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Sunday, April 27, 2008

sketch of Steven M. Bergson

Last year, while attending an exhibition of artwork by Tatiana Yuditskaya and Eugene Zhilinsky, Steven M. Bergson was sketched by Eugene.

The sketch - and commentary in Russian - may be viewed at the Éditions Tchaï blog. To see a larger image, click on the first graphic (top-left).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Association of Jewish Libraries conference (June 2008) in Cleveland

The tentative schedule for the annual Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Cleveland, Ohio may be found at the AJL website (Acrobat format). This year's convention will be held from June 22nd to the 25th.

Per diem registration for Monday or Tuesday (which includes all of the day's sessions, as well as that day's breakfast & lunch) is $200 USD. Registration for the post-conference program on Wednesday (which includes breakfast, the luncheon & the dessert reception) is $75 USD. The registration form may also be found on the AJL website (Acrobat format).

4 sessions at the conference should be of interest to readers of this blog.

Session 2A - Mon., June 23rd, 10:30-11:45 AM, Salon IV
Jewish Wit and Wisdom
"From Jewish Wisdom to Jewish Comics" by Steve Sheinkin, author-illustrator of the graphic novels The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey and Rabbi Harvey Rides Again

Session 2C - Mon., June 23rd, 10:30-11:45 AM, Salon V
Speak Memory
"Mendel's Daughter : The Art of Remembering", Martin Lemelman, author-illustrator of Mendel's Daughter : A Memoir

Session 3D - Mon., June 23rd, 2:00-3:15 PM, Salon VI
Yikes! Pow! Zap! Oy! Israel Graphically
"From Tintin to Migdal David : Representations of Israel and Israelis in Comic Books, Comic Strips, and Graphic Novels", Steven M. Bergson, blogmaster of The Jewish Comics Blog
"Tales of a Tank Secretary : IDF Comix with a Twist", Miriam Libicki, author-illustrator of jobnik! : an american girl's adventures in the israeli army

Post-Conference Program, Session 2A, 2:00-3:15 PM, Salon V & Salon VI
Illustrated Non-Fiction with Christos Nicola & Peter Lane (the author & illustrator of The Secret of Priest’s Grotto: A Holocaust Survival Story), Deborah Heiligman (author of 10 books in the Holidays Around the World series), and Bill Rubin (Executive Editor of Nachshon Press, publisher of the graphic history book Homeland : The Illustrated History of the State of Israel

The Political Graphic Novel - Toronto, June 8th

On Sunday, June 8th at 7:00 PM, 4 comics professionals will take part in a program on political graphic novels at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre as part of the annual Luminato Festival of Arts & Creativity. Hosted by Peter Birkemoe, owner of The Beguiling, Toronto's top graphic novel and comics bookstore.

The professionals are :

* Anthony Lappé - author of The Shooting War

* Dan Goldman - illustrator of The Shooting War

* Bernice Eisenstein - author-artist of the illustrated autobiography I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors

* Spain Rodriguez - illustrator of Che: A Graphic Biography, as well as "Raid on Entebbe" (The New Two-Fisted Tales #1, 1993).

Tickets are $10 CDN and may be purchased via the Luminato website.

This program is presented with support from The British Council.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Toronto Jewish Film Festival screenings

This year, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival has included 2 movies in its lineup which should be of interest to readers of this blog.

On Thursday, May 8th at 10 PM, the Bloor Cinema will be showing the documentary Will Eisner : Portrait of a Sequential Artist. To watch a trailer of the film, go to (MPG format) or (MOV format).

On Saturday, May 10th at 11:30 PM, the Bloor Cinema will be showing Wristcutters, the adaptation of the Etgar Keret graphic novel Pizzeria Kamikaze.

If you're unfamiliar with the work of Will Eisner or the graphic novel Pizzeria Kamikaze and want to familiarize yourself with them before (or after) seeing the films, I would recommend that you drop by my favorite comics shop, The Beguiling. It's a short walking distance from the Bloor Cinema, so you can buy some graphic novels to have something cool to read while waiting in line. In addition to books by Will Eisner, The Beguiling should have books about Will Eisner, e.g. Will Eisner : A Spirited Life.

