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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Spiralmind #1 - followup post

I was a bit hasty with my last post, in which I referred readers to Ka-Blam! While Ka-Blam! is the printer, the comics it prints are sold via IndyPlanet. The specific page for Spiralmind #1 is http://www.indyplanet.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1560&osCsid=fe6458b427de0281d8422dfbab2d7632

Below is the issue description from that page :

On the day of his Bar Mitzvah, twelve year old Ben Landry is witness to his mother's brutal exorcism. In a bizarre and strange ritual foreign to him, young Ben watches as his only living parent struggles to survive the demons that possess her and the exorcism at the hands of Rabbi Solomon Rotblatt and Father Tom O'Brien. Ben's future is determined in this moment of horror. His youth has disappeared, and he is left under the care of his teacher, mentor, and friend Rabbi Rotblatt to guide him toward adulthood. Grown up, Ben Landry is caught between a normal life as an electrical engineer and the protector of humanity. Behind the enlightened guise of Spiralmind, Ben is able to manipulate Phi, the Golden Ratio. While Spiralmind comprehends his true purpose and power, the Occult throughout the city of Nineveh has revealed its malevolent plan for mankind.


The page also has a 6-page preview, the first of which I'm presenting below.

Rabbi Solomon Rotblatt

Spiralmind #1

Spiralmind issue #1 "Rabbi's Lament" will be out by 10 January 2009. To
purchase a copy online, visit comixpress or ka-blam. More information when it's available. Please stay tuned!

Published by Phi3 Comics.

Finally! Jewish Hero Corps #2

Just in time for Chanukah:
Issue #2 of Jewish Hero Corps has finally arrived!

"The Secret of The Solar Succah" is available now at:
http://www.indyplanet.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1320&osCsid=4a6e739d7280559156ad37b0b7359fc3

A radiation-ridden asteroid heading for Earth can only be stopped by a vintage 1955 solar-powered, succah-shaped force-field, whose components were camouflaged and hidden in important Jewish historic spots across the globe decades ago.

In a race against time, The Jewish Hero Corps follows clues to track down where their predecessors hid the devices more than half a century ago.

After Chanukah, it will ALSO be available at the Jewish Hero Corps'
Web site - http://www.jewishsupers.com

The Jewish Hero Corps, the world's only Jewish superhero team, fights
for truth and justice, and against ignorance. Charter members Magen
David, Menorah Man, Dreidel Meidel, and Minyan Man, have recruited
Shabbos Queen, Matzah Woman and Kipa Kid ... and the adventures have
only begun!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Hanukkah!!! - recent (& not-so-recent) Chanukah comics

Tonight will be the 5th night of Chanukah, but today's only the 4th day. Therefore, I've only let half the holiday slip by before posting my annual roundup of Hanukkah comic strips and Chanukah stories in comic books.

As my Hanukkah gift to my loyal readers, I'm using up a chunk of my image file allotment to present graphics in this post. Enjoy!

First up is Hillary Price's Rhymes with Orange, which may by found online at http://www.rhymeswithorange.com/index.php?date=20081222
The Hanukkah Guest






Last year, the "erev Christmas" / Xmas Eve Off the Mark comic strip by Mark Parisi presented us with Extreme Dreidel.

Although there is no new Hanukkah strip from Mark this year, he has placed all of his Chanukah comic strips at a single online location for your convenience : http://www.offthemark.com/search-results/key/hanukkah/

I only learned about the delightful comic strip The Pajama Diaries by Terri Libenson, which is about a Jewish family, earlier this year.

Last year, Hanukkkah came out earlier and Terry used that fact in her cartoon.
The Hanukkah Rush








Another cartoon Terry did had to do with the way that Jewish kids' lunches can seem strange to their Gentile classmates.
latkes for lunch









I love this one about explaining to Jewish children that Jews - young & old - don't believe in Santa Claus.
We don't believe in Santa?!!!








As Terry wrote in her blog "I was careful to tread lightly around the existence of certain major December holiday character".

The 2 above cartoons were from December 2006.

Last January (Jan. 5th, 2007), Level 99 by 2 guys (only known as "Race" and "Arlo") showed us how useful a Jewish shopper can become for a desperate Saint Nick.

Happy Hanukkah to me!














http://www.level99comic.com/item/292

Back in 2002, in the webcomic White Bread and Toast, White Bread complained about not getting any Hanukkah gifts.
only Jews get Hanukkah presents?












http://www.whitebreadandtoast.com/comics/toast391.gif

For Xmas Eve 2003, Ryan Sohmer & Chad William Porter presented a holiday strip in which the main protagonist (Rayne) wishes the readers a Merry Xmas ... while tied to a giant cross. That doesn't seem to have Jewish content. However, after being told that he's likely offended 2/3 of their readers, Rayne (an equal opportunity offender) decides to offend the other third by holding their religious symbols in his hand (including a Star of David).
Have I offended everyone now?













http://www.leasticoulddo.com/index2.php?date=20031224

In 2005, "Enigma" shared his idea for "the first truly multi-denominational holiday symbol" in his webcomic Filthy Lies!. Alas, I haven't found it in any holiday catalogs yet.
the ultimate menorah













http://www.filthylies.net/d/20050119.html

Last December, Jewcy published a 1-page comic critical of the Maccabees and noting the reluctance of Jewish leaders to recognize the holiday. It was co-written by ever-controversial cartoonist Eli Valley & "cranky blogger" David Kelsey titled "The Festival of Lights". The comic - and comments it generated from visitors to the site - may be found at http://www.jewcy.com/feature/2007-12-04/eli_valley_hanukkah
Convert to Judaism or die!
























I'd explain the following Ramp Rats comic strip by Elene Steier entitled "A Mothra Hanukkah", but it's probably best to let the reader enjoy it (or not) and interpret it as they see fit (or not).
http://striporama.com/ramprats/mothra_Hanukkah_2003.jpg

The Hanukkah Moth - a psyshedelic fantasy?


















Meanwhile, Patty & Terry Laban are running their annual 8-day Chanukah comic strip marathon. Unlike last year, there is no ongoing storyline and the special menorah introduced last year is nowhere to be found. This year's theme is "You know it's Hanukkah when ..."

if only everything lasted longer












http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20081221&name=Edge_City

Hanukkah can be fattening












http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20081222&name=Edge_City

dreidel, dreidel, dredel. I made it out of clay.












http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20081223&name=Edge_City


watch the money disappear












http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20081224&name=Edge_City

The remaining cartoons may be viewed - over the course of the next four days - by clicking on the following four links :

http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20081225&name=Edge_City

http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20081226&name=Edge_City

http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20081227&name=Edge_City

http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20081228&name=Edge_City

The comic book world has also been recognizing the Jewish festival of lights.

This year's issue of The Simpsons Winter Wing Ding (issue #3, to be exact) includes a story by Arie Kaplan (erroneously credited as "Ari Kaplan") entitled "Not a (Green, Slimy) Creature was Stirring". In this story, Jewish show biz celebrity Krusty the Clown tries to create a Hanukkah mascot.

This isn't the first time a Simpsons anthology has contained a Chanukah story.
In 2006, The Simpsons Winter Wing Ding #1 included the story "The Gift of the Maccabees" written by Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer. That story had a Krusty flashback to Las Vegas in 1963.

The Simpsons Holiday Humdinger published in 2004 included the story "Con-Nukah!", in which Bart Simpson made the (temporary) decision to become Jewish - for the eight days of presents that he'd be entitled to during Hanukkah, of course.

