Brad Bird's "The Spirit"

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Post by EricJ » August 23rd, 2010, 6:33 am

Ben wrote:And going off tangent didn't stop you from bringing up another Spirit adaptation, which again wasn't anything to do with what we were talking about:
Unless my powers of reading fail me, believe I was inquiring whether the stalled production on an animated version CAUSED the TV version, when the producers couldn't get the animated studios' acts together and networks fell back on the Batman/Wonder Woman TV formula as what was then the mid-80's last hope of getting any licensed adaptation of a comic title into production. (Mid-80's theatrical comic movies having been reduced to box-office poison again after the failed string of Salkind Supers.)
Thus adding some historical context to explain why we got the campy version to begin with, and which would presumably explain a lot.

...It's all speculation, of course, but gotta admit the timing just seems to fall into place.

(And following the logical progression of a conversation is always fresher than trying to pull nominally-applicable Angry-Geek Gag 347-B off one's pack of Ready-Gag<tm> index cards. :P )

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Post by Ben » August 23rd, 2010, 9:43 am

No, no, aaaaaaand... no.

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Post by GeorgeC » August 23rd, 2010, 12:50 pm

What's new, Ben.

He's being "loveable old Eric again."

Genesis, Chapter III.
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He's forgetting that at the end of the story the snake was forced to crawl away on its belly for all times afterward...

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Re: Brad Bird's "The Spirit"

Post by Darkblade » July 2nd, 2011, 4:50 pm

I didnt mean to bump this, but i had to since I found a topic of it before making a topic of it beforehand. My brother is currently trying to bring this back into development although I wish him luck with that. Although I found something I think a whole bunch of you would find interesting. Somebody who worked on this project kept the storyboards of this unproduced animated feature.

You can see them here.
http://www.jerryrees.com/page34/page34.html

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Post by Randall » July 2nd, 2011, 7:37 pm

Wow, neat. Thanks for sharing!

I'd love to see this get made someday. Likely a pipe dream, but...

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Re: Brad Bird's "The Spirit"

Post by Darkblade » July 2nd, 2011, 9:07 pm

No problem. Its neat that this guy manages to keep this. I have heard somewhere that Bird is still interested in doing the spirit due to Miller's so called disaster. Which I saw last week. I was not impressed on what Miller done, it was like he trying to do a parody of his own work(sin city). It isn't very true to the comics.

Is it alright for me to post the video regarding on the attempt to bring this back into development?

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Post by Ben » July 3rd, 2011, 4:57 pm

I actually think that's already been posted 'round these here parts. :?:

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Re: Brad Bird's "The Spirit"

Post by Darkblade » July 5th, 2011, 12:52 pm

^ What do you mean Ben? It can't be elsewhere on here. Perhaps your mistaking it for something else maybe?

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Post by Ben » July 5th, 2011, 2:49 pm

I seemingly remember something posted about The Spirit and Bird's intended version as a way to drum up support for it. Anyone...anyone...?

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Re: Brad Bird's "The Spirit"

Post by droosan » April 15th, 2015, 12:42 am

At long last, the 1980 'pencil test' footage for Brad Bird's The Spirit has reached YouTube:


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Re: Brad Bird's "The Spirit"

Post by GeorgeC » April 15th, 2015, 1:39 am

I love The Spirit, Droo... It's probably my favorite Golden Age (1940s/early 1940s) American comic book series.

It's great that stuff like this DOES exist but unfortunately I don't think anybody in Hollywood will do anything with the character for a long time.

The Miller film probably sank attempts to do anything with that character in film for at least another 20 years! I don't understand WHY they let the film develop as it did but it's probably because the character is NOT very well-known outside of comic book circles and even then most of the hardcore living fans of The Spirit are age 50-and-above! The character probably has higher praise among comic book creators than he does comic book fans in general. I noticed that was probably true with Will Eisner, too. I heard his name many, many times over they years but didn't understand for over 20 years what the big deal about the guy was until I actually sat down and read several volumes of the DC Archives reprint of The (original) Spirit comic strips. Then I 'got' it!

I was very upset that one of the film's producers, who is a well-known comic book fan and historian myself, let Miller mutilate the character like he did... but then again, this man was responsible for executive-producing some of the worst Batman films was well as backing the BEST animated Batman, too, so nobody bats 100%!

It's sad to say this but the late 1980s TV movie is probably the best film adaptation of the character and even that film was done in a contemporary setting. The title character was portrayed by Sam J. Jones, the actor who played Flash Gordon in the 1980 Gordon movie. (I sometimes confuse him with Sam Neill!)

I think the character is done better in the 1940s/World War II era but I have noticed/read more often than not that film companies are very reluctant to do period films because of the extra costs of making sets and costumes authentic to the era. It's notable that in The Spirit comics Darwyn Cooke did that he took a half-retro approach like DC Animation did with Batman:TAS in the early 1990s. Hi-tech but with 1940s era automobile designs older-style architecture.

I have a half-suspicion they will have to tie-in The Spirit to Batman somehow to get anything done with the character in film now! I noted in another post of the DC Animation thread that Darwyn Cooke DID do a Spirit/Batman crossover comic. That was his first published Spirit story for DC Comics. It was actually one of the better, mores sensible crossover comics I've read in years and highlighted the most infamous villains from both characters' rogues galleries. That would be one of the better stories to adapt for film (preferably animation; I still think the hand-drawn animation form is BETTER for superheroes and comics in general than live-action) if they can't figure out something from the original Spirit run. Most of the contemporary Spirit comics are NOT that good!
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Re: Brad Bird's "The Spirit"

Post by Ben » April 15th, 2015, 4:12 am

I'm getting an Oliver & Company vibe from this, in terms of tone and feel, and the characters interactions, which can't have been a bad thing.

If there's a time it might have happened it would have been around 1980, when some in animation were trying to do their own thing after Bakshi kind of opened up the gates to an alternate to singing animals.

Then again, animation is littered with a ton of really great-looking what might have beens...

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Re: Brad Bird's "The Spirit"

Post by droosan » October 16th, 2015, 11:36 am

Today's installment of Jim Korkis' 'Animation Anecdotes' on the Cartoon Research blog includes a plot summary of Brad Bird's Ray Gunn feature proposal (about halfway down the page) -- which was among the projects he'd pitched to Warner Bros Animation in the mid-1990s, before agreeing instead to re-tool and direct The Iron Giant.

I recall hearing from a few former WBA artists that it would've basically been "like an animated Blade Runner," but hadn't known much else specific about it before now. Though, that description wasn't far off the mark..!

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