was producer of the Ev'ry Little Bug picture disc ? (Answer
at bottom of the page)
Ever since The Spirit sections ended in 1952 there have been requests for Eisner to create new Spirit stories - however, with a few unusual exceptions (noted below) the response to the question is:
"... I think about it occasionally, but when I do, I lie down 'til the feeling goes away."
The first exception was done for the New York Herald Tribune in January 1966 due to a resurgence of interest in the character. The 5 page story is generally not regarded as an 'official' Spirit tale as some of the characters have aged (Commissioner Dolan and Ebony) whilst others have not (Ellen and The Spirit) and Central City has become New York!
With the popularity of the Batman television series in full swing, Harvey Comics released two issues of The Spirit during 1966/67. Containing several reprints in each number, Eisner also contributed a new 7 page story for each issue. The new stories were retelling of The Spirit's origin (which contradicts some of the earlier origin tales) and a recapping of The Octopus' greatest battles.
During the early 1970s Eisner contributed two further new stories featuring The Spirit -"The Capistrano Jewels", a 4 page story which appeared in the second issue of the underground Kitchen Sink Spirit reprints in 1972 (this story was recently reprinted in the second The Spirit Casebook: All About P'Gell); and "The Invader", a 5 page story which was developed as part of a college lecture Eisner gave (this was reprinted in The Will Eisner Color Treasury).
In 1976 a oddity called The Spirit Casebook of True Haunted Houses and Ghosts was published. This featured The Spirit acting like one of the great EC hosts' introducing 'true' accounts of hauntings. The Spirit also made a cameo appearance in Vampirella #50
With the introduction of the magazine reprint series in the 1970s, Eisner contributed some excellent new covers featuring the character, but no new tales...
... That is, until issue 30 of the magazine, which presented The Spirit Jam. With a plot by Eisner (and a few pages of art, his first new interior art for a Spirit story in over 20 years), the 36 page tale involves The Spirit trying to deliver the Iger Diamond to Commissioner Dolan. The jam story has contributions by 50 artists and writers - Kitchen Sink have wisely recently reprinted this story as a trade paperback, which also includes a Cerebus/Spirit 4 page jam by Eisner and Dave Sim involving the aardvark meeting The Spirit.
In early 1998, after a delay of some months due to the financial difficulties which Kitchen Sink were experiencing a new ongoing series was released: Will Eisner's The Spirit: The New Adventures!
This series features all new stories of the character, but without Eisner script or art. With a fantastic first issue by Alan Moore (script) and Dave Gibbons (art) retelling the various origin stories of The Spirit, each issue features a new creative team (or teams). Past issues have included work by Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell, John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Kurt Busiek, David Lloyd, Mike Allred, Paul Chadwick, John Ostrander, Tom Mandrake among many others.
(The splash page to a new tale by James Vance (script) and Dan Burr (art))
The only restrictions on the creators are that the tales should be set in the 1940s (although that has been broken by an excellent strory by Neil Gaiman and Eddie Campbell which is set in more recent times) and that the moral tone of the main supporting characters and The Spirit are not altered.
With seven issues of "The New Adventures" published to date, each issue has produced new stories of The Spirit which Eisner can be justly proud of.
Unfortunately, with Kitchen Sink Press closing it's operations on 18 December, 1998, "The New Adventures" series has been unexpectedly cancelled with issue #8.
Trivia Answer: John Christensen.(For more information about Ev'ry Little Bug, click here)