Bart Simpson wearinga yarmulke and holding a dreidel and a menorah



















The story is summarized well by Mark I. Pinsky in an online excerpt from the book The Gospel According to the Simpsons :

At Hanukkah, he [Bart] learns from a Jewish friend about the eight nights and eight gifts, and naturally Bart decides to convert, noting the additional benefit of holidays off school. Homer asks if his son is certain he wants to “abandon the faith you happened to be born into,” the reason most people worship where they do. Bart, now wearing a skullcap all the time, replies that he’d rather be on Krusty’s team than the Flanderses’. Following the sometimes traditional practice for those who want to convert to Judaism, Rabbi Krustofski turns Bart down several times — to be certain he is serious — before agreeing to take him on for classes. Bart argues that if he became Jewish, he’d be a “trash-talkin’ Spiky-haired Seinfeld with a Fox attitude.” Even so, the rabbi is unconvinced, predicting the boy would not like the religion because “so much Judaism is like opera, the Lincoln Douglas debates, and the Atkins Diet, all rolled into one.” Bart is plainly in it for the toys, which his parents supply each night of the holiday (along with gingerbread rabbis), but sister Lisa is optimistic that her brother may be undergoing a spiritual awakening. Her gift, after lighting the menorah, is a book about Jewish history, humor, and “food-oriented Yiddish phrases” that Bart uses as a TV tray, holding Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda and lowcarb hamentaschen. The boy also announces he can’t do chores around the house on Saturdays because he has become a strict Sabbath observer. As a convert to Buddhism, Lisa despairs at her brother’s antics. “I thought we finally had something in common,” she says. “That we followed our hearts because of what we believe in. But as usual, the only thing you believe in is self-gratification.” In the end, Bart spends enough time with the rabbi to make the right decision and not convert. “Love the religion,” he confesses to Lisa, “but, oy . . . I can’t handle the guilt.”


In the latest issue of Super Friends (#10), in the story "Season of Light" written by Sholly Fisch, the superheroes visit the Wayne Foundation Community Center, where the children are celebrating all of the Winter holidays together. In one panel, Batman helps Moshe to put the candles in the Hanukkah menorah.
Batman lights the Hanukkah menorah with Moshe























However , Dr. Light tries to steal the celebration lights.

According to Shirala's website, her Hanukkah CD comes with a comic.
Check it out for yourself by going to http://shirlala.com/index.php/recordings

I have 2 "leads" for comics which may exist &/or may have Hanukkah content in them.

The first comes from Mike Lynch, who wrote at http://alwiseman.com/2006/06/al-wiseman-appreciation-by-mike-lynch.html
"I learned about Jewish people via Dennis. In one Christmas Special there was a substitute milkman during the holidays and Dennis rode on the milk truck with him and his son. They explained that they were Jews and the regular milkman wanted Christmas off and they, you see, celebrated Hanukkah instead of Christmas, etc. They told Dennis about their religion. It was news to me. What can I say? We lived in a small town!"
It's a bit unclear to me if Lynch is referring to a Dennis the Menace TV special or a comic book special. If he is referring to a comic book, I don't know which one and would welcome input from anyone who knows about such a comic.

The latest issue of DCU Holiday Special (2008) has a story in which Dr. Light aids with the Festival of Lights. However, I'm not 100% certain the "Festival of Lights" being referred to is Hanukkah.

I'll conclude this long Hanukkah post by referring readers to the blog post / Hanukkah sermon of Rabbi Simcha Weinstein (aka the Comic Book Rabbi). In his post Chanukah: A Time For Superheroes, the rabbi makes reference to the 1993 Marvel Comics Holiday story (by Peter David) in which Doc Samson spices up the Hanukkah story by inserting Marvel superhero and supervillain characters. Weinstein concludes that "being a teacher isn’t easy. And teachers are today’s real heroes. They remind us that the great people of our past, like the Maccabees, did remarkable things and won amazing victories while armed with little more than their faith. If they could do it, imagine what we can accomplish. Even without long green hair and red spandex tights."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Comic Book Rabbi Comes to Toronto - Tues., Dec. 14, 8:00 PM

Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, author of Up Up & Oy Vey : How Jewish History Culture & Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero will be appearing at Chabad @ Flamingo for a public lecture, followed by a Q & A with the author, who will be on hand to meet greet, and sign copies of his book.

Some of Simcha Weinstein's earliest memories involve comic books, superheroes and (the now valuable) vintage Batman and Superman toys. His hobby inspired him to study film and eventually pursue a career in film production.

Following a life-altering paradigm shift, Simcha became a Torah observant Jew and was eventually ordained as a Rabbi. He is the founder of the downtown Brooklyn Jewish Student Foundation, and he serves as the Rabbi of the Pratt Institute and the Long Island College Hospital.

Rabbi Weinstein is a witty, entertaining and sought-after public speaker who has lectured across North America and has appeared on CNN, NPR and WNBC. Vist his website www.rabbisimcha.com to learn more about him.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Miriam Libicki in Seattle tonight - comic book reading and discussion

Today, Miriam Libicki (author-illustrator of the jobnik! series, the first volume of which has been collected in trade paperback, the illustrated essays "Towards a Hot Jew: The Israeli Soldier as Fetish Object" and "Jewish Memoir Goes Pow! Zap! Oy!" & the illustrated mini-journals Ceasefire and Fierce Ease) brings her innovative comics reading/slideshow to UW Hillel!

4745 17th Ave NE Seattle, WA 98105
7:00-8:00 PM

Q&A and book signing to follow. Miriam will be bringing the brand-new collection of her army comics, "Jobnik!: An American Girl's Adventures in the Israeli Army," (in stores December 3rd) as well as various mini-comics and essays.

If you'd like to electronically RSVP, please go to http://www.jconnectseattle.org/?site=jconnect&page=calendar&action=viewEvent&eid=1522×tamp=1228377600

At least a dozen websites have discussed Miriam &/or her website, including the ones I am quoting from below.

The IDF, Graphically Speaking

“Jobnik!”, the autobiographical graphic novel penned by Miriam Libicki, is an unromantic journey through a dreary, mundane, male-dominated military that will make readers wince. It’s an outsiders’ take on the drudgery of army life, its sexual tensions and massive bureaucracy set against the backdrop of the outbreak of the recent Palestinian intifada.


jobnik! and more
as befits the material, the book is sometimes ambiguous and versatile; parts of it are funny, parts of it are about conflicting feelings of acceptance (stranger in a strange land, getting in touch with her roots?), parts of it are about being afraid... there are some slippery relationships and a subtext of self-doubt and unease.


Jobnik!: A Good Jewish Girl Gone Better

What is precisely so appealing about Jobnik! and Libicki’s work as a whole is that she is not scared to portray her contradictions and divided loyalties. She suggests no political posturing or wanting to please one polarized political group over another – though certain sections could certainly be isolated and misquoted to seem that way. As her comic progresses, Libicki's art reveals additional layers of texture and depth. And as Miriam’s story continues to unfold, Libicki, her creator/human counterpart, is definitely one graphic artist to watch.


In the army, as in life
For me, though, the most touching and interesting of the Jobnik series is on the pages where Miriam uses intimate experiences to engage in painful self examination and apply them to the complexities of Israeli society and politics.


