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)