In June of 1940Will Eisner created "The Spirit", a comic serial which would appear weekly in the Sunday newspaper. This comic section would contain 4 to 5 stories, each 7 or 8 pages long. Eisner worked as editor but also wrote and drew many entries. The stories told inside The Spirit would include a wide variety of style types, such as: crime drama, love stories, mysteries, horror, comedy, drama, and black comedy.
The strip showed real similarities to both Batman and Dick Tracy, featuring colorful villains and fast-paced story telling. The Spirit, a "middle class crimefighter", was the hero persona of young detective Denny Colt. Colt, presumed killed in the first three pages of the first serial, would later reveal that he had not died but was in suspended animation from one of the arch villain Dr. Cobra's experiments. When he awakened in Wildwood Cemetery, he established a base there and, using his newly gained anonymity, began a life of fighting crime. The Spirit would bring justice, funding his adventures with the money from his own estate and the rewards from capturing villains.
During World War II Eisner enlisted in the army. While Eisner was away, the newspaper syndicate kept The Spirit going by having ghost writers and artists to continue the strip till his return. Many fans, however, believe the best stories of all are those which Will Eisner penned and drew. Eisner developed a cinematic style; through the use of shadows and different angles of view he draws the reader into the seedy atmosphere of his stories. The 1st frame of series became famous for working the title "The Spirit" into the background or scenery.
The Spirit worked mostly out of Central City. However, his adventures took him around to the globe to different and exciting places. He met up with eccentrics and kooks, beautiful (but deadly) women, and brought his own form of justice to all of them. Although the story was constantly changing, certain themes remained constant; the love between Ellen Dolan and the Spirit, the annual Christmas Spirit stories, The Octopus (a criminal genius who was never seen but recognized by his distinctive gloves).
Sadly, all good thing must come to an end. The Spirit ceased publication in the 1950s, following the Trip to the Moon stories by Eisner and Wally Wood.
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