Jewish storytelling in pictures
Her self-produced comic, Jobnik!, chronicles her day-to-day life in the Israeli army in frank, often blunt terms. Jobnik is Israeli slang for someone in the army with a desk job. More of a graphic diary than a comic, Jobnik! imparts a rarely seen perspective of an army generally viewed as vigilant and relentless. Jobnik! takes us behind the scenes, where soldiers wash dishes, file reports and fool around.


Soldier GirI

“Jobnik!” grounds the reader in moral questions of war and Libicki’s excruciating loneliness.


Jobnik!

Miriam Libicki has a pitch that many would want to read about — she’s an American Jew who enlisted in the Israeli Army — but her art is painfully unready for professional publication, and she’s not able to structure various incidents in a way that adds up to anything more than “and then this happened”.


Jobnik!

it’s always amusing to see the play of emotions across people’s faces as they carefully examine this “Israeli” comic. Is it pro-Palestinian? Pro-Israel? Self-hating? Apolitical? It’s always fun to watch their skeptical faces searching for the pro/anti agenda.


jobnik

Her tales retell Miriam’s unique experience as an American Jewish girl that joins the Israeli Army and lively hood that it entails. Miriam’s work is a gorgeous heartful style that is reminiscent of Phoebe Glockner with Miriam’s own unique talent.


To listen to the podcast interview, please click on the inline player or go to http://www.inkstuds.com/wp-content/podcast/060504%20jobnik.mp3

LIBICKI'S JOBNIK! IN THE ISRAELI ARMY
interview with Jennifer M. Contino (of The Pulse)

Bawdy Barracks (excerpt of an article from issue 16, November 24, 2008 of The Jerusalem Report)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2 comics exhibitions at Brown University

from http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2008/11/comix


Two student-curated exhibitions of comic book art showcasing the work of Jewish artists and exploring Jewish themes will be on display at Brown University’s John Hay Library and the John Nicholas Brown Center Carriage House this fall and winter.

Jews and American Comics: An Exhibition of Popular Art captures the contributions Jewish writers and artists made to comic art since its origin in the Yiddish press of the early 1900s. On display are examples of the art form drawn from the Hay’s collection of more than 70,000 comic books. Artists included in the exhibit include Rube Goldberg, Harvey Kurtzman, Al Capp, Will Eisner, Trina Robbins, and Aline Kominsky Crumb, on display in works from Action Comics to Mad Magazine to the Vault of Horror. The Hay exhibition is open through Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. On Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008, the student curators will hold an exhibition open house from 2 to 4 p.m.

Jews and American Comics: The New Generations, at the John Nicholas Brown Center’s Carriage House Gallery, presents images of recent comic book art. It considers the ways the artists address social issues — violence, prejudice, the threat of war, environmental devastation, and media manipulation — as well as issues of individual and collective identity, and Jewish history. Artists in this show include Art Spiegelman, Miriam Katin, Eric Drooker, Sharon Rudahl, and James Sturm. The exhibition runs Friday, Nov. 21, 2008, through Friday, Jan. 30, 2009.

Both exhibitions are based on work done by students in Paul Buhle’s course, “Jewish Americans: Film and Comics,” with the assistance of John Hay Library curator Rosemary Cullen, public humanities graduate student Leah Nahmias and the staff of the John Nicholas Brown Center.

The John Hay Library is located at 20 Prospect St., Providence. The Library is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage is located at 357 Benefit St., Providence. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. For more information, call (401) 863-1177 or e-mail publichumanities@brown.edu.

The exhibition and events are sponsored by the Creative Arts Council, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and the Department of Visual Arts.

James Sturm lecture at Brown University - Nov. 20th

from http://thephoenix.com/BLOGS/notfornothing/archive/2008/11/17/thursday-jews-and-american-comics.aspx


As part of the opening celebrations for the student-curated exhibition Jews and American Comics: The New Generations, famed comic artist and director of the Center for Cartoon Studies, James Sturm, will give a keynote address and participate in a panel discussion that will explore Jewish themes in comics strips and comic books, and the ways that Jews have shaped this popular American art form. The panel will also include Jason Lutes, a 1991 RISD graduate and artist of the renowned Berlin comic book series (collected in the books Berlin : City of Stones and Berlin : City of Smoke) and Sara Rosenbaum ’00, a former comic artist and former Providence Journal staff writer. This event begins at 5 p.m. in Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001. A reception and the exhibit opening will follow immediately at 6:30 p.m. at the John Nicholas Brown Center, 357 Benefit St.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sarah Glidden to be interviewed on the Comic Book Club show - tonight!!!

Sarah Glidden (author-illustrator of the autobiographical How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less!, which will be published by Vertigo) will be one of the guests who will be interviewed tonight at 8:00 PM at the Comic Book Club show at the Peoples Improv Theater (154 W. 29th Street, New York City).

Hosted by Justin Tyler, Pete LePage, and Alex Zalben. The show is sponsored in part by Midtown Comics! Tickets are only $5 and may be purchased online by going to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/46447.

Apparently, the show is podcast. The archive of podcasts may be found at http://www.popcultureshock.com/cbclub/?tag=podcasts.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ranen Omer-Sherman at Miami Book Fair International - TODAY!!!! (Sun., Nov. 16th)

Ranen Omer-Sherman (Associate Professor of English and Jewish Studies at University of Miami) will be part of a panel being held at the Centre Gallery (Building 1, 3rd Floor) at 10:30 AM during the Miami International Book Fair. Ranen will be talking about the book The Jewish Graphic Novel: Critical Approaches, which he is co-editing with Samantha Baskind (Associate Professor of Art History at Cleveland State University). More information about the book may be found at http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu/acatalog/The_Jewish_Graphic_Novel.html. Among the contributors is Prof. Laurence Roth (Associate Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Susquehanna University).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Israeli comics lecture at Library of Congress - Nov. 6th

Courtesy of Washington DC comics scholar Mike Rhode, who posted this
at
http://comicsdc.blogspot.com/2008/11/nov-6-israeli-comics-lecture-at-library.html

*****

Drawing both from Judeo-European and American cultures, comics have
been a mainstay of Israeli newspapers and readers' markets since the
early 1930s. Little known outside the Middle East, these comics open
an interesting window into Israeli society, past and present.

Ofer Berenstein will deliver a lecture titled "Israeli Comics: Past and Present" at the Library of Congress at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the James
Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave S.E., Washington, D.C.

The lecture, which is sponsored by the Library's Prints and
Photographs Division
, Serial and Government Publications Division and
the Hebraic Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division, is
free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

Ofer Berenstein is a founding member of the Israeli Comic Book
Readers and Collectors Society. He served in the Israeli Army Home
Front Command as a photographer, graphic designer and editor. He is a
graduate student at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Library of Congress
African/Middle Eastern Reading Room Second floor Thomas Jefferson
building
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20540
Phone: (202) 707-2905
Fax: (202) 707-9199
Email: pao@loc.gov

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Jewish Side of SPX 2008

This weekend (Saturday & Sunday), the Small Press Expo will take place at the Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Center.

