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WILL EISNER (1917-2005) •
Original Spirit Art
Feb 10, 1946. “Splash” (page 1) for “As Ever,
Orange” (Valentine’s Day Story). The oldest
original Spirit art in the family’s inventory.
Spirit splash pages are some of the
most highly sought works of original comic art, and this
is your chance to acquire one!
This splash is for “As Ever, Orange,” one of the earliest
installments in Eisner’s ground-breaking post-war Spirit
run. Here, Eisner sets up a Valentine’s Day themed story
with a page designed to mimic a handcrafted ribbon-bound
greeting to Ebony from Orange, whose portrait is “pinned”
at the bottom. Eisner playfully embellishes the page with
heart flourishes among the lettering. The portrait of
Orange is a handsome example of Eisner’s brushwork.
“As Ever, Orange,” was the eighth Post-War Spirit story,
after his service in the Army, and the first to put Ebony
in the spotlight. This story is a significant example of
the housekeeping Eisner took on to reestablish his
authorship of the strip. Here Eisner gently addresses some
of the criticism that arose involving the offensive
characterization of Ebony that emerged in the strip when
he left it in studio hands while performing military
service. It’s revealing that Eisner prioritized resetting
Ebony so early in his return to the strip.
This story itself is a fun romp spotlighting Ebony’s
humanity and resourcefulness. Orange is a social climber
who baits him with a valentine and switches to ask the
junior crimefighter to investigate her true love interest,
the wealthy returned veteran, Fraternization H. Shack.
Ebony begrudgingly looks into Shack and discovers that
he’d absconded with money entrusted to him by fellow
soldiers still deployed in combat – a heinous act that
would have raised the dander of wartime audiences. Ebony
gets Major Jones involved, and they call Shack on his
crimes and send him home with the war bride he abandoned.
While this intrigue plays out, Dolan tells the Spirit that
new city priorities are going to require Ebony to go to
school or be rounded up as a truant. At the same time,
Ebony is heartbroken when Orange derides his accent, so he
independently decides to go to school. The story device
let Eisner write the character out long enough to reset
him later in the run.
Medium/Size/Condition:Brush, pen, and
ink on Bristol board measuring 14.5 x 23 inches (37 x 58
cm). Considerable White-out borders the image area, and is
present in the logo and body lettering. Faint pencil marks
are visible beneath the lettering. Excellent overall
Further reference: Much
other Eisner art, plus out-of-print graphic novels,
Spirit comic books and magazines,
Button, and numerous other
Eisner-related items are accessible from our sister
Shoppe. Just type his name (or The
Spirit) into our search bar.
Provenance: The Will Eisner estate is
exclusively represented by the Denis Kitchen Art
Agency, an affiliate of Steve Krupp’s Curio Shoppe and
Gallery. This drawing is warranted to be an authentic
original created by Will Eisner, and sold on behalf of
his estate. Note: Image is © Will Eisner Studios, Inc.
Reproduction for commercial purposes requires