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Will Eisner Original Spirit Art: As Ever Orange Splash Page (2-10-1946)

Will Eisner Original Spirit Art: As Ever Orange Splash Page (2-10-1946)
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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 condition.

    Further reference: Much other Eisner art, plus out-of-print graphic novels, Spirit comic books and magazines, signed serigraphs, his Famous Cartoonist Button, and numerous other Eisner-related items are accessible from our sister store Steve Krupp’s Curio 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 permission.

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