Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Poe 1948, Pt. 1

(Continued from Poe 1947, Pt. 6)

THE SPIRIT
"THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER"
     (in COLOR)

Register & Tribune Syndicate, for a number of years, published a unique Sunday newspaper supplement section, which was in the form of a 16-page color comic-book.

Will Eisner was one of the real pioneers of early comic-books.  There's too much for me to say here; I reccomend anyone wanting to learn about him read the biography at his website.

Undoubtedly, the one project and character he will probably always be best remembered for, was THE SPIRIT.  When the opportunity was presented to create a series for a newspaper syndicate, which would be aimed at all ages (not "just kids"), Eisner wanted to do a detective series.  The newspaper syndicate wanted a costumed hero.  He compromised with the con-job of giving his detective a mask and gloves.  Criminologist Denny Colt was believed murdered by the underworld, but he survived, and operating out of an empty crypt in a cemetery, was able to work outside the law (but in cooperation with it).

Over the course of its grueling run-- try to imagine having to produce 7 or 8 pages EVERY WEEK without fail, no matter how many assistants you have working for you-- the series did crime dramas, globe-hopping adventures, slapstick comedy, and near the end, science-fiction.  Eisner began to see it less as a limited format and more as an excuse to do whatever struck his fancy.

And somewhere along the line, he even did a few adaptations of classic stories... including, one by... oh, wait, you guessed it... Edgar Allan Poe.

     "THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER"

     This is the 3rd comics version of this story, following...
Charlton's YELLOWJACKET COMICS #4 (Dec'44),  and
Gilberton's CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED #40 (Aug'47)
     ...the previous one a year earlier.

The finished art here was done by Jerry Grandenetti.  Starting out very much influenced by Eisner, he soon developed a much more expressive style, and while he was able to work in several different styles where called for, it would often drive certain comics editors to distraction when he would turn in jobs using his "WEIRD" style.  I first saw his work in the CRACKED spin-off magazine, FOR MONSTERS ONLY, and later, over at Warren-- the same publisher that did no less than 2 DOZEN Poe adaptations from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.

By rights, THIS should have been one of the earliest stories I set up in this project.  I bought the 1987 reprint when it came out, and it's been in my collection ever since.  But the fact that Eisner did "USHER" completely slipped my mind for the whole of the last 5-1/2 years as I worked on this thing, until I happened, by luck and a random Google search, across Richard Gagnon's WHO'S OUT THERE? blog on 1-9-2020.  A blog post he did a year earlier clued me in to 2 Poe-related items I didn't have listed yet.  One was posted at the Comic Book Plus site.   The other, I was able to dig out of the box in the back room within MINUTES of being reminded it existed.  Just a little over a month later, I'm setting it up here.

This was Jerry Grandenetti's 1st of 2 Poe adaptations.

ENJOY!

THE SPIRIT
cover by WILL EISNER   (Register & Tribune Syndicate  /  August 22, 1948)
"THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER"  /  Version 3
Adaptation & Layouts by Will Eisner  /  Art by JERRY GRANDENETTI
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
"STAGE SETTINGS" was a feature in the Kitchen Sink Press reprints describing the behind-the-scenes details of each story being reprinted.
I re-formatted the pages to make the text easier to read.

Pages 32-33
Funny enough... the panel on page 6 that Eisner complains about, does NOT look like a doorway at all to me.  Instead, it appears as if one is looking DOWN at the lid of a coffin being opened!  What doorway would be so deep?  And it certainly isn't, in the following panel.  Without even being aware of the perspective issue, I wound up using some expressionistic color that has NOTHING to do with reality!  (I had previously done the same, at the same point of the story, in Gino Dauro's adaptation.)

I couldn't shake the feeling that Jerry Grandenetti based the un-named narrator on actor Hans Conreid.
REPRINTS.

THE SPIRIT  34
cover by WILL EISNER   (Kitchen Sink Press  /  August 1987)
THE SPIRIT ARCHIVES  Volume 17
cover by WILL EISNER   (DC Comics  /  [January] 2006)
Copyright (C) Will Eisner.

Scans of THE SPIRIT #34 (1987) from MY collection.
     Special thanks to Richard Gagnon for his Who's Out There? blog.

Scan of THE SPIRIT ARCHIVES  Volume 17 from the GCD database.

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read about Edgar Allen Poe at The Poe Museum site.

Read about Will Eisner at the Will Eisner site.
Read about THE SPIRIT at the Will Eisner site.
Read about Jerry Grandenetti at the Lambiek Comiclopedia site.
See more Jerry Grandenetti art at the Comic Art Fans site.

Read about THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER at Spark Notes.
Read the complete story at the Poe Stories site.
See the HOUSE OF USHER Gallery of Illustrations.

     Audio:
Hear the Basil Rathbone HOUSE OF USHER recording!
Hear the Gladys Thornton WEIRD CIRCLE episode!
Hear the Paul Frees ESCAPE episode!
Hear the Kevin McCarthy CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER episode!

     Comics:
Read the Gus Schrotter HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Harley M. Griffiths HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Jerry Grandenetti HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Harry Harrison HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Steve Ditko HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the George Evans HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the Osvaldo Talo HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Alexis-Thomas Hinsberger HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Tom Sutton HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Dino Battaglia HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Mini Terror HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Gino Dauro HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Miguel Gomez Esteban HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Carlos Moro HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Klaus Nordby HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Maro Navo HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Cirilo Munoz HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Martin Salvador HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Guido Del Carpio Rivera HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the Editorial Maisal HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!

Read the Nestor Redondo HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
     (Coming soon:)
Read the Pablo Marcos HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the Luis Romero B. HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Bert Dodson HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the E.C. Nickel HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Richard Corben HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Pedro Martinez HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the P.Craig Russell / Jay Geldof HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Giampiero Ubezio HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Jorge Hardmeier HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Benjamin Campos Portada HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Gris Grimly HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the Matt Howarth HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the Shane Oakley HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Jean-Louis Thouard HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Miguel Serratosa HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Benjamin Lacombe HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Jim Jimenz HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the 2nd Richard Corben HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Edu Molina HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Gustavo Del Valle HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Julia Gfrorer HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Agustin Comotto HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the Pete Katz HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Linus Liu HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Ahoy Comics HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

     Misc.:
Read the Jerry Grandenetti HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Jerry Grandenetti BERENICE adaptation!

See my Edgar Allan Poe overview at this very blog!

(Continued in Poe 1948, Pt. 2

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