Frank Miller has a blog for The Spirit available exclusively at Coming Soon, and he addresses some of the comments and concerns that have been aired on the internet. He’s delighted that this character resonates enough to engender comments and concerns; I think that’s just the nature of the internet – people will bitch.
Miller sets the record straight on the film’s look – The Spirit is a full color movie, despite how the teaser looked. He also claims to have stayed very close to Spirit creator Will Eisner’s vision and to have made the movie very much in his… well, his spirit. The lengthiest part of Miller’s surprisingly good-natured defense of his movie comes in the form of talking about the Spirit’s costume, which was blue in the original comics and black here:
Comic books have long traditions based on the limitations of pre-digital printing. Among these are traditions from the old newsprint-run-through-letterpress approach (yes, comics have been—and still do–follow tradition that dates all the way back to Gutenberg!). Bad printing on pulp paper is why it was necessary for every superhero to have his emblem printed on his chest, and that everything that’s black be printed in blue. Hence Superman’s preposterous blue hair. And the Spirit’s blue hat, mask, and suit.
In tests—and we did several—the blue made the Spirit look like an unfortunate guest at a Halloween party. Going to black brings back his essential mystery, his Zorro-like sexiness. It also makes that red tie of his look very, very cool. So I made the call, with all respect to Eisner’s creation, and most importantly, to what I perceived as his underlying intention. It was an easy call for me to make. The Spirit dresses in black, and looks much the better for it. As I said, my desire was never to slavishly follow the rules of ’40s printing into campy oblivion, but to reintroduce Eisner’s creation, via modern technology, to our brave new world.
I think most people who were actually interested in The Spirit and not just carping about Miller’s new movie understood that, but it’s good to have the reasoning out there for the peanut gallery to grok. Now, if he had only addressed The Octopus, who looks like Superfly on amyl nitrate…
Frank Miller’s Will Eisner’s The Spirit hits at the end of this year.
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