How a Rejected Will Eisner Baseball Comic Became An Issue of Spirit!

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Will Eisner's ill-fated Baseball Comics series was later re-used as a Spirit story



When Will Eisner returned from his military service during World War II, he took back control of the weekly Spirit comic book, which appeared as a supplement in newspapers across the country. However, Eisner tried to launch his own comic book company on TOP of his Spirit comics in the late 1940s.

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It did not work out that well, but what's funny is what Eisner did with some of the comics AFTER they did not work.

Years ago, I wrote about how one of the new characters was a detective known as John Law. When John Law didn't go over, Eisner just re-dew Law as the Spirit. The deadlines on the Spirit were brutal, and so Eisner took shortcuts when he could.

While John Law translated easily into the Spirit, Eisner had more trouble when a baseball-themed comic book that he launched failed to do as well as he expected.

Baseball Comics launched in 1949...

Rube Rookey was Eisner's attempt to come up with a baseball version of the famous boxing comic character, Joe Palooka.

Eisner and Tex Blaisdell did the main story, introducing Rookey...

That issue also had a back-up story about Babe Herman by the great Jules Feiffer and artist Jerry Grandenetti...

Eisner was so confident in the series that he had Feiffer and artist Tex Blaisdell do a back-up story for the SECOND issue. That second issue, though, never came out.

Thus, in 1950, Eisner then took that Feiffer/Blaisdell story, about the 1907 pennant race between the Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers, and added a framing sequence to make it a SPIRIT comic somehow!

here's the end of the framing sequence, as we cut back to Commissioner Dolan...

That's got to be one of the more creative reuses of unpublished content that you'll come across!

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