two Grimm Brothers fairy tales did Eisner adapt in his The
Spirit's Favorite Fairy Tales for
Juvenile Delinquents? (Answer at bottom of the page)
|When this section first
appeared on 9 September, 1951, Will Eisner had not been
working on the series for well over a month - by this
time Eisner was concentrating on his work for P*S magazine.
This story (aka Psychoanalyzing The Spirit) introduces us to Doctor Sigmund Schyzoid (and yes, he does speak with a German accent!). The doctor goes through a typical Spirit section (seemingly being played out at the same time), giving his comments and analysis, pausing only when interrupted by The Spirit or some crooks he is chasing who are looking for some stolen jewels. The Spirit does not actually speak in this story, or rather we do not see any speech balloons as the doctor relays to us what he says.
All of the action between The Spirit and the crooks happens off stage, as shown below:
Dr Schyzoid describes The Spirit as: "A false illusion! A hallucination! A fake!" as our hero stands behind him! He also describes the crooks as: "... denoting a maladjustment and a guilt complex combined with a fear of reality" - behind him one of the crooks is about to hit him on the head with his gun!
Tom Heintjes reports that Will Eisner was unsure whether the doctor was a parody of an infamous psychiatrist who was writing articles on what a bad influence crime comics were at the time - a few years later that person would write a book which changed the face of American comics, the book of course being Seduction of the Innocent, and the psychiatrist being Docto Frederic Wertham. It seems highly likely that Jules Feiffer was the writer of this tale and that he knew of Dr Wertham's pieces on comics in magazines like the Ladies Home Journal which were being published at the time.
Wertham was born in Germany and studied medicine and psychiatry at universities in London, Munich, Vienna and Paris before settling in America. It is perhaps not unsurprising that Dr Schyzoid spoke with such an accent as shown above!
After the outrage that Wertham's book produced in 1954, the Comics Code Authority was established by a group of comic book publishers. In the mid-1970s Wertham told Jay Maeder in an interview for the Miami Herald that: "... in psychological life, it isn't so that you can say one factor has a clear casual effect on anything... I never said, and I don't think so, that a child reads a comic book and then goes out and beats up his sister or commits a holdup."
Trivia Answer: Hanzel & Gretel and Cinderella.(For more information, click here)