Drafted - FCBD preview (Devil's Due Publishing)

Among this year's Free Comic Book Day offerings (available at participating comic books shops on Saturday, May 3rd) will be Drafted from Devil's Due Publishing.

As described on the FCBD website,

Jerusalem lies in ruins, and the war humanity must fight in the wake of its destruction is like nothing anyone on Earth could have anticipated. When an alien race begins plucking swarms of people from everyday walks of life, they are told to brace themselves to fight in a battle to decide the fate of Earth.

Two of the characters shown on the first pages of the preview are Ben (an Israeli soldier) and Nasr (his Palestinian friend). You can see a free preview of the 1st 3 pages of the free comic book by going to

The New Narrative? Comics in Literature, Film, and Art - Toronto conference

The FREE conference will take place at University of Toronto on May 10th and 11th.

Full program schedule (including room assignments) may be found at (richtext format).

It looks like there are only 2 rooms being used simultaneously, which means an attendee will only miss half of the total sessions. The percentage is a lot lower at other conferences where there are several concurrent sessions.

Of possible interest to readers of this blog are 2 presentations that are part of Panel 3B (Endings 2) on Sunday, May 11th in Room UC 179 (2 – 3:15 PM)

Anthony Enns - “Media, Memory, and the Metropolis in Jason Lutes’ Berlin: City of Stones

Amir Hussain - “Representing Muslim Lives: Pedagogy and the Comics Journalism of Joe Sacco”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hereville : How Mirka Got Her Sword - available May 2008

I have to admit that I haven't had the time yet to sit and read through the first Hereville story, "How Mirka Got Her Sword". However, I have looked at several pages and have been impressed with what I've seen : a strong-willed Orthodox Jewish girl as the main character, a Sabbath evening scene, a Havdallah scene (Havdallah is the ritual done at the end of the Jewish Sabbath), the intricate knitting scenes using double-page spreads. If nothing else, there is a sense of originality in its concept - when's the last time anyone's seen a comic story involving a troll-hunting Jewish girl? I think Hereville has the first.

When I posted to my Jewish comics forum (at Yahoo) about the webcomic (message #698), it was hosted at Girlamatic. Now, cartoonist Barry Deutch has gotten Hereville its own domain name to display his sample pages at :

For those who prefer reading their comics on dead trees, there's great news. Hereveille : How Mirka Got Her Sword will be published as a trade paperback next month!

Although I haven't read much of the story, at least 6 others have --- and those 6 have written reviews or made comments.

Below are excerpts from those readers :

Mary Ellen Slayter - "A Shrinking Drawing Board for Cartoonists" The Washington Post, Dec. 12,2004

What do you get when you cross "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and Isaac Bashevis Singer?

You get cartoonist Barry Deutsch's latest project, an online comic book called Hereville, about "the magical adventures of a 12-year-old Hasidic girl fighting monsters."


Deutsch has taken numerous college-level art classes, including a few at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he studied with Will Eisner, "one of the greatest cartoonists of all time."

The Webcomics Examiner Advisory Board (upon Hereville being chosen as one of the Best Webcomics of 2004)

The story is leisurely and steeped in cultural tradition; even troll killing must wait until after Shabbot rituals. Smart, yet heartwarming, quiet, yet with a genuine sense of adventure.

Deniselle at A Blog About Comics :

exceptionally beautiful visuals. The drawings are detailed and seem like a lot of work has gone into getting things right. It's the confident work of a professional artist. The division of panels is deliciously non-traditional.


The dialogue caught my interest right away. We're thrown right in the middle of a philosophical debate in the first few panels. Do we have free will or does God just make our lives difficult? In another early strip, we're invited to ponder on the ethics of eating animals vs. slaying dragons.

