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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

pre-order a signed edition of the Comic Book Torah

For three years, Sharon Rosenzweig and Aaron Freeman have been collaborating on The Comic Torah: A graphic re-imagining of The Very Good Book. They've refined their story and characters as they posted them online each week at The Comic Torah website.

Now, Ben Yehuda Press wants to publish The Comic Torah as a full-color book. They need to find enough fans and supporters to fund a first printing. This is your chance to pre-order The Comic Torah -- and show there's enough support to justify publication.

For a $22 (US) pledge - the retail price of the book if it get published - you can guarantee yourself a signed copy of the book if it gets published. If there aren't enough pledges by the deadline (Nov. 18th), noone is required to pay. If there are enough pledges by the deadline, the money is transferred, the book gets published and the $22+ pledgers get their books sent to them.

It's like a different version of print-on-demand ... publish-on-demand.

For more details, please go to, where you can watch a short promotional video starring Aaron & Sharon (and showing what the full-color cover will look like).

Call for Submissions - Gender Outlaws

Since the collection will include comics - and since it is being co-edited by ing Kate Bornstein (known as "major Jewess with Attitude"), I am posting the followinf Call for Submissions :

Call For Submissions
Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman, eds

Deadline: 1 September 2009

In the fifteen years since the release of Gender Outlaw, transgender narratives have made their way into cultural locations from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today's trannies and other sex/gender radicals are writing a radically new world into being. GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION (Seal Press) will collect and contextualize the work of this generation's most forward-thinking trans/genderqueer voices-new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world's most respected mainstream news sources. Edited by that ol' original Gender Outlaw herself, Kate Bornstein and writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION will include essays, commentary, comic art and conversation from a diverse a group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives.

*What we're looking for*

GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION wants to collect work that represents a quantum leap forward in thinking and talking about gender and the gender binary, in the same way Gender Outlaw did almost twenty years ago. So blow us away. Bring the smart, bring the sexy, blind us with science, break the gender barrier, shine a bright light (or a disco ball) on the whole gender situation. Tell us about your future, what you imagine, how you want things to go and what you (and your friends) intend to do about it. Think big.

We'll look at whatever you have for us - essays, graphic art, interviews/conversations, haiku, rants - as long as you're thinking smart and fresh about sex and gender (and being an outlaw, of course). We will feel especially keen about your work if it adds to or advances the conversation about gender (as distinct from simply reflecting it, or lamenting it).

People of any identity are encouraged to submit work. This means you - yes, you!

We intend to privilege non-normatively gendered/sexed voices in the book but will include all the good stuff we can, regardless of current identifiers of the author.

*The Details*

Deadline: Sept 1 (early submissions are encouraged). Submissions should be unpublished; query if you have a reprint that you think we'll swoon for. While we hesitate to list a maximum, please query first for pieces over 4,000 words. If you have an idea and need help writing it out, contact us to discuss an interview-style piece or other accommodations.

Submit as a Word document or black/white JPEG (no files over 2MB). Please include a cover letter with a brief bio and full contact information (mailing address, phone number, pseudonym if appropriate) when you submit. Submissions without complete contact information will be deleted unread. Payment will be $50 and 2 copies of the book upon publication in Fall 2010. Contributors retain the rights to their pieces. Send your submission as an attachment to

~please repost lots and lots, as appropriate~

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Creators of Jewish comic stories at SDCCI

Tomorrow, the 2009 San Diego Comic Con begins. If you don't have a pass for it yet, forget it ; they're all sold out!

In attendance will be a whole bunch of writers and artists who have worked / are working on Jewish comic stories (and many of them are Jewish themselves).

Below is a list I have compiled.

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

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

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

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)

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

Neil Gaiman (Jewish author who retold a midrash on Adam's 2nd wife and had a Jewish musician meet Death in the pages of his Sandman series)

Sammy Harkham (author-illustrator of "Lubavitch, Ukraine 1876", which appeared in Kramer's Ergot #6)

Arie Kaplan (author of From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, as well as the story "Not a (Green, Slimy) Creature was Stirring" in The Simpsons Winter Wing Ding #3) [Arie will be an attendee, not an exhibitor]

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

Peter Kuper (author-illustrator of the short biographical story "Promised Land" in Bleeding Heart #2, as well as the book-length autobiographical Stop Forgetting to Remember : The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz)

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")

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)

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

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

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

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 Mahfood (author of Grrl Scouts, which had a Jewish character)

Todd McFarlane (co-plotter of the story "Remains" in Spawn #103)

Doug Moench (author of "The Greatest Evil" story in Batman #551-552)

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

Jimmy Palmiotti (co-creator of the Monolith)

Stephan Pastis (author-illustrator of the syndicated comic strip Pearls Before Swine, which had a strip about a bombing in Jeruslaem)

a TV set tells the horror of an attck on an Israeli bus and the young victims who were on it

Chari Pere (author-illustrator of the webcomic Of Biblical Proportions) [Chari will be an attendee, not an exhibitor]

Trina Robbins (co-author of "Zog Nit Keyn Mol : the Partisans Song" and author of "The Triangle Fire" which was published in both Corporate Crime Comics #2 and Lilith Magazine #2)

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

Bill Sienkiewicz (illustrator of the story "Into the Abyss" in New Mutants #27, which had the Israeli mutant character Legion)

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

Richard Starkings (co-author of Elephantmen #2, which had a rabbi character in it [or a character called "Rabbi"])

Cameron Stewart (illustrator of Manhattan Guardian #1, in which the title character battles a golem)

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

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

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

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

Marv Wolfman (author of The story "Return from the Grave!" in Tomb of Dracula #27, "Introducing the Hybrid" in The New Teen Titans #24 and Homeland : The Illustrated History of the State of Israel)

Below are sessions that might be of interest to those who enjoy Jewish comics &/or those inetersted in Jewish cartoonists.


1:30-2:30 Spotlight on Jerry Robinson — One of the true legends of comics, Comic-Con special guest Jerry Robinson is a writer, artist, comics historian, museum show curator, and creator rights activist. Noted comics writer and editor Mark Waid (BOOM! Studios editor-in-chief) interviews Jerry about his life in comics, from his early days on Batman to his founding of the Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Writing Award. Room 4

11:00-12:00 Spirituality in Comics — Panelists discuss the influence of spiritual themes in comics and popular culture, and the importance of spirituality to readers, creators, and the stories they tell. Moderated by Scott Shuford of the Christian Comic Arts Society, with panelists including Holly Golightly (School Bites), Buzz Dixon (Serenity, Goofyfoot Gurl), Leo Partible (Behind the Screen: Insiders on Faith), and others. Room 3

1:00-2:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #11: The (Strange) State of Siegel and Shuster Scholarship — Brad Ricca (Case Western Reserve University), director of Last Son, a scholarly documentary on Siegel and Shuster, moderates this conversational panel featuring Craig Yoe (Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman Co-Creator Joe Shuster) and Lauren Agostino, an independent scholar, who will share letters connected to the 1947 lawsuit and portions of the original Superboy script that completely upset a lot of myths about who created Superboy. Room 30AB

5:00-6:00 Graphic Novels: Sense of History — There's a wonderful world of history awaiting you in numerous graphic novels available now. Whether it be real life stories adapting historical events to the comics form or fiction taking place in a specific time, these practitioners of the historical graphic novel are all presenting work at the top of their form. Moderator Randy Duncan (co-chair of the Comics Arts Conference) talks to Rick Geary (Treasury of XX Century Murder: Famous Players), David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Jason Lutes (Berlin), Chris Schweizer (Crogan's Vengeance), and Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze) about their individual takes on history. Room 8

