The Spirit #16

It’s several months old now, and the series has been cancelled, but if you’re interested in clever things that can be done with comic history and format, you should seek out The Spirit #16.

If you’re familiar with the history of Will Eisner’s character, you probably know that one of the many graphic innovations associated with the Spirit is the way that word is incorporated into the images on his title pages. Here are two examples I found on the net (although that second one is clearly a modern piece):

Spirit title page 1Spirit title page 1

Well, in this issue, David Hine and John Paul Leon pay homage to that idea by doing something similar on EVERY page. Yes, most of the issue is made up of “splash pages”, with one image per. And yet, the gimmick doesn’t overwhelm the story, about someone impersonating the Spirit in order to murder criminals.

If you can find a copy of this issue, you should really flip through it and see how creatively this concept was used, from the logo in pipe smoke to signs on cityscapes to spilled blood. There’s one page that evokes the classic brickwork effect, and another that goes symbolic, with giant letters in their own right. Here are a couple of my favorites, along with this issue’s cover:

The Spirit #16 coverThe Spirit #16 page 8The Spirit #16 page 14

There’s even a bigger theme involved, about what makes a hero and how he sets his own principles. It’s quite the nifty comic to view, if you get a chance to check it out.

3 Responses to “The Spirit #16”

  1. Johnny Bacardi Says:

    That whole Spirit run was aces, especially the issues by David Hine and Moritat. For once, someone did something respectful of the past, but still incorporated fresh ideas. No wonder it got cancelled.

  2. Thad Says:

    I remember my first thought, when the Google Doodle was a Pac-Man game at some point last year, was that Eisner would have approved.

  3. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    this was a well-done series. the previous Spirit series was fun, but seemed more interested in the whimsical Eisner/Spirit, whereas this run remembered that he was an urban crimefighter. There seems to be a tendency with characters like this to let the nostalgia overwhelm the storytelling. To me, that was really Alan Moore and the other British Wave creators’ “innovation.” They weren’t as invested in the characters as they were, so they were able to imagine them as they could be. Even as they honored the past, they looked to it as only a starting point, not as the endgame.

    I bought this Spirit series as individual issues and will buy (have bought) them as TPBs for a more permanent version as well. I liked the whole First Wave set of books. If DC was willing to just publish one-off books instead of having to create a whole line for them all at once, maybe they’d gain some traction. But then again, that apparently isn’t working for the really rather good THUNDER Agents book, either (although it is very nice to see a second mini-series solicited).




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