Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Colouring Book Theatre: The Spirit - 2008

This was the first "Guest Blogger" piece I ever did, for one of my favorite blogs, Plaid Stallions, for a feature called Colouring Book Theatre. I remember being so nervous, even though by this point I had been running The Aquaman Shrine for almost a year and a half.

I guess there was something about taking over a friend's blog, even briefly, that really made me so much more conscious about exactly what I wrote. I can't help but think that made my own blogging that much better.

Will Eisner never did anything the same as anyone else.

When I learned of the existence of an actual Spirit coloring book, published in 1974, (in research for my site, I was pretty surprised. After all, anyone old enough in the seventies to remember the Spirit probably was a tad past coloring book age, so I wondered who this book was aimed at. But who am I to question Will Eisner's business sense?

The book itself is treasury comic-sized, 10x14", and instead of a sequential story, it consists of fifteen classic Spirit splash pages, complete historical and story information for each of them.

Some of the splashes chosen for the book are unusual selections for a coloring book, like this one:

While others are a little more poster-ish and feature nice big figures to color:

And some look like they'd be a huge coloring project to undertake:
sg'd have to buy a second box of crayons before you could finish that one!

After an ad for other "Gleeful Guides by Will Eisner"(?) like Occult Cookery(??), Communicating with Plants, and Living with Astrology, the back cover features a nice big friendly shot of Denny Colt:


I'm not sure where these were sold--there's no price or UPC code, so I doubt they ever made it to any department or toy stores. They were at least sold via Warren Publication's Captain Company, who ran a small ad for it in their magazines at the time:

Will Eisner never believed comic books, as a medium, were meant to be just junk entertainment. And that belief found its way into every Spirit project, even a coloring book. You could give this book to a kid and it would challenge them, just like his work always did.

...I wonder if this will ever show up in DC's Spirit Archives series?

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