Back in the days when Kitchen Sink Press was still in business, I was asked to produce a story for their Will Eisner’s The Spirit: The New Adventures title. I wrote and illustrated a 10-page story that featured an iteration of one of my characters, Black Opal. The New Adventures had run for eight issues and featured stories by big names like Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson (Astro City) and many more. My story was scheduled for issue nine. As fate would have it, Kitchen Sink closed down and the ninth issue never made it to press. I think my story was the only one ready at the time. Kitchen Sink owner, Denis Kitchen, made a point of contacting me directly to explain the situation. A classy thing to do under the circumstances, but if you know Denis, he’s a classy kinda guy. From that communication onwards, we have been firm friends.
Fast forward to 2015 and I get an email from Dark Horse Comics (who have published some Will Eisner material including a collection of The New Adventures) saying that they are re-issuing a hard cover of The New Adventures and in discussing things with Denis, he had mentioned my unpublished story. If I still had the artwork, would I be interested in including it in the new edition? And in colour?
Well, of course I said “yes”, but I had to hunt down the art and see what condition it was in. I had repurposed the art and made it into a John Law story for my print collection of Will Eisner’s John Law: Dead Man Walking (IDW). Now, I had to turn it back into a Spirit story!
Will Eisner had done the opposite back in 1948. He had produced a few John Law stories for a proposed new series which didn’t eventuate. He repurposed the stories and turned them into Spirit stories. Well, if it was good enough for Eisner…