Comic Deep Dive: Will Eisner’s The Spirit

Hey, folks!  Welcome back to Comic Deep Dive!  During these COVID-related dark times, I’ve taken the opportunity to do some strange and exciting comic book reading to fill the void caused by constant cancellation.  Today, I’m talking all about Will Eisner’s The Spirit imprint!  Here’s the run-down:

The Story

  • Will Eisner created a popular newspaper-strip comic book hero
  • The character was so popular that his stories were reprinted as comic books
  • Comic book writers and artists were inspired by the work
  • Very few modern creators leave Eisner out as an influence on their work
  • Ran (off and on) from 1940 to 1952 and on-and-off for the next several decades

The Titles

  • The Spirit, The Spirit: The New Adventures, Vol. 3, Vol. 4

The Events

  • None, which was mostly because of the time and the format

The Crossovers

  • Batman
  • Doc Savage
  • Green Hornet
  • The Rocketeer

The Good Stuff

  • Will Eisner oversaw all of it
  • Revolutionary in every way imaginable
  • Great one-and-done style storytelling
  • You can read them in any order
  • Fantastic character work
  • Beautiful layouts
  • Historical artifacts
  • Super holiday stories every year
  • Everything is collected in slick-looking hardcover reprints

The Bad Parts

  • Currently defunct

The Creators of Note

  • Will Eisner
  • Later contributions from Wally Wood, Alex Ross, Matt Wagner, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Darwyn Cooke, and Frank Miller

Characters Off the Page

  • Posters
  • Statues
  • Made-for-TV pilot movie
  • Theatrical film

The Returns

  • Kitchen Sink Press reprints
  • Kitchen Sink Press 1990s revival
  • DC reprints
  • DC 2000s revival
  • Dark Horse reprints
  • Dynamite 2010s revival

Overall Thoughts

  • This deep dive is something I have always wanted to do
  • Will Eisner really is a master and will be missed
  • I’ll keep the whole thing, especially the fancy archive edition hardcover collections
  • My final grade: A

See you next month for another comic deep dive! In the meantime, share your thoughts on Will Eisner’s The Spirit imprint with us on social media. We’d love to hear from you.

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