Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 279 (11/9) -- Will Eisner's The Spirit Archives, Vol. 3

This is another one of those times when I have to say "Remember what I said that one time? Well, pretend I'm saying it all over again."

This trip around the horn, the previous iteration was Book-A-Day # 272, Will Eisner's The Spirit Archives, Vol. 1. [1] And the current iteration is a collection of the "Spirit" stories from almost precisely a year later: July 6 to December 28 of 1941. So it's still very early in "The Spirit," and Eisner isn't Eisner yet. (Not that I'm as impressed by his Spirit work as some people are, though.) And, though this book doesn't say so -- it has no creative credits of any kind, though it lists the org chart of DC's then-executive suite, in the usual suits-are-more-important-than-creatives aesthetic of corporate comics -- I think that this run spans the period when Eisner wasn't even working directly on the Spirit, having been caught up in that whole "World War II" thing that was going on at the time.

(One interesting note: the stories in Will Eisner's The Spirit Archives, Vol. 3 are all eight-pagers, while the stories a year previously were seven-pagers. There's no explanation for the change, though I suspect the "Spirit Section" had shrunk and the other two strips had disappeared.)

So, once again: these are pretty good, as golden age adventure stories go. The flying car is much less in evidence than the year before, and Eisner (or whoever) is starting to do some very structured stories, most of which work pretty well in context. But this is still Golden Age stuff, very early in the history of modern comics, so it's very talky and generic, with occasionally ugly drawing and panels that still only rarely function as a page as a whole. You need to put your historical glasses on when looking at a work like this, though it can definitely be enjoyable if you do.

[1] Which hasn't posted yet as I write this, so I can't provide you with a link.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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