Created by Will Eisner in 1940. The Spirit was printed in full comics that were placed in newspapers in 1940 The newspapers were concerned over the comic boom with superheros. So the full comics were printed and placed in the middle of the paper and distributed weekly in most major United States Cities at the United States.
In many of the comic there were other stories featuring other heroes as well like Lady Luck and Mr. Mystic. The Spirit would do well with his newspaper comic. Before it was done the series lasted 645 issues.
The Spirit is a masked vigilante fighting for justice. His secret identity is Denny Colt, an ex-detective. Everyone thought he had died but he woke up in a cemetery. He decided he would keep the media thinking he's dead and put a mask on to become a crime fighter. He started in New York City and then moved to Central City, but his crime fighting career took him around the world. He had an African American sidekick named Ebony White who was very controversial due to his many stereotypes.
Denny Colt was a criminologist and private detective. One day he walked into Commissioner Dolan's office telling him he knew where a criminal by the name of Dr Cobra was hiding out. He said he'd bring him in for the reward on him.
When Denny Colt confronts, Cobra he was in the middle of another one of his experiments, Dr. Cobra's henchman attacks him and, Denny's gun accidentally goes off and fires into a tank filled with chemicals. The chemicals hit him smack in the face, while Dr. Cobra drags out his henchman and escapes. When Commissioner Dolan and some backup arrive, they find Denny's lifeless body crumpled on the floor. He is brought to the coroner who pronounces him dead. With his body already stiff and he assumes it's from rigor mortis.
The next night a mysterious man pays Dolan a visit in his office. Hiding in the shadows, he tells Dolan to have the reward money ready. He will return with Dr. Cobra in three hours. When Dolan demands he comes out of the shadows, the man says he doesn't want him to see his face and he can simply call him, "The Spirit." Dolan thinks the the voice sounded similar to Colt's. After talking to the coroner, he decides to go to Wildwood Cemetery to check on Denny's grave.
At Wildwood Cemetery, a couple of thugs stand waiting after receiving a message in the shape of a tombstone. The Spirit arrives and points a gun at them. He takes them into a tomb and demands they tell him where Dr. Cobra is hiding. Scared, they still deny having any knowledge. The Spirit lets them go but tells them that he will get Dr. Cobra by the stroke of midnight. As he watches them run off in fear, Commissioner Dolan is surprised to find Denny Colt alive.
Denny explains to Dolan that the chemicals must have placed him in some sort of suspended animation. He awoke several hours after his burial and escaped from his grave. He and Dolan go after the running men to trail them to Cobra's new hideout.
The Spirit takes on Dr. Cobra's henchmen and chases after Cobra as he tries to escape again. Cobra manages to get the drop on the Spirit. Dolan arrives in time to shoot (wound) Dr. Cobra. Denny thanks him for saving his life. Dolan asks him what he's going to do next. Denny says he'll stay "dead." He figures it may give him an edge over crime. He'll be able to go after criminals that are outside of the police's reach. As for money, he'll use the reward money from bringing in criminals and he'll just live in the cemetery.
Dolan and the Spirit have a close relationship that is almost completely destroyed when the Spirit admits to a murder he didn't commit. This caused his considerable problems but Dolan still thought the best of the Spirit even though he was determined to bring him in. Once The Spirit was caught when he donated blood to a young woman who would have died without it. As it turned out both she and the Spirit had the same rare A-1 blood type. The Spirit was able to escape Dolan's custody by making a pipe bomb. Dolan let him keep his mask while in prison so as to keep his identity.
Abilities and Equipment
The Spirit is intelligent, very strong, an excellent athlete with hand-to-hand combat and he slowly or never ages at all (probably due to a liquid which put him in a state of suspended animation ). He has an autoplane a plane that turns into a car and vice-versa.
The Spirit (2008)
Frank Miller wrote and directed the film, even though co-directing Sin City with Robert Rodriguez this will be his first solo directing. The movie stars Gabriel Macht as The Spirit and Samuel L. Jackson as his nemesis, The Octopus. Filming began in October 2007, and it was released in the USA on December 25 2008.
The film does not begin with an origin story, but will instead open with the adventures of The Spirit already having to begin and will be more contemporary than the '40s and '50s era of the strip and will aim for a "timeless feel.".
Frank Miller described about The Spirit, "The character has a terrifying side to him. This is a man who’s died and came back to life. So it twists into fantasy. And of course there are tons of women in it. There have to be — it’s The Spirit. They’re all in love with him, and he’s in love with all of them. You might say he’s a bit of a slut."