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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 Amazon.com.

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.



Thursday

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

Friday

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

Saturday

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

Sunday

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 Aragon├ęs (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
http://www.leaderslair.com/noexcuses/hulk2-386.html and http://www.leaderslair.com/noexcuses/hulk2-387.html)

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 http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/golem1.htm)

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 :
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-comic-book-writer-harvey-pekar-creator-of-american-splendor-dies-at-70-1.301541
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 :
http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/07/13/2740026/comic-book-writer-harvey-pekar-dead-at-70
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 :
http://www.shalomlife.com/eng/13286/American_Splendor_Comic_Writer_Dies/
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 :
http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/articles/2010/07/14/news/local/doc4c3cd699e5c30770586765.txt
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 :
http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/well_versed/looking_harvey_pekar
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 :
http://popcorn.ditttos.com/movie_news_hollywood_buzz/the-pekar-project-editor-explains-whats-next-for-harvey-pekars-unpublished-work
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:
http://njjewishnews.com/justASC/2010/07/12/harvey-pekar-zl/
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 :
http://superitch.com/?p=10364
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 :
http://superitch.com/?p=10393
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 :
http://ek-news.livejournal.com/48126.html
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.
http://www.jewishreviewofbooks.com/publications/detail/gut-shabbes

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 :
http://www.archcomix.com/2010/07/12/yiddishland-excerpt/

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 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!