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Monday, February 19, 2007

Jewish Book Week 2007 - Sfar, Waldman,and Gravett

from jewishbookweek.com/2007/250207l.php

Sun., Feb. 25th, 5:30 PM (GMT)
(that's 12:30 EST)
Royal National Hotel
38-51 Bedford Way, London
WC1H ODG

Tickets (required) range from £4.00-£8.00.

Graphic & Novel

Two young and brilliant graphic artists discuss with Paul Gravett the importance of their Jewish roots.

Funny, irreverent and bold, Joann Sfar pays homage to both his Ashkenazi mother and his Sephardi father, with Klezmer following the difficult life of musicians in Eastern Europe and The Rabbi's Cat set in Algeria at a time when Jews and Arabs lived peacefully
together.

JT Waldman brought two dreams together: do a graphic novel and understand his religion better. Seven years later, having learnt Hebrew, studied the rabbinic texts and explored oriental art, he produced Megillat Esther, a stunning graphic novel with a twist, incorporating both Hebrew and English and engaging in a new form of Midrash.

Paul Gravett is a comics historian, lecturer and exhibition curator. His latest book is Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life.

Considered one of the brightest and most talented of the younger generation of French comic artists, Joann Sfar has written or collaborated on more than one hundred books for adults and children. His Jewish subjects are only a tiny part of his work.

Megillat Esther is JT Waldman's first graphic novel. It was conceived in upstate New York, researched and translated in Jerusalem, illustrated in Barcelona, and brought all together in Philadelphia.

With the support of the Institut fran├žais du Royaume Uni.





If you can't make it to the Royal National Hotel that day day, but would still like to go to a panel on Jewish comics, drop by the New York Comic Con for the "Jewish Side of Comics" panel on the other end of the Atlantic. Tickets are required for that, as well.




On Tuesday February 27th, Waldman and Sfar will be part of "Schools Day at Jewish Book Week", presenting `People of the Comic Book' from 10:30 until 11:15.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Heroes Webcomic, chapters 13-16

On Monday the NBC television series Heroes will introduce the character Hana, an Israeli mossad agent whose superpowers allow her to mentally access cyberspace. The NBC Heroes website has been hosting webcomic chapters that tie in with the TV storyline. Chapters 13-16, which tie in with the introduction of Hana may be found at the following sites (Acrobat format) :

http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/novels/downloads/
Heroes_novel_013.pdf

http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/novels/downloads
/Heroes_novel_014.pdf

http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/novels/downloads/
Heroes_novel_015.pdf

http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/novels/downloads/
Heroes_novel_016.pdf


Below is a description of Hana from heroestheseries.com :


Hana Gittelman, a new “Heroes” character with the power to “see” cyberspace (effectively making her a walking wireless cyber girl who can steal and read your emails without having to be plugged in), and who has only been seen in the online comics for now, will be making her debut in the January 22 episode of “Heroes”. Before the episode even airs, you can catch a glimpse of Hana in a sneak preview during “Deal or No Deal”, which as always will air an hour before “Heroes” comes on.

According to the online comics, Hana is an Israeli Mosad agent who is now working for HRG after her mother and grandmother were killed by suicide bombers. It is mentioned that HRG “gave” Hana her cyberspace powers.

Testament #1

The first issue of Vertigo's Testament may be viewed by mature readers (over 18) online (Acrobat format) at http://www.dccomics.com/media/excerpts/
5387_1.pdf


You may also download the notes by its author, Douglas Rushkoff, at http://www.dccomics.com/media/special/
Testament_Vol_1_Notes.pdf
.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Y : The Last Man #1

The first issue of Vertigo's Y : The Last Man may be viewed by mature readers (over 18) online (Acrobat format) at http://www.dccomics.com/media/excerpts/1736_1.pdf

Page 15 introduces the character Colonel Alter Tse'elon, a soldier in the Israeli artillery battalion in Nablus (the West Bank) : "Who wants peace when we have not yet begun to fight?" Alter tells how her grandmother crossed into enemy lines during the War of Independence and that her grandmother was part of the all-female batallion of death during the Russian Revolution.

