Will Eisner was present at the dawn of comics. In the 1940s, he pushed the boundaries of the medium with his acclaimed weekly comic strip The Spirit, and with the publication of A Contract with God in 1978, he created a new medium altogether: the graphic novel. It was unlike anything seen before, heralding an era when serious cartoonists were liberated from the limiting confines of the comic strip. Eisner’s work was a shining example of what comics could be: as inventive, moving, and complex as any literary art form.
Eisner considered himself “a graphic witness reporting on life, death, heartbreak, and the never-ending struggle to prevail.” A Contract with God begins with a gripping tale that mirrors the artist’s real-life tragedy, the death of his daughter. Frimme Hersh, a devout Jew, questions his relationship with God after the loss of his own beloved child. Hersh’s crisis is intertwined with the lives of the other unforgettable denizens of Eisner’s iconic Dropsie Avenue, a fictionalized version of the quintessential New York City street where he came of age at the height of the Depression.
This centennial edition showcases Eisner’s singular visual style in new high-resolution scans of his original art, complete with an introduction by Scott McCloud and an illuminating history of Eisner’s seminal work. Now readers can experience the legendary book that launched a unique art form and reaffirmed Will Eisner as one of the great pioneers of American graphic storytelling.