Thursday, November 18, 2010


In contrast to Post #36, no one could imagine Will Eisner's Spirit-- a brawny he-man spawned by the Really Old School of 1930s pulp magazines and crime films-- being beaten in a one-on-one fight by even the toughest women in his mythology (probably his long-running adversary Silk Satin). And yet, as seen in the illustration, the Spirit does often find himself helpless in the hands of merciless-seeming females, whether they've sapped him from behind, drugged him, or shot him. Perhaps this trope expressed something in Will Eisner's personal psyche; perhaps it signified nothing to him but a device to titillate audiences. The world will never know.

Lorelei Rox does defeat the Spirit without sapping him from behind, though not thanks to any fighting-skills. No background is given for Lorelei; she's first seen as the leader of a gang that waylays trucks and robs them with a rather original modus operandi. Lorelei, who seems to be an archaic siren in modern-day dress, sings enchanting songs that lure the truck-drivers to crash on her symbolic "rox." As an added touch of strangeness, Lorelei never speaks in the story.

Short though the fight is, Lorelei does overcome the Spirit in a one-on-one dust-up, though only because she does have her "super power" with which she can stun him-- all of which leads to the rather sacrificial-looking scene. Naturally, the hero escapes and breaks up the gang, though the ending replies that Lorelei gets away to sing another day-- though this remains her only appearance in an Eisner SPIRIT tale. A character in Frank Miller's SPIRIT film uses the same name but doesn't recapitulate any aspect of the original except the mythic image of Woman as the Image of Death.

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