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The Spirit Archives, Vol. 1 (The Spirit Archives #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  219 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The first volume in a complete series reprinting Will Eisner's classic crimefighter The Spirit in chronological order from June 2nd to December 29, 1940. Includes "The Origin of The Spirit," "Orang, The Ape Man," "The Kiss of Death," "The Prom," the first Christmas Spirit story and 26 others in full color. Also features a preface by Eisner on how The Spirit came to be, a f ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by DC Comics (first published 1940)
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F*** you, Frank Miller.
Mike Raymond
This book is about a superhero who was once a cop who tried to take a bad guy out but falls into radioactive stuff to make him into a superhero with many superpowers. This was one big book with a bunch of The Spirit comics all in one. I thought it was a good book over all because it's a classic and had good art. Anyone who's into superman or classic superheroes would love this book.
Edward Cheer
As far as Will Eisner's works go... this isn't his best. But this isn't a horrible book, to say the least. The greater half of this book is filled with cooky hi jinx, cartoony characters, and daring escapades. Only problems are that the characters are a bit stale and the stories tend to be a bit... holey. However, it's perhaps the last five comics where you can really see Eisner's writing skill start to grow. And those comics are genuinely good. So if you want to read some old comics from the 40 ...more
Will Eisner was one of the true giants working in the medium of comics, and this is where that greatness really began. This volume collects the seven page Spirit comics between the series opening in June 2 and December 29 1940, framed by a preface by Eisner ("The Spirit: How It Came to Be" from 2000), a foreword by Allan Moore ("The Pioneering Spirit" from 1986) and an introduction by R. C. Harvey ("The Consummate Comic Book"). While this is clearly not Eisner's greatest hour by any means (it's ...more
This is a fun, although at times very uncomfortable, peek into 1940s American life. Vol. 1 is the archived set of Spirit comics printed in US newspapers during WWII and as such the reader gets a really great look into the general American popculture ethos of the time. The Spirit is macho and charismatic, taking on the mob for the first few months of the strip. Eventually the Spirit moves on to take down those scientists who would use science for ill instead of good, although the most poignant st ...more
Ouch. I confess to having high, possibly unrealistic, expectations for the first collection of Spirit stories, but wow. This is some of the worst comic writing I've ever encountered, even taking the era into account. And while Eisner was obviously playing with bold color choices and dynamic framing, he hadn't really broken out of a very traditional narrative progression. The biggest problem is the massive number of plot holes – big enough for you to fly a car through. Exposition that would embar ...more
Kevin Denis
I am reading the Archives in celebration of The Spirit's 75th anniversary. The character is Eisner's magnum opus, and, while the war years stories (1942-1945) are generally the creation of writers and artists other than Will Eisner, there aren't any really bad stories in the series -- only good, better, and best.
Stewart Tame
Classic Eisner is always worth reading. The strip starts out a bit rough around the edges, but you can see Eisner getting better and better with each page. Many of the innovative storytelling techniques are in place by the end of the book, an it only gets better from here. Recommended!
Scott Greenfield
This was my first exposure to the classic Spirit tales and I gotta tell you, this was thoroughly enjoyable. It holds up surprisingly well. Each story is only 7 pages long but it never ceased to amaze me how much Eisner could pack into those 7 pages. There are a few anachronisms in the book but that's to be expected for a series that was written prior to WWII. The most glaring is the dialogue of Ebony White. If you are the type of PC person who gets offended by historical anachronisms, this might ...more
Mark Alger
Eisner is well-known and -loved as one of the giants of comic art and visual storytelling. My intent is to get my hands on as many of these volumes as I can afford.
It is always weird to read a comic that's early in the series' history. Much like webcomics and newspaper comics, early Eisner looks creakily drawn. Um, it kind of reminds me of the part in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen -- spoilers ahead! -- where they meet the animals altered to look like humans and something is Not Quite Right and Downright Grotesque about the way the way they look. (Why can't I write here without constantly alluding to other works? That is just how my brain works.)

