I didn’t attend Comic-Con International in San Diego this weekend, but from everything I’ve read — and I’ve read an awful lot — on Frank Miller’s Will Eisner’s The Spirit, I’m starting to feel bad for the film’s director, Frank Miller.

Want to know why? Here’s a round-up of reports on the much-anticipated panel discussion of The Spirit movie, which featured Miller and actors Samuel L. Jackson, Gabriel Macht, and Jaime King, plus the first actual clips from the film.

See what you think:

“The crowd’s response was muted. In fact, many trickled out before the presentation ended… Whether Mr. Eisner, who died in 2005 at age 87, would have approved is far from certain…”

–Michael Cieply, The New York Times, “In Comic-Con Galaxy, Stars and Terrestrials Meet”


The Spirit is either going to be off-the-wall awesome or it’s going to be unbearably horrible. It takes the comic-panel aesthetic of Sin City to an entirely different realm and every second we saw was stylized and affected to the hilt. And every second we saw an an entirely different tone and pacing. If the unevenness we saw was an indication of a gifted artist who doesn’t quite get cinematic storytelling, The Spirit will be a heck of a headache. If it’s an indication of an artist determined to push the edge of the envelope to unimagined realms, comic fans could be in for a treat on Christmas day.”

–Daniel Fienberg, Zap2It.com, “The Comic-Con ‘Spirit’ moves Frank Miller, Samuel L. Jackson”


“The new clips do show that it’s not a Sin City carbon copy, but definitely more cartoonish — think Sky Captain meets Dick Tracy with a hint of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

–Empress Eve, Geeks of Doom, SDCC 08: The Spirit


“Miller mentioned that Hollywood has many fine male actors, but “not many men.” Which is why, he says, we hold onto the Bruce Willises and Harrison Fords and Clive Owens (his examples, all). And then. . . he chose Gabriel Macht to be his manly hero? I thought the footage they showed us from the movie would explain this a little more, but not so. Onscreen as the Spirit, Macht is likable and funny and cute, but he’s not the heroic “man” that Miller referenced earlier, which struck me as odd.”

–BuzzSugar, “The Spirit Looks Good, Watchmen Looks Freaking Awesome”


“…a potentially inebriated Frank Miller (who – ironically for a man who’s abandoned comics for Hollywood – told the audience, “If you’re trying to do comic books: Forget the movies, forget the games. Don’t try to do three things at once. Give me a really good comic book.”)…”

— By Graeme McMillan, i09.com, “Stormtroopers and Movie Stars Brighten Eisner Awards”


“From my seat at the back of Hall H, I could see a number of folks getting up and leaving, heading off to do other things. It was the first time all week that I have seen people walking out on a major studio panel. And if that wasn’t any indication of how the crowd was feeling, this might be — when star Gabriel Macht asked commented to the audience, “Looks good, huh?” He was met with clapping from only a few — something that sounded like 2-3 people at most.”

–Neil Miller, FilmSchoolRejects.com, “Live from Hall H: Frank Miller Atones for The Spirit, Fans Get Up and Leave”


“Eisner’s Spirit had its own distinctive, groundbreaking art style. Shouldn’t a movie look like that, not like a spinoff of something else? And a lot of what fans loved about the original was its sense of humor, but this looks to be just as dark as Miller’s own comics.”

–Sacha Howells, Film.com, “Is The Spirit Just Sin City 1.5?”


“Completely unimpressed is not even the beginning – this was really not that amazing. Looked like it had very cartoony violence and yet very violent in a sense. Odd, but not amazing. Nice try Frank Miller, but not amazing.”

–Alex Billington, FirstShowing.net, “Comic-Con 08 Live: Lionsgate Presents Frank Miller’s The Spirit”