6:00-7:00 Harvey Kurtzman/MAD— The creator of MAD and Playboy's "Little Annie Fanny," Harvey Kurtzman was called "one of the most important figures in postwar America" by the New York Times. Kurtzman discovered Robert Crumb and gave Gloria Steinem her first job in publishing. Terry Gilliam started at Kurtzman's side, met an unknown John Cleese in the process, and the genesis of Monty Python took place. Art Speigelman has said that he owes his career to Kurtzman. And Kurtzman is one of Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner's favorite artists. Harvey was an astonishingly talented and influential artist, writer, editor, and satirist without whom treasures such as Saturday Night Live, Airplane!, and The Simpsons may never have been conceived. This panel promises to be a lively discussion about the life and work of "The MAD Genius of Comics," led by comics historian Mark Evanier and featuring Kurtzman's daughter, Nellie Kurtzman; the author of the just released The Art of Harvey Kurtzman the MAD Genius of Comics, Dennis Kitchen; Paul Levitz (president/publisher of DC Comics/MAD); William Stout (a colleague of Kurtzman who worked on "Little Annie Fanny"); and Charles Kochman (executive editor of Abrams ComicArts). Room 3

10:00-11:00 The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel — Fifteen years ago, Jack Kirby left us, but his vision and creations live on to inspire everyone who comes into contact with his work. Mark Evanier (author, Kirby: King of Comics) moderates this annual tribute to the King. Joining Mark this year will be actor Bill Mumy, Kirby inker Mike Royer, editor Steve Saffel, and members of the legendary "5-String Mob," a group of Comic-Con founding members who Kirby immortalized in the pages of Jimmy Olsen: Barry Alfonso, Roger Freedman, William R. Lund, Scott Shaw!, and Mike Towry. Room 4

10:00-11:00 Christian Comics Meeting — What are the different ways that Christian creators express their faith through their art? How can "new media" best be used to communicate timeless truths? Discuss the latest trends of the Christian comics movement with moderator Buzz Dixon (Serenity, Goofyfoot Gurl) and panelists Eric Jansen (Foursquare Missions Press), Leo Partible (Behind the Screen: Insiders on Faith, Film & Culture), and others. A short sermon and worship music will precede the panel discussion. Room 24A

Finally, I have listed below the Jewish comics works which have been nomianted for an Eisner award.

Best Humor Publication
Wondermark: Beards of Our Forefathers by David Malki (contains some funny Jewish jokes)

Best Graphic Album -- Reprint
Berlin Book 2: City of Smoke by Jason Lutes

Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips
Explainers by Jules Feiffer

Best Archival Collection/Project -- Comic Books
Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! by Art Spiegelman

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
The Rabbi’s Cat 2 by Joann Sfar

Best Writer/Artist
Jason Lutes, Berlin

Best Publication Design
Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! designed by Art Spiegelman

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MOCCA Fest 2009 Report - Hey Yids, Comics

Line of people waiting to storm the armory

As those who either follow this blog or read my American buddy Rachel Freedenberg's blog are already aware, two weeks ago, I went to New York City (aka Manhattan) to attend this year's annual Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival, held at the Lexington Avenue Armory.

I won't belabor the fact that it should have been less heated in the main space, as people who want to read rants about that can simply choose from a selection of MOCCA Fest reports at Tom Spurgeon's The Comics Reporter site to see what's been written already.

I'm happy to report that I met most of the comix professionals I had hoped to meet there, whom I listed in my last post.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn about other writers and illustrators of Jewish-content comic stories were in attendance, as well. While I like a nice surprise as much as the next fellow, I prefer to get a good idea of who exactly will be at a comix gathering, and where they will be scheduled to appear. I'm not a stalker, but I am someone who likes to try to be organized and prepared. From the point of view of exhibitors and guests, I have already read a number of complaints about their fans missing (or almost missing) the chance to meet them because their names weren't in the program booklet. It might also have helped to have a list of those who - for whatever reason - couldn't be included in the program booklet. Perhaps such a list could have been displayed at the MOCCA table (which was in the front, at the center of the room).

Below, I present to you, (in alphabetical order, yet) creators of Jewish comix and Jewish comix fans who were at the Festival and whom I did not list in my last post :

* Jonathan Baylis (author of So ... Buttons mini-comic)

* Nick Bertozzi (illustrator of Houdini : The Handcuff King

* Ryan Dunlavey (artist of "Isaac ben-Luria: Rabbi of the Mystic Arts!" in Action Philosophers #4, reprinted in Action Philosophers Giant Size Thing volume 2)

* Josh Eiserike (writer of the stories in the comic series Assholes, 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)

* Bob Fingerman (author of Beg the Question, about "a snarky and buttoned-down Jew", as well as the mini-series White Like She, in which there are multiple brain transplants, one of them being into - and out of - a young Jewish radical woman)

* Rivkah Greulich, (author-illustrator of the manga-ish miniseries Steady Beat, which has the half-African-American, half-Jewish character Elijah Peter)

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

* Bernie Hou (author of the photoshop-produced Alien Loves Predator webcomic, which has included a comic about Jdate and one that refers to Jews for Jesus)

* Joe Infurnari (cartoonist of Working Girl Golem, which appeared in Heeb #17)

* Sarah Jaffe (Newsarama writer)

* Arie Kaplan (author of From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comics, as well as the story "Not a (Green, Slimy) Creature was Stirring" in The Simpsons Winter Wing Ding #3)

* T.J. Kirsch (one of the illustrators of the So ... Buttons mini-comic)

* "Kung Fu Jew 18" (comix fan, who posted his photos from the Festival at Flickr, in the group Jews at MoCCA Fest 2009)

Steve Bergson and Josh Lipowsky near the armory on Sunday

* Josh Lipowsky, an editor of the New Jersey Jewish Standard

* David Malki! (author of the Wondermark webcomic, which has been collected in trade paperback). Among the comics that have appeared on the site is one with the punch line "Hannukah bush", one about the Jewish New Year, one that uses the juice/Jews homonym joke and one about Hebephiles

* Dylan Meconis (author-illustrator of the webcomic Family Man, about a Jewish academic named Luther Levy, who was unable to defend his dissertation because of his faith)

* Mike (blogger of Satisfactory Comics blog)

* 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)

* Elayne Riggs (comics fan and blogger for Pen-Elayne on the Web

* Mitch Roth (artist of the comic series Assholes)

* Emily Steinberg (cartoonist of the online autobiographical webcomic memoir Graphic Therapy - Notes from the Gap Years)

* 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).


I only attended 2 panels during the whole Festival (though I did catch the very end of Charles Hatfield's panel on Jack Kirby).

The first was the panel about Jerry Robinson, which ended with him receiving the Klein award from Danny Fingeroth.

Jerry Robisnon, Larry Klein, & Danny Fingeroth

The other session I went to was a panel about the humor magazine Humbug, which was discussed by two of its creators - Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth - and Fantagraphics editor Gary Groth.

Al Jaffee, Arnold Roth, Gary Groth

One of the sessions I did not attend was the one in which Gary Panter and Frank Santoro discussed the world of fine art and its influences upon comics. Thanks to the Squally Showers blog, I learned that one of the illustrations shown during the panel was the cover of Zap Comix #3, which has Hebrew on one of the covers (the comic was a flip book). In the cover in question, a bug creature is saying either "Yehoshua" (the Hebrew form of Joshua) or "Y'shua" (the Hebrew form of Jesus) and actual Hebrew characters are used (which doesn't happen very often on the covers of non-Israeli comic books).


Much time was spent acquiring skecthes. I usually try to get "Jewish" sketches for myself (mostly rabbis) at gatherings of cartoonists. On this trip, though, I got a small number of Archie sketches for my wife (one of them cost $5.00 ; the rest were free). I also got over 20 sketches for my cousin & her fiance who just got married on Sunday. It was funny when - at one point during the Festival - the fiance was standing quite close to where he was being sketched (unbeknownst to him).