Among those in attendance will be :

* Josh Eiserike, whose Liberal Crap comic strips for University of Maryland's Diamondback student newspaper included a cartoon about Jewish dating websites and a cartoon about the perks (and downside) of being Jewish

* Sarah Glidden (author-illustrator of the Ignatz-nominated How to Understand Israel in Sixty Days or Less! (in the Promising New Talent and Outstanding Mini-Comic categories)

* Ben Katchor (author-illustrator of The Jew of New York)

* Miss Lasko-Gross (author-illustrator of the graphic autobiography Escape from "Special")

* Miriam Libicki (author-illustrator of the jobnik! series, the first volume of which has been collected in trade paperback, the illustrated essay "Towards a Hot Jew: The Israeli Soldier as Fetish Object" and the illustrated mini-journals Ceasefire and Fierce Ease)

* Jason Lutes (author-illustrator of the comic series berlin, which has been collected in the trade paperbacks Berlin : City of Stones and Berlin : City of Smoke and author of Houdini : The Handcuff King)

* Jim Ottaviani (author of Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love and Fallout : J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb)

* Lauren Weinstein (author-illustrator of the anthology Girl Stories, which includes the story "Chanukah Blues", as well as of the story "Horse Camp" which appeared in the anthology Stuck in the Middle).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

David Crane comic strip - Oct. 18, 1959

To all my Jewish readers, I would like to extend a hearty Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year)!

Although I rarely put images in my blog posts, tonight I'd like to share an old comic strip illustrated by Canadian cartoonist Win Mortimer, who passed away 10 years ago.

In the following David Crane strip, David explains to a group why Jews cover their heads and also discusses Jewish symbols. I wonder where the line "it [a fringed prayer shawl] or a skullcap or both are worn in the synagogue" came from. I've never seen anyone in shul wearing a tallis but not a yarmulke. Those who are seen not wearing one are usually politely reminded that they should be wearing a skullcap and most synagogues have extra yarmulkes on hand for those who may have forgotten theirs somewhere or lost it on the way there.

Please click on the hyperlinked image below to see a larger, clearer version of the comic.

Why do Jews cover their heads in the synagogue?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

meet Jordan Gorfinkel, Harvey Pekar, or Marc Tyler Nobleman

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, Ohio is currently hosting the touring exhibition "Zap! Pow! Bam! The Super Hero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950".

That's the Maltz Musem, not the Shmaltz Museum.

Although it's basically the same exhibition that's been on display in such places as New York, Miami Beach, and Atlanta, each host city's museum has the opportunity to focus in on local Jewish cartoonists (Miami Beach's museum had a special focus on Will Eisner, who had moved to Miami from New York).

Cleveland has been the home to quite a few Jewish comix creators, including Brian Michael Bendis and Peter Kuper.

On Wed., Oct. 22nd (7:00 PM), Jordan B. Gorfinkel (author-illustrator of the syndicated Jewish comic strip Everything's Relative and Michael Sangiacomo (Plain Dealer comics columnist and author of Tales of the Starlight Drive-In) will talk about the impact of Jewish comics creators.
"Who Knew? Why All Superheroes (and their creators) are Jewish!"
$10 ($8 for Maltz members)

On Sun., Oct. 26th (1:45 PM at the Bertram Inn and Conference Center), legendary comix writer Harvey Pekar (American Splendor, The Quitter, Ego & Hubris, Our Cancer Year) will talk about his unique brand of comic storytelling with Michael Pawuk (Teen Librarian at the Cuyahoga County Public Library [Brooklyn Branch] and author of Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More)
"The Splendor of Graphic Novelist Harvey Pekar"
$15 ($10 for Maltz or JCC members)

On Wed., Nov. 5th (7:00 PM), Marc Tyler Nobleman will talk about his children's book Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman which spotlights Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
"It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's ... Siegel and Shuster!"
$10 ($8 for Maltz members)

Thanks to Shawna Gambol Woodard (aka the Library Mistress) for announcing these exciting events at her blog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Yearly Shpritz of Jewish Bits

I usually don't get too enthused about the wide assortment of oversized, overpriced, theme calendars that flood the market every September. For my own personal use, all I need is the most basic type of calendars - the plain type with just the dates in big squares for me to jot down important events and appointments.

Even though I am a lover of both Judaica and comics, I usually avoid the Jewish or comix-themed calendars, which are usually just recycle previously-published illustrations or photographs.

This year, however, I have been introduced to a calendar that not only combines something Jewish (specifically, Jewish jokes) and the comix format, but also something which contains cartoons which have not previously been published (i.e. NEW material).

The product I am talking about is A Yearly Shpritz of Jewish Bits : The Ultimate Illustrated Calendar of Jewish Humor (Old and New), with jokes adapted into comics format by the talented former MAD intern Chari Pere.

As with other standard Jewish calendars, this one displays both the English and Hebrew dates, marks both Jewish and American statutory holidays and provides Friday night (shabbos) candle-lighting times.

Unlike other Jewish calendars, it ends with a bibliography, pointing readers to the sources (print & online) from which Chari adapted the jokes and showing them where to find more jokes.

Among the cute touches to be found in the pages of the calendar are the recurring sun motif at the top of each month which wears progressively more or less clothing (including sunglasses, which seemed ironic to me), fictional holidays (though I could seee myself making a new tradition of annually celebrating National Chocolate Chip Day, National Ice Cream Sandwich Day and I Am In Control Day), and subtle jokes in the background (e.g. newspaper headlines : "Jew Wins Marathon" and "World's Biggest Latka").

I would say that the only drawback to this year's (inaugral) calendar of Chari's is the small size, which resulted in date squares too tiny for me to scribble in the multitude of appointments and events that I try to schedule in every year. On the other hand, this comic calendar is too nice-looking for me to want to mark it up at all (and I receive enough large-sized freebie calendars to let me use for that).

Overall, I would highly reccommend this laugh-your-tuchus-off product to anyone who enjoys humor (and particularly those who enjoy Jewish comedy) or cartoons (and particularly those who enjoy Jewish comics) and those who love fun calendars (and particularly those who enjoy fun calendars featuring cartoon adaptations of Jewish jokes). Since calendars are an annual publication, Chari Pere's Yearly Shpritz gives us something to look forward to every Fall.

And don't just take my word for it.

The Jewish Star's Alan Jay Gerber (the "Kosher Bookworm" ) wrote the following in his review / profile of Chari

calendar that will never be thrown out after it expires one year from now


I have never seen anything like this. It is different and funny, and unique for a calendar since it is dated; the jokes and humor used are indeed dated to an era long past and forgotten, yet deliberately revived to entertain a new generation of young Jews.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

meet Paul Buhle, Miriam Libicki, or Arie Kaplan

Tomorrow night, the KGB Bar is hosting the launch of a new book edited by Paul Buhle - Jews and American Comics : An Illustrated History of an American Art Form.

Among the special guests (besides Buhle) will be Lawrence Bush (editor of Jewish Currents, Kim Deitch, Miriam Katin (author of We Are On Our Own), Peter Kuper (author of the story "Promised Land" and the graphic autobiography Stop Forgetting to Remember : The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz) and Seth Tobocman (author of Portraits of Israelis and Palestinians: For My Parents ).

The launch is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM.

85 East 4th Street
NY, NY




Israeli-Canadian journalist Lisa Goldman reports at her blog (On the Face) that Canadian cartoonist Miriam Libicki (author of the jobnik comic book series, the first 6 issues of which have been collected in a trade paperback) will be appearing at Tel Aviv store Comix ‘n Vegetables (40 King George Street, around the corner from the Dizengoff Center) at 11:00 AM on Friday, September 12 for a Q&A session and signing.




Arie Kaplan, author of From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books has been scheduled for 10 appearances to discuss and promote his book. Those appearances - and any which haven't been finalized just yet - are listed / will be listed at http://www.fromkrakowtokrypton.com/tour.html.

