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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Jewish Side of MOCCA Fest 2014

This weekend (April 5th and 6th), the 12th annual Society of Illustrators Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival will be held at the 69th Regiment Armory  at 68 Lexington Ave. in Manhattan (New York), between the hours of 11 AM and 6 PM.

One of the last sessions on Sunday will be a panel titled "Israeli Comics Today", which will be held in Room 2 at 3:30 PM.

Below is the description

Israel has a small but burgeoning comics culture, which has gained international notice through the works of the Actus Tragicus group and the break-out success of cartoonist Rutu Modan. Today, the Israeli Cartoon Museum in Holon exhibits work by Israeli and international artists, and a growing number of artists and publishers are working to cultivate the Israeli comics industry. Nimrod Reshef, cartoonist and spokesman for the Israeli Cartoonists Association, will discuss his work publishing comics for children and older readers in Israel, joined in conversation by Keren Katz and Alina Gorban, Israeli artists currently living and working in the US. Moderated by Karen Green (Graphic Novels Librarian, Columbia University).

In addition to the above panel, there will be several creators of Jewish comic stories / art who will be in attendance at the Festival itself (exhibitor tables, other panels) including the following :

* Abrams ComicArts - publisher of the Hereville books, the English edition of Pascal Croci's Auschwitz, Yiddiskeit, and the forthcoming English edition of Boxer: The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Harry Haft by Reinhard Kleist

* Alison Bechdel - author-illustrator of the syndicated GBLT comic styrip Dykes to Watch Out For. Among the characters introduced in the strip were : Naomi, who came out as a bisexual Jew ; Thea, a Jewish lesbian with multiple sclerosis; and Stuart Goodman, a straight Jewish male who became involved with bisexual Sparrow Pidgeon and who had a child with her.

Nick Bertozzi  - co-illustrator of Houdini : The Handcuff King and illustrator of Jerusalem : A Family Portrait

* Drawn and Quarterly - publisher of Exit Wounds, Jamilti and Other Stories, The Golem's Mighty Swing, and Jerusalem : Chronicles from the Holy City

* Liana Finck - author-illustrator of A Bintel Brief : Love and Longing in Old New York

* First Second Books - publisher of Klezmer : Tales of the Wild East, the Rabbi's Cat books, and the Resistance series

* Drew Friedman - cartoonist who illustrated "What If Chris Rock Performed At A Bar Mitzvah?" (MAD Magazine #419) and "Marnin Rosenberg in 'Bad Luck with Women'" (National Lampoon - June 1987)

* Dean Haspiel - illustrator of the Harvey Pekar biography The Quitter and Jonathan Ames' The Alcoholic

* Miriam Katin - author-illustrator of We Are on Our Own and Letting It Go

Keren Katz - contributor to the forthcoming book The Jewish Comix Anthology, volume 1

Peter Kuper  - author-illustrator of the short biographical story "Promised Land"(Bleeding Heart #2), as well as the book-length autobiographical Stop Forgetting to Remember : The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz

* Seth Kushner - author of the soon-to-be-published autobiographical book Schmuck : A Graphic Novel

* NBM Publishing - publisher of the Jew in Communist Prague books, Brownsville, The Big Khan, and the Isaac the Pirate books

* Pantheon - publisher of the Maus books, Brooklyn Dreams, and The Jew of New York

Art Spiegelman - author-illustrator of the Holocaust memoir Maus and a contributor to the forthcoming book The Jewish Comix Anthology, volume 1

Fredrik Strömberg - author of Jewish Images in the Comics

Seth Tobocman - illustrator of Portraits of Israelis and Palestinians : For My Parents and "The Serpent of State"

* Uncivilized Books - publisher of Pascin

* Eli Valley - outrageous political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Forward

* Lior Zaltzman - cartoonist currently working on a 100+ page coming of age story that takes place in Tel Aviv 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

only 13 days left to pre-order The Jewish Comix Anthology

With less than 2 weeks remaining for the fundraising campaign, what have people been saying across the blogosphere about The Jewish Comix Anthology?

Jay Deitcher at Unleash the Fanboy :
I cannot believe the names attached to this project - Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Michael Netzer, Terry LaBan, Trina Robbins, Joe Kubert, (Pulitzer Prize winner) Art Spiegelman and a friend of mine, Steve Sheinkin. Initiate geek-out mode. It will even feature Crumb’s version of the Golem, ooh yeah, baby! With forty-seven top creators telling classic Jewish tales, this is going to be awesome.
Lauren Herstik at Nerdist :
It’s Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay come to life.

Kris Johnson at Geek Hard :
The team of Steven M. Bergson and Andy Stanleigh have really put together something special and it definitely deserves your attention.
Elissa Goldstein of Jewcy :
It basically sounds like the ideal bat mitzvah /afikoman / Jewish life-cycle gift. You can have too many challah-covers. You can never have too many comics!

All Jewish Digital :
There is a large following of the project from all over the globe, and AH Comics is hoping to see the momentum build into what may be one of the most unique and culturally significant publications of our time.
Robert J. Sodaro of We Love Comics :
It is very easy to get excited about the line-up of amazing talents involved in this book; including several artists whose original artwork is up for grabs as backer rewards; including Adam Gorham, Haiwei Hou, Katherine Piro, and Michael Netzer.
Barry Deutsch of Alas! A Blog :
fans of Jewish comics should definitely check out The Jewish Comix Anthology, which looks like it’ll be really excellent.
All pledges are in Canadian dollars and the lowest pledge allowed is $1.00 (but every little bit helps).

There have been several important changes to the reward levels since my original post about the campaign.


