Monday, January 10, 2005

My Favorite Spirits Day 5

Took yesterday off, so here's day 5 on day 6.

Here we have a page from another of my fave Spirit stories, titled (by Warren) "10 Seconds". The ten seconds the title refers to is the span of time in which the events of this story take place. Small-timer Freddy, thought of as a "good boy" in the neighborhood because he looks after his family (I'm assuming his mother, because if he's married or has kids it's never mentioned and not that important anyway), is sick of being a broke nobody, and decides to rob the neighborhood candy shop, run by a genial fellow named Max. In the page above, he's just shot and killed the proprietor when a couple unexpectedly comes in jus as he finishes emptying the till. As the reader, there's already an undercurrent of tension because while Freddy has done a terrible thing, no doubt, Will Eisner has still smartly set him up as a somewhat sympathetic character, emphasizing early on his inner conflict and desperation. As the couple prattles on, Freddy attempts to fill their order, just trying to pacify them until he can get out when the girlfriend leans over the counter, and discovers Max's body- time absolutely stands still in this panel- and her scream propels Freddy out of the store. The feeling of panic that Eisner conveys in that four panel sequence is very palpable, and Freddy's troubles are just beginning. "10 Seconds" is, I believe, one of Eisner's very best Spirit stories, even though the Spirit doesn't even play a major role until the very end. It's got irony, pathos, drama, and excitement- in short, another typical late 40's Will Eisner Spirit.

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