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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chris Claremont and Paul Levitz at Columbia U - tonight at 8 PM

Chris Claremont (writer who introduced the Jewish character Kitty Pryde [aka Shadowcat] and who wrote stories which implied that Magneto was Jewish, both in the pages of The Uncanny X-Men) and Paul Levitz (author of "Tradition" in DC Comics' 9-11 September 11th 2001) will be discussing comics tonight at 614 Schermerhorn Hall at Columbia University at 8:00 PM.

The topic : Jewish Influences and Themes in American Comics

Free and open to the public.

Visit or e-mail or call (212)854-2584 for more information.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Jewish Side of NYCC 2010

This weekend, the New York Comic Con will take place in Manhattan. You may go to the official website using the link in the last sentence to get all the details about guests and programming.

Below, I am highlighting "Jewish" sessions and guests / attendees who are Jewish &/or who have helped create "Jewish" comics.

* 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)

* Brian Michael Bendis (author-illustrator of Fire, a comic series about a Jewish-American college student named Benjamin Furst, who is recruited into a Central Intelligent Agency operation known as Project Fire)

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

* Chris Claremont (writer who introduced the Jewish character Kitty Pryde [aka Shadowcat] and who wrote stories which implied that Magneto was Jewish, both in the pages of The Uncanny X-Men)

* Marguerite Dabaie (author-illustrator of The Hookah Girl and Other True Stories, as well as a daily webcomic strip titled "He Also Has Drills for Hands". Her August 21st strip showed a Jewish wedding which she attended.

* 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

* Colleen Doran (illustrator of a one-page illustration in The Death Gallery, in which Death is at a concentration camp)

* 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)

* 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)

* Dean Haspiel (illustrator of Harvey Pekar's autobiography The Quitter)

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

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

* 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)

* Joe Kubert (author-illustrator of the graphic novels Jew Gangster and Yossel : April 19, 1943, as well as the Sgt. Rock : The Prophecy miniseries)

* 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)

* Paul Kupperberg (creator of the supervillain Blackstarr, a Jewish Holocaust survivor turned racist in the series Supergirl)

* 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)

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

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

* 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)

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

* George Perez (illustrator of Wonder Woman #37 and #38 which had the character Rabbi Benjamin Hecht)

Jerry Robinson (Batman series artist who also did illustrations for Bible Tales for Young Folk)

Steven T. Seagle (author of the graphic novel "It's a Bird ..." which examines various aspects of the Superman mythos, including his creation by 2 American Jews)

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

Robert Sikoryak (adapter of classic stories into comic-style retellings, including a Dagwood-style "Adam and Eve", which was reprinted in Masterpiece Comics)

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

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

* 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)

Friday, October 8

Will Eisner's New York
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Room 1A14

Will Eisner is acknowledged as one of the greats of the Comics World. Join the renowned award-winning author and cartoonist, Jules Feiffer, best selling author and columnist, David Hajdu, writer and former President & Publisher, DC Comics, Paul Levitz, artist, author, publisher, and cartoonist, Denis Kitchen, author and biographer, Michael Schumacher, and moderator, author, comic book editor, & historian, Danny Fingeroth to learn about Will Eisner from those who knew and worked with him. From the Golden Age of Comics, through the use of Sequential Art for education and training, through the creation of the modern graphic novel, to the beginning of the digital age, you will find Will Eisner and his artwork. Will Eisner was shaped by New York City - he loved it, drew it, and wrote about it. He was born in New York, schooled in New York, worked in New York, and taught his craft in New York so that New York was in his blood and on the panels of his comics, the pages of his graphic novels, and the canvas of his artwork. A multi-talented panel of comics professionals and writers has come together to describe their personal and professional relationships with Will Eisner and his relationship with New York.

CSC: Psychiatry and the Superhero
Time : 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Room 1A17

Sharon Packer (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) explores how Spider-Man’s black costume symbiote is emblematic of concepts from psychiatry, neurology, and even the all-but-abandoned field of “folk psychiatry” in the way it is reminiscent of prion disease, dissociative identity disorder, and even the dybbuk tale of Jewish mystical lore and Jungian concepts of the “shadow self.”

Remembering Harvey Pekar
Time: 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Location: Room 1A22

After 35 years of innovating in — having virtually invented — the personal comics genre with his American Splendor series, Cleveland’s Harvey Pekar died this past July, in the middle of several projects finished and unfinished. This panel celebrates Pekar’s life and work. It includes Harvey’s editor on The Pekar Project, Jeff Newelt ; artist on Harvey’s The Quitter and other works, Dean Haspiel ; Peter Kuper, who not only has drawn for Harvey, but as a comics-loving kid in Cleveland, spent much time hanging out and learning from him ; Rick Parker and Joseph Remnant, who both worked on The Pekar Project. The panel is moderated by Danny Fingeroth, who memorably interviewed Harvey at The YIVO Institute in 2009, and wrote of Harvey’s importance in The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels. Some surprise last minute guests may appear on the panel, as well.

Saturday, October 9

Spotlight on Dean Haspiel
Time: 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
Location: Room 1A23

With the release of Graphic NYC Presents: Dean Haspiel, The Early Years, a hybrid of journalism and comics reprint book from IDW/Desperado, writer/editor Christopher Irving ( moderates a panel on Dean’s career ; past and present. Panelists include Dean Haspiel (Cuba: My Revolution, American Splendor, Billy Dogma), Walter Simonson (Thor, The Judas Coin), Nick Bertozzi (The Salon, Stuffed!), Joan Hilty (DC/Vertigo editor, tentative), and Jonathan Ames (The Alcoholic, HBO’s Bored to Death). Get the dirt on comics’ own shirtless wonder, as his collaborators, mentors, and friends dish it out.

Vertigo: On the Edge
Time : 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm
Location: Room 1A06

Find out what compelling tales comics’ edgiest imprint has in store for you in the months to come! Led by Senior VP—Executive Editor Karen Berger, with an all-star lineup of talent that includes Jason Aaron (Scalped), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less), Dean Haspiel (Cuba: My Revolution), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), Inverna Lockpez (Cuba: My Revolution), Sean Murphy (Hellblazer), Scott Snyder (American Vampire), Peter Straub (Green Woman), Brian Wood (DMZ, Northlanders), Mike Carey (The Unwritten) and RM Guera (Scalped).

Sunday, October 10

Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist
Time: 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Location: Room 1E02

Get a look behind the mask of "The Spirit" creator in this feature-length documentary movie. With a triumphant world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, the award-winning film features the legendary graphic novelist Will Eisner with Frank Miller, Stan Lee, Jules Feiffer, Jack Kirby, Kurt Vonnegut, Art Spiegelman and many others. Join director/producer Andrew D. Cooke and writer/producer Jon B. Cooke for this unique free screening.

To watch a trailer of the film, go to (MPG format) or (MOV format).

