Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Number 1704: Jim Warren gets into the Spirit

Jim Warren’s revival of Will Eisner’s The Spirit in 1974 was another attempt to bring that moribund character back to life. After the end of the Spirit Section in newspapers in 1952 there were several attempts to bring back the character, but none of them were ongoing in the sense of Warren’s handsome newsstand magazine reprints. The Spirit was announced in Eerie #54, with these pages, the inside front and back covers of that issue.

Harvey Kurtzman may have gotten the ball rolling with his reprint of a classic Spirit story in Warren’s Help! in 1962. You can see it in this 2010 posting from Hairy Green Eyeball.

There was also a Rich Corben-colored “Christmas Spirit” story in issue #54, which I thought of posting, but won’t, Christmas being  months past. So I am showing the color Spirit story, “Bucket of Blood” from Eerie #55. That issue was cover dated March, 1974, and The Spirit #1 was cover-dated April, but my recollection is they were on the stands at the same time. I could be wrong. Memory is often flawed, but I also recall we fans were forewarned of the Warren Spirit in the fan press of the time.


Ryan Anthony said...

Terrific art and compositions, but I'm not sure if the coloring was appropriate for the piece (what was that--water colors?). After all, didn't Corben spend most of his time doing horror comics?

Rip Jagger said...

Beautiful! I knew of the Spirit (barely) from Feiffer's famous tome, but it wasn't until I got to read the Warren reprints that I came to realize just how wonderful the storytelling was.

Rip Off

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Nice story. I definitely haven't seen enough of The Spirit, have to confess. Is the chilly guy a recurring character?
I think all in all "Eerie" was a suitable mag for such a weird, though not strictly "horror" comic, and the quality was great. They should have done some Dr. Drew reprints, too.
Mr. Eisner was in Lucca in 1986, to be awarded with the Yellow Kid prize. How times flies...

Pappy said...

Ryan, I'm not sure of the medium Corben used, but I'm sure he and Jim Warren didn't want it to look like comic book coloring.

Corben drew a lot of horror comics and there is a volume dedicated to his work at Warren: Creepy Presents Richard Corben.

Pappy said...

Rip, I should probably make it clear to readers who weren't born when those magazines were published, that while there were occasionally coloring jobs done for The Spirit from Warren, most of the stories were presented in black line with gray tones. Very well done, and I prefer many of those versions to the original published four-color versions from the 1940s.

Pappy said...

J D, I have found with this blog, and my occasional posting of Spirit stories, that the Eisner-led stories (the strip was turned over to other artists while he was away during World War II) are the most popular, and most commented upon.

Oddly enough, some of the top cartoonists who took over the strip during those war years are sort of dismissed when doing the Spirit. That includes Lou Fine, Jack Cole (who did the daily Spirit comic strip for a while), Alex Kotzky, and others. My most visited non-Eisner Spirit story is from 2008, featuring original art by Wallace Wood on The Outer Space Spirit.

HEH said...

I believe my first real reading of The Spirit was when I was 15 (1985) and bought the 3-D treatment Kitchen Sink offered. Then, at a comic convention about a year or two later, I bought the first Warren issue for a couple of bucks.
I was blown away by the lead story, The Last Trolley's atmosphere and setting. The splash was by Grandenetti, correct?
There's an areas here in the southeastern part of the Bay Area that reminds me a lot of the desolate area featured in that story.
Such great memories of reading and being speechless at the genius that was Eisner.

Pappy said...

HEH, I can't tell you whether the splash is by Grandinetti, but I know he was one of Eisner's assistants, so I can't discount it.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

I also thought of Grandenetti's Dr. Drew reprinted by Eclipse when I saw the house in splash page.
Those 80's 3d comics now give me a headache.
The Moon story is great, gives me a strong feeling of Deja vu, must have seen it in a mag ages ago. We had mostly Eisner's stories (and John Law) translated in the 70's but I know The Spirit is a sort of big franchise. I'll check the other artists.