Monday, April 23, 2018, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

“A Contract With God” by Will Eisner

Will Eisner was born to poor Hungarian-Romanian immigrant parents in Brooklyn, NY in 1917… just as WW I ended. He had his father’s gift for drawing and pursued this skill into his teens in Depression era 1930s at DeWitt Clinton High School. This led him to do illustrating for pulp magazines, advertisements and cartoons. A high school friend [who later created “Batman”] got Eisner interested in comic book art and he worked briefly for “Wow” Magazine under editor Jerry Iger. That began a very profitable partnership between the two men. Eisner created “The Spirit” and “Wonder Man” comics [with similarity to the successful Superman] among many others. “Spirit” became one of the first comic strips to be included in newspapers and was syndicated to many publishers, just before WW II. During the war, Eisner worked at the Pentagon illustrating magazines and pamphlets. He pioneered the use of comics in Army training manuals.

In the 1970s, Will Eisner started illustrating longer, serious stories and that gave birth to the “graphic novel” genre of which “A Contract with God” was his first and prime example. He also illustrated classic novel themes such as Moby Dick and Oliver Twist. Those were a parallel to the Classics Illustrated comics many of us grew up with… which sold from the 1940s to the 1960s, when they succumbed to competitor “tele-vision”. Eisner lived to age 87 [2005].

The four-part illustrated novel “A Contract with God” has Faustian undertones. In the old country, protagonist Frimme Hersh promises to follow God’s ways in exchange for God giving him justice and the fruit of his hands. But after Frimme comes to America, his child dies and he accuses God of breaking the contract. Frimme’s life takes a new path, away from godliness and good works. We know where that usually leads, but will all be lost?

Discussion Leader: Alan Liebman

Host: This month’s meeting will be at the home of Susan and Alan Liebman in south suburban Reno’s ArrowCreek community.

RSVP Required: To reserve your seat(s), receive a PDF copy of this month’s story and travel directions, please e-mail your name(s) to RenoJewishStory@AmericanSuperior.ORG before sundown, Friday, April 20th.

For this meeting the Club can accommodate 25 attendees, but please remember your reservation is a pledge to attend this Reno Jewish Story Club meeting. Serial no-shows shall be banished to Winnemucca. Social time after the discussion. Refreshments served.

NEXT Club Meeting: Monday, MAY 28, 2018, 7 to 9 p.m.