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A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories (The Contract With God Trilogy #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  8,206 Ratings  ·  308 Reviews
Go back to where graphic novels all started, on the Bronx street of Dropsie Avenue and A Life Force, in Will Eisner's groundbreaking 1978 creation. The human drama, the psychological insight -- Eisner captures the soul of the city and its troubled inhabitants with pen and ink. The comics medium was altered forever with the publication of this seminal work.
Paperback, 196 pages
Published September 19th 1985 by Kitchen Sink Press (first published 1978)
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  • A Contract with God by Will Eisner
    A Contract with God: And Other Tenement Stories
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    Release date: Mar 06, 2017
    Enter to win a special centennial edition of Will Eisner's A Contract With God! This is a gorgeous, collectable hardcover edition of Will Eisner’s pio ...more

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    Julia This is not a book to aid in the Christian perspective. If anything, it's existential and nihilistic. It is a book that looks at disillusionment,…moreThis is not a book to aid in the Christian perspective. If anything, it's existential and nihilistic. It is a book that looks at disillusionment, frustration, loneliness, sex and violence in a mixed culture sharing a community of poverty. It's powerful, gritty and real. But don't look to it for faith or spiritual inspiration.(less)

    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30)
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    Pramod Nair
    Jul 31, 2015 Pramod Nair rated it really liked it
    Recommended to Pramod by: Ginesh
    Shelves: graphic-novel
    A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories’ written and illustrated by Will Eisner, one of the giants in the sequential arts arena, is a perfectly executed graphic novel, which provides the reader a peek at the American experience during the early 1930s. Through four interconnected graphic stories, Eisner provide insights into the human condition while drawing on the memories of his growing up in New York during that time period.

    A brief look at Will Eisner as a master graphic artist

    Born in
    ...more
    Oriana
    Jan 29, 2011 Oriana rated it really liked it
    book #10 for Jugs & Capes! And essay #3 for CCLaP! In fact, someone from Will Eisner Studios actually contacted me to say they enjoyed the review. Neat!

    ***

    Ah, Will Eisner. Undoubtedly the father or the modern graphic novel, his influence has been huge and sweeping. I mean, that's what they tell me; I'm sure that 90 percent of the people reading this review know a hell of a lot more about Will Eisner than I do. But I do know that 1978's A Contract With God is an incredibly important work in a
    ...more
    Alex Cunningham
    Jul 27, 2007 Alex Cunningham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: searchers
    Eisner himself admits in his multiple introductions to this volume that "A Contract With God" was in some ways an experiment which led him to develop the skills he'd use in a far more serious way on "Dropsie Avenue." "Dropsie Avenue" is indeed the superior work.

    That caveat out of the way, "A Contract With God" is one of the more moving, deep, and visually surprising graphic novels ever, despite it being the first. The writing is sensitive, empathetic, and poetically simple. The images are master
    ...more
    Josh
    Mar 03, 2008 Josh rated it really liked it
    Recommends it for: fans of the non-violent sides of Stray Bullets and Scorcese
    Shelves: comics
    Considered to be the first graphic novel, this tells the story - in 4 parts - of New York circa the Great Depression. The characters are caricatures of lives from Eisner's past, and while it is a primarily Jewish neighborhood, I think anyone with a brain and heart pumping blood, etc can identify with the scenese painted here. It tackles those subjects that stuff like "The Wire" still tries (and fails) to capture today - those sinews that bind each life together, and ultimately keep them bound if ...more
    antónio alves
    Jul 25, 2016 antónio alves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: banda-desenhada
    "(...) em muitos casos deixei que uma página inteira se transformasse em painel. O texto e os balões ficaram interligados com a arte. Vejo-os a todos como fios de um tecido único e exploro-os como uma linguagem. Se tiver tido sucesso, então não haverá interrupção no fluxo da narrativa, porque imagem e texto estarão tão interdependentes um do outro, que se tornarão inseparáveis, nem que seja por um momento." (do prefácio, pelo autor)

