By Scott Cederlund
November 25th, 2008
In a little over a month, you may end up seeing a movie called The Spirit. People are going to tell you how it’s directed by Frank Miller, creator of 300 and Sin City, to establish his comic book movie pedigree. They’ll probably even throw in the fact that Miller co-directed Sin City as well to bolster Miller’s cinematic credentials. They may even to tell you that The Spirit is based on an old and rather famous comic book by some guy named Will Eisner to try and give the movie a sense of history and importance. And in honor of this Christmas’s big movie release, DC has put out The Spirit Special #1, featuring four stories that presumably tie into the movie somehow.
The first story “Sign of the Octopus” from 1947 feels like it may be the closest in tone and mood to the movie if the movie’s trailer is any indication. Caught and beaten, the Spirit is basically tortured into giving up the whereabouts of a safe full of money. It’s a surprisingly brutal story from the late 1940s, complete with exploding grenades right under a henchman’s body and a bloody bat used to beat the Spirit but it is a reminder that The Spirit does live in a dirty and physical world. This issue features the Spirit’s enemy the Octopus who is played in the movie by Samuel L. Jackson. As what may be a sign that Miller doesn’t get it, Eisner never shows more of the Octopus than his arm. The character remains a mystery, always hidden in doorways, windows and shadows. He’s a threat but he’s never defined clearly. The Octopus is certainly not Shaft and was never trapped on a plane with snakes.
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