Eric Lindberg of Broken Frontier

a fascinating and, at turns, educational read.


an interesting comic with a unique cultural identity. It’s worth a look for fans of fantasy or for anyone who feels there is no new territory to explore in the genre.

Ragtime at Comic Book Thoughts

Here, Here for Hereville


I will definitely be buying a copy of Barry Deutsch's Hereville.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis of The ZehnKatzen Times

It's glorious, deep, clever, and intelligent; finally, a take on the hero's tale which doesn't look like it was cribbed straight outta G.I. Joseph Campbell. Mirka won me over from the start.

If you'll be in the Portland area on April 26th or 27th, you can drop by the Stumptown Comics Fest, where Barry Deutsch himself will be on hand at an exhibitor booth to talk to you and sign your copies of Hereville. Don't have a copy? No problem! You can buy them at his booth.

40 Reasons to Attend New York Comicon in 2008 ...

... and 1 reason not to. It's amazing (& astonishing & shocking --- and all those other cool adjectives they threw onto the covers on Silver Age comics to try to get our attention) to me that there are more "Jewish" reasons to attend NYCC this year than there were last year.

(1) Session discussing Jews and superheroes in general and in particular the book Disguised as Clark Kent : Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero, written by

(2) Danny Fingeroth (who will be in attendance), moderated by

(3) Arie Kaplan, author of the forthcoming book From Krakow to Krypton: A History of Jews in Comics

(4) A confidential source has it on good authority to believe that legendary Batman series artist Jerry Robinson (who also did illustrations for Bible Tales for Young Folk) will be in attedance.

(5) Session discussing the book Our Gods Wear Spandex : The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes - a book whose sections include People of the Book (chapter 4) ; Harry Houdini (chapter 8) ; Founding Fathers: Harry Donenfeld and Martin Goodman (chapter 12) ; Chapter 16. The Golems ; Jack Kirby (chapter 20) ; Neil Gaiman (chapter 20)

(6) The above session will feature the book's author, Christopher Knowles ; the aforementioned Danny Fingeroth ;

(7) Douglas Rushkoff (writer of the Testament series from Vertigo) ;

and (8) A. David Lewis (co-organizer of the recent "Graven Images" conference and author of The Lone and Level Sands, a graphic novel adaptation of the story of Exodus).

(9) tribute to Joe Kubert, who will be in attence at NYCC

(10) tribute to Will Eisner

(11) tribute to Steve Gerber (author of "A Monster Reborn" in Monsters Unleashed #4)

(12) A tribute to Jack "King" Kirby and discussion of the book Kirby : King of Comics with

(13) the book's author Mark Evanier (who also wrote a Crossfire story for a Free Comic Book Day comic involving a Holocaust survivor who tries to kill a suspected Nazi war criminal)

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

(15) Dick Ayers (illustrator of "Lonely Are the Brave" in Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen #2, in which the titular heroes liberate a concentration camp)

(16) Kyle Baker 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)

(17) Nick Bertozzi (illustrator of Houdini : The Handcuff King)

(18) Jon Bogdanove (author-illustrator of issues of a Superman storyline in which Superman went to the Warsaw Ghetto)

(19) 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

(20) Garth Ennis (author of the limited series Unknown Soldier, in which the title character, in a flashback to WWII, is shown massacring Nazi guards at Dachau)

(21) Gary Friedrich (author of "Lonely Are the Brave" in Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen #2, in which the titular heroes liberate a concentration camp)

(22) Neil Gaiman (Jewish author who contributed to the anthology Outrageous Tales of the Old Testament and who both retold a midrash on Adam's 2nd wife and had a Jewish musician meet Death in the pages of his Sandman series)

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

(24) Dan Goldman (author-illustrator of a short piece titled "Schmear", which he describes as "Jewish porn", since it takes place in the backroom of a Brooklyn bagel shop. The story appeared in Smut Peddler #2). In all fairness, Dan's done other - & better-known - stories (e.g. Shooting War) but "Schmear" is the only "Jewish" work of his that I've seen.