Comics which I paid money for

Owly : Tiny Tales (Top Shelf, 2008) by Andy Runton. 175 pages
My wife and I are big Owly fans and this is the only book we hadn't bought yet.
Cover price : $10.00
My cost : $5.00

So ... Buttons (the first mini, 2007), 24 pages.
Cover price : $3.00
My price : $3.00
The author, Jonathan Baylis (mentioned above) is Jewish and his Jewishness is evident in many of the stories in this comic, including "So ... My Dad Got Drafted" (in which Jonathan's father expresses his disdain for France because "Dey hate da Jews" and Jonathan mentions (after their dinner of ribs) that their stomachs were full of pork "like the good Jews we are" ; "So ... Racist", in which he shows what it was like to be the only Jew in a white, Italian town, shows how he was misperceived as a "goyishe schmuck" when he went to a kosher bakery after college, and where he imagines a porn movie titled "Jewish Schmeckle, Black Peckle" ; "So ... Only Nixon Could've Gone to China" shows Jonathan visiting a concentration camp while on a trip to Germany. Incidentally, I enjoyed that last story better when I read it on Baylis's website, since it had the music playing in the background while you read the last page.

Palindramas Book 2 by Dan Mazur, 17 pages.
I think I paid the book cost, which I recall as being $1.00 (I can't find a price on it). This is a fun book, Jewish content or not. The gags are short (no longer than 2 pages) and consist, at least in part, of a palindrome (a phrase or word which reads the same backward or forward). The "Jewish" comic is on the last page of the book and involves the palindrome "Yoga / A Goy".
I might not have bought the comic if I realized the joke was online. Then again, it was an inexpensive purchase.

Assholes #2 (2008) by Josh Eiserike and Mitch Roth (see above), 24 pages
Cover price : $3.00
My price : $3.00
I wasn't going to buy this, as I'd just assumed that there wasn't anything significantly Jewish in it (having already read issue #1 online). However, Josh (or Mitch) pointed out to me that there's a 4-page scene in which Josh is on a date with a "right-wing Orthodox virgin" who's Jewish. In the story, the virgin's cousin, Andrea, bails Josh and Mitch out of a Mexican prison. However, she uses that act of kindness to get a favor from each of them. Mitch is chosen to go on the date because the virgin (who is never named) had gone to Hebrew school with Josh's cousin (whom Josh had sex with in the last issue). The comic explains the "Holocaust drinking game" (when you try to drink 6 million beers). The date ends rather quickly once Mitch realizes that he's not going to end up getting physical in any way, shape or form with "the virgin".

Clint and Rosebud #1 (2008) by Ben Granoff, 24 pages
Cover price : $1.00
My price : $1.00 (but I also got a sketch from Ben, so I consider it a bargain)
There's essentially nothing Jewish in the stories, though in one of the stories Ben mentions that his zaydeh (Yiddish for "grandfather") dies when he was two and a half.

411 #2 (NY : Marvel) July 2003, 32 pages
Cover price : $3.50
My price : $1.08
I didn't pick this up at the Festival, but at Jim Hanley's Universe, which was having a sale on back issues.
The second story, "Enlightenment" (written by Sean Phillips, illustrated by Jose Villarrubia) takes place in Haifa, Israel and involves 2 young kids - Nazir (a Palestinian) and Hassan (a Baha'i). At a crucial point in the story, Nazir mistakes Hassan for a Jew (and thus, I did as well, when I was skimming through the comic).

Omaha : The Cat Dancer vol. 2 #1 (Fantagraphics, July 1994), written by Kate Worley ; illustrated by Reed Waller, 22 pages
Cover price : $2.50
My price : $2.50 (plus tax)
I'd never bought a comic from the "erotica" section of a comic book shop before, not even an issue of Omaha. Omaha has a reputation of being different from most of the other comics found in the "restricted" area of comix shops, the others being primarily smut in comics format. Omaha by contrast is story-driven with great characterization and multiple plotlines. It contains depictions of sexuality, but these scenes do not make up the bulk of the pages in any individual issue. In the issue I bought, the only sex scene took place on pages 14 and 15. The scene at the top of the very next page showed a Jewish family celebrating Hanukkah, with a Chanukah menorah and a "Happy Hanukkah" banner in the background, the children playing dreidel with Uncle Mike.


Swag (stuff I didn't pay for)


The Big Khan by Neil Kleid and Nicolas Cinquegrani
32-page preview booklet
price : N/A (but the price of the finished graphic novel is expected to be $13.95 USD)
expected date of publication : Sept. 2009

Depictions of Israel & Israelis

Empire State of Mind #1 by Ethan Heitner - class assignments for classes at School of Visual Arts, Spring 2009, 24 pages
This copy was given to me by Seth Tobocman, after I'd told him about my Israel in Comics blog and my interest in representations of Israel & Israelis in comics. The contents include : "Against Israeli Apartheid" which uses the text of an article by Desmond Tutu and Ian Urbina ; "Self Defense", made in February 2009 after the invasion of Gaza had ended ; 2 fliers made for Adalah-NY promoting boycotting of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel ; "Is Building Luxury Condos a War Crime?" and "Who is Lev Leviev?" (both of which talk about Leviev's work in the Middle East) ; and "Tristan Anderson" (about Americans shot by Israeli soldiers).

The Rest

A.D. : New Orleans After the Deluge (Pantheon) by Josh Neufeld
adaptation of the excellent webcomic which was hosted at the Smith Mag site
198-page sampler
The final version is expected to be 208 pages and cost $24.95. I wonder what's in the extra 10 pages.
expected date of publication : Aug. 18, 2009

Love and Rockets : New Stories Free Comic Book Day giveaway (2009) by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez, 32 pages

The Unwritten #1 (Vertigo, July 2009) by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, 30 pages
Cover price : $1.00

Smoke Signal #1 - a 28-page collection of short (1 page or less) comics by various cartoonists, printed on newsprint and folded like a newspaper. Although there's no Jewish stories in it, the back cover by Mike Freiheit and Alex Hemming - which is a page of fake ads - includes the mock ad "!!!Pocket Jew!!! Fits in your pocket & will do whatever you want! extra long fingers for 'special' commands!!"

Archie presents The Mighty Archie Art Players Free Comic Book Day giveaway(2009) by George Gladir and Stan Goldberg, 27 pages

Saga of the Swamp Thing - free special convention edition (reprint of Saga of the Swamp Thing #21, originally published in 1984) by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben), 23 pages

Bang! Tango #1 (Vertigo, April 2009) by Joe Kelly, Adrian Sibar and Rodney Ramos, 22 pages
Cover price : $2.99

Madame Xanadu #1 (Vertigo, Sept. 2008) by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley, 22 pages
Cover price : $2.99

Arena Comics #1 (featuring Advice Comics) by Zigory (c2004, 20 pages)

Joe and Azat by Jesse Lonergan
15-page preview booklet
expected date of publication : Sept. 2009

Nine Tenths by James Smith
12-page booklet

The Squirrel Machine preview edition (12 pages)
expected date of publication : Fall 2009

Crossover Comics - The 2008/2009 Samane Ad Campaign (11 pages of 1-page comics) by Robert Gavila
Most of the comics are about the tyranny of Diamond Distributors. Funny and sad at the same time.

Intro to Skullyflower (2009) by Dragon
7-page booklet

Sex, Drugs & June Cleaver (2008?)
6-page mini-book sampler

Pop Culture Shock Therapy
sampler of 8 single-panel comic gags (4 pages)

David Mazuchelli poster, promoting the MOCCA exhibition of his work titled "Sounds and Pauses". The outside of the poster contains a 3-page essay by Dan Nadel, while the inside unfolds into the poster.