* a $30 "no frills" reward has been added, which entitles the funder to simply the hardcover book

* a $25 reward has been added which entitles the funder to the digital copy of the book (new material only), a set of 5 bookmarks, a set of 5 postcards, and an exclusive Golem t-shirt with an illustration by David G. Klein


* only 9 more editions to be signed by 6 of the creators (Adam GorhamKatherine PiroAndy StanleighShane Kirshenblatt, Liat Shalom, and Steven M. Bergson) are left to be claimed by those pledging $72

* only 2 pieces of signed original framed artwork remain to be claimed :
 - an illustration titled "Feeling" by Michael Netzer (for a pledge of $360, shipping included)
- a golem illustration by David G. Klein (for a pledge of $540, shipping included)

There is still a one-time opportunity to obtain a Jewish Comix Anthology first printing hardcover signed by Art Spiegelman ($1,000 pledge), as well as the opportunity to obtain one of the 4 producer credits available ($4,500 pledge).

We hope we can count on you for your support.

Monday, February 03, 2014

pre-order The Jewish Comix Anthology - 28 days left!

The Kickstarter fundraising campaign for The Jewish Comix Anthology has been launched. However, it will end on March 5th. The $50,000 CDN goal must be met in order to transform the idea into a finished product.
Those who pledge at least $10 will receive a special digital copy of The Jewish Comix Anthology that includes the almost two dozen new comics created just for the anthology!
Those who pledge at least $40 will receive the hardcover edition (all stories), the special digital copy, a set of beautiful postcards with art from one of the stories in the anthology, and a set of unique 7" x 2" bookmarks with various artwork from the anthology!
When you hear the names Robert CrumbWill EisnerJoe Kubert or Pulitzer Prize winning author Art Spiegelman do you think simply of historic comic icons?  Well did you know that Will Eisner adapted the little-known Jewish folk tale 'The Rabbi and the Inquisitor' with a modern New York setting? Have you seen Robert Crumb's interpretation of the legend of the Golem of Prague? When you think of Art Spiegelman does the short story 'Prince Rooster' come to mind?
Whether you answered yes or no to the above questions, you should back the Jewish Comix Anthology: Volume 1!  The goal is to bring 47 comic book and graphic novel artists together - including dozens of these little-known Jewish stories by well-known comic artists - into print in one collection for you!
The anthology brings together artists from Canada, the US, Israel and the UK, making the Jewish Comix Anthology: Volume 1 unlike anything you've ever seen before!
Would you also like to see new stories by contemporary artists? Well, the anthology has got those too!  27 of the stories will be new adaptations of Jewish folk tales, songs, aggadot (Talmud tales) and more into this Anthology of truly epic proportions!  The stories range from spiritual (Rabbi Ben Dordia, The Flute Player) to supernatural (The Shape-shifting Sorcerer, The Bleeding Tree) to humorous (Digging a Pit, Onions and Garlic) to tales of wisdom, adventure and discovery (How to Fill a Room, Yaish and The Protector)!
The Jewish Comix Anthology: Volume 1 will contain the works of 47 creators. It will be 8" x 10", approximately 252 pages, a beautiful mix of black & white with color comic book/graphic novel short stories, printed as a hardcover, perfect bound book. If this campaign is successful the Anthology will be ready for print this coming May, and will be released in June.
Robert Crumb, Joe Kubert, Harvey Pekar, Art Spiegelman, Michael Netzer and Will Eisner are just a few of the giants whose work will be included. In total there will be 20 comic creators whose previously published Jewish-themed works will be in the Anthology.  The titles that will be included by these amazing creators have been published by DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, Vertigo and Drawn & Quarterly from the 1940's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 2000's!
What makes this Anthology unique is not just the previously published material from the titans of the comics industry.  What this Anthology contains is ANOTHER 27 ARTISTS who are creating brand new material!  These 27 artists were hand-picked to illustrate additional fascinating folk tales and stories from Jewish culture.  Words cannot describe how excited we are to have these amazing talents involved - including several artists whose original artwork is up for grabs as backer rewardAdam Gorham, Haiwei HouKatherine Piro and Michael Netzer!
For more information about the anthology, please go to the Kickstarter page at or head over to the official anthology website at

Below is a partial list of the contributors whose work will be included in The Jewish Comix Anthology. A full list may be found at

Steven M. Bergson (collector of sequenial art Judaica and blogger for the Jewish Comics blog, the Israel & Israelis in Comics blog, and the Jewish Women in Comics blog ; editor of The Jewish Comix Anthology)
Robert Crumb (author-illustrator of The Book of Genesis, as well as many of Harvey Pekar's biographical stories)

Will Eisner (author-illustrator of A Contract with God and Other Tenement StoriesFagin the Jew, The Plot : The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the autobiographical To the Heart of the Storm)

Leibel Estrin (illustrator of the stories which appeared in the comic book series The Adventures of Mendy and the Golem)

Steve Greenberg (syndicated cartoonist whose corpus includes "Hanukkah Explained" and "Rosh Hashana Blimp")

Yaakov Kirschen (author-illustrator of the Dry Bones syndicated comic strip)

David G. Klein (author-illustrator of the graphic novel The Golem's Voice, forthcoming from Now What Books)

Joe Kubert (author-illustrator of Jew GangsterThe Adventures of Yaakov & Isaac, and Yossel : April 19, 1943)

Terry LaBan (author-illustrator of the syndicated comic strip Edge City)

Miriam Libicki (author-illustrator of the autobiographical comic book series jobnik!)

Michael Netzer (author-illustrator of the Israeli superhero comic Uri-On and illustrator of the Jewish Comics blog's logo)

Harvey Pekar (author of the groundbreaking autobiographical comic book series American Splendor, as well as such books as The Quitter and Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me)

Chari Pere (illustrator of Unmasked : The Ariella Dadon Storyauthor-illustrator of the webcomic Of Biblical Proportions and cartoonist / co-creator of the website Playing "Grown-Ups")

Trina Robbins (author-illustrator of the story "The Triangle Fire" which was the cover story of the 2nd issue 
of Lilith Magazine)

Ellis Rosen (illustrator of the story "Aaron Lansky and the Recovery of Yiddish" which appeared in the book Yiddishkeit : Jewish Vernacular and the New Land)
Sharon Rudahl (author-illustrator of A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman)

Dovid Sears (author of the stories which appeared in the comic book series The Adventures of Mendy and the Golem)

Steve Sheinkin (illustrator of the book El Illuminado)

Art Spiegelman (author-illustrator of the Pulitzer-winning Holocaust memoir Maus)

Emily Steinberg (author-illustrator of the autobiography Graphic Therapy : Notes from the Gap Years)

Joshua Stulman (author-illustrator of the series Israeli Defense Comics)

The Golem's Voice by David Klein

Announcing the completion of The Golem's Voice, the online graphic novel by David G Klein, at

During WWII, a young Yakov makes a strange friendship with a mysterious being. Together they evade the Nazis and help others.