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Emily Steinberg - a reading, a showing, & a new book

Emily Steinberg, author of the autobiographical Graphic Therapy : Notes from the Gap Years is at work on an as-yet-untitled visual diary.

More details to come on that.

Emily will be reading from her book at the Gershman Y (401 S. Broad Street) on Oct. 26 at 7 PM. The event is FREE!

An installation of 20 images from Graphic Therapy will be on exhibit at the student center of Penn State Abington Campus (1600 Woodland Rd.) thru December.

Rabbi Simcha Weinstein in Montreal - Thursday at 7:30 PM

Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, author of the book Up up and Oy Vey : How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero will be giving a lecture at the Jewish Public Library of Montreal tomorrow night.

Address : 5151 Côte-Ste-Catherine
Date : Thurs., Oct. 7, 2010
Time : 7:30 PM
Cost : $5 members/students, $10 non-members

To order tickets in advance, please call (514) 345-6416.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Happy New Year!

The Jewish Comics blog would like to wish all of our loyal readers (both of them) a happy, sweet, & healthy new year, whether you're a Heeb-ophile or not.

The cartoon below is from David Malki's Wondermark, specifically #127, entitled "In which Gracie is burned by a Jewess". The strip was reprinted in the book Beards of Our Forefathers (page 24), available in comic shops and bookstores, as well as online at

you can totally learn how to do this, it's in deuteronomy

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chari Pere and her comic "SUPER-DREN: The De-Victimizer" at SDCCI

Contrary to something written in my last post, Chari Pere will be at an exhibitor table during this year's San Diego Comic Convention (aka Comicon).

Specifically, Chari will be debuting her new comic book SUPER-DREN: The De-Victimizer - The Super Fun Way to Stop Being Bullied! at the National Cartoonists Society table (#1307).

There was a book signing earlier today at 4:00 PM and there will be another one on Sunday, May 25th at 1:00 PM.

Those not attending Comicon (like myself) may order the comic by going to

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jewish Side of SDCCI Part 3 (of 3) - The Eisner Awards

Every year, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards recognize the very best talents of the comics world.

This year, there are 5 works with Jewish content (or about Jewish people) that have been nominated for awards.

The Eisners will be held on Friday night, 8:30-11:30 in the Indigo Ballroom of the San Diego Hilton Bayfront .

Best Reality-Based Work
Footnotes in Gaza, by Joe Sacco (Metropolitan/Holt)

Best Writer/Artist-Nonfiction
Footnotes in Gaza, by Joe Sacco (Metropolitan/Holt)

Best Adaptation from Another Work
The Book of Genesis Illustrated, by R. Crumb (Norton)

Best Graphic Album-New
The Book of Genesis Illustrated, by R. Crumb (Norton)

Best Writer/Artist
The Book of Genesis Illustrated, by R. Crumb (Norton)

Best Comics-Related Book
The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics, by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)
Will Eisner and PS Magazine, by Paul E. Fitzgerald (Fitzworld.US)

Jewish Side of SDCCI Part 2 (of 3) - The Programming

Below are my suggestions for panels to attend at San Digeo Comicon International, which starts today.

While some of these panels may have more "Jewish" content than others, all of these are panels which I would make a good effort to attend in person ... if I was going to the convention this year. Which I'm not.


1:00-2:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #3: New Fun About Siegel and Shuster — Gerard Jones (Networked: Carabella on the Run) leads Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson Brown (grand-daughter of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson), Brad Ricca (Last Son), and copyright expert Lauren Agostino in a discussion about the creative influences and legal issues surrounding Siegel and Shuster's early characters. Mel Gordon (California State University East Bay) shares insights about Jewish superheroes from his forthcoming book Siegel and Shuster's Funnyman: The First Jewish Superhero, co-authored by Thomas Andrae. Room 26AB

3:30-4:30 Spotlight on James Sturm — Comic-Con special guest James Sturm has created award-winning graphic novels for early readers (Adventures in Cartooning), young adults (Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules), and grownups (The Golem's Mighty Swing, Market Day) and co-founded the country's finest cartooning school (The Center for Cartoon Studies). Come join James during this rare Comic-Con appearance! Room 26AB


10:30-11:30 Neal Adams and Stan Lee: They Spoke Out—Against the Holocaust — Neal Adams (Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow) and Holocaust historian Dr. Rafael Medoff unveil the new series of educational "motion comics" they are creating with ABC News about Americans who spoke out for the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust. They will be joined on the panel by Stan Lee (co-creator of Spider-Man, X-Men) and will screen an episode from the upcoming series, illustrated by Neal Adams and narrated by Stan Lee. Room 9

11:00-12:00 Spotlight on Vanessa Davis — One of the brightest new cartoonists of her generation, who has been featured in Tablet, Vice, Bust, and Bitch magazines, Comic-Con special guest Vanessa Davis will be debuting her new book Make Me a Woman and discussing the book and its process with a charming and funny slide show about being young, Jewish and single. Room 4

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, historian, curator and creator rights activist. Jerry discusses his 70 years in comics -- from his contributions to the Batman mythos to the creation of the Joker and development of Robin, Alfred, Penguin, Scarecrow and Two-Face. Jerry is interviewed by Michael Uslan, the executive producer of the Batman movies, comics historian, and author of the upcoming Archie Marries... (Abrams). In their discussion, Robinson and Uslan will take the audience from behind the scenes of the Golden Age of comics to the filming of The Dark Knight and Jerry's latest book projects. Room 9

2:00-3:00 Graphic Novels: The Personal Touch — You know when you read it: that certain something that sticks out in a graphic novel. It's the personal touch, a work that draws on the life of the creator or the people around him or her. Call the work autobiographical, call it reality -- many times it results in truly personal and inspiring comics. Comics creator and journalist Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic, Skin Horse) talks to Comic-Con special guests Gabrielle Bell (Cecil & Jordan in New York), Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Vanessa Davis (Make Me a Woman), Larry Marder (Beanworld), Jillian Tamaki (Skim), and C. Tyler (You'll Never Know Book 1: A Good and Decent Man) about their very personal work. Room 4

2:30-3:30 Spotlight on Steve Rude — Award-winning artist and Comic-Con special guest Steve Rude describes the high points of his career, including how he broke into comics; the various comics he's worked on, including Nexus, World's Finest, and Space Ghost; and the trials of working on them. Plus Steve gives his thoughts on today's current comics and artists. A "big surprise" will also premiere at this panel.

