The Spirit #12 (1963) by Joe Simon
Super Comics published reprints of comic stories. Producers of comics that had fallen on hard times could sell the plates to Isreal Waldman at what I am sure was a low price. In the “The Comic Book Makers” Joe Simon describes selling Mainline titles to Waldman and the buyer’s concern with just getting the plates and his lack of interest in the copyrights. That must have also been true with whatever deal Eisner made since Will always kept the copyrights to the Spirit (except for a period where he did his wartime military service).
Although the contents of Super Comics were reprints the covers were new. I have to admit when I saw this cover in Joe’s book I thought Simon was taking liberties with the Spirit character. The Spirit attacking a mad scientist and his robots seem to me to be a little out of character for Eisner’s feature. But the comic does have such a story inside. I guess I have been biased by my reading of DC reprints of the Spirit. By the way these are absolutely the best books of comic reprints that have ever been produced. DC is doing a fantastic job, I just wish more archives were done that way. Most unfortunately still continue to use glossy paper and overly bright colors. However the Spirit Archives have not reached the final years. I know Wally Wood ghosted for Will on some Spirit adventures in space. So I suppose that this story is also a late one with a story line different from the earlier years that I am familiar with from reading the archives. Anyway Joe did take some liberties, there is no fight scene in the story quite like the one on the cover. I love the way Joe has turned the robot eyes into headlamps that provide a spotlight on the Spirit. Also Joe changes the arm stumps of the robots in the story to more manlike hands which gives them a much more menacing affect. I am less thrilled with the visor Joe has provided the villain with. And what is the significance of the large eye on the instrument’s CRT?
The Spirit #12 (1963) by Will Eisner
This post is not only a post of an example of some solo work by Joe, it is also an Alternate Take post, only this time with Simon not Kirby as the cover artist. But the splash page for the story was probably originally a cover for the newspaper comic book insert. Will Eisner was the master when it came to cover/splash designs. He was always changing the logo and often provided designs the integrated the logo with the art. Although this splash is more of a composition then a design it is still wonderfully done. The empty background brings all attention to the figure of the villain dropping his army of robots. A low viewpoint allows the robot formations to still seem threatening despite their small size. Notice how most of the figure is in shadow, this allows the falling robots to really standout. While Joe gave an exciting fight scene, Will was more subtle and using just visual effects provided a threat. I am no scholar on Will Eisner, for instance I have trouble distinguishing some of the ghosting Lou Fine did on the Spirit during the war from Will’s art. Still this splash looks very much like Eisner’s work to me.
The Spirit #12 (1963) by unidentified artist
Although I am convince Will Eisner was responsible for the splash, the rest of the story looks like someone else was ghosting for Will.