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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Jewish Side of San Diego Comic-Con 2014

Tonight (Wed.) was the preview night for the annual San Diego Comic Con, one of the largest comic conventions in North America, being held at the San Diego Convention Center.

This year, there will be a limited number of copies of the new Jewish Comix Anthology (volume 1) for sale at the convention (which can later be signed by 2 of the artists, if you can track them down ; please see below). There will also be a Comic-Con special discount for those ordering copies online at

Those who would like to experience a Jewish Sabbath (no matter what your level of observance - or even whether you're actually Jewish yourself) are welcome to attend an "Open Shabbat" program, hosted by Chabad of Downtown San Diego.

#openShabbat, an open house unplugged meal and networking, is coming to Comic Con International!

Join other Members of the Tribe attending Comic Con and escape the chaos of the festival, find a taste of home and meet new people while enjoying kosher food, song and plenty of l'chaim!

Everyone is welcome, bring your friends - no experience required!

To RSVP (& also do make the mandatory donation ; $25 is suggested), please go to

Chabad has an article about the event : "At San Diego Comic-Con, a Time Out for Shabbat"

Among those in attendance at this year's Con will be writers, artists, and publishers who have been responsible for Jewish comic stories (i.e. comic stories in which at least one of the characters is Jewish. These include :

Abrams ComicArts is the publisher of the Hereville books, the English edition of Pascal Croci's AuschwitzYiddiskeit, and the forthcoming English edition of Boxer: The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Harry Haft by Reinhard Kleist

Neal Adams is the illustrator of the “Son O’ God” stories, which appeared in the pages of National Lampoon. That sounds more like a Christian story than a Jewish one, but it’s actually a bit of both. Son O’ God is that unique super-powered protagonist whose “superhero self” is a Christian deity and whose civilian alter ego is a Jewish kid named Bennie David and whose 12 Jewish friends act as “the 12 apostles” when duty calls. You may read all of the Son O’God stories (as well as the story of how Adams was recruited to be the artist) at Dial B for Blog. Adams also illustrated the Batman story Night of the Reaper in which the vengeful Grim Reaper is revealed to be a Nazi-hunting Holocaust survivor. Adams penciled The Last Outrage” (inked by Andy Kubert’s father, Joe Kubert) which appeared in both The New York Times and the final issue of the miniseries X-men : Magneto : Testament and which also appeared as a stop-motion video on YouTube.

Antarctic Press is the publisher of Families of Altered Wars [which included the "Stars of David" storyline] and Dictators of the Twentieth Century : Hitler #1-4.

The Anti-Defamation League (a representative will be a panelist at the End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in Our Culture session)

Sergio Aragonés is the illustrator of the "Fanny Hillman : Jewish Madam" books and adapted the Jonah story for Testament.

* Arsenic Lullaby (issue #12 of their comic book series contained the story "Pilsbury Doughboy at Auschwitz").

Howard Chaykin is the author-illustrator of American Flagg, as well as Batman / Houdini : The Devil's Workshop.

* Dark Horse Comics is the publisher of the comic book series Cud Comics (which, in issue #4, included the story "Ben Dordia's Confession"), The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist, The EscapistsBreath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem, and a hardcover edition of Fagin the Jew.

Chuck Dixon (author of the Hanukkah story "Holiday of Peace" (in DCU Holiday Special v.1 n.2) .

* Mark Evanier is the 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.

Jules Feiffer is the author of the essay "The Minsk Theory of Krypton" which appeared in the New York Times Magazine.

First Second Books is the publisher of Klezmer : Tales of the Wild East, the Rabbi's Cat books, and the Resistance series.

* Drew Friedman is the cartoonist who illustrated "What If Chris Rock Performed At A Bar Mitzvah?" (MAD Magazine #419) and "Marnin Rosenberg in 'Bad Luck with Women'" (National Lampoon - June 1987).

* Image Comics was the publisher of the series Youngblood (which included the Israeli superheroine Masada) and half of the Rex Mundi series.

* Sid Jacobson is the author of Anne Frank : The Authorized Graphic Biography.

* Kelly Jones is the illustrator of the stories "Suit of Evil Souls" and "The Greatest Evil" (in Batman #551 & 552, respectively)

Peter Kuper is the 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 and illustrator some stories which appeared in the anthology Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land.

David Lasky is the illustrator of both the prologue and cover for Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, as well as a 1-page piece called poem which may be viewed at

* Paul Levitz is the author of "Tradition" (which was published in DC Comics' 9-11 September 11th 2001

* Miriam Libicki is the 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. She also contributed a story to the forthcoming Jewish Comix Anthology.

Rob Liefeld is the illustrator of stories in the Youngblood series of comics, which included the Israeli superheroine Masada.

* Jim Mahfood is the author-illustrator of Grrl Scouts.

* NBM Publishing is the publisher of the Jew in Communist Prague books, BrownsvilleThe Big Khan, and the Isaac the Pirate books.

Greg Pak is the illustrator of the X-Men : Magneto : Testament miniseries.

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

* Paul Pope is the author-llustrator of the story "Berlin Batman" (in The Batman Chronicles #11), in which Batman is a Jewish painter named Baruch Wane.

PVP Online is 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".

Lily Renée Wilheim is a Golden Age cartoonist who was the subject of the graphic biography Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book PioneerShe will be signing at the Fantagraphics booth on Friday.

Trina Robbins is the author-illustrator of the story "The Triangle Fire" which was the cover story of the 2nd issue of Lilith Magazine, the author of the graphic biography  Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer, and the co-author of an adaptation of a Jewish song which was reprinted in The Jewish Comics Anthology. She will be signing at the Fantagraphics booth on Friday.

Arlen Schumer is the author-illustrator of Captain Israel.

