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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?

1 comment:

Naomi R. said...

This is great! The Talmud definitely has a lot of crazy Aggadic stories that must make great fodder for a comic book artist.
I've seen comics dealing with Jewish history (Maus) and Bible-based comics (JT Waldman's Megillat Esther, which we published at JPS), but this is something altogether different. I love it!
Thanks for sharing the link, I'm looking forward to some great browsing. :-)
~Naomi Rosenblatt