Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dan Spiegle, R.I.P. (1920-2017)

Master comic book artist Dan Spiegle passed away on January 28, 2017 at the age of 96.  Spiegle, in collaboration with writer Mark Evanier, produced 26 issues of CROSSFIRE, a vastly underrated comic book series that ran from 1984 to 1987.  The initial idea of the series revolved around the exploits of a thief-for-hire, known to his clients only as "Crossfire," a specialist in committing acts of industrial espionage within the cutthroat community of 1980s Hollywood.  Through a convoluted set of circumstances, the original Crossfire dies and his mantle is taken up by a kindhearted bail-bondsman named Jay Endicott who cleverly exploits Crossfire's dangerous reputation in Los Angeles to fight for justice in the streets of Los Angeles.  As Evanier once wrote on his website, News From ME, Endicott "finds the dual identity handy in righting matters that go unsolved by the police or unpunished by the courts. As darn near everyone figured out, there was a certain level of autobiography to the comic, as I'm a big believer that neither of those institutions (the police, the courts) do what they do in an efficient, justice-for-all manner...."  

Because Evanier grew up in Los Angeles, and has had considerable experience writing for various Hollywood television studios over the years, the entire series carried with it an atmosphere of authenticity that's almost impossible to fake.  Evanier's deft juxtaposition of character-oriented storytelling with tried and true action-adventure motifs made for a unique comic book... and yet none of this would have worked without the pen of Dan Spiegle, whose artistry lent Crossfire's gritty--and yet somehow still hopeful--world a level of realism that positioned the series firmly in the tradition of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe detective novels and the cinematic shadow-realm of 1940s film noir.  

Evanier has recently written several posts about his late friend and collaborator, one of which one of which can be found HERE.

Rest in peace, Dan Spiegle.

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