On Sep. 14th (3:30-5:00 PM), Arie will give an audiovisual presentation at a teen program to be held at the Hilton Garden Inn (12600 University Dr., Fort Myers, FL)

On Nov. 2nd (9:00-11:00 AM), as part of the grand opening of the Temple Emanu-El Library in Closter, NJ (180 Piermont Road), Arie will meet Grade 4 & 5 students (9-10) and will be the guest speaker for the Adult Breakfast (10-11).

On Nov. 4th, Arie will be one of the guest authors at Toronto's 32nd annual Jewish Book Fair, which will be held at the Koffler Centre of the Arts (4588 Bathurst Street).

On Nov. 5th (7:00 PM), Arie will be appearing at the Gershman Y in Philadelphia (401 South Broad Street).

On Nov. 6th, Arie will be appearing in the Rosenwald Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania (3420 Walnut Street, sixth floor) for a lively presentation - including film and video clips - followed by a book signing, as part of Comics, Animation, & Graphic Novels at Penn : A Year-Long Celebration. To RSVP for this event, please go to http://www.library.upenn.edu/forms/eventsresponse3.html.

On Nov. 9th (10:00 AM), Arie will be appearing at the Jewish Book Festival brunch of the Jewish Community Alliance in Jacksonville, FL (8505 San Jose Blvd.).

On Nov. 16th (2:00 PM), Arie will be appearing at the Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair at the Jewish Community Center of the Greater St. Paul Area (1375 St. Paul Avenue).

On Nov. 18th, Arie will be appearing at the JCC of Greater Kansas City (5801 W. 115th Street St #101).

On Nov. 20th, Arie will be appearing at the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven (360 Amity Road).

On Dec. 8th (6:30 PM), Arie will be appearing at Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester [220 South Bedford Road (Route 117)]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spend Labor Day with Freeman & Rosezweig (& other authors)

Luke Ford's blog is promoting the 4th annual Ben Yehuda Press Labor Day BBQ and Literary Hootenanny, which will be held Monday, September 1st at 1 PM - 430 Kensington Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666.

Among the authors who are scheduled to make an apperance to discuss their work are The Comic Torah's author & illustrator team Sharon Rosenzweig and Aaron Freeman.


Sharon Rosenzweig and Aaron Freeman will discuss their upcoming THE COMIC TORAH: REIMAGINING THE VERY GOOD BOOK, it’s the Torah — the take is a comic look, the format is a comic book, from the minds of Chicago artist, Sharon Rosenzweig and stand up comic, Aaron Freeman.


If you plan on attending the BBQ, please RSVP to Larry at larry@BenYehudaPress.com.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lilith magazine promotes Jewish graphic novels

The Spring 2007 issue of Lilith magazine contained a 1-page preview of Rutu Modan's Eisner-winning graphic novel Exit Wounds (page 48).

The Fall 2007 issue contained both a review of Sharon Rudahl's graphic novel A Dangerous Woman : The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman (p. 43-44) and a 1-page preview of Miriam Libicki's jobnik! series (p. 48).

Pharaoh's Daughter & Miriam Save Moses : The Value of Life

The Summer 2006 issue of Lilith magazine mentions on page 46 that Behrman House has published a manga titled Pharaoh's Daughter & Miriam Save Moses : The Value of Life, as part of its Manga Midrash series. The other 3 titles in the series are : Courage : Moses, the Israelites, and the Golden Calf, Compassion: Eliezer & Rebecca at the Well, and Leadership: Jacob and Esau.

Super Man and the Bug Out

courtesy of feygele at Jewschool :


The Super Man and the Bugout, a short story by Cory Doctorow from his collection A Place So Foreign and Eight More, is “about Superman as a Jewish boy raised in Toronto’s suburbs (Superman’s creators being, of course, nice Jewish boys from Toronto!), put out of work by the arrival of benevolent aliens who welcome Earth to the Galactic Federation.”

...

Roy Trumbull has done a great performance of the short story, now available on mp3. At 56 minutes long, I recommend downloading it to your favourite portable mp3 player and listening as you walk around town, take your daily commute, or go on your lunch break. Definitely worth a listen!

8th Animation Comics & Caricature Festival - Tel Aviv - Aug. 13-16

The 8th Animation Comics & Caricature Festival will be held this week - August 13-16 at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv. Forf more info (in Hebrew), please go to the website at http://www.anicomfestival.co.il/.

Graphic Therapy - Notes from the Gap Years

Artist Emily Steinberg tells us about her life in the online autobiographical graphic memoir Graphic Therapy - Notes from the Gap Years. The memoir is divided into "sessions" and thus, far only the first 3 sessions have been uploaded.

Her mini-bio at the Smith site reads "Emily is 39, single, underemployed, and can’t decide if she’s a dilettante or a genius. We’re pretty sure it’s the latter. Her fearlessly blunt diary of her “gap years” exposes a unique worldview on art, commitment, Nazis, mice, copy-machine salesmen, Judaism, SUVs, and psychoanalysis. Plus, it has funny pictures."

The story should be read from start to finish, but for those just interested in the "Jewish" passages, I'll provide links and quotes below :

http://www.smithmag.net/graphictherapy/2008/06/04/chapter-1/3/

I mean, according to the normal plan, the nice Jewish girl plan, I was supposed to be married to a mensch, living in the burbs, and schlepping my children all over creation in my oversize SUV, a cumbersome but stylish vehicle which resembles a living room more than a mode of transport.


http://www.smithmag.net/graphictherapy/2008/07/14/chapter-2/4/


When I was a little girl in the late 60's, early 70's, I used to think to myself, I have two strikes against me : I'm female and I'm Jewish, but at least I'm not black. It seemed to me that life options for girl's were limited to wife, mother, grandma, and maybe secretary or nurse, if you were really lucky. So I figured it was bad that I was a girl.

And it was super bad that I was Jewish. At the tender age of seven or eight, they started showing us horrendous films about the Holocaust in Hebrew School.

Images of naked women and children, in grainy black and white, gunned down in a pit. Images of naked men, being forced to lie down and be whipped by fully dressed S.S. officers.


http://www.smithmag.net/graphictherapy/2008/07/14/chapter-2/5/


Mom and Dad told me they wanted to have a lot of children to off set the loss of the Jews in the Holocaust. That's pretty heavy information for a kid. Just a tad more intense than Fun With Dick & Jane. No wonder Jewish kids are so neurotic. So, I realized it was really bad to be Jewish.


http://www.smithmag.net/graphictherapy/2008/07/14/chapter-2/6/

Mom and Dad were liberal Jews, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. The shtetl relocated to Ocean Parkway.


http://www.smithmag.net/graphictherapy/2008/07/28/chapter-3/2/


My body has become a monlith, sort of like Stonehenge.

...

It's all because of my fucking DNA. These are my great, great grandparents, serious shtetl stock. Big people with big bones. In my family, if you didn't eat often and with gusto, something was wrong with you.


http://www.smithmag.net/graphictherapy/2008/07/28/chapter-3/8/


Over the summer, I visited Heinie at the Haupterfuehrerberger farm in Oregon. Feeling like a Hasid, in black robes and a fur-trimmed hat, my side locks swinging in the breeze, this East Coast Jew flew West to hang with a passel of ex-pat Krauts on the new Sudetenland.


http://www.smithmag.net/graphictherapy/2008/07/28/chapter-3/9/


I was like, huh? So, there I was, the quintessential Jew, drinking wine and eating swine at a table presided over by a diminutive, wizened former Nazi party member.