    João Carlos
    A 26 de Fevereiro de 2015 teve início a publicação do primeiro volume da nova Colecção de Banda Desenhada "Novela Gráfica" do Jornal "Público" em parceria com a Editora Levoir - “Um Contrato com Deus” de Will Eisner (1917 – 2005).
    No prefácio da edição Will Eisner refere: “Este livro contém histórias tiradas daquela corrente infindável de acontecimentos tão típicos da vida na cidade. Algumas são verdadeiras. Outras poderiam ser verdadeiras.”
    São quatro contos gráficos – “Um Contrato com Deus”,
    ...more
    Christopher
    When I read really old comics, I'm usually unenthused. Before reading Hergé's Tintin, I heard all about its groundbreaking and influential place in the history of graphic books. But reading Tintin is an altogether disappointing experience. The art is dull and simplistic, the stories are poorly written, and the whole experience is uninspiring. I'm sure that someone smarter than me can explain its merits, but they are not self-evident.

    A Contract with God, however, is the exact opposite. It does no
    ...more
    Greta
    Review of A contract with God

    This was one of the first Graphic Novels I've read, and it has always stayed with me. I'm not sure why. I've reread it a few days ago and I still don't know why this story affects me. The story wasn't that great, and it was also rather short.

    In the book, an orthodox jew loses his faith after his daughter dies. He doesn't understand, because all he ever did was serving God and after all, he had a contract with God, written on a stone.

    I think the mere idea of a contr
    ...more
    Karen
    Nov 26, 2008 Karen rated it liked it
    This is intense. The storytelling is strong and is matched with expressive art. Among other things, I appreciated the use of space: the arrangement of panels and the interplay of lettering and drawing. The subject matter, the characters, the setting make this a substantial collection of tales--real stories, human stories. My favorite was the multifaceted drama of "Cookalien." The title story, "Contract with God," was intense, thought-provoking. "The Street Singer" I didn't like as much but for t ...more
    Henrique Vogado
    Mar 09, 2015 Henrique Vogado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: bd
    Uma excelente iniciativa do jornal Público/Editora Levoir, por publicar uma coleção de novelas gráficas.
    E começa bem com um inédito em Portugal do Will Eisner.
    As estórias são muito boas, à volta do bairro da juventude do autor nos anos 30 do século XX. Gosto muito do grafismo, da composição e do desenho. Ponto negativo para as alterações nas feições dos personagens em cada situação. As personagens não estão muito bem definidas visualmente.
    Um livro pioneiro.
    Rui Alves de Sousa
    Mar 13, 2015 Rui Alves de Sousa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: favorites
    Quatro histórias sobre vidas, ambições e modos de pensar distintos. Tal como no magnífico "New York: Life in the Big City", Will Eisner elaborou um mosaico de personagens e situações delirantes, mas simbolicamente representativas de todos nós. Um espantoso e genial retrato das ambiguidades humanas e das injustiças sociais, através de um único prédio e de todos os seus habitantes (e daqueles que o rodeiam), numa avenida banal da América do passado.
    Artur Coelho
    Feb 28, 2015 Artur Coelho rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Um homem pio e virtuoso, de luto pela morte da filha adoptiva, rasga o contrato que firmara com o seu deus e dedica-se a prosperar. Mas a venalidade não o satisfaz e regressa aos caminhos do virtuosismo, para falecer fulminado por um ataque cardíaco quando decide renovar o seu contrato com a divindade. Uma diva perdida, afastada de fenecidas luzes da ribalta, encontra na voz de um cantor de rua uma possibilidade de regressar aos palcos. Oferece-lhe comida, promessas e o seu corpo, que o homem es ...more
    Shantanu
    May 09, 2015 Shantanu rated it it was amazing
    I picked this book on my first visit to a public library, when I almost robbed their entire graphic novels section. I was picking up anything that looked remotely interesting(given that I am not a man of many books) and somehow this book made the list of 30 books that one is allowed to rob.

    I had not heard of Will Eisner before and it was only in the Preface of this book did I realize that this book is considered(albeit controversially) one of the precursors of the modern graphic novel(if there
    ...more
    Jill
    Jun 26, 2008 Jill rated it liked it
    Recommends it for: fans of Jewish history
    I read this for a course I'm taking at the local library in July about Jewish literature, identity and imagination - the course is being taught solely through graphic novels. So far, the course is terrible, but this book was intriguing. Since I'm not Jewish, I didn't have a ton of context behind my reading. I found the main story to be allegorical - man is good, makes a contract with god, which all Jews have from birth. Life takes a bad turn, man loses faith and, in the story, literally tosses i ...more
    Harun Harahap
    Dari buku ini terdapat empat cerita:

    1. Kontrak dengan Tuhan: Seseorang yang kecewa terhadap keadaan yang menimpanya. Kecewa terhadap Tuhan yang ia sembah dan yakini. Ketika dikecewakan, maka apakah ia akan tetap bertahan atau melawan?

