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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on 24 July 2008
It's hard to get too enthusiastic about Will Eisner because even the most manic extremes of devotionalism towards the great man seem entirely appropriate. Although not the father of comic books he was, by his own words, 'present at it's birth'. However he did father the graphic novel and the his first of many, A Contract With God, is contained in this volume along with A Life Force and Dropsie Avenue.
Perhaps contraversially I prefer the latter two volumes to A Contract With God, which tends to recieve the most praise of Eisner's mature work simply because it was so groundbreakingly original when it first appeared. However for my money the other two stories contain more sophisticated storytelling (especially Dropsie Avenue, which is reminiscent of Gabriel-Garcia Marquez' One-hundred Years of Solitude in that the protagonist is the location and the human actors are relegated to almost supporting characters). This fact is perhaps unsuprising when you consider that when Eisner was creating A Contract with God he had been away from Graphic Storytelling for over two decades, therefore it is tempting to see the A Contract with God as a warm up for future achievements as well as a still remarkable read in its own right.
Technically the writing is sublime, Eisner imitates speech and accent with poignant simplicity, and the art perfectly contributes to the drama in Eisner's own inimitable cartoony, yet often ugly and gritty, style.
Why buy the hardback? For one it's currently a bargain (at least compared to when I bought it) and for two each of the graphic novels contained is short enough to read in one sitting and indeed I would recommend this as the ideal way to experience them. The hardback containing the three graphic novels will proabably stop you feeling cheated by the brevity of the stories.
All in all I can't recommend this volume enough, I have lent it to many friends who were suprised that graphic storytelling could be so sophisticated and adult. If you find you like this then you should certainly check out the other two Will Eisner Omnibuses, both of which are of similar and/or superior quality.
These stories stand up with the best of literature and it's a great shame that more people aren't yet aware of them.
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on 7 September 2010
First of all i will mention the binding and the quality of the paper of this book. I don't know about you but i truly value books of exceptional quality. It feels in your hand like a $200 book! Amazing just amazing.
Second, Will Eisner truly is an amazing illustrator and storyteller. You will find this book very rewarding. 544 pages long filled with magnificent material. His inspiration is his own childhood. It's almost autobiographical. The stories are very vivid.

Highly recommended
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on 11 December 2008
How brilliant this is I cannot begind to describe. Suffice to say, with this work Eisner spawned a whole genre. Perhaps it's true the graphic novel already existed prior to A Contract With God, it just so happens that A Contract With God was that brilliant.

However, in spite of A Contract bearing the title for this compiled work, in my opinion, it's the wekeast link of the collection. Whereas the first "book" merely depicts several life scenes of Depression New York, Life on Dropsie Avenue actually takes you on a voyage through the years, from the Dutch Settlements of a primeval New York, through the construction of the underground, the arrival of Italians, Jews, Spanish and the general degeneration of the neighbourhood.

Social class, race, religion, all mix in this tale of real life social progression, jealousies, blackmail, cultural clashes, mafia, hoodlums, gangsters and politicians.

The trilogy really does feel like a novel and reads like a novel, recurring characters, side plots, heroes, villains and a bittersweet ending.

And the best bit? They'll never make a movie out of this.
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on 4 November 2013
Great book by an original author, about the passing of time, the plans and the incidents that collide to shape families lives.
The drawings are evocative and beautiful, and you can read this book as quickly or as slowly as you want.
Especially pertinent for immigrants, as their stories are told, and they might find the format of drawings and words an easier read, if english is not their mother tongue.
The first story is outstanding, and the other two are in my opinion good.
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on 26 May 2011
This is a classic. The characters can be easily identified as real people although portrayed in cartoon style- exagerated but emotions amplified by this. I found this book illustrates in an understandable media the complexities of a multi cultural society which is America. A realy expert blend of comedy and tragedy that can be read at many levels.
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on 10 October 2009
I've heard people talk about this as if it were the Odissey or Iliad of graphic novels. Believe the hype. It's that. I bought the hardback edition, and didn't regret at all the money I had to spend. This is the absolute masterpiece of graphic novel, and one of the most passionate books on America that I have ever read. Eisner proved that you can tell a deep, complex, epic tale with sequential images and words, and that you could address adult issues and feelings with a form that had always been treated as kids' entertainment. It tells the story of a place, which is the archetypal NYC neighbourhood, and by telling that story he tells us the history of the States 1900-today. It's a commanding triptich which added a lot to my understanding of US civilization and culture. A must-read for every comics buff, but also for any thinking reader.
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on 20 June 2012
I had heard about Will Eisner but never had the chance to read him. I'm totally into his art now. I've read 4 books now and can already say he was a genious. This book has 2 great stories and 1 that I found it's heaven - Dropsie Avenue. Dropsie is just one of the best stories I've ever read, I don't know why anyone used it for a movie.
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on 29 January 2017
I don't think there's much more praise left to use in Eisner's case, but I can't help expressing my admiration for the way visual and textual details become signifying flags that drive home many great existential truths in the humblest of manners. Yoknapatawpha has nothing on Dropsie Avenue.
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on 12 January 2014
He was the best in many ways - a format of his own. His style of storytelling is one of a kind, and should be valued highly by anyone a fan of the sequential art form. Therefore, it is only fitting to present this work in a format that shows it the proper respect. Beautiful book!
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on 14 October 2014
One of the iconic works of the "Sequential Art". Will Eisner is creating a magically realistic New York with all his strange and tormented characters. There wouldn’t have been a Frank Miller, a Mike Mignola or a Robert Crumb without “The Contract with God”.
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