Will Eisner says not. I have my own opinion, but what do the rest of y'all think?

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A quick Google search suggests that Fine's work was reprinted in The Spirit Archives vols. 5-9.

Jeff of Earth-J said:


“If you've read enough of Eisner's Spirit, there's a distinct change in voice when Lou Fine took over the feature while Eisner was in the Army.”

Does anyone know when that shift occurs? I know Eisner was drafted in 1942, but I’m up to May and I don’t think it’s happened yet. (I’m not paging ahead. Maybe one of the introductions pinpoints it.)

I really wish I had been as wise as Andrew and Bob and thought before posting yesterday. “Benign racism”? What the hell was I thinking? That’s an oxymoron at best. I came here this morning with every intention of deleting that post, but I’ve decided to let it stand and simply apologize for it. Having said that, Commissioner Dolan isn’t exactly a flattering depiction of white people, either.

"A quick Google search suggests that Fine's work was reprinted in The Spirit Archives vols. 5-9."

Thanks, Randy. I'm in the  middle of four now.

I saw that phrase and thought, "Yeah, THAT'LL catch on." Sheesh.

I do think there's a definite difference between Eisner's writing of Ebony and his art, but MAN, one drags down the other. The Spirit is so important and innovative, which makes it so frustrating that it can't be recommended without a huge caveat. 


Would it be correct to say that there's "racism by commission" and "racism by omission"? That is, depicting Ebony White as a racial stereotype was racism by commission, and the JSA's original line-up being all white men was racism (and sexism?) by omission?

Sounds reasonable.

(See what happens when someone actually thinks before posting?)

The New Super-Man book is addressing the issue of  Golden Age racism towards Asians in recent issues.

"I saw that phrase and thought, 'Yeah, THAT'LL catch on.' Sheesh."

Maybe "unintentional racism"...?

I was always struck by the dichotomy of Ebony's appearance and the way he was written. I think that it was an unfortunate (very unfortunate) feature of the times.

In the 1940s there were newspapers, radio shows and the movies. There was no television or internet. Most people grew up and continued to live in segregated neighborhoods* and didn't see other ethnic groups except as reflected in media available at the time. I'm sure Eisner was affected by this and over the years, as he was exposed to other ethnic groups, broadened his views. I was fortunate to begin what turned out to be my career in public service and an integrated Army and to interact with all ethnic groups and people from many different countries. I met my first openly gay person early on and a few years later I met two transgender people.

The Spirit, like many movies of the time, is flawed but has valuable redeeming qualities.

* with covenants restricting home sales to minorities until the 1960s. If they served, they served in a segregated military until after WWII

Will Eisner was born in Brooklyn. However much segregation there was at the time, and however ethnic the various neighborhoods were, I think it's cutting him considerably too much slack to suggest that Ebony was drawn the way he was because Eisner didn't have opportunities to regularly interact with black people.

The Baron said:

Would it be correct to say that there's "racism by commission" and "racism by omission"? That is, depicting Ebony White as a racial stereotype was racism by commission, and the JSA's original line-up being all white men was racism (and sexism?) by omission?

The JSA's original line-up being all White men wasn't "racism (and sexism) by commission"?



ClarkKent_DC said:

The Baron said:

Would it be correct to say that there's "racism by commission" and "racism by omission"? That is, depicting Ebony White as a racial stereotype was racism by commission, and the JSA's original line-up being all white men was racism (and sexism?) by omission?

The JSA's original line-up being all White men wasn't "racism (and sexism) by commission"?

Good question. Hmm.

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