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Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Jewish Side of Medicine and Comics

Today (Sunday) is the first day of the 3rd annual Medicine and Comics conference, this year being held in Toronto, Canada. To see the program details, please go to

One of the papers being delivered on Tuesday morning is titled "From Ivanhoe to Rex Mundi: Jews and medicine in comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels" and is going to be presented by this blog's moderator (Steven M. Bergson). Among the stories which will be shown and discussed (besides Ivanhoe and Rex Mundi, obviously) are the following : Joe Kubert's "A Matter of Importance", Rafael Medoff's "The Last Outrage", the "Doctor Buttcrack" chapter of Emily Steinberg's Graphic Therapy, Leela Corman's Unterzakhn and Will Eisner's A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories.

Among those who will be in attendance are : 

* Joyce Brabner, widow of Jewish comics writer Harvey Pekar 

* Paul Gravett, author of the article "From Iky Mo To Lord Horror: Representations of Jews in British Comics"

Sarah Lightman, co-curator of the travelling exhibition "Graphic Details : Confessional Comics by Jewish Women"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jewish Side of SDCCI 2012

Today (Sunday) is the final day of the annual San Diego Comic Convention International.

As usual, there are plenty of Jewish cartoonists and creators of Jewish-content stories in attendance.

There are also panels which might be of interest to those interested in Jewish cartoonists &/or Jewish comic stories.

Creators who will be present at the convention (most of them exhibiting and/or on panels) include :

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

Jonathan Baylis (author of So ... Buttons mini-comic)

Alison Bechdel (author-illustrator of the syndicated GBLT comic styrip Dykes to Watch Out For. Among the characters introduced in the strip were : Naomi, who came out as a bisexual Jew ; Thea, a Jewish lesbian with multiple sclerosis; and Stuart Goodman, a straight Jewish male who became involved with bisexual Sparrow Pidgeon and who had a child with her)

Mike Carey (co-author of the comic series The Unwritten, including the "Jud Suss" issue)

Howard Chaykin (author-illustrator of American Flagg, as well as Batman / Houdini : The Devil's 

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

Ben Edlund (creator of Arthur {aka Mothman}, the Tick's Jewish sidekick)

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) 

Stan Goldberg (illustrator of the revamped Mendy and the Golem series)

Paul Gravett (scholar who wrote the online article "From Iky Mo To Lord Horror: Representations of Jews in British Comics")

Larry Hama (author of the Mossad story in G.I. Joe Special Missions #2)

Sid Jacobsen (author of Anne Frank : The Authorized Graphic Biography)

Phil Jimenez (illustrator of Wonder Woman: Donna Troy #1 and the Heroes online comic "Wireless Part One")

Lynn Johnston (author-illustrator of the syndicated comic strip For Better or For Worse which had the Jewish character Lovey Saltzman )

Joe Kelly (author of the JLA storyline "The Obsidian Age", which introduced The Anointed One, hero of ancient Israel)

Peter Kuper (author-illustrator of the short biographical story "Promised Land"(Bleeding Heart #2), as well as the book-length autobiographical Stop Forgetting to Remember : The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz)

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 of comics, which included the Israeli superheroine Masada)

Stan Mack (author of of The Story of the Jews)

Elliot S! Maggin (author of the Passover seder-inspired short comic story "The Miracle Monday Dinner") {in Superman #400})

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

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

Dan Piraro (author-illustrator of the syndicated comic strip Bizarro, including a one-panel joke in which hunted pigs seek refuge in a Hasidic house)

Trina Robbins (author of Lily Renée, Escape Artist, co-author of "Zog Nit Keyn Mol : the Partisans Song" and author of "The Triangle Fire" which was published in both Corporate Crime Comics #2 and Lilith Magazine #2)

Arlen Schumer (author-illustrator of Captain Israel)

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

Gail Simone (who wrote the story "Li'l Krusty in Give a Hoot, Stay in School" in Simpsons Comics #62, as well as "A Contagion of Madness" in Action Comics #835)

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

Herb Trimpe (illustrator of the Incredible Hulk story "In the Shadow of the Golem")

JT Waldman (author-illustrator of Megillat Esther and illustrator of Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me)

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

Marv Wolfman (author of The Tomb of Dracula #27, The New Teen Titans #24 and Homeland : The Illustrated History of the State of Israel)

Recommended Panels

4:00-5:00, Room 9
Abrams ComicArts
Among the forthcoming works that will be discussed is Barry Deutsch's Hereville Book 2: How Mirka Met a Meteorite, the sequel to the Sydney Talor Award-winning graphic novel Hereville : How Mirka Won Her Sword.

5:30-6:30, Room 26AB Batman's Biggest Secret: The Bill Finger Story Based on five years of research for the new book Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, Marc Tyler Nobleman (Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman) reveals startling, never-published information about Bill Finger, uncredited co-creator of Batman-including the game-changing discovery of Finger's lone heir. Michael Uslan, executive producer of The Dark Knight Rises, on the book: "Purposefully and meaningfully (and beautifully) written." 