Angstrom sneak preview (Oct. 2006, 2 pages) by Ken Applebaum
The back page of the preview is the one-page "True Story Swear to Zod"

double-sided sampler reprinting 2 pages from Bite Me! (a webcomic described as "an historico-vampire farce") by Dylan Meconis (the same cartoonist responsible for Family Man mentioned above)

one-page comic strip sample/promo for Das Bear

one-page comic strip sample/promo for Fork You

one-page, 4-comic strip sampler/promo for the webcomic IceCubes

After Watchmen ... What's Next (DC Comics)

Zuda Comics sampler (containing story pages from I Rule the Night, Imaginary Boys, Supertron, Night Owls and Black Cherry Bombshells

postcard for the A Distant Memory weekly webcomic by Sharon Furgason

postcard for the fisrt volume of Magical Tales of Enchanted Mysteriousness

postcard for The Hookah Girl and Other True Stories : Growing Up Christian Palestinian in America by Marguerite Dabaie

Wondermark postcard by David Malki!

Pope Hats (Ethan Rilly) bookmark

Adrenaline (Wave Blue World) bookmark

set of 5 bookmarks promoting the 4th book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (no title yet) which will be published by Abrams

Bags Unlimited catalog

Papercutz Fall '09 catalog

Fantagraphics Winter 2009 catalog

NBM Spring 2009 catalog

First Second Fall 2009 catalog

MOCCA program booklet, cover by Molly Crabapple, 26 pages
Includes the 2-page essay "Academy embraces comics" by Kent Worcester


I also picked up a flier for the 1st annual Asian American Comicon, which will be held in New York City on July 11th.

I wonder how long we'll need to wait before a Jewish American Comicon is organized.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Creators of Jewish Comix at MOCCA Fest - this weekend

On June 6th and 7th, the annual Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art Festival will be held at the Lexington Avenue Armory (Lexinton and 25th) in Manhttan (New York), between the hours of 11 AM and 6 PM.

Among the creators of Jewish comic stories / art who will be in attendance are :

* Daniel Bradford, illustrator of "David vs. Goliath" (in Mecha Manga Bible Heroes #1)

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

* Evan Dorkin, who has written or co-written the following : "The Gift of the Maccabees" (in The Simpsons Winter Wing Ding #1 ; "One-Punch Goldberg" (in Biff Bam Pow! #1 ; the one-page comic "How to Cook a Gentile" (Heeb #15) and "The Soda Thief" (in Streetwise : Autobiographical Stories by Comic Book Professionals)

* Sarah Dyer, who has co-written the following : "The Gift of the Maccabees" (in The Simpsons Winter Wing Ding #1 ; "One-Punch Goldberg" (in Biff Bam Pow! #1 ; the one-page comic "How to Cook a Gentile" (Heeb #15)

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

* Sarah Glidden, author-illustrator of the autobiographical How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less!, which will be published by Vertigo

* Dan Goldman, author-illustrator of a short piece titled "Schmear" (in Smut Peddler #2), which he describes as "Jewish porn" (since it takes place in the backroom of a Brooklyn bagel shop), as well as a special 1-page illustration for The New York Post titled "Israel Turns 60".

* Ben Granoff, illustrator of "Yiddishkeit"

* Al Jaffee, cartoonist best known for his work in Mad magazine, who also contributed artwork to Moshiach Times

* Miss Lasko-Gross, author-illustrator of the graphic autobiography Escape from "Special" and A Mess of Everything

* Neil Kleid, Xeric award-winning author / illustrator of Stable Rods, "Shomer Negiah", Pilgrimage : Two Weeks in G-d's Country, the graphic novel Brownsville, as well as the forthcoming Migdal David and The Big Khan

* Peter Kuper, author-illustrator of the short biographical story "Promised Land" in Bleeding Heart #2, as well as the book-length autobiographical Stop Forgetting to Remember : The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz

* 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.

* Jerry Robinson, who wil be receiveing a Klein award for recognition of his elevating the cartoon arts (particularly for his contributions to the Batman comic books). Among Robinson's other stories are "In the Beginning...", "The Psalms of David" and "Cain and Abel" in the series Bible Tales for Young Folk.

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

* Seth Tobocman, illustrator of Portraits of Israelis and Palestinians : For My Parents and "The Serpent of State"

* Dov Torbin, illustrator of "Darkness on the Edge of Hymietown (A True Story)", "Eugene the Jew", and "Telling Tales Out of (Hebrew Day) School"

Thursday, May 07, 2009

courses on Jewish comic books, comic strips, comix, and graphic novels

Although I try to post time-sensitive information while it's still timely, I often find that my terrible tendency to procrastinate sometimes gets the better of me.

One example of such procrastination is with regards to infomation on courses about Jewish comix. Although most of these (perhaps all) seem to have concluded, I am posting about them for posterity and will try to publicize future ones before they start (assuming I learn about them early enough),

"Zap! Pow! Bam! Oy! Jews, Comic Books & Graphic Novels" was offered at the Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple High School in Beachwood, Ohio and was taught by Wendy Wasman from Jan. 5th, 2009 to April 27, 2009.


"Jews Superheroes & the World of Comics" was taught by Rabbi Elie Estrin and completed in December 2008. Rabbi Estrin was kind enough to provide the Jewish Comics Blog with his detailed syllabus, reproduced below.

Class One:

Capsule: Early years, Jewish firsts, inner city struggles, angst

Intro: “Everything a Jew sees or hears serves as a lesson to serve G-d.”

Editorial Cartoons to Cartoon Characters to Comic Books

First important Jewish cartoonist – Samuel Zagat, with his characters, most importantly, Gimpl Beinish the Matchmaker, in the paper the Daily Forward, 1910’s

The first comic book – Max Gaines (Ginsburg) “Famous Funnies” to be given away as promotions – 1934

Until that time, there was no protagonist – until Jerry Siegel (an artist) and Joe Shuster (a quiet bodybuilder), who created Superman by give and take (Gaines never did anything with it, but Sheldon Mayer from McClue Syndicate did, creating Action Comics.)

Will Eisner – creator of “The Spirit”, is considered to be the godfather of comics. The Eisner Award – the Oscar of comics. Eisner learned from being an advertising illustrator doing the graveyard shift – seeing shadows, lighting and strange characters.

Eisner and Iger hired former classmate Bob Kane, creator of Batman, as well as fellow Jew and creator of Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, Jack (Kurtzberg) Kirby. He also turned down Superman.

The first package Eisner and Iger's shop created for Fox had specific stipulations: The lead character had to possess super powers, wear a red costume, have a chest insignia, etc. It was obvious that Fox was requesting a knock-off of Superman, which had appeared in mid-1938 and was fueling the comic book boom. Eisner, who had little training in copyright law but plenty of common sense, balked at infringing so blatantly on National's property. Iger tried to assuage Eisner's misgivings by arguing that the two men had little desire to go hungry. Fox himself dubbed the character Wonder Man.

It took National's legal department no time at all to pull the plug on Wonder Man. One night, Fox called Eisner to his office and told him that when the time came for Eisner to take the witness stand in National's instant law suit, Eisner was to swear that there was no intent to copy Superman. Eisner replied that, indeed, he was not copying; rather, he was merely following Fox' s dictates. Less than pleased, Fox informed Eisner that if he told the court the truth, he would never see the $3,000 Fox then owed Eisner and Iger. Although $3,000 was more than Eisner had ever seen in his life, he told the truth on the stand, and Fox lost the suit. Wonder Man died, and Fox made good on his threat to stiff Eisner and Iger. The two thought their young company was doomed.

He split with Iger to create the Spirit. Later worked on the Spirit with Jules Feiffer.


- What is a superhero? Eizehu gibor hakovesh es yitzro
- What are the essential characters of a super hero?
- What plot runs fairly germane to super hero stories?
- What would you do in Eisner’s place?
- When are you allowed to lie? When are you allowed to tell lashon hara?