    2. Penyanyi Jalanan: Ketika minuman keras merusak akal, masalah akan datang bertubi-tubi.

    3. Sang Pengawas: Bagaimana cara kita memandang sebuah masalah? Menuruti apa kata hati atau emosi yang dikedepankan?

    4. Cookalein: Ketika sudah putus asa dan malas menghinggapi.
    ...more
    miaaa
    Jul 19, 2011 miaaa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Menarik melihat bagaimana pergulatan hidup manusia sehari-hari digambarkan dengan apik oleh Eisner. Belajar sedikit juga tentang budaya dan kebiasaan Yahudi. Jadi siapa pun yang meremehkan novel grafis dengan alasan tidak intelek, dude you don't know what you're missing!
    Celil
    Jan 12, 2017 Celil rated it really liked it
    Hepsi olmasa da hikayelerin çoğu çok iyiydi. Will Eisner'in en önemli işi sayılıyor. Kesinlikle es geçilmemeli diyorum.
    Yehuda
    Feb 02, 2017 Yehuda rated it really liked it
    I really liked this book. It was a short read, but quite powerful. I related to it a lot due to my Jewishness, and I really liked the darkness in it. My favorite story was the first story. It was about our relationship with God, and trying to make a contract with Him. It's really thought provoking and I highly recommend it for people who love existential questions and deep stories of humanity.
    John C. Baker
    May 13, 2012 John C. Baker rated it liked it
    Will Eisner (1917-2005) was probably the most-influential comics creator from which most casual fans had never read anything. Unlike publicity hounds like Stan Lee, trendsetters like Jack Kirby or unsung heroes like Julius Schwartz and Carl Barks, Eisner has flown beneath the popular radar.

    But his influence was so great that the comics industry’s equivalent of the Oscars — awarded each year at Comic-Con — is known as the “Eisners.”

    Eisner’s most-famous creation was the noir-ish hero The Spirit, w
    ...more
    Nicole
    Mar 12, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
    A Contract with God is a 3 part series, in which, Eisner tells the stories of his once neighborhood. Changing here and there, tweaking this and that, to create a creative nonfiction narrative. A Contract with God and Other Tenement stories is book 1 of 3.

    I picked this book up yesterday at the library around 7 and began reading at around 8 and I just finished it. I thought it was wonderful for a few reasons.

    I am a sucker for tenement/neighborhood stories. Having lived in and out of apartments fo
    ...more
    Tony
    Nov 15, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it
    Shelves: graphic-novels
    A CONTRACT WITH GOD and Other Tenement Stories. (2000). Will Eisner. ***1/2.
    From the forward: “Not only is Mr. Eisner regarded as a master sequential artist but his graphic novels have made him the Eisenstein of the medium – his ‘A Contract With God’ invented that genre with its publication in 1978. He is a graceful and consummate artist whose works offer… insight into the human condition.” From the back cover: “Drawing on his memories of growing up in New York in the 1930s, Will Eisner has depi
    ...more
    mahatma
    May 06, 2013 mahatma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    orang yahudi.
    tinggal di apartemen miskin.
    punya hubungan akrab dengan tuhannya.
    yang naik turun iramanya.

