Review – A Contract with God

Publisher/s: Baronet Books

Genre: Slice-of-life

Author/s: Will Eisner

Artist/s: Will Eisner

Format: Graphic Novel

Vintage: October 1978

This graphic novel is comprised of four short stories: A Contract with God, The Super, The Street Singer and Cookalein which are all set in a bronx tenement in the 1930s with the exception of Cookalein taking place mainly at a summer vacation spot.

The stories are semi-autobiographical since Eisner drew heavily from his childhood experiences growing up in Brooklyn, New York and further reinforced since he was the child of Jewish immigrants.  Many consider A Contract with God to be the first graphic novel, in actuality it is not however, it did set a standard for the medium and led to the acceptance of the graphic novel as a viable literary and commercial format for artistic expression.

Ordinarily, I would not read something like this (too many years spent reading superhero/science fiction comics I guess) but I must say I found it engrossing, after reading the first few pages and after finishing the book I found myself wanting more.  The characters and atmosphere Eisner has created is realistic and down to earth and I think it’s designed in such a few that the reader is made to care for the characters even though they are rather simple looking and cartoonish but nonetheless, the book oozes style and I highly recommend anybody that even has a passing interest in comics/graphic novels to read this outstanding piece of work.

Grade: B+

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