Stan (Lieber) Lee: Created Marvel Comics, out of earlier publications. Created Captain America,

DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz

Class 2: The Superheroes

Overview: The Golden Years, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, etc.

- Neshama
- Hidden identity – how is that relative to us nowadays?
- Specific strengths
- Heroic tasks

Class 3: Comic Strips

Overview: Li’l Abner, Terry and the Pirates, Archie, Peanuts and Twerski

- From everything one sees… Avoidas Hashem
- Specific strips

Lesson 4: Jewish Characters and Strips

Overview: Mendy and the Golem, Yaakov and Isaac, The Thing, Sabra, Kitty Pryde, Magneto


- What would you put in a Jewish comic character?

Lesson 5: Graphic Novels

Overview: The first graphic novel – Milt Gross’s “He Done Her Wrong” – 1930, Will Eisner’s “A Contract with God” – 1978, Maus

-How do pictures tell the story more than just words?

Lesson 5: Political Cartoons

Overview: Jewish political conscience


- What are “Jewish” views?
- Why do Jews vote the way they do?

Lesson 6: The Underground Commix


- What’s wrong with porn?
- What is art?
- Where does respect end within satire?


The Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University offered the Freshman course “People of the (Comic) Book: Jews and Their Images in American and French Popular Culture” taught by Andre Benhaim for 2008-2009. The description (from appears below.

“Thou shalt not make (engraved) images” says the Second Commandment. Yet, this injunction has always been challenged and redefined by Jews. Here, we explore the role and the representation of Jews and Jewishness in one of the most popular art forms of the 20th century: comic books. We do so by comparing two cultures, American and French, each seminal in the birth of the genre, but in very different ways, and in very contrasting historical contexts for Jews. In America, comics, with virtually all its iconic superheroes, was created by children of European Jewish immigrants fleeing persecutions, yet it is only recently that Jewishness, long effaced behind pseudonyms and apparently secular characters, has become more visible. And after the war, it was Jewish authors addressing Jewish issues who gave the genre its legitimacy with the modern “graphic novel,” epitomized by the Pulitzer Prize-winning testimony of the Holocaust, Maus. In Europe, on the other hand, where the Franco-Belgian bande dessinée matured much sooner, Jews had long been represented in comics, but mostly in depreciatory images: from the Wandering Jew to the caricatures of the Dreyfus Affair, to subtle clichés in the most popular works, including Tintin. Only recently have Jews begun to appear in a positive, assertive light, especially in the influential works of the Nouvelle Bande Dessinée, by authors like Joann Sfar, with The Rabbi’s Cat and Klezmer, who encompasses Sephardic and Ashkenazi cultures, and Christophe Blain, with |Isaac the Pirate, the epic story of a fictitious Jewish painter in pre-Revolution France. From superheroes to (invented) self-portraits, this course will thus examine how “Jewish” comic books offer a paradoxical and artistically stimulating response to the ambiguous interdiction of representation that lays at the heart of Judaism, and even a challenge to the domination of images in Western culture.


Among the courses offered at Midrasha in Berkeley (East Bay Jewish Community High School) is "The Golem, American Jews and Comics", taught by Sacha J. Kopin. The description (from is below.

What do the graphic novels Superman and Wolverine have in common? And what do they have to do with Judaism? Discover the answers to these questions and more! Together we'll explore why super heroes lend themselves to telling the Jewish experience and learn about the first Jewish superhero, the Golem.


The Jacksonville Jewish Federation's Beit Midrash Class Offerings for 9th - 12th Grade includes the 2nd hour course (in the Spring Semester) "Superman Was a Jew", taught by Mrs. Karen Morse. Description from follows.

This class looks at how Jews transformed the comic book industry from 1938—present. The creators of some of our favorite comic book stars—Superman, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Batman and the X-men - were Jewish. Students will learn about how these creators designed characters and personas to reflect Jewish values and ideals, and will have the opportunity to design their very own story board in this exciting class.


At the end of last year (specifically from Nov. 17 — Dec. 15), Richard Kaplowitz taught his 5-session course Super-Mensch: The Story of Jews and Comic Books at the Jewish Study Center in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Reading: Miriam Libicki - Toronto, May 10th, 2009

Cover of jobnik! #7

FREE event!

Miriam Libicki brings her innovative comics reading/slideshow to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival! Join the acclaimed autobiographical cartoonist as she dramatically reads from her Israeli Army memoirs, as well as her provocative drawn essays "Towards a Hot Jew," Ceasefire," and "Jewish Memoir Goes Pow! Zap! Oy!" In between, Miriam will discuss her influences, what led her to choose comics as a format, why she started the jobnik! series, her self-publishing experience and how her work has been received thus far (in Israel and elsewhere).

May 10, 2009
Toronto Comic Arts Festival
Toronto Reference Library - Learning Centre 2
789 Yonge St.
Toronto, Ont., CANADA
4:30 - 5:00 PM

Miriam's illustrated essay "fierce ease" was nominated for a Stumptown Trophy Award in the category "Outstanding Art". Alas, it lost.

A podcast of Miriam's presentation at last year's Association of Jewish Libraries conference may be listened to by going to However, it's more entertaining to be at the presentation in person, so that you can see her slides as well as hear what she has to say about them.

Here a selection of what bloggers have been writing about Miriam and her work .

Minds in the Gutters : Class blog for WMST 425B, a University of British Columbia student directed seminar about gender and women in comics.
"The drama of Miriam’s life is an interpersonal following of her relationships up and downs with a kind of brutal honesty one can only expect from the finest of auto-bio creators. Taking a cue from creators like Phoebe Gloeckner and Justin Green, Miriam is working with what she is comfortable with, in turn, that may make some readers uncomfortable. It would easy for Miriam to follow the lead of Joe Sacco and just focus on the political aspect of her time in the IDF, but that’s not the story she wants to tell."

4 Down, 48 To Go "Jobnik!" (52 Books, 52 Weeks)
"The autobiographical story of Miriam Libicki's enlistment in the Israeli Army builds interest, though, as she entwines her youthful passions (and often bad romantic decisions) with the political and armed conflicts in the area. By the end of the book, I found myself totally wrapped up in Libicki's world."

jobnik! Brings Sexy Back
" jobnik! is a tale of loneliness, sadness and humor. Even though it occasionally feels mundane, it’s always honest and very entertaining. She records the details of day-to-day life in the IDF in frank terms, which are often a mystery to Americans."

ComicsBulletin - Daily Reviews
"In its depiction of the banality and charm of everyday life in Isreael, Miriam Libicki's Jobnik presents a wonderfully unique world. I always find myself enjoying seeing life through her eyes."

Sunday, May 03, 2009

TCAF - Toronto Comic Arts Festival - May 9-10

This weekend, readers, writers, artists, publishers and fans of comix will converge at the Toronto Reference Library to take part in the the FREE Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

Among the talented people who will be at TCAF this year are a small number of comix professionals who have done work that has already been mentioned at the Jewish Comics Blog.

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

* Dan Goldman, author-illustrator of a short piece titled "Schmear" (in Smut Peddler #2), which he describes as "Jewish porn" (since it takes place in the backroom of a Brooklyn bagel shop), as well as a special 1-page illustration for The New York Post titled "Israel Turns 60".

* Miss Lasko-Gross, author-illustrator of the graphic autobiography Escape from "Special" and A Mess of Everything

* 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.

* 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

Paul Pope, author-illustrator of the story "Berlin Batman" in The Batman Chronicles #11 (reprinted in Batman : Year 100, in which Batman is a Jewish painter named Baruch Wane.

