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: