By Francesco Francavilla
The only thing wrong with the first chapter of The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers is that it’s over too soon. Don’t worry, “Dark Waters” is a full-length issue, but you’ll only want more as soon as it’s over. Make arrangements. This could end up being one of those series you buy individually and collected. Even this introduction to the series has a treasured quality to it.
Renowned comics creator, Francesco Francavilla, channels the classic pulps with such authenticity that he only impresses. Whether writing, illustrating, or both, Francavilla creates the perfect tone each and every time through composition and design. From colors to lettering, he’s mastered the necessary degree of nostalgia while doing justice to the essence of any given subject matter. Thank the comic book gods that he’s working on The Spirit!
Opening with a personal dedication to Will Eisner and Darwyn Cooke, Francavilla sets out to pick up right where they left off, but not without maintaining his own artistic sensibilities. As influenced as it may be influential, Francavilla’s style has it’s own unique brand. So much so, that you know it when you see it. With a master-class quality evident on every single page, The Corpse-Makers is the proverbial last comic book you’ll ever need. It is as charming as it is dynamic, as creative as it is endearing, and as fun as it is notable. The story is engineered for excitement and it comes through in each aspect. The Spirit demands a level of dedication to the source material in how the characters are handled and how the comic is made.
Will Eisner’s The Spirit has always been a living, breathing kind of comic book. There are organic elements to it: lettering made from rain, borderless panels, streaking lights and screaming sirens — everything needs to be dialed up for a constant surge of excitement. Lights and shadows are illustrated with a genuine consideration for the colors. Heavy solid black areas, juxtaposed with sharp yellows, piercing reds and dramatic blues and purples. The art is intense, but in a way that invites you in. Like a vintage postcard, or a retro international ski poster, this comic book instantly becomes something you want to have and keep safe.
You get all of the classic characters, settings, and that same comic-noir style The Spirit is famous for. What began as a groundbreaking comic has become sacred ground and, thanks to Dynamite Entertainment, we’re in the best of hands with Francesco Francavilla. This is a five-issue series and with four issues still to go, its bound to be a fascinating ride as we watch this one man show continue to tackle the challenges of upholding the franchise’s legacy. So far, Francavilla’s contribution is nothing short of impressive and a pure example of comic book making craftsmanship. It’s everything you love about The Spirit perfectly intact from a fresh, yet loyal perspective. Will Eisner’s name is synonymous with achievement, and his creation is perhaps one of the most iconic characters known to comics’ fans. But perhaps the greatest gift Eisner gave the industry was insight into the limitless possibilities of the medium. That’s why The Spirit remains fertile ground after all these years and The Corpse-Makers is taking full advantage of the possibilities.
The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers will be released February 1st from Dynamite Entertainment