3:00-4:00 Spotlight on Chris Claremont — Comic-Con special guest and world-renowned writer Chris Claremont talks about his career in this special Spotlight panel. Claremont's incredible body of work, including his many years writing the X-Men and his newest collaborations with Tom Grummet (X-Men Forever) and fellow special guest Milo Manara (X-Women), are fan-favorites. Room 24ABC


11:00-12:00 Spirituality in Comics — How can comics help communicate timeless truths through new media to new audiences? Discuss the latest trends of spiritual themes in comics with moderator Scott Shuford of the Christian Comic Arts Society and panelists Holly Golightly (School Bites), K. J. Kolka (Cardinal Adventures), and Clint Johnson (Faithwalker). Santa Rosa Room, Marriott Hotel and Marina

11:30-12:30 Will Eisner, The Dreamer — Will Eisner played a central role in the first seven decades of comics history. Many times during his career, he reinvented sequential art and himself to overcome new challenges. He was a true dreamer, and these panelists hope to show you that side of him: Denis Kitchen (artist, author, publisher, and Will Eisner's agent and longtime friend), Scott McCloud (artist, author, and theoretician about comics and sequential art), Dennis O'Neil (comic book writer and editor for Marvel Comics and DC Comics), Paul Levitz (writer, former president/publisher, DC Comics), and Michael Schumacher (bestselling author and Biographer with a new biography of Will Eisner due out this fall). This is your chance to learn more about the "Father of the Graphic Novel." Room 4

2:00-3:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #12: Poster Session — Want to go in depth with a comics scholar? On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the PowerPoints of the poster presenters will be available to read in printed "poster books," and then the scholars will be available in this session to discuss their presentations in small-group and one-on-one discussions.

Ashleigh Mayes (Henderson State University) looks at the functions of anthropomorphic animal characters in the depiction of historical events or tragic fiction in works such as Maus.

Naysan Mojgani (UC, San Diego) analyzes how cosplayers identify with the race and ethnicity of the comics and anime characters they choose to role-play and challenge the essentializing, nationalist politics of the United States in radical, populist ways.

Green Lantern Poster Panel: Erica Ash (Henderson State University) looks at how Martian Manhunter's survivor guilt drives him to heroism, even as a reanimated Black Lantern.

4:30-5:30 Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski — J. Michael Straczynski speaks (despite requests to the contrary) about his work on (and on and on) such comics as Superman (well, we guess it had to happen eventually) and Wonder Woman (at least they have the same fashion sense), his movies, including Shattered Union (shattered hopes that he wouldn't show up), Forbidden Planet (is that still going on?), and more he will be announcing here for the first time. Get the inside skinny on the writer's life from one of Hollywood's most prolific and hardworking writers (because you always have to work twice as hard when you don't know what you're doing). (Bob, very funny, just remember to edit this back to normal before uploading it to the Comic-Con schedule.) Room 6A


10:00-11:00 Jack Kirby Tribute — It's time once again to pay tribute to Jack "King" Kirby, the prolific writer/artist who co-created some of the world's most famous superheroes, including the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, the New Gods, and many more. Kirby biographer and friend Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics) hosts this annual Comic-Con tradition and is joined this year by writers Marv Wolfman (Tomb of Dracula, New Teen Titans), and Kurt Busiek (Astro City, JLA/Avengers) and other Kirby fanatics to discuss the King. Room 4

10:00-11:00 Christian Comics: The Word in Pictures — From Andre LeBlanc's classic Picture Bible to Robert Crumb's recent adaptation of Genesis, there is a long tradition of Bible-based comics. Moderator Buzz Dixon (Snokie Stories) and panelists Sergio Cariello (The Action Bible) and Eric Jansen (The Christ of Prophecy) discuss the challenges involved in adapting the words of scripture into visual media. A short devotional message will precede the panel discussion, put on by the Christian Comic Arts Society. Santa Rosa Room, Marriott Hotel and Marina

1:00-2:00 Spotlight on Al Wiesner — This writer/artist has been doing it his way for 25 years! Comic-Con special guest Al Wiesner created his own superhero, Shaloman, after many years of searching for a Jewish superhero. Some 38 issues later the "Kosher Crusader" is still thrilling readers around the world! Al talks about his series in this special Spotlight panel. Room 4

Jewish Side of SDCCI Part 1 (of 3) - The Creators

Tomorrow, the 2010 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.

Neal Adams (illustrator of "The Ventures of Zimmerman" [parody of Bob Dylan], "Son O' God", both of which appeared in the pages of National Lampoon and of the Batman story "Night of the Reaper" in Batman #237, in which Batman must confront a Holocaust survivor who is killing Nazis)

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

Brian Michael Bendis (author-illustrator of Fire, a comic series about a Jewish-American college student named Benjamin Furst, who is recruited into a Central Intelligent Agency operation known as Project Fire)

Chris Claremont (who introduced the Jewish character Kitty Pryde [aka Shadowcat] and who wrote stories which implied that Magneto was Jewish, both in the pages of The Uncanny X-Men)

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

Vanessa Davis (author-illustrator of the graphic book Make Me a Woman, as well as cartoons which have appeared in Tablet).
Vanessa's most recent contribution was a tribute to the late Harvey Pekar z"l.

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)

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

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)

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)

Ron Marz (author of the "Crown Heights" story arc in Witchblade #120-124 which invloved a dead rabbi, a Jewish-black race riot and a golem, reprinted in Witchbalde volume 7 trade paperback)

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

Dylan Meconis (author-illustrator of the webcomic Family Man, about a Jewish academic named Luther Levy, who was unable to defend his dissertation because he was not Christian ; volume 1 may be purchased in person at Comicon or ordered online)

Peter Milligan (author of the Vertigo series The Minx which featured Jewish youth Anna Schwarz)

Arvid Nelson (creator of the Rex Mundi comic book series, whose protagonist is a convert from Judaism who is helped by a rabbi and who encounters a golem)

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

Dennis O'Neil (author of the Batman story "Night of the Reaper" in Batman #237, in which Batman must confront a Holocaust survivor who is killing Nazis)

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]

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)

Jerry Robinson (Batman series artist who also did illustrations for Bible Tales for Young Folk)

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

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

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

Steven T. Seagle (author of the graphic novel "It's a Bird ..." which examines various aspects of the Superman mythos, including his creation by 2 American Jews)

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

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

James Sturm (author-illustrator of The Golem's Mighty Swing and Market Day)

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

Al Wiesner (author-illustrator and creator of the Jewish superhero Shaloman)

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)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Emily Steinberg reading - tonight! (July 20, 2010)

Comix fans in the Rocky Hill (NJ) area who haven't yet left for San Diego Comic Con won't want to miss the chance to listen to cartoonist Emily Steinberg (author-illustrator of Graphic Therapy : Notes from the Gap Years) and cartoonist Jennifer Hayden (author of the forthcoming autobiography The Story of My Tits, one of the latest titles in the cancer-story-in-comix genres) discuss women and comics. Emily and Jennifer are co-hosts of a new talk show about comix eponymously named "Em 'n Jen". I guess that sounds better than "Jen 'n Em".

Venue : Mary Jacobs Library, 64 Washington St.
Date : July 20
Time : 7:30 PM

Rabbi Harvey interviews Gary Shtyngart

Well ... not quite true.

