Comic book legend Will Eisner may have left this mortal plane in 2005, but his work continues to amaze all these years later. Similarly amazing is how long it took for adaptations of his work to hit the big screen.
Eisner was a pioneer in stretching the boundaries of narrative and storytelling in sequential art. The term, ‘Graphic Novel’ really came into our collective lexicon when Eisner’s monumental work, A Contract With God was published in October of 1978, and is now getting the big-screen treatment.
The book consists of four short stories — A Contract With God, The Super, The Street Singer, and Cookalein — all set in a Bronx tenement in the 1930s. The stories are semi-autobiographical, drawing heavily from Eisner’s own childhood experiences as well as those of his peers. The narratives are tied together by the common setting/theme of immigrant and first-generation experiences, across cultures.
Four directors, Alex Rivera (Sleep Dealer), Tze Chun (Children of Invention), Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy) and Sean Baker (Warren the Ape), will be taking on the book’s individual chapters.
Hopefully movie fans won’t judge his work based on the terrible Spirit film made by Frank Miller a few years ago.