Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Number 2190: The Spirit: comics noir
Chester Gould used a lot of black in “Dick Tracy.” He also used sadism and torture. The violence might have driven some people to read Dick Tracy for the forbidden thrills. Pulp magazines were full of the same thing, but presumably not available to youngsters. Today’s posting, a Spirit Section from August 24, 1947, calls to mind the more gruesome of Dick Tracy’s adventures, and one-ups Gould. Eisner shows a bloodied crook, tied up, then shot in the head by the Octopus. Since I have been re-reading Dick Tracy lately, I’m showing a page from The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy, where we see a torture device set up by the Brow, then used on a young girl. Both the sequence from Dick Tracy and the bloody killing from The Spirit might have been more than a concerned parent would have wanted a young child to see.
Something else about this Spirit episode: It one-ups Gould in its use of black ink. It sets a perfect noirish mood.
The Grand Comics Database credits Will Eisner for the script and the artwork, except where Jerry Grandenetti drew backgrounds.