Steve Sheinkin (the real-world cartoonist alter ego of the fictional Rabbi Harvey) interviews Gary Shteyngart about his new book Super Sad True Love Story. Of course, Sheinkin prefers to substitute Rabbi Harvey for himself.

The 13-page interview is presented in comix format.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Harvey Pekar z"l RIP

On Mon. July 13th, the great autobiographical comic writer Harvey Pekar passed away at age 70.

Not surprisingly, there have been numerous reports and tributes to the legend in cyberspace from websites, blogs and online news sources.

It would take a long time to compile a list of all of these links, but I will provide 11 of them along with quotations.

The Associated Press article has been republished in various news sources. Among them is the version which appeared in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz :
Lucy Shelton Caswell, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University, said it was inaccurate to describe Pekar's work as cult.

"His work was accepted by the mainstream," Caswell said. "It was bought by public libraries and read widely. The cartoon library has all of Pekar's works in its collection."

The Jewish version of AP (JTA) also filed a story :
Jewish comic book writer Harvey Pekar, who chronicled his life in the autobiographical "American Splendor" series, has died.

Pekar died early Monday morning in his Cleveland-area home. He was 70. Pekar had prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and clinical depression, according to reports.

The "American Splendor" series, which began in 1976 and had its most recent issue in 2008, was made into a movie of the same name in 2003.

Shalom Life provided a brief obituary :
Born and raised in Cleveland, Pekar wrote about his life and wrapped it with humour in American Splendor and his other works. In 1994, he co-wrote Our Cancer Year with his then-wife about his experiences with lymphoma. Then in 2005, he published a graphic novel titled The Quitter. It tells the story of Pekar’s childhood, as the son of two Jewish immigrants in the 50s and 60s. American Splendor: Another Dollar, the last version of his famous comic series, was published in 2009.

In his hometown, Arlene Fine filed an obituary for the Cleveland Jewish News :
Pekar, the son of Polish immigrants Dora and Saul Pekar, husband of Joyce Brabner and father of Danielle, achieved great fame but not much fortune for his award-winning autobiographical series American Splendor, in which he chronicled the mundane trials and tribulations of his everyday life as a hospital file clerk. Renowned underground comic-book artist Robert Crumb first illustrated the series.

Pekar’s contributions to the literary community in Northeast Ohio will be honored at ALL LIT UP: An evening of literary excellence on Sat., Sept. 11, at PlayhouseSquare’s Palace Theatre.

The Jewish Week mentions the comics project he was working on with JT Waldman, tentatively titled How I Lost Faith in Israel :
The death this week of Harvey Pekar--the renowned, cantankerous cartoonist, and a Jew from Cleveland--cast a somber mood over the cultural landscape. But for Jews in particular, the loss was significant. One of his less publicized projects that he's currentlly under contract for, before his death on Monday, at age 70, was a history of Israel.

According to his illustrator on the project, JT Waldman, who had been working on the project with Parker for Hill and Wang over the last three years, the book was to be finished in the coming year. He plans on finishing it, too, he said.

Waldman said in an email earlier today: "I have been working with Harvey since 2007 on a project about the history of Israel. We have been working with an editor at Hill & Wang for almost 3 years on this project. I spent time with Harvey in Cleveland this past winter and spoke with on a weekly basis."

Waldman added: "I'm in shock and deeply saddened to have lost my mentor/friend as well as my creative collaborator."

Jeff Newelt discussed wth MTV some other projects that Pekar had been working on :
MTV: Where do things stand with “The Pekar Project” now? How far ahead did Harvey work on the scripts?

NEWELT: There are still a bunch of comics yet to come out on “The Pekar Project” that we have in the can and done. I’m actually going to write a tribute comic of my own, too. Before Harvey passed away, we would jam and he liked my ideas. He kept bugging me to write a comic, so I’m going to pay tribute to him by writing my first comic about my experience as editor on “The Pekar Project” and working with him, drawn by the four “Pekar Project” artists.

With so many “Pekar Project” artists around, I’m sure we can expect more tributes on the site in addition to mine, too.

MTV: I know Harvey had been working on a few other books, too. Were you involved with any of those? Do you know what their status is?

NEWELT: The first branch-off of “The Pekar Project” is coming out this year. He was working on a graphic novel called “Cleveland,” which comes out during the summer of 2011 from this company called Zip Comics. The script was ready for that. It’s one-third history of Cleveland, one-third Harvey’s experiences there, and one-third biographical sketches of Cleveland characters. It’s drawn by Joseph Remnant, one of the definitive Pekar artists.

New Jersey Jewish News editor-in-chief Andrew Silow-Carroll shared some of his thoughts about Pekar via his blog:
Pekar’s comics, which were created in collaboration with top artists, chronicled a certain kind of Jewish type seldom encountered in the media or popular imagination: the blue collar Jew who never quite grasped the brass ring that propelled so many of his co-religionists into the suburbs and the professions. We all know a cousin or an uncle like Pekar: smart or maybe not-so-very, hard-working but perhaps too curmudgeonly or principled or uncompromising or self-sabotaging to play the kinds of games that spell typical success.

Beth Davies Stojka has been publishing her conversations with Paul Buhle (one of Pekar's collaborators, who appeared on a panel with him at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival earlier this year) about Pekar. Thus far, there are just 2 parts.
part 1 :
He was delighted when the two of us were working on this book Yiddishland for next spring, because it gave him a reason to read a whole lot of newly translated Yiddish novels, translated into English. He had just never read those before, and he went down to the bookstore of a friend and bought some, and went to the library and got a bunch of others, and read them with enormous pleasure.
part 2 :
more people heard about him through the movie than any other way. Way more people. Then they would read comics. But it’s almost like people thinking of Art Spiegelman as a Holocaust comic artist, and being unaware of anything else. And not too interested in anything else! That’s sort of an aside, but I’m not sure people really wished to identify with blue collar life in Cleveland. So do they identify with him? They may identify with him in the human emotional issues, without identifying with his life in the VA. Although it’s a perfectly natural white collar job. Sort of an average clerical white collar government job.

Israeli author Etgar Keret, who had also been on a panel with Pekar, wrote briefly about Pekar :
I've had a speaking event with Harvey Pekar in the Jewish museum in SF less
than three months ago. It was the first time we've met but reading some of
his biographical comics I've felt I knew a lot about the guy. I was tired
and jetlagged but Pekar was super energetic and curious and funny, and I
thought to myself that all these age issues are so irrelevant. Here we are a tired elderly forty two years old writer from Israel and a young seventy
plus comics' artist from Cleveland sit together before their event. Yesterday night I've heard he died. I'm glad I've had the chance to meet
this guy for a strange evening I'll never forget.

The Jewish Review of Books presents one of the latest Pekar stories - "Gut Shabbes" - which was published in their Summer issue. Apparently, Pekar himself picked up a copy of the issue just last week. For their premiere (Spring) issue, Pekar contributed a comic-style review of Robert Crumb's adaptation of the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis. There is a hyperlink on the "Gut Shabbes" page to the Genesis review.

