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Graphic Novels as Philosophy$
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Jeff McLaughlin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496813275

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496813275.001.0001

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Philosophy in the Bargain: A Contract with God (1978) by Will Eisner

Philosophy in the Bargain: A Contract with God (1978) by Will Eisner

(p.17) Philosophy in the Bargain: A Contract with God (1978) by Will Eisner
Graphic Novels as Philosophy

Jarkko Tuusvuori

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explains how Will Eisner's A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories (1978) reshaped its medium as suitable for mature reflection upon life, so much that the received term “comic book”—not to mention “funnies”—did not seem anymore an appropriate designation. “Graphic novel” was popularized as a relatively new category of artistic composition. The chapter shows how, in discussing mortality, sexuality, and spirituality in Contract, Eisner drew from the fact that humans make philosophical statements based on their experiences. Yet relying excessively on the author's self-interpretations, one loses sight of possibilities not recommended or even considered by him.

Keywords:   Will Eisner, graphic novel, comic book, funnies, artistic composition, mortality, sexuality, spirituality, self-interpretation

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