Monday, February 17, 2014

Number 1527: Spirit of the gun

Recently I presented a bloody tale from Desperado #1 narrated by a gun. Here I have another tale, this time from Will Eisner’s Spirit Section of March 4, 1951, also narrated by a gun. Is this a good gimmick or not, having stories narrated by inanimate objects? (To answer my own question, the esteemed Ray Bradbury used it when he had a rocket ship narrate “I, Rocket” in Amazing Stories, May 1944. Perhaps I should just shut up.)

Another thing about this Spirit story that caught my eye was the panel sequence I have used as a teaser above, and a similar sequence from Mad #12 (1954), when Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder did their satire, “Starchie.”

I wonder if the Spirit had any inspiration on the Mad sequence, either consciously or unconsciously.


Kirk said...

Harvey Kurtzman was a fan of Will Eisner, even once reprinting a Spirit story in Help magazine, so it's quite possible he did see this story. It may not be an out-and-out swipe, however, but an image that was lodgeded in his subconcsious, one that he had forgotten where it came from.

James Kirk said...

I love The Spirit stories. Keep them coming. I wish I could afford those hard cover collections. However at $50 a pop these days who can. It's great to read this comic because Will Eisner was a master of the crime genre. He inspired Frank Miller's grim and gritty approach in Sin City and Daredevil...even the Dark Knight Returns were all influenced by this fantastic comic strip.

James Kirk said...

I hope you post more of these stories. The Spirit is my absolute favorite from this period in comics history. Will Eisner had great supporting cast of characters to keep the stories interesting. The comic is influential today. If you look at any of the hard boiled modern detective comics they all take material from this comic.

Pappy said...

Kirk, I tend to agree that Kurtzman may have seen the Spirit panel and thought it was a good way to convey violence without showing it, and by the time he wrote "Starchie" it had settled into the back of his mind. I don't try to second-guess Kurtzman's ideas, but even the best writers in the world may re-use other people's ideas without realizing the subconscious connection.