Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Will Eisner's ESPIONAGE - THE BLACK X's Finest Hour

Some time back we saw the first appearance of Black X (HERE), from a 1938 issue of Feature Funnies. That story wasn't very good, or very well drawn, but anything by Eisner is historically interesting. X continued his spying career through ten issues of Feature, then made the jump to Smash Comics, where Eisner's art showed steady improvement. 

The tale here appeared in Smash #13, dated August 1940, and was probably done around the time Eisner first Spirit Section appeared. In any case, this appears to be Eisner's last time as artist on the strip, and he would soon relinquish the scripting duties as well. Meanwhile, X went on without him for about seventy more issues.

I find this one particularly interesting due to its Richard Sale connection. The escape from Devil's Island was clearly inspired by the Clark Gable film Strange Cargo, which premiered several months earlier. And that movie, as you Sale fans should know, was based on Sale's first novel, Not Too Narrow . . . Not Too Deep, which I yapped about HERE.

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