Posted by: gruvenreuven | March 6, 2011

Eisner: A Contract with G-D

A Contract with G-d by Will Eisner, click to enlarge

Today marks the Birthday of Will Eisner (March 6, 1917 – January 3, 2005). Will was born in Brooklyn New York, the son of Jewish immigrants (His mother was from Romania, his father from Austria)

Will became an American comics writer, artist and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the Graphic Novel medium. If there were a Mt Rushmore of comic creators, Will would be right up there along side the likes of Jack Kirby & Stan Lee. Best known for his comic series, The Spirit, Will also created many graphic novels. One of my favorite Will Eisner graphic novels is with “A Contract with G-d and Other Tenement Stories

The work consists of four Short Stories: “A Contract With G-d”, “The Super”, “The Street Singer”, and “Cookalein” All the short stories are set in a Brox Tenement in the ‘30’s. The stories are semi-autobiographical, with Eisner drawing heavily on his own childhood experiences as well as those of his contemporaries.

There are no superheroes here, just a portrayal of ordinary Jewish immigrant families. “A Contract with G-d” is the story of Frimme Hersh, who made a deal with Hashem when he was a boy in Poland, that he would do his best in life and G-d should look out for him in return. He comes to America, becomes quietly successful, is respected by his neighbors and his synagogue, and things are going okay. Then his adored adopted daughter dies suddenly. G-d has broken the contract, and Frimme thinks he is no longer bound by it, either.

Will Eisner was so influential in the creation of the Graphics Novel medium that The Will Eisner Comic Industry Award, commonly shortened to the Eisner Award bears his name. The Eisner Award is a prize given for creative achievement in American Comic books. Established in 1987.

So, “Happy Birthday” on what would have been Will’s 94th Birthday

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