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


According to the Facebook guest list, both Alan Oirich (author of issues 1 & 2 of the comic book series Jewish Hero Corps and Gina Kamentsky (author-illustrator of the comic book series T-Gina) will be attending, although neither of them are official guests (i.e. they will be around, but will not have exhibitor tables).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Talmud Comics

Rachel Freedenberg has managed to get a gig filling in what I always felt was a gap in Jewish journalism. Freedenberg, who writes for (the online version of j : the Jewish news weekly of Northern California) will be covering the "Jewish comics" beat, contributing a new story every Friday (before shabbos). Although she has recently acknowledged me and this very blog for providing her with tips, I am nonetheless looking forward to reading what she has to say about comics, graphic novels, comic strips and webcomics that I have told her about, as well as learning about Jewish comix that I am unaware of.

As a Canadian Jew, I am thrilled that one of the webcomics which Freedenberg chose to highlight last week is none other than Talmud Comics, adapted from the Talmud and illustrated by the very talented
(yet relatively unknown) Yonah Lavery.

I say "unknown" only because news about her and her website hasn't appeared much in print yet. However, no less than 7 bloggers (in addition ro jweekly's) have noticed Yonah's work and reccommended it to their readers. I could add to the praise, but I don't feel qualified to do so. Besides, I would probably only end up trying to rephrase what others have been saying. Below are links to the 8 sites and quotes from them.

Talmud Comics? Yes - they exist!
it's a visual representation of a text that retains the beauty of the ancient wording, and doesn't try to make it overly hip or dumb it down for a modern audience. Very refreshing! The best part, though, is the illustrations, which are moody and haunting, and often just plain exquisite. Lavery is simply WONDERFUL at shading.

Comicly Styling the Talmud
This very well could be the most awesome idea ever: Talmud comics! The great thing is, they aren't cheesy or ridiculous, they're actually quite beautiful and thoughtfully drawn.

Talmud in Comics
If you enjoy either comics, the Talmud, or both, they’re worth a look

Wasting time
they [...] are interesting reads

Talmud Comix!!!
based on (and generally pretty faithful to) Tractate Brachot ... It’s pretty awesome.

The Talmud And Demons: A Comic By Yonah
This is really good!

The Talmud Comics and the Artist, Yonah (Medbh) Lavery
I am hoping that my readers will take a look at her work and the genius behind it and take a few moments to understand the amount of work and love of Torah this woman must have to make such a beautiful contribution to study for anyone who might be lucky enough to find her rather obscure website.

Blessing the Sun and Other Talmud Goodies
I am hoping like crazy that this is going to become a book.


First, Aaron Freeman & Sharon Rosenzweig gave us The Comic Torah. Then, Yonah Lavery gave us Talmud Comics.

What's next? Mishna Manga?

Call for Papers - Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies

To view the Acrobat version of this CFP, please go to
(includes a color graphic of Shaloman).

Jewish Comics: Special issue of the journal Shofar

The scholarship surrounding comics and “graphic novels” has proliferated over the past several years, as has studies focusing on particular comics themes or visual texts created by certain ethnic communities. Indeed, over the past three years alone there have been at least six critical studies investigating the links between comics and Jewishness. Given this emergent field of inquiry, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies will devote a special issue to Jewish comics (slotted for Summer 2010). The scope of this volume will take in the theoretical, literary, and historical contexts of graphic narrative and its links to Jewish identity and discourse. Possible topics could include, but are certainly not limited to:

* The ways in which comics have articulated the American Jewish experience

* Comics and the Holocaust, as expressed in such narratives as Maus, Auschwitz, I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors, We Are on Our Own, Mendel’s Daughter: A Memoir, and Yossel: April 19, 1943

* Images of Israel in the works of Joe Sacco, Rutu Modan, Ari Folman, Miriam Libicki, and the Dimona Comix Group

* Jewish identity through superheroes and villains, from Superman to The Spirit to Shaloman

* The form of the contemporary “graphic novel” by Jewish writers/artists such as Kim Deitch, Joann Sfar, Miss Lasko-Gross, Ben Katchor, and Aline Kominisky-Crumb

* Graphic adaptations of Jewish texts and legends

* Immigration and ethnic urban landscapes in the works of comics artists such as Will Eisner and Ben Katchor

* Comics, the Diaspora, and Jewish internationalism

* Jewish identity and world conflict, from the world wars to 9/11

* Jewish autobiographic comics (e.g., Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor and Will Eisner’s autobiographic fiction) as well as graphic biographies of such figures as Franz Kafka, Emma Goldman, Houdini, and Anne Frank

* Representations of the Jewish gangster in comics

* The uses of the golem and its relation to the superhero

All essay submissions should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words, including notes. Contributors should format submissions based on the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, and use footnotes. Authors will be responsible for securing copyright permission for all images used. Address all inquiries, and submit all completed manuscripts, to the guest editor, Derek Parker Royal at Derek_Royal[at] Please include the words “Jewish Comics” in the subject heading.

Deadline for final manuscript submission is October 2, 2009.

Shofar is published for the Midwest Jewish Studies Association, the Western Jewish Studies Association, and the Jewish Studies Program of Purdue University by the Purdue University Press. For more information on the journal, please visit

Monday, April 20, 2009

A look at Holocaust comics on Yom HaShoah

Today is Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), a day to memorialize the victims of that horrible genocide and to remind ourselves that we must do everything possible to combat racism and injustice, no matter who is being victimized or where.

At such a time, it seems an appropriate time for the readers of this blog to take a look at websites which make reference to comic books & graphic novels which have represented the Holocaust, as well as to recognize an especially noteworthy miniseries about a Holocaust survivor published recently by Marvel Comics.

In Sept. 2008, Mike DeLisa wrote a post on his blog entitled "Comics Exploring the Holocaust". In it, he made reference to Judenhass, "The Liberators" from Fightin'Army #119, "Master Race" from Impact #1, and a 2-pager titled "Masterpiece" from Harvey Hits #6. He also reproduced 3 panels from the latter example.

Mike DeLisa notes that he could think of just a few 'pre-Maus' stories". However, I could list several of them, including :

* "The Butcher of Wulfhausen" Kent Blake of the Secret Service #14 (July 1953)

* "City of Slaves" Battlefield #9 (March 1953)

* "'Thou Shalt Not Kill'" Weird War Tales #8 (Nov. 1972)

* "Totentantz" Star Spangled War Stories #158 (Sept. 1971)
cover of Star Spangled Stories #158

cover of Blitzkrieg #2

* "Walls of Blood" Blitzkrieg #2 (March-Apr. 1976)

In a recent article in The Canadian Jewish News (Jan. 14, 2009, pop culture writer Shlomo Schwartzberg reviewed both Judenhass and Goodbye Marianne. The latter is a graphic novel adaptation of the award-winning young adult novel by Irene Watts.

The recently-published anthology The Jewish Graphic Novel : Critical Approaches includes the essay "Witness, Trauma, and Remembrance : Holocaust Representation and X-Men Comics" by Cheryl Alexander Malcolm, which discusses the ways Marvel has portrayed the character Magneto, both before and after Chris Claremont revamped him into a Holocaust survivor.

Alas, the essay was written before the launch of the miniseries X-Men : Magneto : Testament, which showed Magneto's childhood in Holocaust-era Europe.

The Testament miniseries has been mentioned or discussed at several websites and blogs. I'm listing them below, along with selected quotes.

Comic Book Resources.
Republication of the Comic Book Resources interview with miniseries illustrator Greg Pak.
"1) I read the letter you put in at the end of the story. So how much research did you put into studying this time period?

I have a six-foot stack of histories and memoirs from the time period that I've been going through for the past three years. I've watched every Holocaust-related feature film and documentary I could get my hands on, and, of course, read every Holocaust-related comic book I could find. It's the most harrowing and emotionally draining research I've ever done, but I've never felt so responsible for getting a project right.

Did you learn anything that truly surprised you?

I'd read about the Holocaust before, in middle school and college and beyond, so I was familiar with much of the history. But every day I'd read something that shocked me to the core all over again."

