New Reviews of Old Comics
Want to hear my pathetic comic con story? Too bad. I’m going to tell it anyway. In 1988 I went to San Diego to visit a good friend of mine and to attend the Comic-Con. Although not nearly the affair that is today, Comic-Con was a huge deal back then, especially for a 17 year old kid flying by himself from Albany, NY to San Diego. I had no idea what to expect, I just figured there was no way this could possibly be anything but awesome. And I was right. I got autographs from Arthur Adams, Mike Grell, Jamie Delano, the guy-who-drew-The American-Chris somethingorother and we met Eastman and Laird, but didn’t get their autographs since we didn’t have TMNT issues and they were super expensive there. While at the unjustifiably deserted Kitchen Sink booth I got Kate Worley’s autograph on my copy of Omaha, the Cat Dancer #1 and we talked to her for quite a bit. During our discussion I noticed there was an older looking guy at the next table with no one talking to him, and I mean no one, despite the room being jam packed. Honestly, though he didn’t seem to care, he just sat there drawing in his book. My ignorant mind said to myself “who the heck is that guy?” When we finished talking to Kate she said “Hey, Will Eisner is here if you want to say hi to him.” We nodded and walked away. So THAT’S who that guy is. Will Eisner. Heard the name. Saw ads for his books. Never read anything by him. Moving along. Flash forward a couple years and my local comic store (anyone remember Quincy’s in Fort Edward, NY?) has all sorts of these Spirit issues on the shelves and in boxes so I decide to give one a try and instantly have a new favorite comic. These stories are an island of amazing creativity and visual storytelling genius amidst a sea of re-packaged super hero cross-over comics. My eyes are wide open. I buy as many Spirit issues as I can get from Quincy’s. I order a couple of Eisner’s books from Kitchen Sink directly (A Contract with God, Comics and Sequential Art, etc) and really begin to see comics in a different light. Here was my chance to talk to a living legend, likely with his undivided attention for a few minutes, and I punted. Lost opportunity. If I write and draw for a thousand years I will never, ever write or draw like Eisner, not even close, but through his work he changed how I read, write and draw comics.
As for this issue itself, we get four Spirit stories, three of which are printed from laser scans of the original newspaper comic book sections and the other is newly colored from Eisner’s original art. The first two are Christmas themed, and the last is Commissioner Dolan telling the origin of the Spirit. It goes without saying each of these seven page stories is nothing short of great. The new (in 1983) cover drawn by Eisner is a treat. If you enjoy comics and haven’t read any Spirit comics you’re doing yourself a real disservice, and it’s something you need to correct. They are visual storytelling at its finest.
Best Ad: This is an independent (i.e. not a Marvel or DC title) so apart from some in-house ads are sparse at best. Leave it to me to find one. Just past the center spread is a Dave Stevens drawn ad from Graphitti Designs for t-shirts. One for the Rocketeer (Dave Stevens DID draw the ad) and the other is for a Spirit t-shirt. Only $8.95. If I found a Spirit t-shirt for $10 today I would totally buy it and wear it with pride!