Overview

The Spirit: The Movie Visual Companion

Review

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The Spirit: The Movie Visual Companion

Credits

  • Words: Mark Cotta Vaz & Frank Miller
  • Art: Frank Miller & Will Eisner
  • Inks: Frank Miller & Will Eisner
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Titan Books
  • Price: $30.00
  • Release Date: Nov 28, 2008

Titan Books showcases two of the industry’s great storytellers and their work on one of the industry’s greatest characters.

Despite what many may or may not think of the upcoming Spirit movie, no one can deny the incredible impact the character and his comic and film director have made on the comic book industry. But even with that, The Spirit is one of the least known comic characters (which might seem odd until one realizes how many people have never seen Citizen Kane), so this book not only serves as a companion to the movie, but in some cases acts as an introduction to The Spirit for those who are unfamiliar with his three-color adventures. The Spirit Movie Visual Companion at the same time as looking at the movie, characters, and how it is put together, also examines the history of the character. At times it even shows the progression from Eisner’s original pages, to Frank Miller’s layouts, and finally onto the screen image. One thing is for certain, that a lot of time and love went into the making of this movie.

What can one say about seeing a lot of images by Will Eisner and Frank Miller other than "Thank You"? The artwork, which considering this is a Visual Companion is what this book is about, is brilliant. Eisner’s work shown here is paid the absolute respect that it deserves. They highlight and point out his brilliant panel design and the plethora of moods he could bring out at will. And his good friend, who has taken up the mantle and made this movie, is no slouch himself. Miller’s storyboards are everywhere and look great. Looking really similar to his Sin City black and white style (you can argue for days whether they work for The Spirit) Miller’s work here is top notch. Make no mistake, based on these storyboards, this looks like it will be Frank Miller’s Spirit and not Will Eisner’s, but that doesn’t mean it looks bad. The one thing that would have been nice would have been to see them less fragmented, a complete segment of Miller’s storyboards and/or one of Eisner’s complete stories (Spirit stories were short), so there could be more of a comparison to the movie. Oh, and one last thing about the visual portions of this book, there are some pretty people in this movie.

It’s much harder to examine the writing of the book. How does one decide whether to write this one for hardcore fans or for the casual ones? It’s a fine line to walk to be able to appeal to both, and this book can sometimes fall into the side that gives a lot of information. Not that this is a bad thing, but for those who have read and/or studied The Spirit, for those who follow Frank Miller (love or hate, people follow this guy), or for those who are more tuned into how movies are made, some parts can seem oversimplified. The Introduction by Frank Miller is, well, the exact type of thing you would expect Miller to say. Enthusiastic, but pretty much all over the place, he makes you realize just why he became someone we will always pay attention to.

It actually surprised me how much I enjoyed this book. I went in suspecting to see and read things I’ve already experienced, and while that might be true, it doesn’t mean I liked it any less.

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