An explanation of the story for those who might not understand it. Harvey is trying to impress the Jews by showing that he knows how Jews greet each other in Yiddish. What he tells them is "Gut Yontev" which means "Good Holy Day" which is what a Jew would say to another Jew on a holiday. They seem surprised that he thinks it's a holiday, since it wasn't that day. At the end they tell him "Gut Shabbes" which means "Good Sabbath"(it must have been Friday night, or - judging by the lighting of the story - Saturday.

Finally, I present you with a link to Archcomix which has preview pages for the book Yiddishland :

Rest in peace, Harvey.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

from cyberspace to the printed page - 7 examples

Today's post is a special one, in several ways.

First of all, it has a dedication.

I am dedicating this post to the memory of 2 Jewish comics professionals who passed away this year, both of whom enriched the comix world with their Jewish-content comic books and graphic novels.

Eric Mahr z"l passed away in February.

Harvey Pekar z"l passed away yesterday.

This post is dedicated to both of them.

I will soon have separate detailed posts about each of them, complete with hyperlinks.

Today's post is also special because it is being reposted at the Jewish Book carnival, in addition to the usual repost venues (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo forum).

Today's post will focus on Jewish-content graphic novels and mini-comics which can be previewed on the Internet. Most of these works originally began as webcomics and were later either published by their authors or discovered by publishers who offered them publishing contracts.

Since I have 7 examples to share, you can look at a different one every day this week or one per week for the rest of the summer.

The Comic Torah, to be published by Ben Yehuda Press, is just what it sounds like. 52 double-page full-color spreads depict and comment on each of the parshas of the Old Testament. The blog form of the webcomic was started back in May 2006 as "52 Parshot".

Unlike other comic-style adaptations, this one features a green-skinned woman in the role of Ha-Shem (G-d), as well as a dark-skinned man in many prominent roles (I would have written African-American, but the stories take place outside of America and only the Egypt section takes place in Africa). The books should be on bookshelves sometime in September. To see when the book is listed for sale, keep checking back at the Ben Yehuda website.

Hereville tells the fictional story of an 11-year old Orthodox Jewish girl who wants to hunt trolls. Hereville started life as a pay-per-view webcomic at Girlamatic in 2004. Since then Barry Deutsch self-published a 57-page version of his story which he has sold online and at conventions, while still leaving the webcomic online for anyone to read for free. There are so many scenes I'm particularly fond of - the knitting contest, the shabbos and havdalah pages, the explanation of how skirts worn at the school can differ. My favorite character besides Mirka is her stepmother Fruma, who can pilpul with the best when she wants to.

Those who enjoy reading the story (in whatever form you read it in) will likely also like the longer (139 pages) book-length treatment which will be published by Amulet in November.

To pre-order Hereville, please go to Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Swordpre-order Hereville today!.

I first discovered Sarah Glidden's How to Understand Israel in Sixty Days or Less while looking over the results of an images search at Flickr. Specifically, I found her folder "Comics About Israel", which now contains both black-&-white and color sketches she worked on for the book. There are also preview pages at and

Next, I discovered Sarah's 2 mini-comics, which were on sale at Atomic Books. Alas, they don't seem to be in stock there any longer. Since then, Sarah has been working on a watercolor version of the complete 208-page narrative for Vertigo, which should be on shelves by mid-November.

How to Understand... tells the story of what Sarah saw, heard, and thought during her Birthright Israel trip.

To pre-order How to Understand... via Amazon, please go to How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Lesspre-order How To Understand Israel today!.

Another cartoonist whose Birthright trip experience has been shared via the comix format is Michael Jonathan. His serialized eponymous Michael Jonathan is Jewish is currently at page 75 (covering the first week of the 2009 trip).

Although it's unknown if Michael will ever get a contract for a book-length treatment like Sarah did (which I hope he does), he has already self-published 2 mini-comics, each collecting 34 pages from the webcomic.

To order, either (or both) of the mini-comics, please go to

Michael Jonathan is also responsible for a webcomic about "cupids" whose job is to help match people up for romance. Unlike shadchans, these cupids don't have much background information about their targets and have to rely more on hunches than profiles.

The name of the agency these matchmakers work for is Eros Inc., which is also the name of the webcomic. The comic stars Mot Fleishman, who is Jewish.

The printed version of the first 26-comic chapter (titled "Wave Helman") may be purchased online by going to

Last, but certainly not least, is the gorgeously-drawn, well-researched Family Man, which debuted at Webcomics Nation in 2006. How do I know it's well-researched? Cartoonist-author Dylan Meconis has kindly decided to share her story notes with her readers in the Footnotes section (and has even arranged them by page numbers).

Family Man tells the fictional 18th-century story of a half-Jewish (i.e. has a Jewish father) would-be-academic named Luther Levy who was unable to even attempt to defend his thesis (which was about Spinoza) due to his not being Christian. He's given a job teaching at a small university along the Bohemian border, where he seems to develop an attraction for the university librarian. There's a charming page where she explains why she implemented the card catalog. Lest you think Family Man is a dry, monotonous, dull tale of stuffy academics discussing theology, let me point out that the story also involves werewolves.

Dylan has collected the first 2 chapters (160 pages of story + 14 pages of illustrated notes) into a printed book and is selling them both online (at and in person at conventions.

She will be having an official book launch party at Floating World Comics in Portland, OR tomorrow night (July 15th) from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.

She will also be a guest at San Diego Comic Con, July 21-25 (at table M-9).

Speaking of Comic Con, stay tuned to the Jewish Comics blog for my annual "Jewish Side of San Diego Comic Con" roundup where I'll tell you about such guests as Al Wiesner, James Sturm and Vanessa Davis.

Enjoy the summer and happy reading!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jews and Comics Books - lecture & discussion @ SAJ - tomorrow night

Adapted from

Tomorrow night (Friday, May 14), after services (at 6:30 PM) and potluck dinner at The Society for the Advancement of Judaism Synagogue (15 W. 86th Street, Manhattan), Danny Fingeroth will speak about his book Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero. In his book, Danny explores how the creators' Jewish backgrounds helped make superheroes the most familiar pop culture icons of all, far beyond the comic books that spawned them: on TV, in movies, and in electronic media. He'll introduce the audience (figuratively speaking) to such legendary Jewish comics creators as Stan Lee (co-creator of Spider-Man), Jerry Robinson (creator of Batman's nemesis The Joker), and many others. Discover the Jewish elements of heroes you would never have connected with Jewish culture!

Danny Fingeroth was a longtime group editor of Marvel Comics's Spider Man line. He is Sr. Vice President of Education at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and has taught and spoken about comics at many prominent venues. He celebrated his bar mitzvah at the SAJ in 1966.