Now the production of the print edition begins. It will be published by NOW WHAT MEDIA. The author (Klein) welcomes any reviews, critiques and editorial comments.

After Golem's Voice goes to print, it's unknown whether the online version will remain. So read it now while you can and tell everyone about it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Jewish Side of the 2013 Montreal Comicon

This year's Montreal Comicon will take place at the Palais des congrès de Montréal from Friday, Sept. 13 until Sunday, Sept. 15th.

Alas, there's not many Jewish guests attending the convention this year. That may have something to do with the fact that not only is part of the convention held on Friday night and Saturday during the day (i.e. during the Jewish sabbath), but this year those two days coincide with one of the most observed holy days of the Jewish calendar (Yom Kippur). Even a large portion of otherwise-non-religious Jews attend synagogue during these two days (which usually requires purchasing tickets, just like Comicon). I suppose superstitious folks will also remian indoors on Friday, as it's Friday the 13th.

Nonetheless, there will be 3 Jewish artists in attendance and 1 Gentile who has done significantally "Jewish" work.

Below are the details for those who are interested.

Neil Adams is the illustrator of the "Son O' God" stories, which appeared in the pages of National Lampoon. That sounds more like a Christian story than a Jewish one, but it's actually a bit of both. Son O' God is that unique superpowered protagonist whose "superhero self" is a Christian deity and whose civilian alter ego is a Jewish kid named Bennie David and whose 12 Jewish friends act as "the 12 apostles" when duty calls. You may read all of the Son O'God stories (as well as the story of how Adams was recruited to be the artist) at the Dial B for Blog blog. Adams also illustrated the Batman story "Night of the Reaper" in which the vengeful Grim Reaper is revealed to be a Nazi-hunting Holocaust survivor. Adams pencilled "The Last Outrage" (which was inked by Andy Kubert's father, Joe Kubert), which appeared in both The New York Times and the final issue of the miniseries X-men : Magneto : Testament and which also appeared as a stop-motion video on YouTube.

* Chris Claremont is the writer who introduced the Jewish character Kitty Pryde (aka Shadowcat) and who wrote stories which implied that Magneto was Jewish (both in the pages of The Uncanny X-Men).

Andy Kubert is the cartoonist who illustrated an alternate cover for the miniseries Sgt. Rock : The Prophecy, based on the true story of the rescue of Rabbi Joseph Schneersohn, leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch chasidic movement, from Warsaw in 1940.

Shane Kirsheblatt is the illustrator who created the Dorothy Gale : Journey to Oz series and co-founded New Voyage Studios. Kirtshenblatt will be selling gorgeous Battlestar Galactica (the one in which Starbuck is a woman) limited 11 X 17 posters (only 50) for $20 with 5 of those dollars going to breast cancer research.

A version of this blog post was published at

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

using the comix format for Jewish fundraising in Toronto

Back in 1947, Hamilton-born James Winslow "Win" Mortimer illustrated a 4-page comic booklet for the United Jewish Welfare Fund in Toronto (a predecessor of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto aka UJA), used for its Youth Division campaign. This year, the direct mail marketing for the UJA's 2014 campaign also utilized the comic format (thanks to its wonderful Creative Department staff which was responsible for all aspects of the look, from concept to layout to script to the finished artwork).

To allow you readers to compare the 2 campaigns, I am reproducing (with permission from the Ontario Jewish Archives) the comics artwork from both campaigns. Clicking on the images takes you to the full-sized versions.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

2nd interview with Barry Deutsch

Barry Deutsch, author-illustrator of the first 2 Hereville books kindly agreed to answer another set of questions which I recently e-mailed to him.

Below are my questions and Barry's replies.

Jewish Comics Blog : How has your life changed since wining the Sydney Taylor Book Award and having its sequel recognized as an SBTA Honor Book?

Barry Deutsch : I'm very grateful that my work has gotten some recognition.

One important change, is that I'm now more likely to be asked to come speak to children at schools. That's part of being a cartoonist that I didn't anticipate at all, and I also didn't expect how much I'd love doing it.

But there's nothing more rewarding or energizing than talking to kid audiences. It's like when I was a kid and saw Star Wars for the first time - that kind of energy boost. I think of it as the chocolate candy part of my job.

JCB : In my last interview with you, you told us to expect a wedding in the 2nd book. Yet, that wedding never materialized. Why did you change your mind and will we be seeing a wedding in a future Hereville book?

BD : I still intend to do that story! But my editor felt that the themes of that story were too mature for the second book, so it should be put off until later. At this point, I'm imagining it as book five, but one thing I've learned is that these things I laughably call "plans" are actually just speculations.

JCB : It has already been speculated by comix scholars that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster may have been alluding to the Kindertransport when they had Superman's parents send him away from a world on the verge of destruction to the safe haven of Earth. This was mentioned in Harry Brod's recent book Superman Is Jewish? In Hereville 2, you cleverly made a parallel between Mirka's great-great-bubba's journey from the Old Country to the New Country (presumably because of antisemitism, though that's never mentioned) and the separation of the meteorite from her meteor sisters. Were you inspired at all by the Superman origin story?