(25) Justin Gray (co-creator of The Monolith series)

(26) Dean Haspiel (illustrator of many Harvey Pekar stories, including his graphic novels The Quitter and Ego & Hubris : The Michael Malice Story)

(27) Phil Jiminez (illustrator of a Heroes online comic featuring an Israeli Mossad agent named Hana Gitelman)

(28) Alisa Kwitney (writer on the Vertigo series Token. Set in Miami Beach in the 1980s, Token tells the story of Shira, a sheltered young Jewish girl, who finds herself rebelling against her family and falling for Rafael, a boy who knows how to make acting bad feel way too good.

(29) Stan "The Man" Lee (Jewish co-creator of classic Marvel characters & series, such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four)

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

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

(32) 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)

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

(34) M. K. Perker (illustrator of the Vertigo graphic novel Cairo. Set in bustling modern-day Cairo, this magical-realism thriller interweaves the lives of a drug runner, a down-on-his-luck journalist, an American expatriate, a young activist, an Israeli soldier, and a genie as they navigate the city's streets and spiritual underworld to find a stolen hooka sought by a wrathful gangster-magician.)

(35) Josef Rubinstein (an illustrator of the 2nd Mendy & the Golem series and contributor to both Journeys : The Collected Edition and Balm in Gilead)

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

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

(38) Louise Simonson (co-author of issues of a Superman storyline in which Superman went to the Warsaw Ghetto)

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

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

Mysteries of the Alef Beit

Mysteries of the Alef-Beit - Kabbalistic Secrets of the Hebrew Alpha Bet

Lavishly presented in comic style with detailed insights and depths. Perfect
for the beginner or the practiced Mage.

Complete with:
How to properly Scribe the letters
Kabbalistic insights
Many hidden secrets of the letters that formed the basis of all languages

Mysteries of the Alef-Bet

Available now in English and Hebrew Editions from Mahrwood Press.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Passover from Terry & Patty LaBan!

It's that time of year again!

Time to eat matzoh, drink the 4 cups of wine, laugh at the annual week of Edge City comic strips and ... ummm ... attend New York Comic Con???!!!

About that last part, if you didn't read my earlier post about how NYCC coincides with Passover this year, you can click on the following link and read it (& then y'all come right back, now, y'hear?) :

More about NYCC (Jewish guests & panels) in a separate post that will be finished tomorrow night, G-d willing.

So, now you may be wondering about the references to Terry (& Patty) LaBan and to their cartoon strip, Edge City.

Every year, the LaBans celebrate the holiday by both celebrating it in their home and by collectively sharing it with their readers by giveing us 2 weeks of Passover cartoons. Since his comic strip is available via the Internet, you needn't miss out just because your local newspaper editor used poor judgement in not adding Edge City to their comics page.

If you missed last year's Passover cartoons, fret not. I'm providing the links for them below :

As of this writing, only the first Passover cartoon of 2008 has been published at the Chronicle website, but there should be one every day for the next 2 weeks. Therefore, in 2 weeks' time, all of the following links should be valid and should each show a Passover cartoon (although sometimes the Sunday one is not a Holiday cartoon) :


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bob Andelman (Mr. Media) Jewish comix interviews

Tomorrow, (Wed., April 9th at 1:00 PM EST), Bob Andelman's guest will be Arie Kaplan, author of the "King of Comics" series which appeared in Reform Judaism magazine, author of the "Dave Danger" comics (which also appeared in Reform Judaism magazine), author of "What if Chris Rock Performed at a Bar Mitzvah?" (Mad Magazine #419) and author of the book From Krakow to Krypton : The History of Jews in Comics, forthcoming from the Jewish Publication Society.

You may read the Introduction to the latter book at the Yavnet website.

If Arie were the blogmaster here, he'd also want to add that he's the writer of the Speed Racer : Chronicles of the Racer miniseries, issue 4 of which should be available soon. However, Arie isn't the blogmaster here. I am. Let him get his own darned blog. They're free, ya know.

