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One of the more unusual Spirit sections appeared on 21 January 1951 - Future Death.

A man arrives in Police Headquarters...

The man is revealed to be Professor Tempus J. Fugit, who reveals that the man he has killed is The Spirit! As The Spirit is sitting behind Dolan the two men listen as Fugit reveals that he has travelled in time to the far flung future of 1970!

Whilst in 1970 he meets a familiar face...

Professor Fugit meets The Spirit's family

In the year 1970 it seems that there is full employment in Central City, no slums, crime is at its' lowest, and there are no guns!

As Governor Eustace Dolan (looking even more crusty than ever!) holds the City Council meeting, Fugit takes out the pistol he took with him from 1951 and shoots at the governor!

The Spirit approaches Fugit

As The Spirit gets closer to Fugit, he fires - and kills The Spirit!

Escaping back to 1951, Fugit concludes his story by telling an amazed Dolan and Spirit that he must be punished for his crime. Dolan tells the Professor that they will investigate this future death, but in the meantime the Professor should rest... Shortly thereafter the Professor throws himself in the path of a car and is killed. Checking the Professor's now lifeless body, The Spirit finds one of his trademark gloves...

"Stories like this were the lifeblood of The Spirit," Eisner tells Tom Heintjes in 1990. "I had never really focussed on the personal life of The Spirit too much, and when a story came along that called for it, I certainly wasn't against it. I welcolmed it, because it was something new for the readers, which was paramount."

Certainly this section showed a possible future reality for The Spirit: married to Ellen and a young son, Denny Jr. Of course 1970 was not quite the utopia that Eisner believed in 1951, and later tales of The Spirit that appeared in the late 1960s on would show the character unchanged and unaged since the 1950s.

The 16 December 1951 section does pose the question though of what if The Spirit Gets Older. Leaving Police headquarters, The Spirit is shot - fortunately it is only a minor chest wound, and he laughs it off to a concerned Commissioner Dolan.

Leaving the Police headquarters again, The Spirit considers retiring... Before being shot at again! Narrowly missing being hit this time, The Spirit corners his would be assassin...

The Spirit begins to feel his age

After a prolonged fight, The Spirit manages to knock the man out and bring him to Dolan before collapsing himself.

This story introduced a running plot of The Spirit not being as tough or indeed as young as he once was, and it was touched on again over the next two sections: Joe Fix (aka Christmas Spirit of 1951), and Joshua Blows His Horn (aka New Year's Spirit of 1951/52).

The doctor tells The Spirit to take it easy

Unfortunately, this idea was not carried any further.

As Eisner tells Tom Heintjes: "Obviously, whoever followed me in writing it thought it was an interesting concept too. To be honest, I always wrestled with the idea of The Spirit and the rest of the cast aging. I really liked the concept of 'Gasoline Alley', and I would kick around the idea of using it in The Spirit. Fortunately or unfortunately, I never had to really confront it in the strip."

The Spirit's more recent appearances suggest that either he has not aged, or ages at a much slower rate, as suggested in the very early Spirit sections.

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