Tuesday, 29 May 2007


More inconsistency from your humble blogger.

A while back, I praised Darwyn Cooke for not getting hung up on pastiching the superficial aspects of Will Eisner’s style on The Spirit.

Then I saw this cover for the hardback collection of the first six issues of Cooke’s revival. Apparently, it was used as promotional artwork before the series began, but I missed it then.

I love the way that it captures the feel of the colour covers that Eisner did for Kitchen Sink’s Spirit magazine, particularly this one.

Inside that very issue, Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman discussed Eisner’s colour technique, concluding that he still had a lot to learn, because he was essentially drawing in colour rather than modelling in paint.

Personally, I rather prefer the texture of Eisner’s colour drawing to the more painterly, fully rendered covers that Warren Magazines had sometimes used during their Spirit series, like this one (none of them featured rain, so the comparison is inexact).

Eisner’s own finished art seems to me to give a better feel for what’s inside – a virtue that many comics’ covers lack in these days of specialised cover artists.

Incidentally, the title of this post is a Kurtzman coinage, taken from his contribution to “The Spirit Jam” from issue 30 of the Kitchen Sink magazine, which featured the work of some fifty different comics writers, artists and letterers on one extended story.

Covers and Panels

Cover art for The Spirit Volume 1 hardback, by Darwyn Cooke, DC Comics, scheduled for release in September 2007

Cover art for Will Eisner’s The Spirit issue 31 by Will Eisner, Kitchen Sink Comix, October 1981 (scan taken from the Grand Comics Database)

Cover art for The Spirit issue 10 by Will Eisner (pencils) and Ken Kelley, Warren Magazines, October 1975 (scan taken from the Grand Comics Database)

Panels by Harvey Kurtzman from “The Spirit Jam”, Will Eisner’s The Spirit issue 30 by Will Eisner, Kitchen Sink Comix, July 1981

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