Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Spirit At Warren

Jim Warren was a huge fan of Will Eisner and The Spirit, so when the chance came to reprint the strip, he didn't mess about. Emboldened by the success of Creepy, Eerie & Vampirella, Warren went the total fanboy route and put out Eisner's seminal newspaper strip in it's own book, the only time a Warren mag centered solely on one single character.
Not that it was all plain sailing. Eisner himself hated the Basil Gogos painting above that fronted the premiere issue, being as it was, a rejig of an old character of Will's named John Law, and not The Spirit at all. So much so, he insisted on doing all future covers himself. No fool he, Warren immediately accepted.


As anyone with any nous knows, The Spirit is one of the all-time great comic strips, Eisner putting together what amounts to a complete movie in every 7 or 8 page episode. Sometimes it's film noir, sometime comedy, sometimes high adventure, sometimes sci-fi. Sometimes The Spirit barely appears in his own strip at all. Plus, artwise, Eisner was decades ahead of anybody else, as proven by the influence he and The Spirit have had. Frank Miller, for instance, has built an entire career by 'doing Eisner'. Then, of course, he went off and made a terrible Spirit movie, but let's not upset Ebony, or ourselves, again over that.

Warren's Spirit was an absolute treat, if like me, you'd heard of this comic character but never actually seen any episodes. Not only did you get the original stories ( that hadn't dated one iota ) but little treats like:


Here's some of the Technicolour pieces from the middle of the book, the first being coloured by no less than the mighty Richard Corben:


  1. Yeah, Corben's colours were great - he understood the Spirit wasn't just noir, but cartoony too. Nice to see how recolouring older work should be done.
    And of course, you can't fault the original stories (well, apart from Ebony)

    Good as the Warren mag was , I must admit to preferring the Kitchen Sink version, partly because it ran new work, but mostly for the Shop Talk feature. Eisner chatting away to other old codgers like Gil Kane or Jack Kirby was fantastic.
    Do you have any of those, Pete? Would love the chance to read some of the interviews again if you're up for it....


  2. Yes indeed! I have the Gil and Jack interviews, and the Joe Kubert one for sure, and probably a few more. Anybody want to read them and I'll put them up?

  3. Never saw any of the Kitchen Sink mags, so I can't comment on them (but I'd love to see those interviews!). As for the Warren books, I borrowed a whole pile of them from an older fan back in the day and loved them. I still think these are the best looking reprints of the Spirit stories.