Impulse Creations.
Impulse Creations interview with miniseries writer Greg Pak, in between issue #1 and issue #2.
"Impulse: You handle the oppression and rise of the Nazis with such finesse in the comic. It's subtle at some points (even though the reader is certainly aware, from knowing about what Magneto went through growing up and also the historical context), and dramatically strong at others. Why did you feel this route would work, and how does it play into the overall story, especially regarding Max as a character? Was there anything that influenced you in the way you chose to tell it?

Greg: I wanted to begin the story relatively early so that we could get to know Max and his family as human beings before the full gravity of their situation sank in. And I knew we should see almost everything from Max's point of view. That would let us discover things bit by bit at the same time he does and help us understand how the Nazi rise and the Final Solution crept up around and then swept away their victims."

Karp, Lauren. Ich bin Magnus: (Re)writing Magneto’s Origins & Culture
"What I’ve seen of Magneto: Testament seems to warrant it a place both in comic history and in future Holocaust media and literature studies. Who knows if it will happen, given that this is a superhero comic—given that Magneto has the power of magnetism, one can expect to see metal bullets flying around wildly at the very least—but with a comic so rooted in history (comic history, cultural history, and ideological history) I believe it certainly deserves it."

Marvel Comics. WW Philly 2008: Magneto: Testament
Official PR announcement of the series at the Marvel website. Includes character sketch designs.
"Like so many classic Marvel characters, [Magneto] has to grapple with the typical problems of any scrawny outsider: family problems, schoolyard bullies, and first crushes," Pak explains. "But every little conflict takes on a terrifying, new dimension as the scope and inexorable advance of the Nazi menace becomes clearer."

Roth, Matthue. Magneto in the Holocaust
"All told, we’ll have to see how Testament fares before we officially accept Magneto’s Jewishness as X-Men canon. Pak is an able writer who’s been able to balance emotion and plot extremely effectively in 'Phoenix: Endsong' and less so in 'World War Hulk.' I don’t trust him absolutely, but I trust him."

Shinefeld, Mordechai."X-Men mutant survives the Holocaust in new Marvel Comics miniseries" Haaretz July 6, 2008
"Part of the goal of this story is to explore religious identity, and history, through fiction," said Warren Simmons, 'Testament' editor. "I'd say [Magneto] is one of the single richest and most intriguing characters in our medium. I think to Jewish kids, he's a very important, complex character. I know that he was to me."

The above article is reprinted as Comic Explores Shoah in The Forward, June 13, 2008.
Image of the cover of issue #1. Image of the cover of issue #2

reviews of issue #1
Summary: Magneto Testament #1 opens in the city of Nuremberg, in the year 1935. The young Magneto's family is trying to live as normal a life as possible, in this Bavarian city that was so central to Nazi ideology and propaganda. The young hero is only nine years old, and still attending school, when we first meet him. We see a brief glimpse of what it's like to be the outsider, the alien, a physically average boy who is emotionally abused by his teachers as well as his fellow students. We also see a young girl, a Gypsy girl, named Magda, forced to clean the trash off the streets with her mother. Since the Gypsies of Germany were overwhelmingly Sinti, we now know that Magda was a Sinti. The young Magneto becomes smitten with this girl, and she with him. (from Rivka Jacobs' review)

Borzelli, Brandon.Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
"The issue is very powerful. The whole story has such a serious and dark undertone that it has that sickening feeling to it. Personally, I felt Max’s story could have been any number of young Jewish kid’s stories during the mid to late 30s in Germany.
... 5 out of 5 geek goggles"

comicinsight. Comic Reviews
A review of issues #1 and #2
"We all knew that Magneto came from some terrible hardships in his life, but this story . . this story gives you a feeling of what he and his family and his people were forced to endure. [...] This is one of those stories that's really going to make you think . . think about history . . and think about how you feel about things."

Hayman, Mark J. X-Men: Magneto Testament #1
{rating : 2.5 bullets out of 5}
"One doesn't expect to be emotionally sideswiped by a book with "Magneto" stamped on the cover. I had no problem with the actual presentation, despite not being overly taken with the illustration, but the where and the what actually had me getting a little angry. When I reached the final page, there was an afterword by Greg Pak which helped to redeem the intent but only to the extent that I'm reasonably certain that he intends no offense and, given the credit to the Wiesenthal Center, has done the sort of homework one would expect from a Rhodes Scholar in history. Still, I'm not satisfied that this could well be the first exposure of a young mind to these horrors, despite the best of intentions."
Includes 6 page scans with the dialogue & captions.

Huqueriza, Chris. Le.Writers.Block
"Writer Greg Pak does extensive background and it shows ... I have high hopes to see what happens to Magneto. 5/5."

Jacobs, Rivka. X-Men: Magneto Testament #1 Review
Review by the author of the Magneto is Jewish FAQ
"X-Men: Magneto Testament, is not only the definitive account of Magneto's origins, but a sincere and careful attempt by the creative team to portray Magneto's Jewish youth and the Holocaust with accuracy and respect."

Jim & Rhonda.A Groundbreaking Series: X-Men: Magneto Testament #1
"Just because this is a super-hero comic, don't assume this terrible and tragic period of history will be treated lightly. The creators have clearly tried to portray this era in a realistic, truthful, way. Readers will almost certainly find themselves emotionally involved and angry as they read this tale."

Rapin, Mike. Weekend Whiz: Reviews so fast you’ll pee your pants
"It was all very well done [a]nd I’m very much excited for this true origin of Magneto."

SuperSearnold. Magneto - Testament #1/
"I absolutely recommend this issue. To EVERYONE. Magneto - Testament #1 does such a good job of examining the character of this Jewish boy growing up in Nazi Germany that you’ll still enjoy this issue even if you aren’t an X-Men fan or have absolutely no idea who Magneto is. The content is dark (the only way to deal honestly with Nazis’ persecution of Jews) - so the book isn’t for children."

Tung, Chris. Magneto's Testament #1 - A Review
"It was good. Maybe not great. But a good way to start a new series. ... The art was definitely lack luster for me. I was immediately drawn to the cover of the series because Djurdjevic did a fantastic job at introducing an adolescent Eric as well as displaying the inevitable end for the young boy's character, but the interior art could definitely be better. I wish they had chosen a grittier direction. "

reviews of issue #2
Summary : This issue takes us from 1936 through September 1, 1939, the Nazi invasion of Poland that started WWII, stopping briefly on November 9-10, 1938 for Kristallnacht, the infamous Night of Broken Glass when Germans rioted against the Jews, destroying homes and property, looting what they could and savagely destroying the lives of their neighbors. As this issue closes Max and bears witness to the German tanks rolling into Poland we can’t help but understand, through all Max’s troubled life, how Magneto’s character was formed and the rage and pain that drives his actions. (from Sam Wilson's review)

Borzelli, Brandon. Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Weekly Rankings
"it takes the every day lives of one family, Magneto’s, and illustrates point by point how their livelihood, home and country (and presumably their lives) where taken from them. The story uses real timelines and actual events to show the chaos around the family. This issue focuses on the events of Kristallnacht and the immediate aftermath. With three issues to go you know this is only going to get worse and worse. This is a fantastic, but horrific and emotional story."

Rosenblatt, Rob. Cream of the Crop
"Max and his family’s flight from Germany as the Nazis raid homes and businesses was heart-wrenching. I don’t know if this story will make Magneto any more sympathetic, but it’s very interesting to see what this mutant figurehead witnessed and lived through as a boy, and we see why he is so militant about not being persecuted again."

