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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
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 :

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!

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

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?

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

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
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).

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

Hanukkah can be fattening

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

watch the money disappear

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

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

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
"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."

1 comment:

Mike Lynch said...

Hey there Steven. Thanks for the noting my entry on the Al Wiseman blog about Dennis the Menace.

I was referring to a comic book, not the TV show. I know it was a DTM Christmas Special comic book from the early 1970s. One of those "52 pages for 25 cents" specials. They had one every year. I no longer have the comic, otherwise I would dig it up and gladly pass along more info.

... So, if there's anyone out there who knows more, please pile on. Better yet: I'd love to see a scan of the story.

Happy New Year!