Sunday, March 23, 2008

Colouring Book Theatre: Will Eisner's The Spirit

speed buggyColouring Book I got an early Easter present yesterday as Rob Kelly, creator of (and more blogs than humanly possible) offered to do a guest review. Me not doing any work is the best gift of all, take it away Rob!

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:

spirit colouring book

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

spirit colouring book

spirit colouring book

And some look like they'd be a huge coloring project to undertake:

spirit colouring book'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:

spirit colouring book

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:

spirit colouring book

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?

Got a colouring book you'd like to guest review? Drop me a line!

Check out the Rob Kelly Family of Blogs with his gateway blog The Aquaman Shrine.


Arkonbey said...


As I read, I kept wondering what coloring book I could 'request' to make the existence of a 'The Spirit' coloring book seem sillier ("A Spirit coloring book, why not an 'x' coloring book?")

Then I got to the end and found the only answer: A Berni Wrightson coloring book! Truth is stranger than fiction. And MAN, I would have loved that as a kid.

I can't believe this exists, thanks so much for posting it. I may have to let, know about it.

rob! said...

i have the Wrightson one, as well, and would be happy to write that one up sometime if Brian would like!

Swinebread said...

This is totally wild, I love it!


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