Don't Look Back

Don't Look Back is a Hebrew comix work with text by Israeli song writers, and comic illustrations by Israeli artists.

A sample page may be found online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/61209614@N00/2525341333/sizes/o/.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Jews Ruined My Life

The first page of the Hebrew comic story "The Jews Ruined My Life" by Daniel Goldstein, which will appear in the anthology Izrapol, may be viewed online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/amitai/2657599485/sizes/l/.

Who will be the scape-goats of the coming Jewish Year?

Ariel Weissman's comic page "Who will be the scape-goats of the coming Jewish Year?" (an Udi special), appeared in Hebrew on Sep. 14, 2007. The original Hebrew version may be read online at http://j.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=513091&TypeID=1&sid=128

An English trabslation may be found at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/amitai/1438845589/sizes/o/.

Lucky Picture by Joanna Karpowicz

A page from the story "Lucky Picture" by Joanna Karpowicz, which will appear in the anthology Izrapol,may be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/amitai/2658423928/sizes/o/.

Saddleback's Illustrated Classics - Merchant of Venice

Saddleback Educational Publishing, having acquired the series of illustrated classics from Pendulum Press in 2007, has set about reprinting these classics in full color. Among these classics is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.

Hebrew comic - Nikmat mi-Potsetsot ha-Mistik

The 5 pages of the Hebrew comic story Nikmat mi-Potsetsot ha-Mistik illustrated by Dotan Moreno and dated August 2006 may be viewed at Moreno's Flickr page.

The exact addresses are as follows :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/436503535/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/436503547/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/436503555/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/436503561/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/436503569/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/

Shuk - a Hebrew comic story

The 5 pages of the comic story "Shuk", illustrated by Dotan Monero and based upon a story by Simi Berdugo, may be viewed at his Flickr page.

The address for each of the pages follows below :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/471135847/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/471135845/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/471135833/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/471135831/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotanmoreno/471135817/sizes/l/in/set-72157600003262557/

Breaking the Ice #57

John Keating is an actor, stand-up comic, and a cartoonist. Not a very common combination of talents.

In cartoon 57 of his online comic strip Breaking the Ice, John recounts a true-life experience. While auditioning for a part, he was "profiled" as a Jew. When the casting agent realized that he wasn't actually Jewish, he didn't get the part.

Super-Jew? Huh?

"Jesus of Zion" look at the Uri-On comic book and Uri Orbach, who was a roomate of Michael Netzer (the author & illustrator of the Uri On series).

The blog post may be found at http://wwjbwhatwouldjesusblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/super-jew-huh.html.

Super Jewish comic heroes

Australian Jewish News article - July 30, 2008 by Adam Kamien

You may read the full article online at http://www.ajn.com.au/news/news.asp?pgID=5931.


Melbourne comic book devotee and former fanzine (a DIY publication released by a fan) editor Lazarus Dobelsky says for immigrant Jews in the 1930s, “normal” jobs were hard to come by.

“When most of these people started, they struggled to get into the WASP-ish advertising agencies, but they had to earn a living somehow and working on comic books was about as good as they could get at the time,” Dobelsky said.

“It does beggar belief that in the early years, about 70 per cent of the industry was Jewish.

“Jews have a vast treasure trove of legends that are passed on to us by our parents and our culture. Also, it’s undeniable that as a Jew you like to tell stories,” Dobelsky said.

The two Jews responsible for the birth of the comic book were a couple of New York gangsters. Harry Donnenfeld and Jack Liebowitz bought a company that produced pulp magazines, which ran trashy stories about detectives and crime fighters with sensational cover art and comic strips taken from the daily papers.

Drawing together - the first Israeli-Polish comic book

Jerusalem Post article (Jul. 31, 2008) by Asi Gal

The full article is online at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1215331158275&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull


If you didn't know, 2008-2009 is Israel-Poland year. One of the many events taking place in this framework is the launching of Polisra, the first Israeli-Polish comic book - to be featured at an exhibition at Holon's Israeli Cartoon Museum and at the Tel Aviv comic books festival. The Polish Mickiewicz Institute, which initiated the book, hopes it will be a channel in creating dialogue on topics considered taboo in the two nations' histories.

On the Polish end of things, the obvious taboo is that period that began in the late 30s - and the never fully resolved questions of complicity with the Nazis.

"Polish people feel a lot of hatred from Israelis visiting Poland," says Amitai Sandy, publisher, art director and editor of the comic book. Sandy, along with four other Israeli comics writers, including Ze'ev Engelmayer and Noa Abarbanel, worked with five Polish comics writers on this joint project.

"When Israelis come to visit the camps, they always have security around them and are not allowed to talk with the Poles." The Poles, he says, "feel that all Israelis view them as anti-Semites."

For their part, he asserts, many Poles "view Israelis as militant extremists who have brought Russians to Israel to use as war machines against Arabs."

Sandy views Polisra as an opportunity to deal with history and the stereotypes connected to it. One story in the book, for instance, portrays a Polish woman who buys a picture of a Jew counting money for her new house. According to Polish tradition, such a picture brings prosperity to a new home. When no such prosperity arrives, the woman complains of the picture's failure to the salesman. The next frame depicts the salesman in his villa, surrounded by such pictures, exclaiming that, "It works for me!"

sketch of One-Punch Goldberg by Evan Dorkin

One Punch Goldberg

Here's a sketch of One-Punch Goldberg drawn by Evan Dorkin for "lantern75", which was found on his Flickr page. Of course, the note below the sketch, saying that it well probably never come out, ended up being wrong. The One-Punch Goldberg story appeared in Biff Bam Pow! #1, which has been reviewed at Kids' Comics, Richard Burton's Fictions, Read About Comics, Playback:STL and Line of Fire.

Comic-Book Idols Rally to Aid a Holocaust Artist

New York Times - Aug. 8, 2008

As all-star comic-book team-ups go, this one beats the first meeting of Superman and Spider-Man. Three of the elder statesmen of comic books — Neal Adams, Joe Kubert and Stan Lee — have joined forces to combat what they see as a real-world injustice.

The men are lending their talents to tell the tale of Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, who survived two years at the Auschwitz concentration camp by painting watercolor portraits for the infamous Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele. Some of the artwork also survived, but it is in the possession of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland. Now 85 and living in California, Mrs. Babbitt wants the artwork back, but the museum has steadfastly refused to return it.

“I’m at a total loss,” Mrs. Babbitt wrote in an e-mail message. “I feel just as helpless as I did when I was at camp. Totally disempowered.”

Now Mrs. Babbitt’s story has been captured in a six-page comic-book story illustrated by Mr. Adams, who helped take Batman back to his dark roots after the ’60s television show made him seem campy; inked partly by Mr. Kubert, whose comics career stretches back to the 1940s and who has drawn everyone from Hawkman to Sergeant Rock; and featuring an introduction by Mr. Lee, a co-creator of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and many other Marvel heroes.

The text was written by Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which has championed Mrs. Babbitt’s cause. Mr. Medoff and Mr. Adams have offered the story to DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment in the hopes of getting it published, but no deal is yet in place.


