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When did people first discover / start reading Will Eisner's character The Spirit?

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  • When did people first discover / start reading Will Eisner's character The Spirit?

    Well with this year marking the 75th Anniversary of The Spirit in print, there have been quite a few opportunities to find his adventures.
    Among them:
    * He began as a Sunday newspaper comics insert in 1940
    * Quality Comics started reprinting Spirit stories in 1942
    * Fiction House reprinted Spirit stories in the early 1950s
    * Harvey Comics had two issues of The Spirit in 1966 and 1967 with primarily reprints of the weekly feature
    * Kitchen Sink and Warren also had spirit reprints comic books and/or magazines in the 1970s (with Kitchen Sink continuing reprints again after the Warren run and lasting into the 1980s and early 1990s)

    Plus there was new material featuring the Spirit by writers / artists other than Will Eisner (and his assistants) from both Kitchen Sink and DC Comics before Dynamite recently acquired the licensing rights to the character. (NOTE: For the crossover IDW published with The Spirit and the Rocketeer, DC still had the rights to The Spirit.)

  • #2
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    I first bought and read the Spirit in 1975 back when Warren was publishing his adventures in magazine-size (as opposed to a smaller comic book size).

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    • #3
      The 2 Harvey Comics issues of the Spirit, both of which contained NEW Spirit stories (including a reworking of the Spirit's origin in #1) in addition to the classic reprints. I still love those 1960s stories, and they've only been reprinted once - in the final hardcover volume of DC's THE SPIRIT ARCHIVES.

      Oh, and Kitchen Sink started out with two "underground" black and white issues of The Spirit, before Warren began the magazine run. After Warren dropped The Spirit, Kitchen continued it as a magazine for a while, even adding a companion title, Will Eisner's Quarterly, but eventually relaunched The Spirit with another #1 in standard comic book size - at first in full color, but eventually reduced to black and white.
      Last edited by pulphero; 08-18-2015, 07:28 PM.

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      • #4
        I believe it was in my school library's copy of The Great Comic Book Heroes when I was a kid in the late 1970s.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
          I believe it was in my school library's copy of The Great Comic Book Heroes when I was a kid in the late 1970s.

          [ATTACH=CONFIG]1089[/ATTACH]
          Ohhh, I loved that book!

          Still have my own copy of it (which may have come from the discount book section at Waldenbooks in the Willowbrook Mall in New Jersey).

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          • #6
            Yeah, I forgot... that was actually the first time I read the Spirit, too. In fact, now that you mention it I remember being confused when I saw the Harvey Comics Spirit, because in the story in The Great Comic Book Heroes he had a white suit (which seemed appropriate to me, for a character called "The Spirit").

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MajorHoy View Post
              Ohhh, I loved that book!

              Still have my own copy of it (which may have come from the discount book section at Waldenbooks in the Willowbrook Mall in New Jersey).
              I have managed to get that one, the early 1970s Wonder Woman book, and some others.

              O Waldenbooks! I remember thee fondly, and thy sister store, BDalton...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                I have managed to get that one, the early 1970s Wonder Woman book, and some others.

                O Waldenbooks! I remember thee fondly, and thy sister store, BDalton...
                Waldenbooks bargain section also had some other great stuff when I was younger, like
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                • #9
                  I have the Superman one and The Great Superman Book, which I more or less absorbed, so much so that while I've never read the original story, when Marvel came out with Mister Sinister, I wondered how they could do that since there was a one-time DC Golden Age super-villain with that name. It was even listed under SINISTER, MISTER.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                    I have the Superman one and The Great Superman Book, which I more or less absorbed, so much so that while I've never read the original story, when Marvel came out with Mister Sinister, I wondered how they could do that since there was a one-time DC Golden Age super-villain with that name. It was even listed under SINISTER, MISTER.
                    It's far more common to see supervillains from different companies with the same names (although it seems unlikely you'll ever see an unrelated character from another company called "Mister Banjo"). The thing is the that the Golden Age Superman villain was little-used and eventually (except for encyclopedias and wikis) long-forgotten. Although as supervillain names go, "Mister Sinister" is particularly corny-sounding, so you wouldn't have expected that particular one to be used in relatively modern times. But this brings up a good point about those enycylopedias (all three, the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman ones were reprinted about 5 years ago, and new versions of those same encyclopedias have since been released with tons of new additions to content). You can go through those things and easily come up with a dozen characters from each of those enyclopedias, each having the same names as some other character at some other company. After all, it's hardly realistic to expect that writers for all these companies would be familiar with the histories of characters from other companies going back decades, and it's hardly uncommon for two writers to have come up with the same name independently of each other. In the case of Mister Sinister, it's hardly any sort of problem, since DC was no longer using that character, but there are examples to show that it's not even a problem when two companies ARE using same-named characters. I suspect it would only become an issue where trademarks or merchandising was involved. Eh... "Captain Marvel", anyone? Note that while DC could never have used the name as part of the title of a comic book because Marvel had trademarked it earlier, it didn't prevent both characters (fairly high-profile in both cases, at that) from appearing concurrently in comic book stories published by their respective companies for decades. More to the point, this wasn't just a case of two writers coincidentally stumbling upon the same name independently, since it would be difficult to argue that a comic book publisher could have been unaware of the prior existence of such a high-profile character from a different publisher. Legally speaking, it's "use it or lose it" when it comes to trademarks.

