Spirit Stories You Should Read Before The Movie
So Brother Glenn e-mails me with “…we do real well with those ‘stories you should read before you see the movie,’ and if anyone else but you did The Spirit list, you’d probably be insulted.” Maybe.
I’m a bit ambivalent towards this movie. I haven’t seen it, but like most of you reading this, I’ve seen the trailers. I’ve loved The Spirit ever since Jules Feiffer turned me onto the character, back in a 1965 article in Playboy magazine. My appetite completely whetted, the good folks at Harvey Comics stoked me up a year later with two “giant-sized” reprints that still remain the best of the many compilations of the character.
So now Frank Miller, a cartoonist known to be quite the Spirit fan (he even worked a reference to creator Will Eisner into RoboCop II), has directed the big Spirit movie that’s coming out any day now. It was co-produced by another comics fan-turned-writer-turned-movie powerhouse, Michael Uslan, of Batman and Swamp Thing movies fame. And those trailers – well, damn, they don’t look like Will Eisner’s creation at all. They look like Sin City with one extra color added. I try not to judge movies by their promotion (outside of triage), but this stuff’s been a bitter disappointment.
So, perhaps, this list should be perceived as “stories you should re-read after you see the movie so you remember why you went in the first place.” I hope not; I’ll be there to see the movie with the greatest hope.
Either way, coming and/or going, here’s ten of the original, truly worthwhile Spirit stories, as written and drawn by Will Eisner with the assistance of such folks as Jules Feiffer, Jerry Grandinetti, and Wally Wood. Ask me again tomorrow, and I’ll bet I give you at least five different stories.
Yep, The Spirit was that good.
These stories have been scattered among numerous reprint collections. The really cool part is, you can’t go wrong with any of them. However, for those of you who remain both employed and financially flush, I’m including The Spirit Archives volume numbers. If you want to pick up just one volume, I recommend volume 19.
1. Ten Minutes (September 11, 1949; volume 19)
2. The Story of Gerhard Shnobble (October 16, 1949; volume 19)
3. Plaster of Paris (November 7, 1948; volume 17)
4 & 5. Sand Saref and Bring In Sand Saref (January 8 and 14, 1950; volume 20)
6 & 7. The Name Is Powder and The Fallen Sparrow (January 4 and 11, 1948; volume 16)
8. Fairy Tales For Juvenile Delinquents: Cinderella (October 5, 1947; volume 15)
9. A DP On The Moon (August 10, 1952; volume 24)
10. The Story Of Rat-Tat, The Toy Machine Gun (September 4, 1949; volume 19)