Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Contract with God - Discussion Questions

Will Eisner is one of the most respected names in comics. Heck, the presigious Eisner Awards are named after him. After Josh bugged us just enough, then threatened to leave right when we set a date for it, we decided on Eisner's flagship work, A Contract with God. (Just kidding, Josh, we'll miss you). Here are the pretty much spoilerless questions:

We'll be answering these questions with VIGOR and ENTHUSIASM on February 10th at 6:30 p.m. at Koelbel Library.

1. A Contract with God is widely considered to be the first comic to be called a "graphic novel." What about Eisner's work differentiates it from other comics? Is it worthy of the "graphic novel" title?

2. Many different comics writers we've read write vignettes and short stories. Gaiman did it throughout the Sandman series, Willingham does the occasional short story in Fables. What about the graphic novel medium lends itself to short stories? Can many short stories form to make a cohesive whole like one thought out story arc can?

3. A Contract with God is often used as literature in Jewish literature classes. What about Eisner's work pays homage to his heritage?

4. How does Eisner's writing and art compliment each other? How do they clash?

5. Why did Frimme die at the end of "A Contract with God?"

6. What is the moral or lesson of "The Street Singer?"

7. What does A Contract with God tell you about tenement living in the 1930s?

8. Eisner is a huge inspiration for comics writers. Which writers would you venture to say he's inspired?

9. What do each of the characters in the stories have in common?

10. What is the significance of Eisner's narration and lettering style?

11. How does poverty effect the lives of Eisner's characters, especially in "Cookalein?"

12. Some argue that the title story "A Contract with God" takes an atheistic bend. What are your thoughts?

13. Has Eisner's work been dated or does it remain fresh and relevant today? Are comics' highest prestige, the Eisner Award, rightfully named?