Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Spirit And The Corpse-Makers!

Will Eisner's The Spirit is no more alas. Some creators are so distinctive and wedded to their creations that when that talent is no longer available the creation wanes and disappears. Whether this will happen to The Spirit following the death of Eisner remains to be seen.

Some decent Spirit tales have been crafted, but I've yet to find any that had the same distinctive character, the same specific charm. That's the case with one of the most recent as well -- The Corpse-Makers by Francesco Francavilla. But I was eager to see this one in its collected form because if any modern artist was mining the same Film Noir material that evoked the original Spirit it's Francavilla.

There are a few things I like a lot, and number one is the creamy artwork of Francavilla who has found a nifty way tell a tale in the dark. His atmospheric backgrounds are exquisite. His usually deft storytelling falls down a few times in this five-part yarn that spins along for too short a time. That pace is the biggest downfall of his story, it flies by and all five chapters are read in minutes.

Once again I am reminded why I don't buy new comics, the storytelling is just not sufficient in a given chapter to warrant the the effort. Even with five parts collected here, the experience fell a bit shy. Now that's odd to say since the original Spirit stories were concocted in a handful of pages with a hammer-like rhythm.

But in the end despite the twenty dollar asking price, I found Francavilla's Spirit a satisfying read, not as good as Eisner, but on its own terms a proper Noir. I do hate the title though and recommend "Crimson Coal" or even  "The Crematorium" as possible substitutes. It will make sense when you read it.

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