Frank Miller's Spirit may have failed, but this Spirit pops!

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Just in time to tie in with the movie written and directed by Frank Miller—and to outclass it by several orders of magnitude—comes this beautiful artifact, taking the original Will Eisner story that introduced the Spirit's childhood love Sand Saref and opening it up into all sorts of pop-up goodness.

It needs to strain a little to get all of Eisner's original story in, including a couple of substantial sections in booklets that are next to impossible to return to their slots without causing massive damage, but let's face it: that's not the worst thing to happen to the Spirit recently. Nor does the story suffer from the pop-up contrivances that oblige readers to pull on paper tabs to make critical word balloons emerge from hiding like the sun rising behind the Earth in the first few minutes of 2001.

Either flat or three-dimensional, Eisner's art is gorgeously fluid, and the Spirit we first see towering over pages as he examines a recent murder victim doesn't need feats of cardboard engineering to have far more presence than the one who acted against green-screen. As for Sand Serif, let's face it: She's one hell of a woman, whose sexy criminality brings double meaning to the phrase "the one that got away."

Get this to show folks who scratch their heads and want to know what certain people were thinking.