Kal-el rocketing away from the doomed planet Krypton towards Earth
A black and white photo of people in the 1940s waving at people on a train

BD : I've thought of Superman's story as a Jewish immigration story for so long I no longer remember where I first encountered that interpretation. (Umberto Eco, maybe?) But that wasn't consciously in my mind when I wrote Hereville 2, and actually the parallel didn't even occur to me until just now, when you asked that question.

I agree with you that Mirka's great-great-bubba probably left the Old Country because of antisemitism, but I deliberately avoid mentioning antisemitism much in Hereville. That's something that has been covered again and again in Jewish literature for kids. There's always room for more if it's done well - see, for instance, the terrific Resistance  series of graphic novels - but I think that one thing Hereville offers readers is a view of Judaism being important in people's lives, in a way that is joyful, and doesn't require antisemitism to drive the story.

JCB : I was pleasantly surprised to see that part of this story took place during Shabbos and that it wasn't an exact replica of what we saw in Book 1. After all, not every Mirka adventure needs to start before Friday night and end after Saturday night. Plus, I thought that since you already had a Shabbos sequence in the first book that you had shown as much of what happens during the Sabbath as you had wanted to, but this time you focused on the hospitality aspect. Do you intend to have a Shabbos sequence in every Hereville book?

BD : I can tell you for sure that there will be a Shabbos sequence in the third Hereville book. And there's one planned for the book with the wedding, too.

That said,I don't intend to have a Shabbos sequence in every book. I never know until I write the story. I love including Shabbos, because it's such an important part of Mirka's life. So if the story can be propelled forward by including Shabbos, I will do that. But if a story ends up working better if it takes place entirely during the week, then that's the way it'll be.

JCB : The intellectual "defeat" in this book happened because of the observation that by being stronger, faster, etc., the meteorite was not a better Mirka than Mirka because Mirka would never be that strong or fast. It reminded me of the times I want to give a zetz (a soft one) to whomever is trying to convince me to do something different by starting their argument with "Well ...if I were you..." But, they're not me. I'm me and I know what I would do because that's exactly what I end up doing. I was wondering if there was any event in your life that led you to include this solution to Mirka's dilemma.

BD : Well, I have a love of technicalities and loopholes, so I suppose that's why I included it in this story. It was also nice to give Rochel a chance to shine.

But (at least in my view), that was a false solution to Mirka's dilemma. It prevented Mirka from being kicked out of Hereville, but it didn't convince Metty to leave. The real solution came when Mirka was able to reach into herself and find empathy for Metty. Which is something I often struggle to do in my own life, when I'm dealing with people who are making me angry in some way.

JCB : Not so much a question as a comment. I'm coming to appreciate the subtle foreshadowing that you've used in both books (and which I'm presuming will be found again in future books). The way that Fruma tried to impress upon Mirka the importance of learning to knit was actually not as big a surprise to most readers since there's a huge ball of yarn of the cover (though my own initial reading experience didn't include that, since I first read it as a webcomic). However, in Hereville 2, Mirka protests that, "You can't kill a king with a pawn", though Mirka the "pawn" keeps defeating her king-like enemies despite the fact that she's the weaker one.

BD : Thank you! I think all writers try to build in connections within their stories; it just makes stories more satisfying to read and (even more) to reread. Most writers are re-readers, so we like to build in some treats for the rereaders out there. :-)

JCB : Among Christians, there is a wonderful credo, "What Would Jesus Do?" which has appeared on t-shirts and bumper stickers and has sometimes been imitated by others, "What Would Moses Do?", "What Wold Muhammed Do?". In Joss Whedon's Buffyverse, Xander once admitted that he solves problems by asking himself, "What Would Buffy Do?" I find the Fruma version found on page 8 to be more empowering, though, when she tells Mirka to ask herself what imaginary (idealized) Mirka would do. What led you to write that into the story?

BD : Well, that's something I try to ask myself - what would the person I'd like to be, do in this situation?
The trouble with asking yourself that question, of course, is that "who do I want to be?" is a question with an answer contingent on what my current values are. And if my current values are wildly wrong - as they are in Mirka's case, with her idealization of combat heroics - that can lead you to an answer that won't really help. (So in a way, that scene was a rare instance of Fruma giving Mirka bad advice.)

At the start of Hereville 2, Mirka thinks that she'd like to be Metty - that if she was only incredibly powerful and a great monster-fighter, then everything would be perfect. But then she actually meets her ideal self, and her ideal self is a real jerk. I'm not sure if Mirka really learned anything from that, though. She's very stubborn about everything, including learning lessons. Which is part of what makes her so fun to write.

JCB : When I was younger, I read the story "The Super-Exiles of Earth!" which first appeared in Justice League of America #19 (May 1963). In that story, the members of the JLA have to face off against doppelganger versions of themselves who are better than them (stronger, faster, smarter). It was a wonderful premise, though the ending wasn't as great as I had hoped it would be. I'm curious if you had ever read that story or a similar comic book story.

BD : I never read that particular story, but of course I've read and seen a lot of doppleganger stories in my life. There were four separate doppleganger stories in Buffy, for instance - robot Buffy, Zander split in two, vampire Willow, and the Buffy/Faith switch story. In comics, Dopplegangers are a staple of superhero comics, from bad guys disguising themselves as the hero and robbing banks, to the dozens of robot doubles Superman keeps stashed in his Fortress of Solitude (and how creepy is that?). Evan Dorkin's Bill and Ted comics - which were actually hilarious and witty - did great things with the robot doubles.

It's a pretty irresistible device, if you're working in a genre that lets you get away with it. As a writer, you're always trying to bring your characters face-to-face with parts of themselves they'd rather ignore, and what more efficient way than literally bringing them face-to-face with themselves?

JCB : I feel like I need to bring up Mirka's age again for 2 reasons. Firstly, those who were 11 when they read the first Hereville book in 2010 now find that they are 3 years older than the main character. Assuming that they will continue to read every Hereville book that's published, they might find that they are less and less able to relate to her because she's still a preteener while they are now coping with teen life. Also, the readers won't get to see her Orthodox Bat Mitzvah (assuming that it will be depicted) until she turns 12. When are you planning to make Mirka older?

