Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Number 1138: Sex and the Spirit

The Spirit newspaper comic book never wanted for hot girls. Will Eisner, creator, knew the power of sex in comics. He had co-created Sheena a few years earlier, after all. There was a saying (I'm paraphrasing), "Kids read the comic strips, but their dads buy the newspaper." A comic strip creator had to provide something for Pop to make him plunk down his nickel. When the old man was done, Junior got his eyes full ogling comic strips with pretty girls.

This early Spirit, from November 10, 1940, is from the 24th issue of the weekly Comic Book Supplement, carried by several newspapers until it succumbed in 1952. The Black Queen is overtly sexy in her abbreviated costume. She also has the kiss of death; not the last Spirit female who was as deadly, or deadlier, than the male criminals who regularly whupped on the Spirit.


Mykal Banta said...

Pap - No one ever drew the sexy, bad villainesses Eisner. P'Gell, Sand Sarif, Silk Satin - all complex characters and sexy as hell.

Just looking over the pages, I don't think there ever lived a better graphic story teller than Eisner. The great ones could make your eyes follow the flow of the story, but Eisner's ability at this is simply jaw-dropping. You can really just feel the movement and action.

Gumba G Gadwa said...

Beautiful work by Eisner, but before his more experimental work where he played with panels and worked titles into the splash.

You can see a LOT of Mike Ploog in this, I never noticed it before, but the boat/rope looks a lot like Ploog, and what Ghastly would be later (and therefore also Wrightson.) I actually never thought of Eisner being a influence on Ploog, but it makes sense.

I love the concept that a super villain lounges around at home in their costume! And this time my theory about hot lady villain/male good guy is right out in the open, the Spirit just up and confesses to it!

Page 6 is incredible and fluid.

Jeff Overturf said...

Eisner gave us so much in the comic book medium...and not the least of which was HOT chicks!!!!

Jeff Overturf said...

OK, OK...after reading the story I have to admit...another great contribution by Eisner...the "suction cup shoe"!

Pappy said...

Gumba, I may be wrong, but it's my impression that Ploog worked in the Eisner studio when they were doing the PS Army vehicle maintenance magazine.

Eisner came into my consciousness with the 1965 reprint in Help! magazine, then the Spirit reprints from Harvey Comics. I'm in the same age group as the artists you mention, and we all saw the same things. I remember the excitement in comics fandom at the time over the Spirit.

Mykal, amen, brother!

Jeff, amen again to you too, bro!

"100Aliases" said...

I've always considered the Black Queen Eisner's first great femme fatale, and also consider the first story with her to be the first story where Eisner began to show hints of greatness after the routine Dr. Cobra stories that began the strip.

I also included Black Queen on a list of characters who got set up to be archvillains, but flopped.

bzak said...


"I actually never thought of Eisner being a influence on Ploog"

I believe Mike Ploog was an Eisner assistant at one time.

Thanks for the Eisner. My number one favorite.

Brian Riedel

bzak said...


Meant to add this to previous comment.

Brian Riedel

Adkuśś said...


Pappy said...

A Spirit and/or Eisner posting will get a lot of buzz. I love all the comments. I love hearing everyone's opinions, and when readers share their knowledge. Much appreciated, guys!

Darci said...

The GCD lists 3 appearances for The Black Queen:
6/16/1040 (an unimpressive debut as a mob lawyer (!),
7/7/1940 (in "The Black Queen's Army, which I haven't seen),
and this finale from 11/10/1940. Our friends at the DCM host a reprint of the first story, from Police Comics #12 (Oct 1942).