From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up–This reproduction of a classic goes back to the heyday of comics, and it's full of complex characters, plot twists, and classic storytelling. While this comic never obtained the status of some of the publisher's series like Batman, it is no doubt excellent in every way and will keep the interest of any comic-book readers who give it a try. Typical of DC comics, the illustrations are dark and full of energy, perfectly complementing the text. Its only real drawback is that the art looks dated, which will turn off some readers who want a fresher look.–Scott La Counte, Anaheim Public Library, CA
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*Starred Review* Balk at acquiring DC's $50-per-tome series reprinting all of The Spirit
because, well, you've just never read the strip? Then this paperback showcasing the strip's essence in 22 vintage stories is your book. The earliest 2, "The Origin of the Spirit" (1940) and "Silk Satin" (1941), respectively introducing the hero and a recurring character, aren't as visually adventurous as Eisner's work after his World War II hiatus from The Spirit.
Still, they already demonstrate two of Eisner's strengths in the skewed perspective and the bold, anti-naturalistic color juxtapositions of virtually every panel. In the 20 postwar stories, playing with perspective is subordinated to point of view, and expressionistic lighting justifies the clashing hues. If the changes dissipate the low-rent-cubist elan of the early stories, Eisner compensates with special effects--panels in monochrome and dichrome, special styles of panel framing, visually bracketing one stream of action within another, photo backdrops--and seldom uses any one device throughout the story. Not as easy to see but no less virtuosic than the artwork is The Spirit
's complex tone as a piece of pop art that indulges and satirizes the improbabilities of crime comics but doesn't countenance any carping about the heroic and social virtues its protagonist exemplifies. Maybe you do need that big, pricey series. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved