade paperback The Spirit Book One by Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone and Dave Stewart. I was pleasantly surprised that in updating the character of the Spirit they had stayed within other word to use but spirit of the original. Kudos to this book's team for bringing the cast of the Spirit into the 21st Century with a new/old look.

Not that I didn't find some things to complain about, but they are relatively minor. Also, there were 22 pages per story. I wondered why Will Eisner could jam a whole plot into 7 pages but it takes modern guys three times the pages to tell their tales.

Here's the original art from a Spirit episode from February, 1947. Will Eisner employed other artists to do most of the drawing, but he gave it the final touch, a gloss that told us instantly he was the HHIC, Head Honcho In Charge. This story about race track touts uses several characters, but is told in a concise fashion. Even though art styles have changed in the 63 years since this was drawn, anyone who wants to draw comic books and tell stories would do well to get a bunch of Spirit stories and see why Eisner could do what he did so economically.

The artwork is from Heritage Auctions--thanks to them for posting it--and was sold for $11,950.

*Yes, I'm years behind in my reading.

1 comment:

Kip W said...

I love me some Spirit sections. During the war, Mom subscribed to the Chicago paper (she was working in DC) so she'd get the Spirit. Years later, she gave me her '42-'43 treasures, complete with Powell's "Mr. Mystic" and Nordling's "Lady Luck." Not only did the Spirit get it done in eight pages back then, but the other two had four pages each for their adventures.

Thanks for one I hadn't read yet! In the ones I have, I seem to see the hands of Lou Fine and Jack Cole in various places. I'd have to see more from this era to see if I recognize anybody's anonymous work. (And of course, the ones I had were from the ghosted era, so they lack Eisner's surface.)