Friday, November 24, 2017

Fiction Friday (64)

On this Black Friday, my tour of recent reads continues with the first in a string of graphic novels that I'll be posting about in the coming weeks. I begin with this one as it is considered the first modern graphic novel and because the award for best graphic novel is named after the author. This was an interesting read for that historical context alone, as well as being an interesting read on its own merit. Enjoy.

A Contract with God by Will Eisner
(Norton, 1978)

Billed as the "first" graphic novel, though that claim is debatable, this was a groundbreaking collection of four interwoven stories that offer glimpses into the lives of fictional inhabitants of a Bronx tenement building during the Great Depression. Like any great storyteller, Eisner blends humor with desperation, love with lust, and success with failure, giving these stories a depth that goes beyond the slimness of their pages.

As with any well-done graphic novel, the art adds to the meaning of the text in dramatic ways. The characters expressions tell the real emotional story of their plight. And what a great cast of characters it is! Having lived in NYC for a decade, granted 70 or so years after the story takes place, these types of people still existed in the city...though I believe they exist less so today than twenty years ago. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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