10:00-11:00, Room 9
Remembering Jerry Robinson and Joe Simon
Jerry Robinson was a key artist on Batman in the 1940s, the co-creator of The Joker, and later an accomplished newspaper strip artist and political cartoonist. Joe Simon was half of the legendary team of Simon and [Jack] Kirby, the co-creator of Captain America and other Simon-Kirby classics, and later the creator/editor of Sick magazine. We've recently lost both of these legendary figures in comics, so let's pause to remember them along with Paul Levitz, Michael Uslan, Anthony Tollin, Marv Wolfman, Paul Dini, Batton Lash, Steve Saffel and moderator Mark Evanier. 11:00-12:00, Room 9 Siegel and Shuster and Finger Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a character you may have heard of. Bill Finger co-created one or two himself. These men are the subjects of two new books that unlock many secrets as to how some young men gave the world some of the greatest icons of fantasy ever. Hear Larry Tye (author of Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero) and Marc Tyler Nobleman (author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman) as both discuss their works with moderator Mark Evanier. 

12:00-1:30, Room 26AB
Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Revolution and Reaction
Trina Robbins (Lily Renée, Escape Artist) details the art and amazing life of Holocaust survivor Lily Renée Wilheim, one of the most successful women cartoonists during World War II and Fiction House's only woman cartoonist to draw covers as well as interior stories. Cori Knight (University of California, Riverside) and Sean Sagan (University of California, Riverside) present joint research on aspects of the gospel tracts of Jack T. Chick, an author whose comic-book-style evangelical tracts have circled the globe and have been translated into over 40 languages, and consider the tracts' status as sacred objects and as warnings to the world at large.

2:30-3:30, Room 26AB
Comics Arts Conference Session #8: Jack Kirby, Modernism, and Abstraction
Jack Kirby is increasingly emerging as an important 20th century American artist even beyond the realm of the comics world. His art provided pen-and-ink counterparts to the formal concerns of Abstract Expressionist painting, formalizing compositions and graphic rhythms with as much sophistication as artists such as Jackson Pollock or Franz Kline. Even "Kirby crackle" can be compared to the notion of "all-over" mark-making in abstract art as championed by Clement Greenberg. Outer space scenes especially, requiring innovative graphic forms to suggest sublime and unrepresentable space phenomena, provided occasions for some of Kirby's most powerful abstract compositions. This panel will discuss the relationship of Kirby with abstract art, his deeply modernist artistic achievement, and his influence on art and abstract comics. Andrei Molotiu (Indiana University, Bloomington; Abstract Comics: The Anthology) will give a presentation on the topic, then will discuss the subject with artist Mark Badger (Batman: Jazz, Martian Manhunter) and other surprise guests.

8:00-9:00, Room 23ABC
CCAS (Christian Comics Arts Society) Mixer
Join the Christian Comic Arts Society for their annual fellowship mixer. Open to all comics, media, and pop culture fans.

SATURDAY 1:00-2:00, Room 9
Spotlight on Stan Goldberg
Cartoonist, colorist, and Comic-Con special guest Stan Goldberg was there at the beginning of the Marvel Age of Comics, designing the color schemes for characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and many others. As an artist, he is best known for his over 45 years of work at Archie Comics as one of the Archie artists. Stan talks about his career and what he's doing next in this spotlight panel.

2:00-3:00, Room 23ABC
Will Eisner and the Graphic Novel
Moderator Paul Levitz (writer, 75 Years of DC Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes, former Eisner publisher), Klaus Janson (artist/inker, Daredevil, The Dark Knight Return, comics educator, SVA), Denis Kitchen (artist, author, publisher; Eisner's agent and longtime friend), Charles Kochman (editorial director, Abrams ComicArts), and Diana Schutz (comics educator; executive editor, Dark Horse Comics; Eisner's editor) explore the pivotal role Will Eisner's evangelism of the comics artform plays in the evolution of the American graphic novel, followed by a short Q-and-A period.

4:30-5:30, Room 26AB
The Legacy of Harvey Pekar
J. T. Waldman (Megillat Esther) discusses the legacy of Harvey Pekar's work through the lens of the just-released memoir with Waldman, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me. Told over the course of a single day in Cleveland, the book explores Pekar's loss of faith in the modern state of Israel. Waldman discusses this work and the mark Pekar has made on graphic memoir.

6:00-7:00, Room 4 CAS Panel: Spiritual Themes In Comics
The always lively CCAS panel examines spiritual themes in both contemporary comics and pop culture in general, with a special nod this year to Ridley Scott's Prometheus. Join Wayne Gardiner (Crucidel Productions), Sergio Cariello (The Action Bible), Leo Partible (The Action Bible), moderator Buzz Dixon (Savage Angels), and others for this fascinating analysis.


10:00-11:00, Room 5AB
The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel
There might not be comic book industry were it not for Jack Kirby...and if you don't know who that is, you really don't belong at this convention. Each year, his friends and co-workers gather to talk about Jack and his work and to marvel (no pun intended) at the length and breadth of his influence, not just on comics but on TV, movies, and all the arts. This year, the dais will include Herb Trimpe (Incredible Hulk), Stan Goldberg (Marvel colorist), Paul Dini (Batman), and Charles Hatfield (Hand of Fire), all chatting with moderator Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics).

10:00-11:00, Room 32AB CCAS
Sunday Devotional and Christian Comics Panel
Join fellow Christian fans and artists for a brief devotional period, followed by an in-depth analysis on interpreting the Bible in graphic format with Sergio Cariello (The Action Bible), Billy Tucci (A Child Is Born), and moderator Buzz Dixon (Savage Angels). Open to all who wish to attend.