A Jew developed the polio vaccine

See the cartoon by Edward Margolis and Noah Crissey at http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/16404/

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

33 Jewish Reasons to Attend New York Comic Con in 2007

(1) Sunday afternoon panel on "The Jewish Side of Comics" with :

(2) Neil Kleid (Xeric award-winning author, discussing his Judaic-subject comics work, including Brownsville (his graphic novel about the Jewish mafia) and Migdal David (his upcoming cartoon memoir for Seraphic Press that explores the difficulties of growing up with developmental disabilities in an Orthodox Jewish community).
page from Migdal David


(3) Rabbi Simcha Weinstein (author of Up Up and Oy Vey : How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero)

(4) Danny Fingeroth (author of the forthcoming Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero)


(5) Josef Rubinstein (contributor to Journeys : The Collected Edition and Balm in Gilead, both from Mahrwood Press)


(6) Stan Mack (currently at work on a series of Jewish historical fiction graphic novels)

(7) Steven M. Bergson
(http://jewishcomics.blogspot.com), moderator
Steven M. Bergson

The Jewish Side of Comics
New York Comic Con
Sun., Feb. 25, 2007
4:00-5:00 PM
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th Street
NY, NY
Room 1E04




In the "Artists' Alley", one can meet and talk to :

(8) 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
http://www.leaderslair.com/noexcuses/hulk2-386.html and http://www.leaderslair.com/noexcuses/hulk2-387.html)

(9) Neal Adams (illustrator of "The Ventures of Zimmerman" (parody of Bob Dylan) and "Son O' God", which appeared in the pages of National Lampoon)

(10) Aline Kominsky-Crumb (author of autobiographical comics, including the forthcoming Need More Love: A Graphic Memoir and wife of underground comix legend Robert Crumb)
Aline Komisnky-Crumn self-portrait

(11) Brian K. Vaughn (author of the comic series The Escapists, inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon)

(12) A. David Lewis (author of The Lone and Level Sands, a graphic novel adaptation of the story of Exodus)

(13) Kyle Baker (author-illustrator of the Vertigo graphic novel adaptation King David)

(14) Keith Giffen (author of the Ragman miniseries that reintroduced the title character as a Jewish superhero and creator of the character Dreidel, who appeared in the pages of the last issue of the series The Heckler)

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

(16) Roy Thomas (writer of several Jewish comic stories, including ones with golems, the Holocaust, and a Jewish superhero named Nuklon who refuses to inter-date)

(17) Miriam Katin (author-illustrator of the Nazi-era biography We Are On Our Own)

(18) J. Michael Straczynski (author of the story "Selah" in Rising Stars #16, in which peace is brought to Israel and the Middle East and "You Want Pants with That?" in Amazing Spider-Man #502, which featured a Jewish tailor who helps prevent a crime)

(19) Ellen Kushner (creator and performer of The Golden Dreydl: a Klezmer ‘Nutcracker’ for Chanukah - a children's story which was recorded with Shirim Klezmer Orchestra for Rykodisc, and will be published as a chapter book in 2007 by Charlesbridge Press)

(20) Clifford Meth (author of controversial illustrated short stories, such as "I, Gezheh", "The Man Who Hated Lubavitchers", and "Wagging the Rebbe", editor of short story collections such as Strange Kaddish: Tales You Won't Hear from Bubbie and Balm in Gilead)

(21) Jon Bogdanove (writer of issues of a Superman storyline in which Superman went to the Warsaw Ghetto)

(22) Jerry Ordway (illustrator of an issue of Superman in which he went to the Warsaw Ghetto, as well as an All-Star Squadron story in which Steel ended up in a Nazi death camp)

(23) Douglas Rushkoff (writer of the Testament series from Vertigo)

(24) Peter Gross (illustrator of the Testament series from Vertigo)

