Will Eisner's "A Contract with God" Curator's Collection SNIP

Limited Edition Will Eisner’s “A Contract with God” Curator’s Collection released

Will Eisner's "A Contract with God" Curator's Collection

Will Eisner is one of the comic industry’s all-time greats. He has been held in high regard by fans and pros alike for many years to the point where the most prestigious awards in the comic industry were named after him. Legitimising the art form in the eyes of many and initiating the examination of comics from an educational standpoint, he is not only responsible for the legendary pulp comic hero The Spirit, but also popularised the term “graphic novel.”

It was his 1978 work A Contract with God that is viewed by many as the book that solidified the term in comic vernacular in the United States. (Graphic novels had already been published elsewhere before then). Now, Dark Horse has released a “Curator’s Edition” of this classic work in an oversized format that belongs on the shelf of anyone who values comic history.

For anyone who hasn’t already read A Contact with God, it is an absolute classic. Four stand-alone stories that focus on different residents of a Bronx tenement and the difficulties they encounter in their lives. This includes a deeply religious Jewish man who finds himself losing faith upon the death of his young stepdaughter, a struggling street singer, a bigoted super who kills himself after he is wrongly accused of child abuse and a trip to the Catskill Mountains by several of the residents that turns sour.

Eisner’s amazing take on the reactions of people to social hardships is just as powerful today as it was at the time of publication, and it captivated me when I first read it.

But the main purpose of this edition (which comes at a high price!) is to highlight the artistic talent Eisner possessed and present it in the best way possible. Fitting right alongside other artist and curator editions, this limited edition, deluxe sized slipcase not only includes the final inked pages in a companion volume, but also his original pencils in the main volume that have survived due to a different technique Eisner used when it came time to ink his pages.

These pencil pages reveal details that ended up being removed from the final product and includes commentary from publisher Denis Kitchen and editor/designer John Lind that shed some light on Eisner’s creative process and why certain elements didn’t make the final cut.

In addition, several essays from comic industry legends including Eisner Award winners Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons who discuss how Eisner’s opus helped shape their careers.

As a study of Eisner’s work, nothing really compares. There have been few projects that have had this level access to his raw work before it became the finished product. Not only is this an excellent excuse to read the comic that popularised the term “graphic novel,” but it is also an invaluable look into the creative process and talent of one of the comic industry’s true legends. This is one for any dedicated comic fan’s shelves or coffee table.

• Will Eisner’s A Contract with God Curator’s Edition is out now from Dark Horse

Published by

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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