Excerpts from Darwyn Cooke’s Spirit memo to DC
American genre comics. It’s range of characters, breadth of scope and seminal storytelling innovations make it an unparalleled achievement that stands to this day.
To undertake a monthly endeavor of this magnitude there are two mandates that have to be pursued with equal commitment and enthusiasm;
1. Preserve and if humanly possible, enrich the core essence of the Spirit. Give longtime readers a contemporary look at the magic that has held them for decades, and introduce a new generation to the irresistible pull of this rich, human drama. Action, crime, romance, humor and pathos will all be generously employed in the “spirit” of the original strip.
THERE WILL BE NO DE-CONSTRUCTION. Every story will try to add and hopefully strengthen the essence of Eisner’s characters and vision.
2. Produce a work that reaffirms The Spirit as the strip for graphic innovation that enhances storytelling. This second mandate is, I believe, the one to be artistically important. While we cleave to Eisner’s vision and world-view for Central City, we should be equally mindful of his vision that contemporary storytelling techniques be continually introduced to engage the reader in fresh and appropriate ways. I believe that this would have been very important to Will, and I feel it is the key to avoiding a simple homage.
GENERAL THOUGHTS REGARDING THE MONTHLY FOR YEAR ONE;
1. At first glance, it may seem The Spirit should ideally take place in the “never where” of forties post-war Central City, and could make for a brilliant monthly.
Personally, I think that the real opportunities lie in placing the strip in the modern world. Stripping the Spirit of Eisner’s seductive execution of the forties era, at it’s heart we find a strip about people, and life in the city. Story and character are king.
They are timeless stories that resonate regardless of the era.
Any concerns regarding technology or why a man is wearing a fedora in 2004 can be easily addressed in a follow-up document. Again, I don’t see any problems here, just opportunities.
2. A NOTE ABOUT EBONY; Ebony is vital to the Spirit Mythos, and as such, I would recommend we use him as a character, and simply create a dignified but cartooned design. But I am sensitive to any concerns regarding this.
I would prefer to avoid crossover with DCU characters for the first year (This of course does not include the 48 pg B-Man crossover that kicks this off), to allow us to consolidate the Spirit’s character and “world”. This will keep the book and character “on track” until we have established the tone and popularity of the series with our readers. Past this first year, I believe crossovers can be a great way to endear the Spirit to other fans and direct heat to the core Spirit book.