                    Some other examples of same-named characters come to mind, and the names can as easily be applied to heroes as to villains. Lev Gleason had a long-running supervillain character named IronJaw (arch-enemy of the teenage hero of BOY COMICS, Crimebuster), which name was later used for a barbarian hero character (who had his own comic so titled) published by Atlas/Seaboard Comics in the early 1970s. An obscure supervillain named Ironfist fought Steel Sterling in a 1966 issue of Archie Comics' Mighty Comics Presents (and was also named in large type on the cover of that same issue), and of course an identically-named character (if broken into two words this time) became a martial-arts superhero in the 1970s at Marvel. There are TONS of examples of this all over the world of comic books, some of which were even being published at the same time. Both DC and Marvel have supervillains named The Scarecrow. Both DC and Marvel have characters named The Sandman (DC's a hero, Marvel's a villain). In the 1960s, both Marvel and Archie Comics had characters named Doctor Doom (Archie Comics' version, a perennial foe of Little Archie, was most often referred to as Mad Doctor Doom). The characters were nothing alike, but you'd think from the frequency of both characters' appearances, that something would have been said between the companies... but apparently not.
                    Last edited by pulphero; 08-20-2015, 04:33 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MajorHoy View Post
                      Waldenbooks bargain section also had some other great stuff when I was younger, like
                      I even got Steranko's HISTORY OF COMICS (the first volume) from either Waldenbooks or Paperback Booksmith when it first came out. At any rate, it was one of those franchised bookstores that you find in malls all over.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                        I even got Steranko's HISTORY OF COMICS (the first volume) from either Waldenbooks or Paperback Booksmith when it first came out. At any rate, it was one of those franchised bookstores that you find in malls all over.
                        Unfortunately, make that use to find in malls. Since Borders/Waldenbooks went under several years back, are there any bookstore chains that might still be common in malls? I know Barnes & Noble has some stores with malls, however those I've seen have been more larger anchor stores attached to malls but still with outside access so they aren't restricted to just the hours of the mall. (Maybe there are other chains elsewhere in the country with a mall presence?)

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                        • #13
                          Fans of the Spirit should check out Episode 30 'tis the Season. Its a Christmas episode and a tribute to Wil Eisner/the Spirit.
                          http://decoderringtheatre.com/shows/...tures/season/3
                          Always remember, Murphy was an optimist
                          Munchkin 1, 2, 4, 7 Super Munchkin 1&2, Munchkin Bites 1&2, Munchkin Fu, Star Munchkin Deluxe and Star 2
                          http://ghornet.deviantart.com/

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MajorHoy View Post
                            Unfortunately, make that use to find in malls. Since Borders/Waldenbooks went under several years back, are there any bookstore chains that might still be common in malls? I know Barnes & Noble has some stores with malls, however those I've seen have been more larger anchor stores attached to malls but still with outside access so they aren't restricted to just the hours of the mall. (Maybe there are other chains elsewhere in the country with a mall presence?)
                            Wikipedia provided a helpful listing of U.S. retail brick & mortar bookstore chains:
                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ains#Current_2

                            Of those listed, I was familiar only with Hastings, Powell's, Books-A-Million, and Half-Price Books... and those, only by virtue of their online presence. That leaves only Barnes & Noble as the sole remaining brick and mortar chain that has locations in my area.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                              Wikipedia provided a helpful listing of U.S. retail brick & mortar bookstore chains:
                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ains#Current_2

                              Of those listed, I was familiar only with Hastings, Powell's, Books-A-Million, and Half-Price Books... and those, only by virtue of their online presence. That leaves only Barnes & Noble as the sole remaining brick and mortar chain that has locations in my area.
                              I've heard of some of those, but I'm really only aware of Barnes & Noble around where I am as well. Don't know how many of those actually have a presence inside of shopping malls, or if they would more likely be stores connected to shopping malls if they're there. (Also notice that a few of those seem more like religious book store chains rather than general book sellers.)

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