The Spirit is one of those enduring characters that not only have outlasted its creator which is a feat in and of itself but inspired tens of thousands of characters made from the same ilk. The fact that Will Eisner’s name carries so much love and respect throughout the industry, is truly unprecedented. I have heard other writers compare him to Jack Kirby and Bob Kane, but no one was quite like Mr. Eisner, as his feel for story and character are very much different than those icons. In all honesty, it truly is a travesty that The Spirit has not been translated into other mediums like the lesser characters it inspired.
After its initial publication, in 1939, it had a long and storied history, some involving controversy with the introduction of the character of Ebony White and some very depressing lows, with the publication, of The Spirit’s adventures involving John Law. The fact that he has appeared in print in just about every decade of the 20th century, speaks to infamy of the character, and how well written it as by Eisner. I really got into the character not from the original archived comic that DC Comics collected back in 2007, but from Jeph Loeb’s and Darwyn Cooke’s highly entertaining one shot involving his encounter with the Dark Knight. Then Dynamite enlisted Matt Wagner for a whole new series which definitely stayed true to Eisner’s original vision.
In this collection, a who’s who of the comic world showed up to tell their interpretations of the character to include Paul Chadwick, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Neil Gaiman, Mike Allred, Jay Stephens and many more. Every story is each creator at their peak talents, especially Gaiman’s “The Return of Mink Stole”, which he is particularly adept at, and I wish he wrote more of. Another standout is Chadwick’s” Cursed Beauty”, which definitely reminds of Brubaker’s recently concluded Fade Out and some elements of his Fatale. Moore has contributed various stories to this collection, but the one that stands as my favorite is “Last Night I Dreamed of Dr.Cobra”, which now reading it again has definite influences over his ongoing Providence.
Overall, a strong collection, as it seemed as though every creator stepped knowing who each other was, and how important Eisner’s legacy is. The stories are iconic Spirit at their best, definitely some twists and turns , but always staying true. The art by the varius artists , is a nice contrast in various hues and styles that makes this a must buy. Altogether, if you love crime noir , if you love your heroes dark and brooding, then you will love The Spirit, as well as these creators.
Story: Paul Chadwick, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman , Mike Allred, Jay Stephens, Denis Kitchen, John Wagner, Mark Kneece, Kurt Busiek, Matt Brundage, Michael Avon Oeming, John Ostrander, Scott Hampton, Dennis Eichorn, Eddie Campbell, Jay Stephens, Joe Lansdale, James Vance, Gary Chaloner
Art: Dave Gibbons, Dan Burr, Daniel Torres, Bo Hampton, Brent Anderson, Laura Allred, David Lloyd, Tom Mandrake, Scott Hampton, Gene Fama, Eddie Campbell, Paul Pope, John Lucas, Gary Chaloner
Story: 10 Art:10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review