    ia bikin kontrak dengan tuhan.
    sebagai bentuk totalitasnya untuk selalu berhubungan erat dengan tuhannya. ia hidup sebagaimana diminta oleh ajaran agama. taat dalam iman.
    tapi,
    tidak selalu kontrak itu membuat hidupnya enak.
    ia tulis kontrak itu di atas batu.
    lalu sesudahnya ia lemparkan ke luar jendela, di malam hujan badai, sambil memaki-maki tuhannya, ketika tuhan membiarkan anaknya perempuan mat
    ...more
    Marie
    Jul 22, 2013 Marie rated it liked it
    A Contract with God was the first piece to be labelled a "graphic novel," and Will Eisner popularized the term. Eisner was trying to "elevate" the status of comics (and succeeded, I would say). He led the charge to innovation and literary aspirations in the genre. It's a funny coincidence, then, that so many comics enthusiasts and scholars deride the term "graphic novel" as a "sell out" attempt to mainstream and legitimize comics. It's like the phrase "graphic novel" is the Fake Geek Girl meme o ...more
    Artur Coelho
    Dec 31, 2010 Artur Coelho rated it it was amazing
    Will Eisner dispensa apresentações. Lenda do mundo dos comics, notabilizou-se pela criação do personagem The Spirit, que ganhou um lugar na história do medium pela forma como o autor inovou os cânones da BD. Com um virtuosismo gráfico assinalável, adaptou a linguagem cinematográfica recriando, com isso, o modo de contar histórias em comics e tornando-se uma referência para os restantes autores.

    No final da sua carreira, começou a publicar obras mais intimistas e pessoais. A Contract With God é a
    ...more
    Helen
    Feb 20, 2009 Helen rated it it was amazing
    In the four short stories contained in A Contract With God, Eisner examines life in the 1930’s Bronx tenements that sprung up in New York after WWI. These neighborhoods accommodated the influx of immigrants and bred a close neighborliness ripe for mining stories. Eisner does this brilliantly.

    In the title story, a young Russian Jew has come to American to escape the pograms that were sweeping through his country. When tragedy strikes, he becomes bitter, rejects the contract he had made with God,
    ...more
    Razvan Zamfirescu
    Feb 23, 2014 Razvan Zamfirescu rated it it was amazing
    Superb volum! Il recomand cu caldura atat celor impatimiti de benzi desenate cat si celor care nu prea au cochetat cu acest gen.
    Contract cu Dumnezeu si alte povestiri ne atrage in lumea unor chirias emigranti din America anilor '30. Sunt patru povestiri pe care Will Eisner le reclama adevarate.
    In prima il cunoastem pe Frimme Hersh care are o problema juridica cu Dumnezeu care a incalcat contractul pe care-l aveau semnat.
    A doua povestire este despre Shloime Khreks care "mosteneste" contractul cu
    ...more
    Elizabeth A
    Oct 23, 2014 Elizabeth A rated it really liked it
    Shelves: graphix, 2014
    This is the first book in The Contract With God Trilogy, and is considered to be the first graphic novel. I am reading a wonderful edition, one that collects the entire trilogy, with an introduction by the author, and some new art.

    A Contract with God contains four short stories, all examining various characters and life on Dropsie Avenue in the Bronx, a primarily Jewish neighborhood. In the title story a young Russian Jew escaping the progroms finds heartbreak in his new country, and in his grie
    ...more
    Hilary
    May 02, 2011 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Well, that was extraordinarily tense and unexpected. I've tried to The Spirit before, but never took much of a liking to it; due to that, I was hesitant about picking up A Contract With God. A friend recommended it to me, though, so I felt a bit bound to go through with giving it a try. I'm actually rather happy that I did.

    While comics like Maus take a view of the Holocaust and bring it home in the graphic form, A Contract With God did wonders with the dirty 30s tenement lifestyle. The art was f
    ...more
    Cyndi
    Dec 13, 2016 Cyndi rated it it was amazing
    Deep, realistic and profound. Eisner is a masterclass on the page.
    Brittany
    Jan 28, 2013 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: reviewed
    I LOVE this whole book! It's four short stories, all in graphic novel format, black and white.

    I had to pick this up for my "Graphic Novel" class, before which I'd never heard of the book.

    The stories here are really amazing. I really connected to it because of the Jewish backgrounds of many of the characters, which is something I'm not used to in comics. The characters were all very unique, mentally and physically (you could tell them all apart very easily, even ignoring their clothing). I loved
    ...more
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    1642
    WILL EISNER was born on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Will Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.

    In a career that spanned nearly eight decades -- from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics - Will Eisner was truly the 'Father of the Graphic Novel' and the 'O
    ...more
    More about Will Eisner...

    Other Books in the Series

    The Contract With God Trilogy (3 books)
    • A Life Force
    • Dropsie Avenue: The Neighborhood

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