I was asked to contribute an essay on the work of Will Eisner as part of this year’s (2010) Will Eisner Week celebrations. I decided to take a closer look at Eisner’s Contract With God Trilogy. The essay (well… really a series of notes) just got posted. Here’s a short excerpt:
All the stories in A Contract with God take place on Dropsie Avenue. Eisner fills this fictional Bronx street with multiethnic (especially Jewish) immigrants, desperate criminals and ragged tramps. Sudden wealth is as possible as instant ruin. Throughout the book it becomes obvious that the real protagonist of the book is the street itself. Eisner lavishes attention on its dilapidated buildings, rain drenched stoops and moody street-scapes. He’s clearly enamored of the urban patina of the place. With each subsequent story, Eisner increasingly begins to use the architecture of the street as a substitute for the panel border. In effect he trades the comic-book gutters for the gutters of the street.
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