You may read the whole story online at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/09/arts/design/09comi.html

The 6-page comic may be read online at http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/08/09/arts/Babbitt_pages1-6.pdf (Acrobat format)

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Comix Side of the Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Cleveland (2008)

My AJL convention / vacation in June went amazingly well.

I had worried that my session would have a low turnout, but that was not the case. The room had about 40 seats and most of those seats were filled throughout the session. I had made 40 copies of the handout, but was asked to make an additional 20 more for a handouts table (they had disappeared by the end of the convention).

I ran into people who said that they were interested in my "Israel in Comics" presentation, but were unable to attend. I told them about how the session was recorded for a podcast file which will be available online later this year (I'll announce it with the address once I find out). I also told people the website address for the presentation blog - http://israelincomics.blogspot.com.

Miriam Libicki read from her graphic works (with the graphics displayed on a screen as she read) "Towards a Hot Jew: The Israeli Soldier as Fetish Object", The jobnik! Manifesto, and an as-yet-unpublished essay which will appear in an anthology titled The Jewish Graphic Novel: Critical Approaches.

I bought the jobnik! volume 1 trade paperback, Ceasefire and Towards a Hot Jew, which all got signed by Miriam.

Among the factoids I learned at Steve Sheinkin's panel were : Steve had to rewrite & redraw a story in which Rabbi Harvey would have "accidentally" rolled up a paper that would have condemned him to death and used it to make a cigarette which he then smoked (the book editor didn't think a role model like Rabbi Harvey should be shown smoking) ; Steve has used Rabbi Harvey to explain Jewish wedding customs for a pamphlet given out at a friend's wedding ; Steve has written & illustrated a book review of The Rabbi's Cat 2 for Jbooks in a comix format using Rabbi Harvey as the reviewer.

Steve signed one of my Rabbi Harvey books (the other one was already signed) and also drew a Rabbi Harvey sketch for me.

I bought a copy of Mendel's Daughter : A Memoir and got Martin Lemelman to sign it for me.

At Bill Rubin's session (which was part of the special Celebration of Jewish Children's Literature program), he gave insight into the creation of the award-winning graphic history book Homeland : The Illusterated History of the State of Israel, such as the decision to use a modestly-dressed female university professor as the narrator of the book, the attempt to try to provide rock-solid historical accuracy to avoid criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, the intentional blurring of the depiction of the Biblical Isaac (to avoid reader dissatisfaction about Isaac's age, since that is a subject under debate among Biblical scholars) and Marv Wolfman's insistence on the double-page spread that appears at the end of the book. Truth to tell, that was one of the parts of the book that disappointed me. As Bill exsplained, Marv felt that the book should show how the ghosts of Herzl and Moses are still with us in the present. I do understand that, but personally I felt that it was already implied by the way that Moses and Herzl both saw blurry visions of the same Tel Aviv "skyline of the future" which appears in crystal-clear color as the students of today are looking at it. I agree with the sentiment, but felt that the reader should have realized that the spirits of our ancestors are still with us, by making the connection on their own and that having Moses and Herzl drawn as ghosts kind of spolied it.

At the Jewish Publication Society table, I had a chance to peruse the galley for Arie Kaplan's forthcoming book From Krakow to Krypton : Jews and Comics. At the Ben Yehuda Press table, I learned that the Yudelsons (the co-publishing couple at BYP) were interested in the work of Aaron Freeman & Sharon Rosenzweig (who co-write the comics that appear on the Comic Torah website).

Among the tourist attractions and other places we visited, there were additional opportunities to see comics art - some intentional, some not so much.

We made certain to drive to Columbus so that we could visit the Cartoon Research Library at Ohio State University. I had a chance to look at original artwork from Jeff Smith, creator of the epic Bone series currently being republished in color by Scholastic. The exhibition "Jeff Smith : Before Bone" displays pages from the comic strip "Thorn", which ran in the Ohio State University student newspaper The Lantern. I hadn't realized that Smith was a student at OSU nor known that he used Thorn to flesh out the characters who would later figure prominently in his Bone series. I also took a look at 2 Jewish cartoon books by Joe Nebesky that were in the collection : Ring around the Talis and Rabbi Knows Best.

One of the special exhibits at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was a look behind the scenes of the Beatles movie Help!. Among the photos on the walls were at least 2 which showed that Paul McCartney enjoyed reading American comic books, specifically Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. I had never even known there were such photos ... but someone else apparently knew about them and posted them on his blog.

At the Eton mall in Woodmere, I couldn't help stepping inside the Dick Kleinman Fine Art Gallery, the portraits of the current US presidential candidates having captured my attention. At the back of the gallery, there was a display of artwork by the great children's author and illustrator Dr. Seuss. Among the familiar illustrations which went into his classic picture books were illustrations and sculptures I'd never seen before - self-portraits, a bronze sculpture of a group of turtles standing one on top of the other in a tower formation and 3-dimensional pieces from Seusss's "collection of unorthodox tapestry". If you're in that area, I reccommend that you take a look for yourself.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Israel in Comics - the blog

At the AJL convention in Cleveland last month, a Powerpoint presentation on the portrayal of Israel & Israelis in comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels was given.

A podcast of the session will be available via the AJL website at http://www.jewishlibraries.org

Tonight, I put the finishing touches on the official presentation blog for "From Tintin to Waltz with Bashir", which may be found at http://israelincomics.blogspot.com

Even if you were among the 30-something people who attended the session, you'll probably want to take a look at the blog. Not only will doing so enable you to take a second look at the all of the scans I showed, but you will be able to see dozens of additional ones which time didn't permit me to share.

The blog is arranged into 11 sections for those who don't want to read it all at once (and the downloading of the images is quicker).

To see the full-size scan of any image, simply click on that image (a hyperlink will take you to the image file).

the 11 sections :

Introduction
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
Works Not Yet Published (as of June 2008)
Bibliography of Articles

additional features :

* hyperlinks to selected webcomics

* promotional videos

* hyperlinks to selected fulltext magazine, journal, & newspaper articles

* description of each of the scans, sometimes with additional commentary

* hyperlinks to reputable online vendor sites that sell the items under discussion

* hyperlinks to cartoonist bios and websites

Your feedback (positive or negative) is welcome and appreciated.

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

50 Jewish Reasons to Attend Comic-Con International in San Diego

Tomorrow night will be the preview night for one of the biggest comics events of the year - San Digeo Comic Con International aka SDCCI.

As I try to do every year, I've made a list of "Jewish" people and sessions that atand out from the less "Jewish" ones.

