as there was quite bit of interest in Wednesday's post about the the Spirit story that Neil Gaiman and I wrote and drew (respectively) way back in '97, I've fetched out the three original art pages that are still in my possession. As is to be expected, the ones that show the Spirit himself have all gone. But these give us the best showing of the villainess, Mink Stole. Once the story starts rushing along you don't really get to see anything as clearly as you do here in the exposition. I'm tryingto recall who was the model for the femme fatale. probably Ann Sheridan when she looked like the photo at left. She was in the Cagney film, Angels with Dirty Faces, way back in '38 and had a long career in the movies. Here is a sequence made up of the protagonist ruminating in front of his laptop on the balcony of a California hotel. The mysterious woman appears on the next balcony and he can't get any sleep that night. Walking on the beach he finds himself in the middle of somebody else's story. I'm leaving out a complicated third story, which is the one happening in type on his laptop, the Tarantino spoof that Neil mentioned (see comments wednesday), not to mention a possible fourth which is the romantic liaison he imagines himself having with the lady on the balcony (beginning with the mental image ninth below). The good thing about Neil's script (alas the words can't be seen below; see yesterday's link for a rough idea of the story) is that everything was so clearly set out that you can read what is happening below without the need for the words. This left the writer free to play out a separate, ironic argument in the captions.
Another thing to notice is that I knew Will Eisner was going to be scrutinizing these pages and I wanted it to look like something that could be taking place in his established graphic universe. I worked very hard to make things precise, much more than I usually would. In places this has resulted in drawings looking overworked. Look how all my erasing has left the paper looking smudgy and smeared. But by the time the protagonist rubs his weary eyes below I was starting to loosen up. The action got underway and it included a seaplane taking off with the Spirit clinging to the mooring rope. You can see them coming out of the sea in Wednesday's final page scan.
(you can tell that the above happens in two different scenes as the protagonist has changed his Hawaiian shirt. he wore three different ones in the course of the story.)
Labels: neil, Spirit