BD : I write Hereville with myself in mind as the intended audience - these are the sort of action-adventure comics I want to read. And I'm WAY older than Mirka. So hopefully, readers will be able to continue enjoying Mirka's stories even as the readers age.

And in the end, there's nothing to be done about it; I can only work as fast as I can work. Alas.

But to answer your question, my plan (remember what I said about plans?) is to have Mirka remain 11 years old for the first three books, and then begin aging her.

JCB : Will we ever see Mirka using a library? I'd think she would certainly be curious to look up info on trolls, witches, meteors, etc. given her penchant for getting into certain situations and reluctance to ask Fruma all the time.

Plus, we might get to meet one of the Hereville librarians

BD : We might see Mirka using a library! That's not in any of the scripts I've written so far, but I could easily imagine that fitting well into a story I'd write.

Here's a confession: I might hesitate to do a lengthy scene in a library, simply because it takes so much time to draw a bookshelf full of books, and libraries are full of bookshelves. I'm not a very fast cartoonist, and part of my creative process has to be managing my drawing time carefully.

JCB : You're no doubt hard at work on the 3rd Hereville book. Can you give any kind of hint as to what readers can expect to see in this story (without giving too much away)?

BD : The third book is tentatively entitled Hereville: How Mirka Caught A Fish.

The story begins with Mirka forced to babysit Layele, her death-obsessed six year old sister - but things very quickly spin out of Mirka's control. I think a lot of readers will be thrilled that this story has a bigger role for Fruma than book 2 did. And I can promise a very big change in Mirka's home situation.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Rutu Modan special presentation at the Miles Nadal JCC (Toronto) - May 12th

The Toronto Comics Arts Festival and the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre will be co-hosting a special audio/visual presentation by Rutu Modan on her new graphic novel The Property

The Property is a work that will inspire, fascinate, and delight readers and critics alike. Savvy and insightful, elegant and subtle, Modan’s second full-length graphic novel is a triumph of storytelling and fine lines. After the death of her son, Regina Segal takes her granddaughter Mica to Warsaw, hoping to reclaim a family property lost during the Second World War. As they get to know modern Warsaw, Regina is forced to recall difficult things about her past, and Mica begins to wonder if maybe their reasons for coming aren’t a little different than her grandmother led her to believe.
Rutu Modan offers up a world populated by prickly seniors, smart-alecky public servants, and stubborn women – a world whose realism is expressed alternately in the absurdity of people’s behavior, and in the complex consequences of their sacrifices. Modan’s ever-present wit is articulated perfectly in her clear-line style, while a subtle, almost muted color palette complements the true-to-life nuances of her characterization. Exit Wounds made a huge splash for this signature combination of wit, style, and realism, and The Property will cement Modan’s status as one of the foremost cartoonists working today.

Date : Sunday, May 12, 2013 
Time : 5:00 - 8:00 PM
Address : 750 Spadina Ave. 

New Narrative conference in Toronto - Fri., May 10th

Today, the 4th annual FREE one-day comics conference known as The New Narrative will be held on the campus of University of Toronto. Full details (including the schedule) may be found at

One of the paprs being presented is titled “’Maybe they’ve mixed me up with Joe Sacco?’: Reportage, Autobiography, and the (non-)Touristic Gaze in Guy Delisle’s Graphic Travelogues”. Both Joe Sacco and Guy Deslisle have had their comix travelogues published (though Sacco's work is always referred to as comic journalism). Both have also written and illustrated stories about Israel (Joe Sacco's Palestine and Guy Deslisle's Jerusalem).

The conference will be concluded with a keynote address by  Rutu Modan (author-illustrator of the graphic novel Exit Wounds and the newly-published graphic novel The Property).

Jewish Side of TCAF 2013

This weekend, readers, writers, artists, publishers and fans of comix will converge at the Toronto Reference Library to take part in the the FREE Toronto Comic Arts Festival.This yearmarks the 10th anniversary since the first TCAF was held (at a much smaller venue) in 2003.

Among the talented people who will be at TCAF this year are a small number of comix professionals who have done comic art using Jewish characters or themes.

Jonathan Baylis (author of So ... Buttons mini-comic)

Willow Dawson (illustrator of the anthology No Girls Allowed : Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventurewritten by Susan Hughes and published by Kids Can Press. The anthology includes the story of Esther Brandeau, the first Jewish person to immigrate to Canada.)

 Sarah Glidden (author-illustrator of the autobiographical How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less!, which was nominated for the 2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list)

* Gilbert Hernandez  (author-illustrator of Love and Rockets X, which features the half-Jewish character Kris Nesnick)

David Malki! (author of the Wondermark webcomic, which has been collected in trade paperback. Among the comics that have appeared on the site is one with the punch line "Hannukah bush"one about the Jewish New Yearone that uses the juice/Jews homonym joke and one about Hebephiles.)

Dylan Meconis (author-illustrator of the webcomic Family Man, about a Jewish academic named Luther Levy, who was unable to defend his dissertation because he was not Christian ; volume 1 may be purchased in person at TCAF or ordered online)

Rutu Modan (author-illustrator of the graphic novel Exit Wounds and the newly-published graphic novel The Property)

Josh Neufeld (author-illustrator of A Few Perfect Hours)

Paul Pope (author-illustrator of the story "Berlin Batman" in The Batman Chronicles #11 [reprinted in Batman : Year 100], in which Batman is a Jewish painter named Baruch Wane)

* Jon Rosenberg (author-illustrator of the webcomic Goats, which includes the Jewish character "Jon", as seen in the strip from Nov. 24, 2005)

Art Spiegelman (author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Maus and one of the main characters in the online story "The Night I Met Art Spiegelman")

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

pre-order The Dry Bones Haggadah - 2 days left!

Yaakov Kirschen has been successful in raising enough shekels to fund his haggadah project at Kickstarter.

