created, written, and drawn by Will Eisner
Spirit's adventures were published in a syndicated Sunday
newspaper section called The Spirit Section
from 1940 until
The Spirit was actually Denny Colt, a junior detective in
Central City. During his first adventure, Denny confronted
the evil Dr. Cobra and was believed killed. In fact, Denny
was made the subject of one of Cobra's experiments, putting him
into suspended animation. Denny awoke days later in the
Wildwood Cemetary. He realized that since everyone believe
Denny Colt was dead, he would be able to fight crime without
the worries of most people. Dressed in a blue suit, blue
fedora, and wearing a domino mask, The Spirit became the
bane of those who would do evil in Central City.
Like many vigilantes in comics, the Spirit formed an uneasy
alliance with the police in Central City. He successfully brought Dr. Cobra
to justice. Then from his secret headquarters in Wildwood
Cemetary beneath the headstone of Denny Colt, the Spirit fought others who sought to do evil, including
the Octopus, his arch-villain who was never seen but was
known by his gloves.
The Spirit's sidekick was a poor black
kid named Ebony White. Ebony drove a taxi and was the epitome of
a black caricature. When the Spirit was republished in the
1960's, civil rights leaders took umbrage at Ebony's portrayal.
The Spirit also had an on-going romance
with Ellen Dolan, the daughter of the police commissioner.
Will Eisner gave the comic much in the way of social commentary,
allowing this comic character to appeal to both children and
adults. The comic had a cinematic feel, unlike many comics of
the day, which were unimaginative in their images and story telling.