(25) Evan Dorkin (author of the comic story "One-Punch Goldberg")

(26) Rick Veitch author of the miniseries The Maximortal, a fictional story about the early comic book business and some of the Jewish characters who were part of its history)

(27)Ben Katchor (author of The Jew of New York)

(28) Phil Jimenez (illustrator of a Heroes online comic featuring an Israeli Mossad agent named Hana)

(29) Larry Gonick (author-illustrator of the Cartoon History of the World series, which includes the history of the Jews and of ancient Israel)




(30) Arie Kaplan, author of a series of articles about the Jewish creators of comics ("The Kings of Comics") will be attending the convention and will probably be attending the Sunday panel. He'll be co-presenting the session "The History of Comic Book Movies" from 11-noon on Sunday. His book Masters of the Comic Book Universe Revealed! will be available for purchase at that panel.

(31) Jordan Gorfinkel (author-illustrator of the comic strip "Everything's Relative") will also be at the "Jewish Side of Comics" panel.

(32) Rabbi Carey Friedman (author of Wisdom from the Batcave) will be attending the "Jewish Side of Comics" panel.

(33) Lauren Weinstein (author of "Chanukah Blues" will be at Comic Con ; she's participating in the "Stuck in the Middle: Wonderment from an Unpleasant Age" on Saturday from 2-3 and is co-hosting "Carousel with Sikoryak & Friends" on Saturday night from 7-8.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Handcuff King - graphic novel about Harry Houdini

by Jason Lutes & Nick Bertozzi

expected Spring '07 from Hyperion/CCS

Wendy Wasman has reviewed it for Jewish Book World.

There are preview panels up at http://www.nickbertozzi.com/comics/houdini/houdini.htm

One of the panels has a policeman talking about the rumor that Houdini has horns on his head because he's a Jew and is in league with the Devil. In a later panel, Houdini responds by saying that when the cop checks his hair for lockpicks he should be able to feel the horns for himself.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Exhibit by Israeli Comic Artists at Toronto JCC

from http://www.tapuz.co.il/tapuzforum/main/viewMsg.asp?
forum=690&msgid=92304914


Come visit our exhibition at Toronto's Miles Nadal Jewish Community
Centre.

750 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON
M5S 2J2
tel: 416 924-6211
WWW: http://www.mnjcc.org.

The exhibition starts on January 15th 2007 and will last until the
end of February.

Theme: "Israel through the work of Israeli Independent Comics
Artists".

Presenting "Carnets de Voyages", a series of paintings created by
Tatiana Yuditskaya (recently presented at the 7th Biennale of
Carnets de Voyages at Clermont-Ferrand in France), and a new project of Tchai Publishing - a graphic novel Appointment with Miracle.

Entrance is free.


I learned from the Tatiana and her partner Eugene that they will be at the gallery in person next Sunday (Feb. 11th) to talk to visitors. They also told me that their blog is at http://tchai.blogspot.com/.

Friday, February 02, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con International Report #6 : Programming Day Four

Steve wearing a Super-Jew t-shirt

In this 6th (& final) San Diego Comicon report, I will talk about the programming that I attended on Sunday.

I started off the day by attending the Christian Comics Meeting arranged by the Christian Comic Arts Society. That might seem odd to some of you. The way I looked at it : (a) some "Christian"-made comics have plenty of Jewish content in them ; (b) before and after the session, I had the opportunity to show people who were there my copy of JT Waldman's Megillat Esther ; (c) I also had the opportunity to mention to some of the audience members the fact that there would be a "Jewish Side of Comics" panel later that day - in that same room - which would include a discussion of the aforementioned Megillat Esther.

The session started out with group prayer and a sermon. It made me feel somewhat uncomfortable, but I've sat through such things before.

The panel was cool, but I don't remember too much about it (since I'm writing this 6 months later). One thing I do remember is feeling jealous of the fact that the Christian comix community is more organized, cooperative and productive (as a unit) than the Jewish comix community. I asked myself "When will we see the formation of a Jewish Comic Arts Society?"