However, the fundraising campaign still has 64 hours left (as of this posting). That's a period of over 2 days to finalize your decision to pre-order an electronic or print edition of The Dry Bones Haggadah, a Passover seder guide written and illustrated in the style of the Dry Bones comic strip which has been syndicated in Israeli and Jewish newspapers since 1973.

To go to the browse-rewards page (from which you can become a sponsor), please click on the following hyperlink :

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The comix side of the Ashkenaz Festival - Sunday

Paul Buhle will be at Toronto's Ashkenaz Festival to speak about the anthology Yiddishkeit : Jewish Vernacular and the New Land which he co-edited with the late Harvey Pekar. Buhle will present images and insights about the anthology and about his late co-editor, the iconoclastic underground comic book writer, music critic, and media personality Harvey Pekar.

Venue : Miss Lou’s Room
             Harbourfront Centre
             235 Queens Quay West
             Toronto, Ontario
Date :     Sunday, Sep. 2, 2012
Time :     3:00 PM
Cost :      FREE

Full description at

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

last chance to pre-order Golem : A Graphic Novel by Hilary Goldstein

The plot of Golem : A Graphic Novel is as follows :
They framed her for the murder of the President, executed her husband in front of her, and nearly took the life of her infant son. Big mistake. Exiled from America, Danya Ben-El'azar and her six-year-old son Jonah have become the international mercenary team known only as Golem. With sword and pistol, mother and son travel the world hunting the people who ruined their lives.
Golem is written by Hilary Goldstein, illustrated by Giovanni P. Timpano and colored by Laura Schumacher. It will be published as 4 issues, collected as a 100-page graphic novel with additional content not available in other editions. Although Goldstein has surpassed his Kickstarter fundraising goal, there is still time to use his Kickstarter project page to pre-order copies of the story.

* Those who pledge at least $10 will receive a PDF of the complete mini-series and will be thanked on the website.

* Those who pledge at least $20 will also receive an e-book story collection of 3 all-new short stories exploring the world of Golem.

* Those pledging at least $30 will also receive an exclusive Golem trade paperback exclusive to Kickstarter funders with writer notes and bonus art which will not be available in future editions ($15 extra required if it needs to be shipped outside of the U.S.).

* Those pledging at least $35 get the same rewards as they would get for $30, but their trade paperbacks will be signed ($15 extra required if it needs to be shipped outside of the U.S.).

 To take a look at all of the pledge rewards, please go to

 As of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign has just 14 hours to go until it ends.

Friday, August 10, 2012

People of the (Comic Book) retreat - CANCELLED!

Last night was supposed to be the first day of a 3-day program of speakers at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.

Alas, the event has been cancelled. Below are the details of what had been planned (& will hopefully take place somewhere sometime in the future).

* Arie Kaplan, author of From Krakow to Krypton : Jews and Comic Books, speaking about his book

* Trina Robbins (author of Lily Renée, Escape Artist, co-author of "Zog Nit Keyn Mol : the Partisans Song" and author of "The Triangle Fire" which was published in both Corporate Crime Comics #2 and Lilith Magazine #2) - "Writing Comics & Graphic Novels".

* Sarah Lightman (co-curator of the travelling exhibition "Graphic Details : Confessional Comics by Jewish Women") - Confessing your Graphic Details

* Rabbi Simcha Weinstein (author of p, Up and Oy Vey! How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero), speaking about his second book Shtick Shift: Jewish Humor in the 21st Century

* Hussein Rashid - Wham! Bam! Dishoom! Muslims and Americaness in Graphic Novels * David Wolkin (Executive Director of Limmud NY) - Reading Between the Panels

* Danny Fingeroth (author of Disguised as Clark Kent : Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero) - The Life and Art of Will Eisner

* Eric Greenberg - When Superman was Judenrein (a refernce to his 1998 article Is SUPERMAN ‘Judenrein?’

* Liana Finck - author of the A Bintel Brief cartoons in The Forward talking about her work

* Jeff Newelt - Remembering Harvey Pekar: The Art of Appreciation

* Lawrence Klein - Founding the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art

* Arthur Kurzweil - Comic Books and Super Heroes: What do the Jewish Sages Say?

* Holy Shabbos, Batman! Observe the Sabbath the superhero way with our special services and delicious farm-to-table kosher homemade meals.

* Is Superman Jewish? A conversation with Danny Fingeroth, Arie Kaplan, and Simcha Weinstein Moderated by Eric Greenberg

* Women & Comics A conversation with Liana Finck, Sarah Lightman, and Trina Robbins Comics as a Religious Activity A conversation with all presenters

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Rabbi's Cat discussion / reading circle in Toronto tomorrow night

Tomorrow evening (Aug. 9th) at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center, Keith Friedlander will lead a discussion / reading of Joan Sfar's graphic novel The Rabbi's Cat (book 1 only).

The event is part of the "People of the Comic Book : Jews and the Graphic Novel" series, which started on July 19th.

Date : Thurs., Aug. 9

Time : 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Location : Miles Nadal J.C.C.
                 750 Spadina Ave.
                 Toronto, ON
                  M5S 2J2

For inquiries, please contact Sharoni Sibony at (416)924-6211 x154 or e-mail her at

Cost : $12 drop-in / $6 students with valid ID + HST (already included if you paid $45 for the full series)

The Rabbi's Cat and other books in the series may be borrowed from the Toronto Public Library or purchased from The Beguling bookstore.

 The other topics that were covered by Friedlander in previous weeks were :

* History of Jewish Contributions to Comics (July 19th)

* A Contract with God (July 26th)

* Maus (Aug. 2nd)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Jewish Side of Medicine and Comics

Today (Sunday) is the first day of the 3rd annual Medicine and Comics conference, this year being held in Toronto, Canada. To see the program details, please go to

One of the papers being delivered on Tuesday morning is titled "From Ivanhoe to Rex Mundi: Jews and medicine in comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels" and is going to be presented by this blog's moderator (Steven M. Bergson). Among the stories which will be shown and discussed (besides Ivanhoe and Rex Mundi, obviously) are the following : Joe Kubert's "A Matter of Importance", Rafael Medoff's "The Last Outrage", the "Doctor Buttcrack" chapter of Emily Steinberg's Graphic Therapy, Leela Corman's Unterzakhn and Will Eisner's A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories.

