Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Number 1218: Capp slapped by the Spirit
Either way, this is Eisner going after the big boys of comic strip syndication. I would think either Harold Gray (Elmer Hay) or Chester Gould (Hector Ghoul) might feel insulted, not to mention Capp. As satire it seems more than just a friendly nod or gentle nudge in the ribs. A particular target of Eisner's satire is the Dick Tracy/Fearless Fosdick situation. Gould felt that Capp over-reached by making Fearless Fosdick — who began as a one-off caricature of the Dick Tracy comic strip — a semi-regular character in Li’l Abner. I assume he was further aggrieved when Fearless Fosdick got commercial endorsements like Wildroot Cream Oil, which made $$$ for Capp, none for Gould. As for Harold Gray, I have no idea what he thought of The Spirit. Maybe Gray didn't care what Eisner did. Maybe he never saw it. Unlike Gray’s large following, there were only a few papers carrying the Spirit's Comic Book Section.
This is an interesting Spirit story, and I'd love to know the background of this particular episode.
Originally published July 20, 1947. This is scanned from The Spirit #1 (Warren, 1974):