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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 http://www.smallnoises.com/comics/how-to-understand-israel-in-60-days-or-less-chapter-1/ and http://www.smallnoises.com/comics/how-to-understand-israel-in-60-days-or-less-chapter-2/.

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 http://erosinc.bigcartel.com/product/michael-jonathan-is-jewish-comics.



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 http://michaeljonathan.storenvy.com/products/17904-eros-inc-chapter-one.



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 http://dylanmeconis.myshopify.com/products/family-man-vol-i) 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!

2 comments:

Marie said...

I can't wait to read HEREVILLE and the other comics you mentioned look great, too!
Thanks for participating in the Carnival!

Heidi Estrin said...

These all sound like so much fun! *sigh* If only my To Be Read pile wasn't already so tall...