Signed books will be available for purchase (don't worry, you don't need to carry cash ; they'll be using an honor system involving envelopes --- sort of like the Israel bonds drive on Yom Kippur).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One Book One Bloomington and Beyond - Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The residents of Bloomington (Indiana) have been invited to read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay as part of this year's One Book One Bloomington and Beyond program.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is the Pulitzer Prize award winning novel about a fictional pair of Jews who become a successful comics-creating team.

This past Sunday (May 9th), Hollywood producer Michael Uslan gave the lecture "The Golden Age of Comics : How Jewish Immigrants and First Generation Jews Created the Comic Book and Its Super-Heroes" at the library of Indiana University in Bloomington.

Jews & Comic Books - lecture & discussion @ PSJC on Friday

On Friday night (May 14th), Kabbalat Shabbat Services at the Park Slope Jewish Center with Cantor Judy Ribnic (at 6:30 PM) will be followed by a pot luck dinner and program on the Jewish contribution to and content in American comic books.

• In the 1930s, did Goebbels denounce Superman as a Crypto-Jew?
• What comic book supervillain is not only a Jew but a Holocaust survivor?
• Was the crackdown on comic books in the 1950s an anti-Semitic movement, or was it started by Jews, or both?
• With so many Jews involved in comic book writing and publication since the 1930s, why were there no Jewish characters in mainstream comic books until the 1970s and why did it take a guy named Chris to create some?
• Which of the X-Men are Jews? Which of the Fantastic Four?
• What Jewish-themed comic book won a Pulitzer Prize?

For answers to these and other burning questions join Dale Rosenberg - PSJC Member and sometime comic book fan - as she shares what she has learned about the Jewish influence on American comics. Whether you think comics foster truth, justice and the American way or believe that comics cause seduction of the innocent, you’ll learn something about the influence American Jews have had and continue to have on this quintessentially American art form.
Park Slope Jewish Center
1320 8th Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 768-1453

Monday, May 03, 2010

James Sturm in conversation with Miriam Libicki in Toronto - May 8th

Two Jewish cartoonists - 3 opinions?

On May 8th, James Sturm (author-illustrator of The Golem's Mighty Swing) will read and present from his new work (Market Day). Joining him on stage will be British Columbia-based artist Miriam Libicki. Libicki was an American Jewish girl from a religious home who has become the author-illustrator of the biographical 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.

The event will take place at the Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (750 Spadina Ave.).

Both artists will have prepared audio/visual presentations, and will participate in a moderated Q&A with the audience. Market Day, jobnik!, and other works by both Sturm and Libicki will be available on site for purchase courtesy of The Beguiling Books & Art.

This FREE event is part of The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, being held Saturday May 8th and Sunday May 9th at the Toronto Reference Library in Toronto, Canada. For more information on TCAF events, please visit

free presentation in Toronto - Four-Color Faith: Comic Book Approaches to Scripture

During the New Narrative Conference: Narrative Arts and Visual Media, Kalervo Sinervo and Jack Prus will be delivering a paper titled "Four-Color Faith: Comic Book Approaches to Scripture" during the session on Adaptation, from 1:30 - 2:45 PM on May 6th. The presentation will include an analysis of Will Eisner's A Contract with God.

The session will take place in the Jackman Humanities Building (170 St. George Street) in Room 616.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jewish Side of TCAF 2010 - May 8th & 9th

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.

* 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)

* 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)

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

* 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.

* 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

* 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

* James Sturm, author-illustrator of The Golem's Mighty Swing and Market Day


Panels these creators will be at

Comics as Art Objects: Form vs Function
Saturday, May 8th, 10:45 – 11:30am, Novella Room

Screenprinted; hand-sewn; individually colored; hand-done die-cuts — some comics are created as art objects in and of themselves. How does this focus on the comic as an art object affect the stories comics tell? Join cartoonists Willow Dawson, Lizz Lunney, Alexis Frederick-Frost, Matt Swanson, Robbi Behr, and Matt Wiegle to answer these questions and raise many more! Moderator TBD.

Feature: Daniel Clowes, James Sturm, Seth, Chester Brown, and Jim Woodring
Saturday, May 8th, 11:30 – 12:30pm, Learning Center 1

Five of the world’s most respected cartoonists in one room, on one panel! Moderated by Tom Spurgeon.

Spotlight: Paul Pope and Dash Shaw
Saturday May 8th, 12:00-1:00 pm, The Pilot

TCAF Featured Guests Paul Pope and Dash Shaw are two of the most exciting creators in comics, mixing their influences and innovations to create groundbreaking work. Now Inkstuds Radio/Podcast host Robin McConnell will moderate a conversation between these two creators about the role that influences play in creating comics, ranging from traditional comics to film and music and from classical to contemporary works. This also includes a discussion of education, some key points in creating your own vision in comics, and an examination of how to make influences work and finding out where they lead you.

Comics and Social Media
Sunday, May 9th, 11:00 – 12:00 pm, The Pilot

Is comics a solitary pursuit, in creation and enjoyment? Or can there be community, sharing, support, and all of the headaches that come with it? More importantly, should there be? And what happens when it comes time to get away from it all? Join creators Kate Beaton, Ray Fawkes, Jeff Rowland, Rich Stevens, and James Sturm, to hear what they have to say about building communities and using social media, and getting away from the internet entirely! Moderator TBD.

Webcomics and Serial Storytelling
Sunday, May 9th, 12:00 – 1:00 pm, The Pilot

Comics have a long history of gag a day and serialized storytelling in comic strip culture… but as the medium has moved to the web it is the gag-a-day strips that seemed to find immediate success. We talk to a number of comics creators doing long-form, serialized comics on the internet to see the challenges they face, and how serial storytelling works when it’s online. Creators include Ananth Panagariya (Applegeeks), Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Spike (Templar, Arizona), Jonathan Rosenberg (Goats), Tara Talan (Galaxion), Cameron Stewart (Sin Titulo), and Ramon Perez (Kukuburi). Moderated by Holly Post of Topatoco.

Re-making History: Curating and Packaging Reprints
Sunday, May 9th, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, The Pilot

The comics reprint boom is in full effect, but we’re still only learning just how history is made or invented. What are the moral, legal and aesthetic issues involved in the reprinting and repackaging comics? With Seth, Jeet Heer and Evan Dorkin. Moderated by Dan Nadel.

Research and History: Inspiration versus Obligation
Sunday, May 9th, 3:00 – 4:00 pm, The Pilot

A discussion about different approaches and uses of research from the hardcore to the writers of historical fiction. Inspiration versus obligation … for everybody. A lively discussion led by Kathryn Immonen, and featuring Stuart Immonen, Jim Ottaviani, Kate Beaton, Ho Che Anderson, Willow Dawson, and Matt Kindt.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jews, Comics, & Film in Toronto @ TJFF - starting Apr. 18

From Saturday, April 17th to Sunday, April 25th, Torontonians (and visitors to the city) can experience the 18th annual Toronto Jewish Film Festival - an opportunity to watch films and listen to panels & lectures related to Jewish film and filmmakers (and some of them are even FREE!).