I was also (quietly) amused at the mention of how there are comics out there which seem religious, but are sacreligious. To me, this seems partly a difference between treating sacred text as complete vs. trying to fill in the gaps ("midrash" in Jewish tradition). Douglas Rushkoff's Testament was singled out as an example, but noone even mentioned A. David Lewis's The Lone and Level Sands despite the fact that the book's artist (Marvin Perry Mann) was selling and signing copies at the Comic-Con.

Following the session, I ate the small lunch that my wife brought over and stayed in the room (Room 4) so that I wouldn't have problems getting into the room for the panel I would be moderating when it was over. The session taking place was "Some Assembly Required: Putting Your Project Together Online". I didn't catch all of it, but what I did get to hear was intriguing, i.e. the ways that modern electronic communication has helped facilitate different aspects of the comics field --- from finding people to work with to building a fan base to publicizing your work via online sample pages of artwork &/or scripts.

I didn't really appreciate what was said about Myspace --- partly due to the fact that I wasn't using Myspace to make connections with others in the comics community. Since then, I have joined both Myspace and Comicspace and I intend to learn how well it can be used to publicize a comics event (specifically the Sunday panel that I'll be moderating at this year's New York Comic Con).

Following that panel, I prepared for the "Jewish Side of Comics" panel. I had a quick chat with the Comic-Con rep (who gave the obligatory reminder about time constraints and hand signals), ate my Comic-Con chocolate (all the presenters got one) and checked the spelling on the large paper name plate wich I now have as a souvenir.

I left souvenir Canadian-made postcards (each depicting one of the Canadian stamps of Canadian-made superheroes) and copies of the hard-to-find Comic Festval Free Comic Book Day comics (made especially for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival).

I had intended to audiotape the session, but the tape recorder I had brought didn't work.

Marv Wolfman, Danny Fingeroth, Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, J.T. Waldman and Steven M. Bergson

I have vague recollections of what different speakers spoke about. JT Waldman talked about the long process of writing and illustrating his book. Rabbi Simcha Weinstein downplayed the "Jewishness" of specific comic book characters, preferring to talk about the Biblical archetypes that probably influenced their creators. He also made a funny joke about an Orthodox Jew who has achieved superstar status. For some reason I assumed (& dreaded) that he was going to make a reference to Rabbi Schneersohn (aka "The Rebbe"), but he was talking about Matisyahu. Danny Fingeroth read from his manuscript ; I was impressed by his discussion of the Sub-Mariner as being symbolic of the Disapora Jew in exile yearning to re-establish his homeland. I hadn't made that connection before hearing him talk about it. Finally, Marv Wolfman talked about how he came to be the writer of the Homeland graphic history book. I was shocked when he explained that Bill Rubin told him how he thought Marv could write it in a similar way to how he wrote The History of the DC Universe. The reason I was shocked is that I already own a copy of both volumes of that book, but didn't notice the parallels (I had already seen sample pages of Homeland that were online). Marv made a funny comment about how it was harder to write this book becuase he wasn't allowed to use robots or aliens (alas, "I, Gezheh" is just a science-fiction story and the Israelis haven't built a "Big Moishe" yet).



I had asked each speaker to take no more than 10 minutes each and each of them complied. That left over 10 minutes for questions from the audience.

A shot of the crowd

The turnout for the session was better than I'd expected. At least one guy was trying to videotape it and the question-&-answer period was civilized, but lively. Audience member Roy Schwartz even pitched in to help answer a loaded question about Arab-made comics.

Roy Schwartz talking about AK Comics and Jalila

Among the celebrities in the audeince (or, at least, those whom I consider to be celebrities) were :

Diana Marsh - illustrator of the mini-comic adaptation of the Jewish folk tale "The Bleeding Tree", which she gave me a free copy of. Unfortunately, I foolishly didn't add her to this panel. I hope to have her on a future panel. I also hope I can get her to submit a story for an anthology of Jewish folk tales in comix format (assuming I can find a publisher who will accept my book proposal).