Among those who will be in attendance are : 

* Joyce Brabner, widow of Jewish comics writer Harvey Pekar 

* Paul Gravett, author of the article "From Iky Mo To Lord Horror: Representations of Jews in British Comics"

Sarah Lightman, co-curator of the travelling exhibition "Graphic Details : Confessional Comics by Jewish Women"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jewish Side of SDCCI 2012

Today (Sunday) is the final day of the annual San Diego Comic Convention International.

As usual, there are plenty of Jewish cartoonists and creators of Jewish-content stories in attendance.

There are also panels which might be of interest to those interested in Jewish cartoonists &/or Jewish comic stories.

Creators who will be present at the convention (most of them exhibiting and/or on panels) include :

Sergio Aragones (who illustrated the "Fanny Hillman : Jewish Madam" books and adapted the Jonah story for Testament)

Jonathan Baylis (author of So ... Buttons mini-comic)

Alison Bechdel (author-illustrator of the syndicated GBLT comic styrip Dykes to Watch Out For. Among the characters introduced in the strip were : Naomi, who came out as a bisexual Jew ; Thea, a Jewish lesbian with multiple sclerosis; and Stuart Goodman, a straight Jewish male who became involved with bisexual Sparrow Pidgeon and who had a child with her)

Mike Carey (co-author of the comic series The Unwritten, including the "Jud Suss" issue)

Howard Chaykin (author-illustrator of American Flagg, as well as Batman / Houdini : The Devil's 

Peter David (who infamously used the names of seder plate items for aliens in a Star Trek novel and who wrote the stories for The Incredible Hulk #386-387 ; see and

Ben Edlund (creator of Arthur {aka Mothman}, the Tick's Jewish sidekick)

Mark Evanier (author of a Crossfire story for a Free Comic Book Day comic involving a Holocaust survivor who tries to kill a suspected Nazi war criminal) 

Stan Goldberg (illustrator of the revamped Mendy and the Golem series)

Paul Gravett (scholar who wrote the online article "From Iky Mo To Lord Horror: Representations of Jews in British Comics")

Larry Hama (author of the Mossad story in G.I. Joe Special Missions #2)

Sid Jacobsen (author of Anne Frank : The Authorized Graphic Biography)

Phil Jimenez (illustrator of Wonder Woman: Donna Troy #1 and the Heroes online comic "Wireless Part One")

Lynn Johnston (author-illustrator of the syndicated comic strip For Better or For Worse which had the Jewish character Lovey Saltzman )

Joe Kelly (author of the JLA storyline "The Obsidian Age", which introduced The Anointed One, hero of ancient Israel)

Peter Kuper (author-illustrator of the short biographical story "Promised Land"(Bleeding Heart #2), as well as the book-length autobiographical Stop Forgetting to Remember : The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz)

Scott Kurtz (author-illustrator of PVP, the Eisner-award-winning online comic strip which in 2006 made a joke about the Superman Returns movie being "a Jewish conspiracy to convince Christians that Jesus was gay")

Stan Lee (Jewish comics legend who co-created the Fantastic Four {which has a Jewish chartacter called The Thing} and who appeared in the story "What if the Original Marvel Bullpen was the Fantastic Four?" in What If? #11)

Paul Levitz (author of "Tradition" in DC Comics' 9-11 September 11th 2001)

Miriam Libicki (author of the jobnik! series, the first volume of which has been collected in trade paperback)

Rob Liefeld (illustrator of stories in the Youngblood series of comics, which included the Israeli superheroine Masada)

Stan Mack (author of of The Story of the Jews)

Elliot S! Maggin (author of the Passover seder-inspired short comic story "The Miracle Monday Dinner") {in Superman #400})

Steve Niles (author of the golem story Criminal Macabre: Feat of Clay)

Jimmy Palmiotti (co-creator of the short-lived golem series The Monolith from DC Comics)

Dan Piraro (author-illustrator of the syndicated comic strip Bizarro, including a one-panel joke in which hunted pigs seek refuge in a Hasidic house)

Trina Robbins (author of Lily Renée, Escape Artist, co-author of "Zog Nit Keyn Mol : the Partisans Song" and author of "The Triangle Fire" which was published in both Corporate Crime Comics #2 and Lilith Magazine #2)

Arlen Schumer (author-illustrator of Captain Israel)

Bill Sienkiewicz (illustrator of the story "Into the Abyss" in New Mutants #27, which had the Israeli mutant character Legion)

Gail Simone (who wrote the story "Li'l Krusty in Give a Hoot, Stay in School" in Simpsons Comics #62, as well as "A Contagion of Madness" in Action Comics #835)

J. Michael Straczynski (author of the Amazing Spider-Man story "You Want Pants with That?" and the Rising Stars story "Selah")

Herb Trimpe (illustrator of the Incredible Hulk story "In the Shadow of the Golem")

JT Waldman (author-illustrator of Megillat Esther and illustrator of Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me)

Len Wein (writer of the golem story in Strange Tales #174 - see

Marv Wolfman (author of The Tomb of Dracula #27, The New Teen Titans #24 and Homeland : The Illustrated History of the State of Israel)

Recommended Panels

4:00-5:00, Room 9
Abrams ComicArts
Among the forthcoming works that will be discussed is Barry Deutsch's Hereville Book 2: How Mirka Met a Meteorite, the sequel to the Sydney Talor Award-winning graphic novel Hereville : How Mirka Won Her Sword.

