The Spirit: "Meet P'Gell"

The Spirit
By Will Eisner

"Meet P'Gell"
October 6, 1946

Her name is P'Gell -- and hers is not a little boy's story.

The country of Turkey remained neutral until near the end of the war,
where she broke away from the falling Axis. In Istanbul, each spy and
counter-spy suddenly found themselves like fish out of water. P'Gell and
her husband, Hans Dammt, were in hostile territory. The wife could see
that he had to go. The self-proclaimed shy and sensitive girl wouldn't
think of dirtying her hands in blood. Emil Petit was hired to deliver
the Nazi to Russia for a fortune. Picar's government delivered the money
to Petit, while P'Gell sobbed over her husband's dead body. Five
thousand for P'Gell and five thousand for Emil. It was then that the
wealthy widow suggested that they'd be richer if they kept it in the
family. They were married, had their honeymoon, and had their romance
beneath the full moon. It was during this when Emil shared his secret
with his new wife... He was in possession of the Kalkov Formula.

Five days passed, when the Spirit came to P'Gell's room, and was asked
how much he was willing to pay for Emil's secret. The Kalkov Formula has
to do with prolonging life, and the Spirit plans to take it to the United
States, where it will be used by all. To his surprise, P'Gell did not
summon the Spirit for the money, but because she wishes to go to America,
and have an old swindling charge overturned in Central City. The law and
the Spirit do not play that game. He begins to perspire when she gazes
into his eyes, and offers herself to the deal. Emil hardly finds this to
be a fair deal. Although his wife thought him out of town, Emil had been
working in his laboratory, and recreated the life-prolonging liquid
created by Serge Kalkov. He had been using it himself for some time, and
claims to be two hundred years old. The onetime apprentice and murderer
of Serge Kalkov offers to return to the United States with the Spirit,
and hand over the formula to the American scientists.

The Spirit and Emil were on their way to the railroad, but P'Gell was on
her way to see Picar. One phone call from him and all of Istanbul would
be covered. In a narrow archway, the two men are attacked. The Spirit
manages to hurl the knife man into his fellows, but a hidden gunman fires
two shots at Petit. Knowing that his time was up, Emil writes out the
formula and gives it to the American.

Picar is less than pleased by the failure of his men to catch Emil and
the Spirit. Figuring that his quarry must be near the Cafe Abu, and that
they'll separate, Picar assigns ten men to go after the masked one...
while he goes after Emil. At the Cafe, one knife man is greeted by a
right-handed punch. The Spirit thanks Emil for his contribution to
science, and heads out of the country. Twenty minutes later, the husband
returns home to see his wife, and to die in her arms. P'Gell seizes his
hair in one hand, and wants to know what he's been up to.

She calls Picar on the phone and tells him to stop chasing the Spirit.
P'Gell turns her attention to her beloved Emil. Wife tells dying husband
that she'll give Picar a false formula, and they will live happily ever
after. Emil's face has begun to change. It shrivels and his body
shrinks in size. Such things cannot possibly be, and before she can see
more, P'Gell screams. Picar arrives to find a sobbing woman and a
skeleton in Petite's clothing. His hands are at her throat, refusing to
believe such a childish story.

The Spirit makes his way to Greece and takes a plane bound for America.
One month later, Professor Cardiac at Central City medical research
center announces that research can begin on the topic on the longevity of
life. And what of P'Gell? Was she killed? It turns out that Picar
changed his mind when charmed by the girl's personality and her ample
bank figures. He proposed and she could hardly refuse. Istanbul is a
dangerous place, certainly for a twice-widowed woman like her. P'Gell
and Picar can be found at the cafes of Istanbul, where they ply their
trade, and hope to expand their fortunes once more.

This story was reprinted in The Best Of The Spirit (2005).

Your hans would be dammt too if you were married to P'Gell.

Emil Petit looks like a red-haired Peter Lorre-type.

P'Gell is a green-eyed brunette beauty.

In the Spirit's origin story, Dr. Cobra was working on a life-prolonging
liquid, as well.

Known immortals in the D.C. Universe include: The Immortal Man, Vandal
Savage, General Immortus, Jason Blood, and the Phantom Stranger.

Known immortals in the Marvel Universe include: Thor, Hercules, Warlock,
and the Eternals.

Steve Chung
"Meet P'Gell's Review"