The Spirit is born with Denny Colt "dies" and returns to life to fight the underworld. I had never read any Spirit comics and was a little disappointed. The stories are very much like every '30's/'40's noir tales (Batman included). The Spirit's "back from the dead" gimmick didn't seem to make much sense and wasn't used to strike fear in any villains. If he wears a mask, why does it matter that his alter-ego is believed dead? I guess the fact that Eisner did a couple multi-issue stories (like the ...more
Chris Aylott
Like most of the Golden Age comics archives, the first issues of The Spirit are mostly a reminder of just how primitive comics were in the late thirties and early forties. The characters are stereotypical and thin, and the plots almost indistinguishable from the Batman comics being published a few doors down the road.

Evolution happens fast, though, and within weeks of the first issue Eisner is making little breaks in the format of pulp comics. There's a lot of potential here that would reach it
Apr 15, 2007 Chris marked it as to-read
Bless me father, for I have sinned. I am a comic fanatic and I have never . . . never read any of Eisner's work. I know I've been reading comics since I was ten, and I own every volume of the Essential X-Men, but no Eisner. I even own "X-Men vs. The Fantastic Four" in TPB, but not a story of "The Spirit." It is not as if I have avoided the classics - I have Peanuts, I have Krazy Kat . . . and I mean to buy The Spirit, I do, but then it gets put on the "To Buy Later" list. Soon, soon.
Federiken Masters
Jul 11, 2012 Federiken Masters rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Casi nadie.
Recommended to Federiken by: Su fama...
Tratando de evitar polémica (conmigo mismo, claro), voy a aclarar de una por qué le pongo sólo dos estrellitas a este supuesto clásico de clásicos: le tuve que hacer muchas, DEMASIADAS concesiones para poder leerlo sin problemas. No sé las historias siguientes, pero al menos las que contiene este primer tomo envejecieron muy pero muy mal, pese a las inventivas composiciones de página de Eisner (quizás, lo más destacable de todo). Espero que los posteriores me sorprendan para bien.
The rating is for the art, which is fantastic. While there are still a lot of artists who could learn from Eisner's action and paneling, his use of perspective is still above and beyond today's standards. Otherwise, dated by some very misogynistic and racist stereotypes. The stories started out on par with Stan Lee, then dropped off.
Leah Wener-Fligner
The art is fantastic.

And the storytelling (as much of it as I took in; I made it about three 7 page serials) is solid, integrated with the art and into all adventure narratives in pop culture.

And the content is so dated, sexist, racist, and now also cliched, that I see no reason to wade through a dozen volumes of it, or even just one.
The earliest Spirit stories were much more traditional in their pulp/comics influence, though one can see Eisner beginning to ease in both his sense of design and sense of humour. Be warned, though, that the portrayal of other than white people tends to be pretty horrible.
what can i say? hands down my favorite comic character of all time. i even love the years that eisner was in the military and the strip was ghosted. yeah, they weren't as good, but as soon as he returned, this thing blasted into orbit.
Jan 16, 2009 Dan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics, 2009
Nice start...definitely easier to read than the old Batman collections. It's amazing the kinds of stories Eisner was willing to try so long ago. He hadn't quite gotten into his art groove yet, but it still had some impressive layouts.
Steven Yenzer
Wish I could give this 2.5. Very interesting to see the origins of modern superheroes, especially Batman, in this 1940 series. The racism and misogyny are a bit hard to swallow, though.
Old school comics... the slang was a bit hard to read and there have been a lot of social changes since 1940. In the end I did enjoy it. Maybe it will be a movie next year. =)
when considered in relation to when these were first printed, it is impossible not to be impressed. (also, knowing he later made amends with the Ebony character helps).
Robby Barry
Maybe the greatest comic strip ever!
Samuel Mauricio
Samuel Mauricio marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2015
Sylvester is currently reading it
Jul 27, 2015
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WILL EISNER was born on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Will Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.

In a career that spanned nearly eight decades -- from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics - Will Eisner was truly the 'Father of the Graphic Novel' and the 'O
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Other Books in the Series

The Spirit Archives (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 2
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 3
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 4
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 5
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 6
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 7
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 8
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 9
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 10
  • The Spirit Archives, Vol. 11
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