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

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  6,446 ratings  ·  245 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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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
Alex Cunningham
Jul 27, 2007 Alex Cunningham rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Mar 03, 2008 Josh rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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”, “O Ca
Henrique Vogado
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.
Artur Coelho
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
Jul 23, 2008 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
Elizabeth A
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
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!
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
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
Artur Coelho
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
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,
John C. Baker
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
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.
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
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
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
Suhrid Banerjee
Will Eisner is called the Eisenstein of comic books. Read this and lot of his other books and you will realize why
Derek Lubangakene
Wow. This was such an amazing book, I reached the end of it and still wanted more. It's one of those books that I''ve had to read in one sitting, which is a big taboo for me, I always endeavour to pace myself however short a book is, no matter how locked-in I am. But this book defied that. It demanded I consume it whole rather than in bits broken by intermittent bursts of contemplation and retrospection. It's not just enjoyable, but clever. well written. The minimalistic style, the amazing art, ...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This is very good. The title story in particular (I have actually been to the synagogue in Tbilisi/Tiflis, where the main character starts his life), and the last story, "Cookalein" which juggles about a dozen characters and storylines and stays on top of them all in only 50-odd pages are very memorable; I was a bit less satisfied with the middle two, which both feature nasty male characters who exploit those around them and then get their co ...more
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
Há algum tempo que não me sentia atraído por nenhuma colecção publicada na Imprensa portuguesa. Biografias de algumas personagens de carácter histórico duvidoso, guerras e batalhas, Estado Novo, mais guerras, mais Estado Novo, vinham ao sabor da proliferação de trabalhos de investigação histórica recorrentes, onde os autores decidem acrescentar um ponto ao conto. Sem grande interesse em gastar dinheiro em algo que posso requisitar gratuitamente numa biblioteca (e sem ser obrigado a ler a opinião ...more
Feb 19, 2015 Lisa added it
A Contract with God: Life on Dropsie Avenue is a fictional extrapolation of Will Eisner’s life. The three short stories within are A Contract with God, A Life Force, and Dropsie Avenue. A Contract with God tells of a grieving elderly man who has lost his only real joy, an adopted daughter, to death. He is in anguish. Angry and vengeful he rails against God, turning away from his life of faith to one of worldly greed and domination. In A Life Force low income high-rise life is depicted in its lon ...more
Bryce Wilson
Huh well color me underwhelmed. I mean it's fine, the art is beautiful and the parables are reasonably clever (aside from the one about the Pedophilic Nazi Superintendent and the predatory girl that one plays like the strangest EC Comic ever written).

But well its all a little on the nose.

Not exactly what I was expecting from what is supposed to be one of the greatest comics of all time.
Homer Harianja
Bukan cuma kegetiran yang hidup karena teks, tapi tragedi hidup karena absennya teks. Ini novel grafis yang kaya di keduanya yaitu teks dan sekuens gambar. Eisner memanfaatkannya dengan efektif. Saya tertegun lama memandang gambar liris gedung di jalan raya Dropsie atau ketika Willie berdiri di balkon sebagai akhir kisah. Ada tarikan nafas yang berharga di tiap transisinya. puitik.
Buku ini bukanlah novel grafis pertama saya, namun merupakan pilihan acak ketika melihat cover-nya di etalase salah satu seller online lain. Saya merasa buku ini (trilogi) berbeda dan saya ingin tahu.. saya bahkan tidak mencari tahu buku apa ini. Saya percaya kesan pertama dan ternyata cukup membanggakan juga.. setelah berada di tangan saya, itulah pertama kalinya saya mengenal Will Eisner dan memastikan dugaan saya bahwa ini novel grafis. Jika sebelumnya saya kecewa dengan so called novel grafi ...more
Lauren H
just a very simple, haunting book. the illustrations are deceiving--at first, they seem fairly elementary (especially when compared with the hyper-vivid inking of current graphic novels) but there's so much more there, a sadness, a quiet attention to incredible detail. they are, at times, more powerful than the stories themselves.
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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 about Will Eisner...

Other Books in the Series

The Contract With God Trilogy (3 books)
  • A Life Force
  • Dropsie Avenue: The Neighborhood
Comics and Sequential Art The Contract With God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative Will Eisner's New York: Life in the Big City The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

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