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'Spirited' debate

November 09, 2008

Regarding Geoff Boucher's piece [" 'The Spirit' Moved Him," Nov. 2], I have little hope for this film. Frank Miller's constant harping that Will Eisner would have loved what he did sounds defensive and duplicitous. Eisner was embarrassed by the Spirit's mask and all the superhero trappings. That's why he took the series in a direction that almost ignored Spirit's mask.

There was a gentle human touch to the Spirit stories, with real humanistic connections, none of which shows up in any of Miller's writings over the past 20 years. If Miller has any humor, I would love to see the evidence. The prime motivation in any Miller story is always revenge. The prime human emotion is always misfit anger leading to revenge. Not Eisner at all.

I had the same reaction to the "Sin City" comics that I had to the movie: an appreciation for the overwrought style but growing bored halfway through because I was never given anything particularly human or even deep to relate to. The whole voice-over about "This is my city" is more Dark Knight than Spirit, but then most of Miller's recent writings have become increasingly self-parody.

The other challenge is that Eisner based the Spirit and his femmes fatales on movie stars of the period. Gentle, self-effacing, humorous, tall, square-jawed types like Fred MacMurray, Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, and even lesser types like John Payne. With a few notable exceptions, there are not a lot of those around these days.

Michael Amundsen

Sandia Park, N.M.

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