R-Rated Reads features the best in Comics and Graphic Novels that you’d normally hide underneath your mattress. Now, what the F%*# are you waiting for!? READ the G@&-D*%$ thing!
By Ben Gilbert
October 25, 2012
Written and drawn by Will Eisner
Originally published by Bayonet Books, reprinted by DC Comics
In this modern age of comic storytelling, it can be easy to forget that there was once a time when comics and graphic novels weren’t seen as a legitimate art form. Even though superheroes still dominate the medium, comic readers now have a more diverse range of subjects and genres to read than in any time since the pre-Code Golden Age of the forties and fifties. One of the most famous and prolific artists of that period was the late, great Will Eisner, whose most popular creation The Spirit incorporated aspects of film noir and pulp novels into stories involving a masked crimefighter. In 1978, when many of his contemporaries were either retired or still creating mainstream superhero books, Eisner wrote and illustrated a black-and-white graphic novel that used the medium of comics to tell highly original and deeply personal stories. This book, entitled A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories, was one of the earliest examples of how comic art can be used to explore deep, mature themes and paved the way for countless other writers and artists to help evolve the medium beyond what most people considered to be just “children’s stories.”