This year's special theme is "People of the Comic Book: The Creators of Superheroes, Graphic Novels and Toons". Ellie Skrow's curator statement includes the following :

Comic-book movies are now big business. Disney’s recent acquisition of Marvel Comics for $4.24 billion attests to the fact that this phenomenon will likely continue. The current crop of comic-book flicks are revamped with ever more spectacular digital technology and special effects. The same holds true for animated features — another huge box-office draw.

People of the Comic Book takes us back to the very beginning, when comic art began. As we witnessed in previous TJFF sidebars, it isn’t just the fact that Jews dominated this particular form of popular culture that is the cause for celebration; it’s the fact that they were fantastically good at what they created.

To read the full statement, go to

In this moderator's opinion, the best / most interesting / most relevant events are the following :

Sun., Apr. 18th

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Al Green Theatre
Paul Buhle Talk - "Jews and Comics"
The connections between Jews and comic art on the printed page and on screen (film, TV and computer) offer one of the most enigmatic and valuable sagas in all Jewish/popular cultural life. Before Jewish artists and entrepreneurs created the comic book and the archetypal superhero, Rube Goldberg and Milt Gross invented wildly imaginary machines and the first graphic novel. More important, the Fleischer brothers as much as invented animation, with Betty Boop’s syncopated madness. For 30 years, movie cartoons filled theatre screens between features, and as they crashed, William M. Gaines (EC Comics) and Harvey Kurtzman (Mad Magazine) reinvented comic art once more. And that was only the beginning! Comics scholar Paul Buhle (author of Jews and American Comics) opens up the TJFF’s exploration and celebration of this field with film clips and observations, high points, disappointments and, increasingly, Jewish self-identification.

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Al Green Theatre
The Comic Art Forum

What’s new in Jews and comics, and … what’s old! This lively forum — with special guests and listeners joining the conversation — will probe familiar questions (what is it about comic art that drew Jewish artists in the first place?) and go on to recent ones (why is 90 percent of comic art on the web?). Just some of the other topics: Where is the comics industry going, now that the traditional comic book of the pulp variety is dying, and what has happened since comics became a growth industry, but mainly for the sale of superhero characters to Hollywood? Paul Buhle (author or editor of 42 books, including Jews and American Comics) and Harvey Pekar (American Splendor) have collaborated on a series of comic art volumes, including The Beats, Students for a Democratic Society, an adaptation of Studs Terkel’s Working and the forthcoming Yiddishland. Graphic novelist Ben Katchor (“The most poetic, deeply layered artist ever to draw a comic strip”) is the only cartoonist to receive a “genius” MacArthur Fellowship. Katchor’s most recent Pop Opera (in collaboration with Mark Mulcahy) will be performed at Lincoln Center in May.

Mon., Apr. 19th

12:00 PM - 1:41 PM
Al Green Theatre
Screening of American Splendor (the movie)

Based on two of writer Harvey Pekar’s popular comic-book series (American Splendor and Our Cancer Year), this Oscar®-nominated and multi-award-winning feature ingeniously interweaves documentary footage of the real-life Harvey Pekar and his wife, Joyce Brabner, with uncanny performances by Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis. The story of the former file clerk from Cleveland — a compulsive jazz lover and collector, and a curmudgeonly “poet of the mundane who knows that all the strategizing in the world can’t save a guy from picking the wrong supermarket checkout line” — is innovatively captured in this cinematic gem, from Pekar’s friendship and collaboration with artist Robert Crumb and others, to the creation of his own unique brand of underground comic books and his rise to fame with appearances on the David Letterman Show.

{moderator's note : Harvey Pekar told about his experiences of having his life filmed in the trade paperback Our Movie Year}

Harvey Pekar will be a guest at the screening.

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Al Green Theatre
The False Forest and Other Picture Stories (slide show / reading)

In this special live appearance, graphic novelist Ben Katchor (The Jew of New York, Julius Kniple: Real Estate Photographer) will read from his works, accompanied by projected images of his comic art illustrations, on the subjects of architecture and urban design. Katchor, “the most poetic, deeply layered artist ever to draw a comic strip” (New York Times Book Review),is the only cartoonist to receive a “genius” MacArthur Fellowship. He has also written for the stage, including three pop operas with composer Mark Mulcahy; he’s a former contributor to Art Spiegelman’s Raw; and he’s a regular contributor to The New Yorker and The Forward. Katchor’s picture-stories appear in Metropolis Magazine. According to author Michael Chabon, “We have never — at least not since Herriman (Krazy Kat) — had a writer like Katchor.… Though his style in no way resembles that of Jack Kirby or Will Eisner, Ben Katchor is along with them one of the three great depictors of New York City in the history of comics.… Katchor’s style, like all the great styles, is addictive.… In the end it isn’t nostalgia but loneliness of an impossible beauty and profundity that is the great theme.…”

Tues., Apr. 20th

2:00 PM -3:30 PM
Al Green Theatre
Screening of the documentary Comic Book Confidential

Canadian filmmaker Ron Mann’s acclaimed documentary is a terrific introduction to TJFF’s sidebar series, offering an entertaining, insightful survey of a largely unrecognized art form. Through interviews, animated montages and readings, the film traces the journey of comic book art through the 1930s and ’40s and the explosive popularity of superheroes, through to the groundbreaking work of Will Eisner and the crime and horror comics of the 1950s. Comic Book Confidential also looks at the impact of the Comic Code, which cited comic books as a major cause of juvenile delinquency, resulting in the chilling effect of censorship. Mad Magazine defiantly survived the era, profoundly influencing everything that came after it. The film also looks at the rise of Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics and the independent and underground “comix” of the ’60s and beyond. Appearing as commentators and participants are a roster of Jewish masters of comic art, including Art Spiegelman, Harvey Pekar, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby and Harvey Kurtzman.

8:15 PM - 9:15 PM
Al Green Theatre
Screening of the documentary Last Son

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … Superman!” The Man of Steel took the world by storm when Toronto-born Joe Shuster (artist) and Cleveland native Jerome Siegel (writer) created the character for DC Comics in 1938. This new documentary traces the fascinating story of the invention of the iconic superhero, and posits several theories about the character’s origins, including Jewish and other influences that helped shape the Superman mythology. Incorporating never-before-seen archival footage, Last Son looks at the stories behind Superman’s mild-mannered secret identity, and what actually happened when Jerry Siegel’s father mysteriously died during a robbery. The son of Jewish immigrant parents from Rotterdam and Kiev, Joe Shuster moved to Cleveland from Toronto when he was 10. A cousin to Frank Shuster, of Wayne and Shuster fame, Joe worked as a newsboy for the Toronto Daily Star, which he claims was the model for The Daily Planet.

An unnamed special guest has been invited.

