Spirit Section 193 - February 6, 1944
I'm delighted to share with you this wonderful story, recently sent to me by fellow comics scholar and Jack Cole-miner, Darryl Aylward. Darryl writes that he strongly believes this story was drawn and perhaps written by Jack Cole.
I tend to agree, and will share some thoughts on that. But first, take a look for yourself:
I totally agree with Frank's points, and sentiment. I've read (and re-read) most of the Eisner SPIRIT stories, and I must say this one ranks as one of the funniest and most enjoyable SPIRIT stories I've ever read, to my surprise. Giving one of the crooks a gourmet obsession with stolen food spices up (pun intended) the standard generic SPIRIT petty thief.
It's genuinely funny that the sanguine criminal mastermind who has just pulled off a sucessful crime is kicked back reading a book called "Crime Doesn't Pay." This could also be a rare in-joke by Jack Cole, as this was also the title of a popular comic book, edited by his old pal from the Harry Chesler shop days, Charles Biro.
The panel also shows THE SPIRIT and EBONY's shadows on the grass, also a farily common visual device in Cole's pre-1945 work.
Another tip-off that Jack Cole pencilled this story is the expert use of bold pattern as a design element. Jack Cole loved to visually enrich his comic book pages with colorful, high-contrast patterns. Perhaps his most famous use of this visual trope is the black polka dots on WOOZY WINKS' green shirt. Here is an almost random selection of stories from early 1944, when this story appeared:
This concludes my own thoughts about this story. Thank you, Darryl, for finding and sharing this story. What do YOU think about the SPIRIT story in this post, dear reader, is this Cole?