The Spirit: "The Story Of Gerhard Shnobble"

The Spirit
By Will Eisner
"The Story of Gerhard Shnobble"
September 5th, 1948

Before I begin this review, I want to make it very clear...

This is not a funny review!!

I mean to give you a simple review of Gerhard Shnobble... starting at the
time when he first learned he could fly.

Please... stop laughing...

Gerhard Shnobble was born the child of ordinary parents in the big city.
He appeared to be an ordinary boy... except for the fact that on his
eight birthday, the young Gerhard fell off a roof, and after twisting and
turning his body in midair... he discovered that he could fly.

The parents of Gerhard Shnobble did not want their son to fly. They did
not want their son to draw undue attention to himself. In time, the
discovery was forgotten, and Gerhard grew into a normal adult. After
thirty-five years of faithful service, Gerhard Shnobble was promoted to
night watchman at the bank. On that very night, the new night watchman
was socked on the head, and locked up in the vault. The following
morning found Gerhard Shnobble, after thirty-five years of service, out
of a job.

While Gerhard Shnobble made his way through the streets, Commissioner
Dolan is having every street and train station blocked. The Spirit knows
that the bank robbers could make their escape via helicopter. A beat cop
tells the masked man that he heard about a helicopter had landed on the
Electric Building last night. As the authorities head for the Electric
Building, Gerhard Shnobble considers himself a failure, and wishes that
he could do something... anything. It all comes back to him... he can
fly!! As Dolan orders the building surrounded, the Spirit tells the
elevator operator to hold the elevator. On the ride up to the roof,
Gerhard Shnobble is determined that today will be the day that the whole
world will see him fly.

No sooner do the elevator doors slam, that the Spirit shoves the smaller
man away from the bullets being fired by some desperate characters.
Lefty and Tumbler decide to climb down the side of the Electric Building,
while Kniffs is told to use the helicopter since it was his idea. A
gloved fist makes certain that Kniffs misses out on his helicopter ride.
Gerhard Shnobble braces himself, sees the big crowd of people below, and
thinks of his impending fame. He jumps and is now in free-fall.

Gerhard Shnobble makes a graceful turn, feeling wonderful, but no one
below seems to notice him. The Spirit passes one thug by to leap onto
the other. With the masked man taking on Lefty, Tumbler is free to take
aim, and misses with his first shot. Meanwhile, neither of the
combatants notices the whistling figure flying nearby.

BANG BANG BANG BANG The Spirit takes down Lefty red-handed, and
Tumbler stumbles from the right-handed punch to his midsection. His
bullets had found another target. The lifeless body of Gerhard Shnobble
falls to the earth below. Do not cry for Shnobble... but mourn for all
of mankind... For none who saw his body being taken away... knew or even
guessed that today was the day that Gerhard Shnobble had taken flight.

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

Flying figures may be found in so-called "funny-books", but I would never
dream of laughing at any of them.

As a lad of eight, Gerhard Shnobble had found the talent which could have
made him great.

His parents would have him conform rather than be unique, and learn from
his uniqueness.

The four men at the bank looked down their collective noses at Gerhard

Although their gaze pointed towards the sky, I doubt that any of them
could see the Gerhards for the trees.

I do wonder which of them became the next night watchman.

After thirty-five years of trust, Gerhard Shnobble was thrust into the

The Electric Building is a landmark in Central City.

As with Dr. Cobra, Emil Petit, and Henry, Gerhard Shnobble has red hair.

Being left-handed, I wonder if there's a nickname for right-handed bad

Off the top of my head, I remember "Southpaw" from the Joker's comic book
in the mid-70's.

Unfortunately for Gerhard Shnobble, his aim to fly like a bird was no
better than Tumbler's aim with his gun.

This Review Is Dedicated To The Memory Of
Jerry Bails
The Father Of Comic Book Fandom

Steve Chung
"The Review Of Gerhard Shnobble"