If your boss won't let you take a break to listen to the show live at 1 (and what sort of meanie he must be, eh?), don't fret too much. Bob has kindly taken it upon himself to make past shows available in 2 ways :

(1) He records the podcast and allows people to listen to the recorded shows on his website ;

(2) He transcribes most of the show for those who'd prefer to skim the best parts rather than listen through the whole thing. I suppose it's also helpful for the hearing impaired.

Having visited Bob's website earlier today, I discovered that Mr. Media has recorded several other interviews which are of interest to those who like to listen to interviews &/or read interviews related to the topic of Jews and comics.

I'll provide a listing of a bunch of these below (with their hyperlinks). Perhaps, in the future, Bob could give me a heads-up in advance so that I can give this blog's readers advance notice about such interviews. After all, not all interviewees are as adept at shameless self-promotion as Arie is.

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

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.

Trina Robbins, author of "The Triangle Fire" (Lilith #2) and "Zog Nit Keyn Mol : The Partisan's Song" (Wimmen's Comix #10)

Howard Chaykin (author of American Flagg and Batman / Houdini : The Devil's Workshop) ... On Fighting with Will Eisner

Drew Friedman (MAD Magazine cartoonist)... On What’s Wrong With the Biography, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life

Bob Andelman... On Writing the Biography, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life

Benjamin Herzberg... On Working With Eisner to Craft Fagin the Jew and The Plot

Abraham Foxman (National Director, Anti-Defamation League) ... On Publishing Prospects for The Plot in the Middle East

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Graven Images : Religion in Comic Books & Graphic Novels conference - Boston University

April 11–13, 2008
All conference events will be held in Room 201 on the second floor of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, located at 147 Bay State Road (entrance on Sherborn Street).

Full program may be found online at

The keynote speaker on Friday night (6:00-7:30 pm) will be James Sturm, author-illustrator of The Golem's Mighty Swing.

Of particular interest for those interested in Jewish comics is the Judaism and Identity session scheduled on (of course) Saturday.

Panel 3: Judaism and Identity
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

"Representing Jewish Identities in Joann Sfar’s Graphic Novel The Rabbi’s Cat"
Marla Harris, independent scholar

"Three Faces of the Comic Book Rabbi"
Laurence Roth, Susquehanna University

"Why Not, in Time, a Judeo-American?"
Vincent Gonzalez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

There will also be a panel on Sunday (11:00 AM - 12:30 PM) which will include panelists A. David Lewis ( The Lone and Level Sands) and G. Willow Wilson (Cairo)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Art Spiegelman lecture in Toronto tonight!

from :

Comix 101 Forbidden Images and The Art of Outrage
A Lecture by Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, Art Spiegelman

Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
at the Isabel Bader Theatre
93 Charles St.
Toronto, Ontario

Students and Seniors: $25
Regular Admission: $40

As arguably the most influential comic illustrator of our time, Art Spiegelman (author-illustartor of the Holocaust memoir Maus) has changed the literary landscape and has carved out an important place for the graphic novel as a tool to weave complex narratives.

Through his writing, Spiegelman makes lessons of the Holocaust, issues of political engagement, and freedom of speech accessible and meaningful to a generation of young people. His approach to history and politics as seen through the unique lens of the graphic novel, has an uncanny ability to uncover the many-layered nature of conflict and identity.

Spiegelman believes that "open discourse ultimately serves understanding" (Spiegelman, June 2006) and that the principles of freedom of speech and the open exchange of ideas are the cornerstone of a free society. Spiegelman will present his view that silencing alternative voices/images is not an acceptable form of political engagement.

Please join us for an amazing evening that is not to be missed. You can purchase tickets now at, or by phone at 416-913-2424. If you can't attend please consider donating a ticket to a student by calling the number listed above.

Presented by Hillel of Greater Toronto and the Latner Jewish Library in cooperation with the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office University of Toronto, the Lonsdale Annex foundation, NJCL, NOW Magazine, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto

Media inquiries please call:
Daniel Abramson
Hillel of Greater Toronto