Suggested Reading: Will Eisner's The Spirit - The Christmas Spirit
by Roman Chavez
December 22, 2008
Hello again from the world of comic books and comic book movies. It is I, Roman Chavez, your comic book guide to the stars. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Today we're look at the latest comic-to-film adaptation, Will Eisner's The Spirit. Now, I'm not going to lie to you. I do not have a huge wealth of knowledge on this particular character or series. However, I have read some of the past publications and a bit of the modern stuff. Some of the old timers that first got me into comic books have talked to me about The Spirit for years, so I got the gist of it. What I can tell you is that I was in San Diego this past summer for Comic-Con and saw a lot of footage for the film and was witness to the panel with Frank Miller and crew.
I will admit that when I first saw the trailer for this, I was very excited. Then again I was fooled and thought that it was Sin City 2 at first. Feeling a little cheated that it was not, I became very judgmental of the movie. Months went on and then I went to Comic-Con. Frank Miller himself attended The Spirit panel and changed my entire view of this film. We were shown some exclusive footage and it wowed me. Miller is definitely using some of his past collaborator's technology to make the film, but he will also be pulling a few new tricks out of his hat. If you're looking for the next Sin City, please stop right now, press erase on that and move on.
If you are looking for a fun, cool-looking movie, then I believe that The Spirit is for you. The character is a mix of Dick Tracy and Indiana Jones with a dash of Batman. However, you must understand that the violence is going to be very cartoon-like. At one point the Octopus (Samuel Jackson) hits the Spirit with a giant wrench. It may sound a little lame but that entire fight was very entertaining. And I don't care what anybody says, if you put Sam Jackson in a movie, I will watch it and be happy. During The Spirit panel, Jackson said that Miller would let him wear anything that he wanted in the film. At times he wore kung fu garb, Nazi-like outfits and even a sombrero! It's an interesting turn because in the comics you never got to see what the Octopus looks like, you only see his hands. The film is also laced with many beauties, which was something The Spirit comics always had. Dames and fistfights. That's always a good day!
Frank Miller helms his first solo directing project the only way he knows how to - with innovation, action and violence. Miller wanted to stick to the foundation of what Will Eisner built, but modernize it just a bit to make it fun for a new generation. In the comic, Detective Denny Colt is believed to have been killed, but later reveals that he was in suspended animation caused by exposure to chemicals by the evil Dr. Cobra. In Miller's take he will die, but mysteriously return from the dead with an ability to heal. At Comic-Con, Miller said that this movie is not a tribute to Will Eisner, but it's a tribute to the Spirit.
I do have some suggested reading for you all, as this same material was suggested to me. We shall read it together. And, please, if you guys have some suggestions, post a comment so we can all check it out.
Will Eisner's The Spirit Archives
Written and Illustrated by Will Eisner
You can't go wrong with the classics. The Spirit Archives collect many of the Spirit's adventures from their start in 1940 to 1952. Seen to the left is the cover of the first volume in a complete series reprinting Will Eisner's classic crime fighter comic The Spirit in chronological order. Buy from Amazon.com.
Batman / The Spirit
Written by Jeph Loeb, Illustrated by Darwyn Cooke
The Dark Knight and The Spirit make a legendary collaboration as Batman's rouges team up with many of The Spirit's rogues. With the nation's security in jeopardy, two of comics greatest detectives must team up to save the day. Also featured within the first volume of the new series. Buy from Amazon.com.
Will Eisner's The Spirit Mini-Series
Written and Illustrated by Darwyn Cooke
When hotshot reporter Ginger Coffee is kidnapped, The Spirit is called in to help investigate. In these thrilling tales, Cooke maintains the "spirit" of Eisner's creation but brings his own original sensibilities to the character. The Spirit, aka Denny Colt, Commissioner Dolan, and his Daughter Ellen are reintroduced in this go-for-broke, shoot-the-lights-out collection of crime stories filled with action, adventure, humor and sexy girls! Buy from Amazon.com.
The Spirit will hit theaters this week on Christmas Day, December 25th. We will finally get our chance to see what this movie is made of and if Frank Miller pulled off a great reimagining of Will Eisner's classic crime fighter or not. I can't wait! So long from Roman's Land and we'll see you at the movies.