5:30-6:30, Room 26AB Batman's Biggest Secret: The Bill Finger Story Based on five years of research for the new book Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, Marc Tyler Nobleman (Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman) reveals startling, never-published information about Bill Finger, uncredited co-creator of Batman-including the game-changing discovery of Finger's lone heir. Michael Uslan, executive producer of The Dark Knight Rises, on the book: "Purposefully and meaningfully (and beautifully) written." 


10:00-11:00, Room 9
Remembering Jerry Robinson and Joe Simon
Jerry Robinson was a key artist on Batman in the 1940s, the co-creator of The Joker, and later an accomplished newspaper strip artist and political cartoonist. Joe Simon was half of the legendary team of Simon and [Jack] Kirby, the co-creator of Captain America and other Simon-Kirby classics, and later the creator/editor of Sick magazine. We've recently lost both of these legendary figures in comics, so let's pause to remember them along with Paul Levitz, Michael Uslan, Anthony Tollin, Marv Wolfman, Paul Dini, Batton Lash, Steve Saffel and moderator Mark Evanier. 11:00-12:00, Room 9 Siegel and Shuster and Finger Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a character you may have heard of. Bill Finger co-created one or two himself. These men are the subjects of two new books that unlock many secrets as to how some young men gave the world some of the greatest icons of fantasy ever. Hear Larry Tye (author of Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero) and Marc Tyler Nobleman (author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman) as both discuss their works with moderator Mark Evanier. 

12:00-1:30, Room 26AB
Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Revolution and Reaction
Trina Robbins (Lily Renée, Escape Artist) details the art and amazing life of Holocaust survivor Lily Renée Wilheim, one of the most successful women cartoonists during World War II and Fiction House's only woman cartoonist to draw covers as well as interior stories. Cori Knight (University of California, Riverside) and Sean Sagan (University of California, Riverside) present joint research on aspects of the gospel tracts of Jack T. Chick, an author whose comic-book-style evangelical tracts have circled the globe and have been translated into over 40 languages, and consider the tracts' status as sacred objects and as warnings to the world at large.

2:30-3:30, Room 26AB
Comics Arts Conference Session #8: Jack Kirby, Modernism, and Abstraction
Jack Kirby is increasingly emerging as an important 20th century American artist even beyond the realm of the comics world. His art provided pen-and-ink counterparts to the formal concerns of Abstract Expressionist painting, formalizing compositions and graphic rhythms with as much sophistication as artists such as Jackson Pollock or Franz Kline. Even "Kirby crackle" can be compared to the notion of "all-over" mark-making in abstract art as championed by Clement Greenberg. Outer space scenes especially, requiring innovative graphic forms to suggest sublime and unrepresentable space phenomena, provided occasions for some of Kirby's most powerful abstract compositions. This panel will discuss the relationship of Kirby with abstract art, his deeply modernist artistic achievement, and his influence on art and abstract comics. Andrei Molotiu (Indiana University, Bloomington; Abstract Comics: The Anthology) will give a presentation on the topic, then will discuss the subject with artist Mark Badger (Batman: Jazz, Martian Manhunter) and other surprise guests.

8:00-9:00, Room 23ABC
CCAS (Christian Comics Arts Society) Mixer
Join the Christian Comic Arts Society for their annual fellowship mixer. Open to all comics, media, and pop culture fans.

SATURDAY 1:00-2:00, Room 9
Spotlight on Stan Goldberg
Cartoonist, colorist, and Comic-Con special guest Stan Goldberg was there at the beginning of the Marvel Age of Comics, designing the color schemes for characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and many others. As an artist, he is best known for his over 45 years of work at Archie Comics as one of the Archie artists. Stan talks about his career and what he's doing next in this spotlight panel.

2:00-3:00, Room 23ABC
Will Eisner and the Graphic Novel
Moderator Paul Levitz (writer, 75 Years of DC Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes, former Eisner publisher), Klaus Janson (artist/inker, Daredevil, The Dark Knight Return, comics educator, SVA), Denis Kitchen (artist, author, publisher; Eisner's agent and longtime friend), Charles Kochman (editorial director, Abrams ComicArts), and Diana Schutz (comics educator; executive editor, Dark Horse Comics; Eisner's editor) explore the pivotal role Will Eisner's evangelism of the comics artform plays in the evolution of the American graphic novel, followed by a short Q-and-A period.

4:30-5:30, Room 26AB
The Legacy of Harvey Pekar
J. T. Waldman (Megillat Esther) discusses the legacy of Harvey Pekar's work through the lens of the just-released memoir with Waldman, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me. Told over the course of a single day in Cleveland, the book explores Pekar's loss of faith in the modern state of Israel. Waldman discusses this work and the mark Pekar has made on graphic memoir.

6:00-7:00, Room 4 CAS Panel: Spiritual Themes In Comics
The always lively CCAS panel examines spiritual themes in both contemporary comics and pop culture in general, with a special nod this year to Ridley Scott's Prometheus. Join Wayne Gardiner (Crucidel Productions), Sergio Cariello (The Action Bible), Leo Partible (The Action Bible), moderator Buzz Dixon (Savage Angels), and others for this fascinating analysis.


10:00-11:00, Room 5AB
The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel
There might not be comic book industry were it not for Jack Kirby...and if you don't know who that is, you really don't belong at this convention. Each year, his friends and co-workers gather to talk about Jack and his work and to marvel (no pun intended) at the length and breadth of his influence, not just on comics but on TV, movies, and all the arts. This year, the dais will include Herb Trimpe (Incredible Hulk), Stan Goldberg (Marvel colorist), Paul Dini (Batman), and Charles Hatfield (Hand of Fire), all chatting with moderator Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics).

10:00-11:00, Room 32AB CCAS
Sunday Devotional and Christian Comics Panel
Join fellow Christian fans and artists for a brief devotional period, followed by an in-depth analysis on interpreting the Bible in graphic format with Sergio Cariello (The Action Bible), Billy Tucci (A Child Is Born), and moderator Buzz Dixon (Savage Angels). Open to all who wish to attend.