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

(2) Antarctic Press (publisher of Families of Altered Wars [which included the "Stars of David" storyline] and Dictators of the Twentieth Century : Hitler #1-4)

(3) Arsenic Lullaby (issue #12 contains "Pilsbury Doughboy at Auschwitz"")

(4) Kyle Baker (Eisner-winning author-illustrator of the King David graphic novel from Vertigo, as well as a funny 1-page cartoon in his Kyle Baker : Cartoonist TPB in which a Jewish Cinderella has a mishap under the chuppah)

(5) Mike W. Barr (author of the story "Sympathy for the F├╝hrer!" (Adventures of the Outsiders #35)

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

(7) Aron Coleite (author of the online Heroes stories "Wireless", "The Path of the Righteous", and "The Death of Hana Gitelman", all featuring Israeli character Hana 'Wireless' Gitelman and all reprinted in the Eisner-nominated Heroes volume 1)

(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) Tony Dezuniga (illustrator of the stories "Black Crossing" and "There Comes Now Raging Fire" in Strange Tales #176 & #177)

(10) Colleen Doran (illustrator of a one-page illustration in The Death Gallery, in which Death is at a concentration camp

(11) 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)

(12) Al Feldstein (author of "Master Race"Impact #1)

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

(14) Robert Loren Fleming (co-author of the Ragman miniseries)

(15) Keith Giffen (illustrator and co-author of the Ragman miniseries and author-illustrator of the Heckler series which introduced the characters Rabbi Zone and Dreidel)

(16) Mike Gold, editor

(17) Mike Grell (author-illustrator of Green Arrow #57-58 and Jon Sable : Freelance #22-24)

(18) Pia Guerra (one of the illustrators of the Eisner-nominated Y: The Last Man)

(19) Jaime Hernandez (co-author of the graphic novel Love & Rockets X)

(20) Al Jaffee (one of the cartoonists featured in the online article "Jews and the Graphic Novel")

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

(22) Arie Kaplan (author of From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, who will be signing copies of his Speed Racer comic book at the IDW Publishing booth (#1705) on Thursday July 24th from 4-5 PM)

(23) Neil Kleid (author of the graphic novel Brownsville, as well as the forthcoming Migdal David and The Big Khan)

(24) 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)

(25) 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")

(26) 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)

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

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

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

(30) Rutu Modan (author-illustrator of the Eisner-nominated graphic novel Exit Wounds)

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

(32) Jim Ottaviani (author of Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love and Fallout : J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb)

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

(34) Jerry Robinson (Batman series artist who also did illustrations for Bible Tales for Young Folk)

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

(36) Steve Rude (author of many Nexus stories ; one of the main characters in Nexus is Judah Maccabee aka "The Hammer")

(37) Ariel Schrag (editor of Stuck in the Middle)

(38) Gail Simone (who wrote the story "Li'l Krusty in Give a Hoot, Stay in School" in Simpsons #62)

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

(40) James Sturm (author-illustrator of The Golem's Mighty Swing, reprinted in the Eisner-nominated God, Gold, and Golems)

(41) Roy Thomas (who had the Thing battle the Golem in Marvel Two-in-One #11 and introduced Jewish superheroes Nuklon {Infinity Inc. / JLA} and Golem {The Invaders})

(42) Jim Warren (publisher behiod Warren Publishing, whose titles included After Hours, Creepy, Eerie, Famous Monsters and Vampirella)

(43) Len Wein (writer of the golem story in Strange
Tales
#174 - see http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/golem1.htm)

(44) Judd Winick (author-illustrator of Pedro and Me and Caper #1-4)

(45) G. Willow Wilson (author of the graphic novel Cairo)

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

(47) session - Comics Arts Conference Session #4 (Thurs., July 24th, 2:00-3:30 PM) Superman’s 70th Anniversary— Price Hamilton (American Falls High School) compares three different versions of the Superman origin story and three versions of the Jewish folk tale "The Golem of Prague" to demonstrate how certain images begin to appropriate larger meanings through their consistent repetition.

(48) session - screening of Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist (Thurs., July 24th, 7:00-9:00 PM)

(49) session - Will Eisner Tribute (Sat., July 26th, 1:00-2:00 PM)

(50) session - Jack Kirby Tribute (Sun., July 27th, 10:00-11:00 AM)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

David Gantz, Jewish Cartoonist, 1922-2007

David Gantz, author-illustrator of the book Jews in America : A Cartoon History and the online article "Jews and the Graphic Novel" passed away on Dec. 14th.

Blogger Mike Lynch gave a tribute to him at http://mikelynchcartoons.blogspot.com/2007/12/david-gantz-1922-2007.html
.

Monday, June 23, 2008

People of the (Comic) Book - article by librarian Wendy Wasman

Jewish Book World v.26(2) Summer 2008, p. 26-29.

This is just part 1 of a 2-part article.

Among the works mentioned in this article are : Palestine, Disguised as Clark Kent, Up, Up, and Oy Vey!, Jews in America : A Cartoon History, Maus, A Contract with God, I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors, We Are On Our Own, Mendel's Daughter, Yossel : April 19, 1943, Jew Gangster and Brownsville.

Among the works that will be mentioned in part 2 will be Miriam Libicki's jobnik!.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Lauren Weinstein at MOCCA Fest 2008 - TODAY!!!

Due to Lauren Weinstein's last-minute e-blast message about her scheduled appearances at MOCCA (Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art) Fest this weekend - and due to my own busy schedule this weekend - I was unable to post about this until now. Lauren is the author-illustrator of the anthology Girl Stories, which includes the story "Chanukah Blues" and writer-illustrator of the story "Horse Camp" which appeared in the anthology Stuck in the Middle).


I'll paste the relevant parts of her message below.


The Goddess of War: Volume One, the first installment of my sprawling epic masterpiece, will debut at the MOCCA art festival this weekend!

For anyone who is used to my memoir-ey work, this is a HUGE departure, but don't be afraid. IT will knock your socks off, because it is funny, sexy, romantic, and sad and poignant, but also epic and sci-fi and all about the world's wars... PAST AND FUTURE!

Picturebox signing schedule for Sunday (today) :

11-12: Frank Santoro & Lauren Weinstein
12-2: Michel Gondry, Paul Gondry, Lauren Weinstein
2-3: Frank Santoro, Matthew Thurber, Lauren Weinstein
3-5: Michel Gondry, Paul Gondry, Matthew Thurber

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Jewish Side of MOCCA Fest 2008 - June 7th & 8th

Next weekend, the annual MOCCA (Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art) Festival will take place at the Puck Building in Lower Manhattan (in New York).

The most well-known of the Jewish guests at this year's MOCCA Festival is, without a doubt, Art Spiegelman, author-illustrator of the Pulitzer-prize-winning Holocaust memoir Maus (although he had done plenty of work prior to that and has been busy since then creating new works & giving lectures).

Other guests of interest to readers of this blog, in no particular order (well, alphabetical order, actually), include :

* Willow Dawson, a talented Canadian artist, who has illustrated the upcoming anthology No Girls Allowed : Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure, written by Susan Hughes & to be published by Kids Can Press. The anthology includes the story of Esther Brandeau, the first Jewish person to immigrate to Canada.

* Evan Dorkin & his wife Sarah Dyer, the couple responsible for the story "One-Punch Goldberg" in Biff Bam Pow! #1, as well as the one-page comic "How to Cook a Gentile" (Heeb #15)

* Arie Kaplan, author of the forthcoming book From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, who was interviewed by Wizard Magazine last month

* Neil Kleid, author of the graphic novel Brownsville, as well as the forthcoming Migdal David and The Big Khan

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

* Chari Pere, author-illustrator of the Jewish humor calendar "A Yearly Shpritz of Jewish Bits: The Ultimate Illustrated Calendar of Jewish Jokes (Old and New)"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Miriam Libicki and Ariel Schrag at the JCCSF - tomorrow (May 20th)

There's an article in the May 9th issue of j - the Jewish news weekly of Northern California - "Comic expressions", reproduced online at http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/35208/format/html/displaystory.html, which gives the background of Miriam Libicki (author-illustrator of the comic book series jobnik!) and Ariel Schrag (editor of the anthology Stuck in the Middle, which contains one of her stories, "Shit"). Schrag and Libicki will be speaking tomorrow night at Intersection for the Arts as part of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco’s "Serial Boxes" series, an exploration of the graphic novel.