Corey Sosner - an ex-Canuck who made a Punisher / Wolverine fanfilm called First Round

Liana K - co-host of the Canadian hit show Ed's Night Party

Steve Kirzner - the man behind the puppet known as "Ed the Sock", co-host of the aforementioned Ed's Night Party

Another shot of the crowd

I now need to acknowledge the San Diego Union-Tribune, which helped publicize the panel twice, in both its print and online versions. The SDU-T listed the "Jewish Side of Comics" in its list of "What Not to Miss", as well as its list of panels which are part of the theme "Diversity".

What did the bloggers in attendace think of the panel? At this late date (i.e. 6 months later), I think it's safe to say that all the "reviews" are in, so to speak. For the most part, the reviews seem overwhelmingly positive.

The only negative comment I have come across, to date, is that of MeMw|MVPersian :

The day started off a little boring, with a panel for The Jewish side of Comics.


I'm not surprised by his characterization of the panel, though. If one reads his post in full, one finds that he clearly enjoys the sessions dealing with TV, films and video games. That fact is reinforced by looking at which sessions he attended during the Con.

Marv Wolfman, one of the panelists remarked at his blog (July 24th entry):

the Jewish Comics panel which I was certain would be empty ... was actually filled to capacity.

Another panelist, Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, wrote :

It was a real thrill to be on panel with luminaries like Danny Fingeroth, J.T . Waldman and Marv Wolfman. Amid the festivities I also drew attention to the terrible situation in the Israel and gave my blessing that the only evil we should face at this time should be the fictional villains of comic books. The session was well attended and the response super-sonic.




Donald Ensign reported :

I stayed for the Jewish Side of Comics panel. Marv Wolfman and several others were on it. Wolfman is working on a graphic novel (though not straight comics) on the history of Israel.


The Full Metal Teppy wrote :

I ran into ebenbrooks as he left and I arrived. He gave me a hug and asked me how {to get to} the "Jewish Side of Comics" panel to which I was heading.

I'd dressed tznius for the event, which featured Rabbi Simcha Weinstein of the book "Up Up and Oy Vey" about the Jewish origins of Superman. He described how Kal-El means "voice of God" and his origin story parallels that of Moses. His ultimate answer to "Is Superman Jewish?" though is "No way, Jose," because Superman is universal. (Some wag still commented that there are many parallels between Superman and Jesus, and that if Superman is Jesus, then Superman is Jewish.)


Cecile M. Posner Fleetwood, a Comic-Con volunteer and a member of the library committee at Temple Emanu-El in San Diego wrote about the panel on page 6 of the Temple newsletter Ha-Sofer / The Scribe (Acrobat format) :

I was busy as usual, but managed to attend the "Jewish Side of Comics". I'm so glad I did! The session was great! ... The panelists were an interesting blend.




After the panel was over and I breathed a sigh of relief, I stayed in the room for the "Degrassi Graphic Novels" panel. After all, being a Canadian and a fan of all of the incarnations of the TV series, I felt obligated to learn what I could about the upcoming series. it was neat to see the enthusiasm of the show's American fans ; too often, good quality Canadian shows are unknown or ignored by the Yanks.

Halfway through the panel, I left (my wife would later fill me in on what I'd missed) to attend the "H.E.L.P.: Hosting Easy Library Programs" session. Even though I'm no longer a practicing librarian, I still like to see what librarians are doing with comix and graphic novels. I took home some handouts to give to local librarians in Toronto.

By the end of that (3:30-ish), the whole show had only an hour left and there were only 2 sessions left that were not already in progress (neither of which interested me). Thus, I made a mad dash thorugh the exhibit hall to try to locate affordable &/or cheap comics that remained on my "wantlist". I managed to get some, but it required me searching for them and purchasing them whilst hearing over the intercom (along with dozens of other seemingly-oblivious dealers and fanboys) "The Comic-Con is now over! Please exit the exhibit hall now! See you next year!"