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In 1947 Will Eisner tried two adaptations of the Grimm Brothers' tales in The Spirit under the series title of: The Spirit's Favorite Fairy Tales for Juvenile Delinquents. On both tales Eisner was assisted on the art by Jerry Grandenetti, who also worked on the Baseball Comics title for Eisner's American Visuals production company.

Hanzel und Gretel was published in The Spirit section of 13 July, and like the other tale in the series, Cinderella, was updated by Eisner for a contemporary setting.

"Something I had always wanted to do was to take the fairy tales and reduce them to modern language and situations. The trouble is, it comes out looking like a modern story." Eisner tells Dave Schreiner in 1986.

Meet the family...

As can be seen from the image above, the children's father can no longer support his family. Their stepmother tells the two darlings to get some money but as soon as they try their father's methods they are caught by The Spirit who warns them off going down that slippery path. Returning home with no money, the children overhear the parents deciding to leave the city and dispose of them on route! Hanzel contacts The Spirit and as the parents load things up the following day they are interrupted by Commissioner Dolan and The Spirit. Managing to escape, the parents drag the children along and after a few hours drop the children off on a deserted road out of Central City.

Walking along the road, Hanzel an Gretel come across Wendy the Witch, who worked as a fence for their parents! Thinking that the children are there to incriminate her to the police, Wendy starts to burn items of evidence in her furnace, stating that they will be next! However, the two monsters outsmart Wendy by kicking her into the furnace (Gretel tells Wendy that she has thrown a ten dollar bill into the furnace!) and we see Wendy running away from the children her backside covered in flames!

After the whole family are reunited in jail, Hanzel and Gretel are released and adopted by a new family, where they lived happily ever after...

Hanzel and Gretel seem to be getting along swell with their new 'brother'

The two tykes are portrayed in the story as being little better than their father and step-mother. Judging by the panel shown above it seems like their new brother is in for a hard time!

It took a few months before Eisner followed up this story with the adaptation of Cinderella, published in the 5 October section.

In this version, Ma is out on parole running a roadside diner with her two daughters, Prudence and Desire, and her step-daughter, Cinderella. Cinders, spots the young officer Klink:

Cinders expresses her admiration for the police...

Klink is there handing out posters and tickets to the Policemen's Ball, which Cinders wants to go to. Of course she has nothing to wear. Telling her sob story to the next door neighbours, the Snaky's, they supply her with a gown and limousine for the night on the condition that at midnight Cinders leaves... and lets them in to the building so that they can break into the bank next door!

Arriving at the ball, Cinders bumps into her two sisters, and meets her Prince Charming:

Cinders finds her Prince Charming

All goes well until the stroke of midnight when Cinders leaves the dance and lets the crooks in. However, The Spirit and the police are waiting for them, and they capture the Snaky's. Cinders manages to escape, but - oh no! She leaves a slipper!

The next day:

And of course Cinders ends up in a tall stone building - jail!

"The idea behind fairy tales for juvenile delinquents," Eisner states in 1986, "was that I thought I was on to something good, and that it would make a helluva funny book. It was funny only to me, apparently. I enjoyed the story though. I still think it would make a funny series. You take a classic like this, and put it into modern practice."

Recently, Eisner has returned to the Brothers Grimm and fairy tales, but this time producing more traditional versions for the European market. NBM Publishing have released The Princess and the Frog in September 1999, following it up with The Last Knight: A Guide to Don Quixote, and Moby Dick.

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American publishers of Will Eisner's fairy tale albums are NBM Publishing.

Click here to goto Will Eisner's site!

Trivia Answer: Kelly's Yard.(For more information, click here)