Will Eisner(1917 – 2005) is heralded as the greatest mind of the Comic Book industry. He was the one who brought in the concept of the Graphic Novel which has become a people’s favourite now. On March 6th, Google paid tribute to this great mind in the form of a doodle which contained references to The Spirit and the Tenements.
I had got the book ‘A Contract with God and other Tenement Stories’ after it had featured in a list of the 10 best graphic novels in the Kindle mag. But i never got round to reading it until today. Reading it would be a perfect on this Birthday of Eisner and so i did.
The work consists of four short stories — “A Contract With God”, “The Super”, “The Street Singer”, and “Cookalein” — all set in a Bronx tenement in the 1930s, with the last story (“Cookalein”) also taking place at a summer getaway for Jews. The stories are semi-autobiographical, with Eisner drawing heavily on his own childhood experiences as well as those of his contemporaries. Utilizing his talents for expressive lettering and cartoonish figures, he links the narratives by the common setting and the common theme of immigrant and first-generation experiences, across cultures.
All the four stories are remarkable in their own aspect. There is never a dull moment when reading this nearly 200 page book nor is the book too taxing on the individual. The narrative accompanying the art makes the story jump right out of the book. Even after you finish reading it, the stories remain with you. There aren’t a lot of book’s out there with a re-read value like this one. I definitely recommend everyone to read this one.