A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories: A Graphic Novel

A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories: A Graphic Novel

Will Eisner popularizes the term ‘graphic novel’ with the publication of A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories.


Will Eisner used the term 'graphic novel' to describe his book-length comic, A Contract with God, which is a collection of text and fixed image narratives portraying the grittiness and poverty of life in the Bronx during the mid-1930s. 

Eisner's work is intended for an adult audience and its literary value is reflected in its commercial success. Since its original publication in 1978, it has been reprinted at least five times. The most recent edition was printed in 2006 by W.W. Norton.

A Contract with God also appeals to an international audience and has been translated into at least eleven languages. Its message transcends ethnicity or nationalism. It appeals to the global human. The impoverished soul seeking improvement was a common theme of speculative fiction pulp magazines in the interbellum years of the early twntieth century.

Bennett, J. “Review of Will Eisner’s ‘A Contract with G-D and Other Tenement Stories.’” Phoenix Entertainment Media Group. 2012. http://www.a-kon.com/?p=1402

Eisner, Will. A Contract with God and other Tenement Stories: A Graphic Novel. New York: Baronet Press, 1978.

Levitz, Paul. “Will Eisner and the Secret History of the Graphic Novel.” New York Media LLC. 2015. http://www.vulture.com/2015/10/will-eisner-graphic-novels-paul-levitz.html#.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art. Northampton: Kitchen Sink Press, 1993.