Wed. Apr. 21st

8:30 PM - 10:06 PM
Al Green Theatre
Screening of the documentary Will Eisner : Portrait of a Sequential Artist

Named “the most influential comic artist of all time” by Wizard magazine, Will Eisner transformed the “funny papers” by creating a new form of art — the graphic novel. Part of an extraordinary group of Jewish cartoonists of the time, as well as a successful entrepreneur, Eisner was perhaps the most highly regarded internationally. The Spirit, an urban crime-fighter series based on Eisner’s Jewish upbringing in the tenements of New York, was a realistic portrayal of life on the streets, filled with subtle humour. Other Eisner works that dealt overtly with Jewish themes include A Contract with God, The Plot, Fagin the Jew and Family Matter. Eisner’s life, work and times are brought wonderfully to life in this film, which includes interviews with Michael Chabon, Jules Feiffer, Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman, Frank Miller and others. A TJFF reprise screening.

An unnamed special guest has been invited.

To watch a trailer of the film, go to (MPG format) or (MOV format).

The short film Munro will be shown as well.

Fri., Apr. 23rd
4:00 PM - 5:26 PM
Al Green Theatre
Screening of the documentary Line King : The Al Hirschfeld Story

This delightful, Oscar®-nominated documentary is a rich and loving portrait of the remarkable Al Hirschfeld — best known for his caricatures of show-biz personalities (most notably of the Broadway stage) that graced the arts section of the New York Times for decades. Produced when Hirschfeld was a vibrant 93 (he died in 2003 at age 99), the film captures his touching relationship with his second wife, Dolly, and his daughter Nina (whose name is cryptically embedded in all of Hirschfeld’s drawings), his proficiency in sculpture and lithography, and his travels and interests. Perhaps best of all, the film reveals the true mastery of Hirschfeld’s work. His ability to depict the essence of an image in a deceptively simple line profoundly influenced other artists, including cartoonists and animators. Celebrities appearing in the film to pay homage to the legend include Lauren Bacall, Carol Channing, Katherine Hepburn, Jules Feiffer and Colleen Dewhurst.

Sat., Apr. 24th

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Bloor Cinema
Screening of the documentary-in-progress Joann Sfar Draws from Memory

This work-in-progress, part of a special spotlight programme on documentary filmmaker Sam Ball (see also Balancing Acts), tracks Joann Sfar, author of The Rabbi’s Cat and Klezmer, on an odyssey through the dual Algerian and Eastern European family heritage that is the wellspring of his work. Co-produced by Sophie Constantinou, Estelle Fialon and Valerie Joseph. French comic-book artist/director Joann Sfar’s Le Chat du Rabbin (The Rabbi’s Cat) is slated to be released as a feature film in June 2010.

Special guests at the screening will include director Sam Ball, executive director Valerie Joseph, producer Liam Romalis (Pleasures of Urban Decay)

Sun., Apr. 25th

6:15 PM - 7:45 PM
Al Green Theatre
Screening of the documentary-in-progress The Mad Playboy of Art

Will Elder, born Wolf William Eisenberg in the Bronx in 1921, was a comic-book artist who perhaps best epitomized the essence of the legendary Mad Magazine’s zany humour and irreverent parody and satire. Filmmaker Gary VandenBergh (who also happens to be Elder’s son-in-law) brings his exciting documentary-in-progress to the TJFF, with a fascinating, entertaining look at the man, his times and his work. Elder was best known for his frenzied and painstaking method of filling every inch of the page with hilarious things going on in the background — the “incidentals,” described lovingly by Elder’s colleagues as “chicken fat.” The preview includes terrific interviews with Mad editor Harvey Kurtzman, Jerry Garcia, Terry Gilliam, writer/cartoonist Al Jaffee and others who comment on Elder’s incredible talent, humour and influence, as well as his work on humour magazines Mad, Trump and Humbug, and the Little Annie Fanny comic strips in Playboy.

Special guests at the screening will include director Gary VandenBergh and Nancy VandenBergh (Will Elder's daughter)

Tickets are required for ALL TJFF events, including those that are free.

To order / purchase Toronto Jewish Film Festival tickets, go to

To purchase comics work by any of the writers / artists whose works are highlighted at the Festival, I would personally reccommend going to The Beguiling at 601 Markham St. Besides being one of the best comic stores in the city (if not the country), it's conveniently located very close to Bathurst and Bloor, a short walking distance from the Bloor Cinema and about a 12 minute walk from the Al Green Theatre.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Comix Autopsy at the Yeshiva Universitty Museum - a tweeter's report

"mobius1ski" attended the "Comix Autopsy" event at Yeshiva University Museum last week and took the time to post "tweets" (aka Twitter posts) during the event.

Although anyone with access to public Twitter postings (i.e. anyone with Internet access and a browser) could read the posts, Twitter seems to make older posts unavailable over time. Since those posts were - at the time they were available at Twitter - "public domain" and subject to reproduction under the "fair use" clause of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, I am considering it appropriate to reproduce them here. Nonetheless, if "mobius1ski" objects to my reposting them, I will immediately remove this post from the blog upon receipt of his (polite) request.

Below are the tweets in chronological order :

apparently only 5 people care about comics and being jewish -- oh well

and so it begins #comixautopsy

crowd has multiplied by 5 #comixautopsy

.@elivalley: "i'm often accused of perpetuating antisemitic tropes." @thekvetcher (from the audience): "i feel you brother!" #comixautopsy

i could listen to @elivalley and miss lasko-gross talk comics all day #comixautopsy

lots of talk about racism, self-hatred & the other -- an obsession of jews or comic nerds? #comixautopsy

.@peartree4 "i depicted memuchan like a hiphop gangbanger [...] because they're always puttin' down the hos and the bitches." #comixautopsy

this event is like a 5-way chevrusa dissecting various pages of comic books. they project a page & the panelists analyze it. #comixautopsy

@aharonium there's a hashtag: #comixautopsy

.@peartree4 and @elivalley want to know: how much does persepolis author marjane satrapi dote on her panels? (not fans) #comixautopsy

.@cpere and lasko-gross stump for satrapi but differ on just how oppressed she was #comixautopsy

panel takes a moment to explain indie comics to epic beard man's doppleganger -- "no, they're not for kids" #comixautopsy

everyone agrees: the league of extraordinary gentleman movie SUCKED #comixautopsy

.@jahfurry does a great harvey pekar impression #comixautopsy

@TheJewishDream You're at the Center for Jewish History. You expected a hip crowd? This is where Jewish culture gets embalmed. #comixautopsy

.@elivalley "To quote Charles Bukowski and Jay-Z, you don't pick your craft. Your craft picks you." #comixautopsy

@kungfujew18 I did at first but eff it. Contributors can be anonymous. Publisher is not.

Show's over. A collector is pushing @elivalley to part with his originals. #comixautopsy

.@yudel brought the galleys for @bestdayofmylife's upcoming comic

The panelists

inside pages of The Comic Torah

cover of The Comic Torah