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Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Jewish Side of NYCC on Sukkot

Today is the first day of the annual New York Comic Convention (aka New York Comicon aka NYCC). It is also the first day of the Jewish holiday Sukkos (aka the Festival of Booths). This is not the first time that NYCC has coincided with a Jewish holiday. In 2008, NYCC coincided with Passover.

Sukkot is one of the Jewish holidays which is divided into "yom tov" and "chol ha-moed" days. The yom tovim are days during which one may not do certain prohibited activities (e.g. use electricity, handle money), but one may do such activities during the "chol ha-moed" period.

The first 2 days of NYCC this year coincide with the "yomim tovim", while the third day is on the Jewish Sabbath (which has prohibitions, just like yomim tovim). However, day 4 (arguably the most fun day because it's also "kids day") is a chol ha-moed day, so Orthodox and observant Jews need not feel excluded this year.

Those who feel bad about missing out on Comicon while they're observing the holiday traditions may thematically combine their "Jewish self" with their "inner geek" by reading one (or both) of the recommended comics (which I'll plug at the end of this post) inside their sukkahs.

For those who will be attending NYCC, I'd like to point out the creators and publishers of Jewish-content comics who will be in attendance as well as recommended Jewishy panels.

The Panels

Fri. Oct. 14
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: 1B01
Will Eisner's The Spirit and Bob Kane's The Batman
Like their creators Will Eisner and Bob Kane, The Spirit and The Batman had an intertwined and complex relationship. DeWitt Clinton High School classmates, Will and Bob helped each other in their early comics careers. As fate would have it, each came up with an iconic non-superpowered costumed adventurer who owed a lot to the films noir of Orson Welles and other cinema pioneers. Investigating how these two masters interacted, interrelated, and worked is sure to be fascinating. Join Michael Uslan (producer of the Batman films), Paul Levitz (Legion of Super-Heroes), Dennis O'Neil (Batman writer and editor), Chris Couch (The Will Eisner Companion), and moderator Danny Fingeroth (The Stan Lee Universe and Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero) as they explore the similarities and differences between the characters and their creators.

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm
Location: 1A23
Joe Simon: My Life in Comics
What was it like to be targeted by the Nazi party? What was Stan Lee like as a teenage kid? How did it feel to have your comics torn apart by a Congressional committee--on live television!? And what was the real origin of the Red Skull? These secrets and more, revealed by the man who lived them--Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America, first editor at Marvel Comics, creator of Sick magazine, and a genuine living legend. Joe turned 98 years old on October 11, and this is his only appearance at a comic book convention. So come out and wish him a happy birthday!

Sat. Oct. 15
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: 1B03
Comics Studies Conference 3: Requiem for Weisinger: The Life and Work of Superman Editor Mort Weisinger
Comic book historian and illustrator Arlen Schumer (The Silver Age of Comic Book Art) presents the work of Mort Weisinger, editor of the Superman line for 30 years (1940-70), through Weisinger's own words and artist Curt Swan’s images, with the participation of Mort’s son, Dr. Hank Weisinger.

Sunday, October 16
10:45 am - 11:45 am
Location: 1A15
MoCCA Presents: Michael Uslan, The Boy Who Loved Batman
Presenting the true story of Michael Uslan, and how a middle class boy from New Jersey grew up to be an executive producer of one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Uslan has been the executive producer, along with his partner Benjamin Melnicker, of the Batman series of films, starting with 1989’s landmark Batman to the most recent installment, the second highest grossing film of all time, The Dark Knight. He has written comic books, comic strips, a children’s book, a book on Rock and Roll with Dick Clark, graphic novels and most recently, his critically-acclaimed autobiography, The Boy Who Loved Batman. Signing to immediately follow at MoCCA Booth #2631

Note: Michael Uslan is also known for his lecture "Pow! Zap! Oy! How Jewish Immigrants Created Super Heroes".

1:15 pm - 2:15 pm
Location: 1A15
Spotlight on Chris Claremont and Paul Levitz: Superheroes: Fact and Fiction
Join the award-winning writers of The Uncanny X-Men and The Legion of Superheroes. Have your questions answered and learn the inside scoop on these two fabulous teams, how they came into their own in their 70’s, influencing comics, movies, videos, television. Chris Claremont is best known for his time on Marvel Comic’s X-Men, were he created such characters as Rogue, Gambit, Mystique, and Kitty Pryde. Paul Levitz is the long-time writer of The Legion of Superheroes for DC Comics.

Note : Paul Levitz gave Colossal Boy (Gim Allon) his Jewish background and scripted the 1-page story Tradition for DC's 9-11 book.


Abrams Comicarts - booth 1144
Published titles include Auschwitz, Hereville : How Mirka Got Her Sword and Yiddishkeit.

First Second Books - booth 1730
Published works include Klezmer : Tales of the Wild East, Resistance, Vampire Loves and Little Vampire.

NBM (Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing Inc.) - booth 1831
Published works include A Jew in Communist Prague, Brownsville and The Big Khan.


Neal Adams (illustrator of "The Ventures of Zimmerman" (parody of Bob Dylan) and "Son O' God", which appeared in the pages of National Lampoon)

Ernie Colon (illustrator of Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography, as well as the second series of Mendy and the Golem comics)

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

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

Keith Giffen (author of the Ragman miniseries that reintroduced the title character as a Jewish superhero and also creator of the characters Dreidel and Rabbi Zone, who both appeared in the pages of the last issue of the series The Heckler)

Rebekah Isaacs (illustrator of the series Drafted)

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

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)

Stan Lee (Jewish comics legend who co-created the Fantastic Four, which has a Jewish character 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)

A. David Lewis (author of The Lone and Level Sands, a graphic novel adaptation of the story of Exodus) will be at booth #1546

Miriam Libicki (author-illustrator of jobnik!) will be at booth S9

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)

Clifford Meth (author of the illustrated story "I, Gezheh" in Aardwolf #1).

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

Arlen Schumer (author-illustrator of Captain Israel)

Bill Sienkiewicz (illustrator of the story "Night Screams" in X-Men #159, in which Kitty is saved from Dracula by her Star of David necklace)

The 2 Sukkot-related comics which I made reference to at the beginning of this post are :

Jewish Hero Corps #2 (written by Alan Oirich ; illustrated by Ron Randall)
"The Secret of the Solar Succah"


The Escapists #2 (written by Brian K. Vaughan ; illustrated by Jason S. Alexander and Steve Rolston)

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