Wilson, Sam. Sam Wilson’s Reviews
"Greg Pak, one of comics’ top writers and a man who needs no introduction at this point, has worked painstakingly with the Simon Wiesenthal Center to insure he’s accurately retelling the Germans’ rise to power and the steps they took in their private little war against the Jews. The beauty of this story is that we get to see world history unfold through the frightened eyes of a young boy, knowing the fictional villain this boy will become but seeing his origin unfold against the back drop of some of the most horrendous evil in human history. Beautifully rendered by Carmine Di Giandomenico, the same artist who drew the Marvel Knights’ Daredevil: Battlin’ Jack Murdock series, Magneto Testament is powerful and engrossing. A must read even if you’re not an X-Man fan."

reviews of issue #3
Summary : Magneto and his family barely survive the Polish countryside by seeking refuge in Warsaw, where they end up as prisoners of the city’s infamous ghetto. The Germans escalate their violence against the Jews and their true intentions become increasingly more transparent. Faced with little options, Magneto and his family sneak out of the Warsaw Ghetto, hoping for safety and shelter. Unfortunately, they find neither. Magneto’s mutant power remains untapped and his unrealized potential to “save the day” is a continuous haunting frustration that is effective in capturing the pity, anger, desperation, and sadness that pervades this book. (from Rob Galinsky's reviw)

Borzelli, Brandon. Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Weekly Rankings
"This historical account could be more gruesome but it restrains (for now) from being too vulgar. Still, I find myself bracing for the worst page after page. It’s an excellent story."

Galinsky, Rob.X-Men: Magneto Testament #3 (of 5) - Review
"What’s Good: Pak lets historical events tell this story, which allows Magneto to be a passive but effective character. Pak shows a few key details about Magneto’s personality, such as his selflessness, his ability to lead, and his courageousness– characteristics that fit in with the Magneto that Marvel readers have gotten to know over the past few decades. The art is solid and has an indie feel to it. The coloring revolves between pale and hopeless to dark and terrorizing.

What’s-Not-So-Good: I understand that this book has a pedagogical aspect to it, but it goes a little overboard when text boxes full of facts, numbers, and dates appear. I think the encyclopedic side of the Holocaust would be better served if it were reserved for a page at the end of the story. Besides, the story is so powerful, educational, and realistic even without the cold, dry facts.
Grade : A"

Rules, Samuel. Where My Money Went - Nov. 12th
"A Magneto origin story cleverly masks this powerful Holocaust historical narrative. Trying to protect his family, young Magneto becomes a smuggler and attempts to save his family but pushes them closer and closer to the camps. I have a hard time reading this comic because as much as I want his powers to manifest in that issue, once I start reading I only worry about his well being."

Wilson, Sam. Wktf’s Reviews
"This comic series is absolutely frightening. I’m not sure what fictional story could be more harrowing and horrific than the actual events of The Holocaust. We all know Magneto is a child of The Holocaust; however, placing young Max, the boy who grows to become Magneto, in this setting amidst the horrible slaughter of this shameful moment in human history, and tracing his life as he experiences the actual events leading to the death camps creates a story of fear, pain, anger and hatred such as probably could not be communicated as well any other way."

reviews of issue #4
Summary : We get to see the atrocities Magneto experienced in Auschwitz, and "atrocity" cannot summarize the things that happened there. Sadly, they are all too realistic. Just when you think there's a glimmer of hope for Max, writer Greg Pak snatches it all away. Even the ending to this issue is a sign of hope, until you realize the rest of Magneto's origins. (from the review by fatherjeff)

"An excellent read, yet again. Pick up this entire series, and you won't be disappointed. An amazing read, from the moment you open the cover. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!"

Duin, Steven. Comic Review: Magneto: Testament
Review by a writer for The Orgonian
"Greg Pak has done a commendable job on the back story of the young Magneto, struggling against the passivity of his elders as the Nazi's noose slowly tightens around the Jewish community. Understanding that the Holocaust is little more than a barbaric number -- six million -- to many in this generation of comics' readers, Pak has provided a valuable and restrained history lesson."


"Yet when I open the fourth issue, pictured above, to witness Max Eisenhardt's arrival at the camp, the initial shot from the train platform -- "Men to the right! Women and children to the left!" -- is set next to an ad for "Prince of Persia." When the Jews are ordered to strip, I turn the page to hear Honda screaming that I should "Avoid Gas Hogs!" And the scene in which Max, now working as a Sonderkommando at the camp, shoves the body of his mentor into the oven is placed, gruesomely, beside an in-house promo for "The Dark Avengers."

I know Marvel has comic books and video games to sell, but I find it absolutely appalling that the company doesn't recognize the indecency of interrupting a tale of the Holocaust with ads about "gas hogs." At a crucial point in this story, Pak simply turns the lights out and lets the panels go black, knowing there is no way to illustrate the horrors that a survivor of the camps describes. I only wish Marvel understood that some stories are too dark, and too important, to serve as just another pack mule for the company's ad sales."

fatherjeff. X-Men: Magneto Testament #4
"This is one of the best series Marvel has put out in...ever. Carmine Di Giandomenico's art is just wonderful, especially that double-page spread of the glasses that is just haunting. You can tell the detail these creators are putting in which shows their hard work. My only hope is that this series will lead to a Magneto ongoing with the same creative team."

George, Richard. Magneto: Testament #4 Review
"Sometimes a series is so good that you effectively run out of things to say about it. That's pretty much the case with Magneto: Testament, a product which not only once again affirms the value of the Marvel Knights line but is easily one of the best products Marvel has put out this decade. Just as it has the past three months, this series defies conventional origin story trappings, delivering a tale that isn't just moving and mesmerizing but historically accurate as well."

Huqueriza, Chris.le.writers.block
In the penultimate issue, there's more shocks and atrocities as Max witnesses them in Auschwitz. Max['s] hope fades as he commits a sin. Max doesn't look like Magneto, but a great tale about the Holocaust with the last issue tying up everything. 5/5"

*** note : There is a 7-page preview of the comic online at

reviews of issue #5
Summary : Max Eisenhardt has reached the lowest point in his young life. Separated from his family, Max is eking out a living in Auschwitz. Even as he helps the Nazis dispose of their thousands of dead bodies, Max is busy bribing guards and helping plan an uprising against his oppressors. And through it all, Magda provides a lone ray of light in an otherwise dark existence. (from Jesse Schedeen's review)

Borzelli, Brandon Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
"The finale of this story caps off what has been a tremendous account of the holocaust from a single character’s point of view. Max proves to be both lucky and crafty. It seems his ability to find gold was his biggest contributor to staying alive. However, the realism used in this story almost makes the character involved here kind of irrelevant. I think this story would have been just as good without the X-Men tag or Magneto as the central character. The issue discusses what kind of extras will be included in the collected edition and it makes this story worth picking up in trade if you missed the mini series. This was a terrific mini series."

"So, I came into this series expecting not much of anything; I came away feeling overwhelmed and moved by the emotional clarity and intelligence conjured up by something so simple as a mixture of words and pictures. Yes, there were only a couple of fleeting indications that this was the tale of the boy who would one day become the X-Men’s greatest nemesis, but that didn’t matter. The seeds are sown here. What does matter is that the creators didn’t dumb down their work to make it more palatable, rather they acknowledged the intellect of their audience and understood that a single image or a single sentence are sometimes all that’s needed to convey a multitude of thoughts and feelings.

It’s not an easy read, it’s not a fun read, but it’s probably the bravest thing Marvel have published over the last few years, and it’s powerful enough in both the subject matter and the telling that, although the sales figures may not have been stellar, it’s going to have a shelf life that will far exceed many of its contemporaries. 10/10"

Schedeen, Jesse. X-Men: Magneto Testament #5 Review
"I've been feeling more and more like this book was conceived as a Holocaust story first and foremost and the Magneto elements were thrown in to make it more commercially viable. Granted, it's not an ignoble pursuit to use comic characters as a vector to historical education. I just feel that, if Greg Pak went through the trouble to write a story about Magneto, he should have offered him a more complete character arc. With a few switched names, this series could just as easily dropped the "Magneto" moniker."