Publication date: 2006
A Contract with God is a graphic novel by American cartoonist Will Eisner published in 1978. The book's short story cycle revolves around poor Jewish characters who live in a tenement in New York City. Eisner produced two sequels set in the same tenement: A Life Force in 1988, and Dropsie Avenue in 1995. Though the term "graphic novel" did not originate with Eisner, the book is credited with popularizing its use.
Four stand-alone stories make up the book: in "A Contract with God" a religious man gives up his faith after the death of his young adopted daughter; in "The Street Singer" a has-been diva tries to seduce a poor, young street singer, who tries to take advantage of her in turn; a bullying racist is led to suicide after false accusations of pedophilia in "The Super"; and "Cookalein" intertwines the stories of several characters vacationing in the Catskill Mountains. The stories are thematically linked with motifs of frustration, disillusionment, violence, and issues of ethnic identity. Eisner uses large, monochromatic images in dramatic perspective, and emphasizes the caricatured characters' facial expressions; few panels or captions have traditional borders around them.
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