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

* Simon and Schuster is the publisher of the books Little Vampire Goes to School and Little Vampire Does Kung Fu.

* Louise Simonson is the co-author of issues of a Superman storyline (Superman : Man of Steel # 80-82), in which Superman went to the Warsaw Ghetto.

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

* Brian K.Vaughan is the author of the comic book series Y : The Last Man and The Escapists.

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

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

Sessions which I think would be the most interesting for readers of this blog include :

Thursday, July 24, 10:00am - 11:00am, Room 32AB
God Is Disappointed in You with Shannon Wheeler & Mark Russell
God Is Disappointed in You, published by Top Shelf, is the tongue-in-cheek "condensed" version of the Bible you never knew you needed-hilariously modern, but surprisingly authentic-with illustrations and gags by New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man). Wheeler and writer Mark Russell join together for an hour of unforgettable irreverence, including Q&A, audience sketches, and the hilarious-yet-accurate "ten-minute Bible." Plus: a taste of the new audiobook, read by Dr. Venture himself, James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros.)!

Friday July 25, 2014 10:00am - 11:00am,Room 29A
Will Eisner: Teacher and Mentor
For a magic moment, New York City's School of Visual Arts had Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, and Art Spiegelman all teaching classes on comics. Hear stories about those classes from students Joe Quesada (Marvel Entertainment), Drew Friedman (Heroes of the Comics), Batton Lash (Supernatural Law), Mike Carlin (DC Entertainment), and a surprise guest. Plus a not-to-be missed discussion about Will Eisner's other educational efforts. Moderated by Paul Levitz, who is writing Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel for release next year by Abrams ComicArts.

Saturday July 26, 2014 10:00am - 11:00am, Room 7AB
Diversity in Genre Lit
In the literary world, there are mystical beings, futuristic landscapes, magic and mayhem, heroes and villains, and slowly but surely, more diversity in our heroes. Panel participants are the creators that have made a more diverse world with their novels. Join authors Gene Luen Yang (The Shadow Hero), Josephine Angelini (Trial by Fire),Sherri L. Smith (Orleans), Adele Griffin (The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone), Greg Weisman (Spirits of Ash and Foam: A Rain of the Ghosts Novel), and Lydia Kang (Control), as moderator David Mariotte of Mysterious Galaxy leads the discussion of what is "diversity" in genre writing, what it looks like, and why it is important.

Saturday July 26, 2014 2:00pm - 3:30pm, Room 26AB
Comics Arts Conference Session #12: Poster Session
Allen Thomas (University of Central Arkansas) and Mara Whiteside (University of Central Arkansas) examine the relationship between readers and minority comic book characters, namely the connection a reader feels to a particular character, and discuss the future direction of comic books in regards to minority representation.

J. Scott McKinnon (Henderson State University) identifies the factors that contribute to ethnic minority characters either succeeding or failing, examining online discussions, reviews, and published articles.

Jake Talley (San Diego State University) compares the female and minority populations in the Marvel and DC universes at various points in their histories to illustrate how their race and gender makeups have evolved over time, and compares the Big Two with younger publishers to see if the lack of decades of continuity produces a more representative character population.

Saturday July 26, 2014 6:00pm - 7:00pm, Room 4
Spiritual Themes in Comics
The Christian Comic Arts Society hosts this 17th annual panel. Spiritual themes in comics have been a major thread in the comic book and graphic novel medium. Panelists will be discussing how spiritual themes are interwoven into the matrix of comic books.Wendi Pini (ElfQuest), John Schafer (Superbook), M. Scott Verne (City of the Gods), B. Dave Walters (Warner Brothers Animation), and moderator Eric Jansen (Foursquare Mission Press) discuss the spiritual themes of their respective projects and other related media in the industry.

Sunday July 27, 2014 10:00am - 11:00am, Room 28DE
CCAS Sunday Devotional & Christian Comics Panel
2014 looks to be the year of Biblical epics and faith-based movies. With movies such as Noah, God is not Dead, Son of God, Heaven Is Real, and Mary, Mother of Christ, Bible and faith-based movies are making an impact in the market. Yet such themes have been a longstanding tradition in comic books and related media. Please join the CCAS in a discussion on the history, influence, and future of Christian involvement in the industry. Panelists include Sergio Cariello (The Action Bible), John Schafer (Superbook), Frederick Price (Crenshaw Christian Center), and Bryan Mero (Spirit Knight). Moderated by Clint D. Johnson (Faith Walker).

Sunday July 27, 2014 10:00am - 11:15am, Room 5AB
The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel
Each year, we set aside time to talk about Comic-Con's first superstar guest and the man they call The King of the Comics, Jack Kirby. Jack left us in 1994 but his influence on comics, film, and this convention has never been greater. Discussing the man and his work this year are Len Wein, Scott Shaw!, Charles Kochman (editorial director, Harry N. Abrams Books) and Kirby family attorney Paul S. Levine, plus members of Jack's family. And of course, it's moderated by Mark Evanier.

Sunday July 27, 2014 4:00pm - 5:00pm, Room 28DE
The Battle for Multicultural Heroes
The pop culture explosion through gaming, comics, TV, and film has opened up new opportunities for cultural diversity; however, many challenges and obstacles still exists in today's media. In this humorous but poignant discussion, diverse geek experts will discuss breaking ethnic stereotypes and what changes need to happen for us to boldly go into the future. Panelists include Linda Le (professional cosplayer), Andre Meadows (Black Nerd Comedy), clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Letamendi (The Arkham Sessions), and Tony B. Kim (

Among the Jewish-themed books / books about Jewish creators which are nominated for Eisner awards this year are :

The Property by Rutu Modan (Best Graphic Album—New)

The Art of Rube Goldberg selected by Jennifer George (Best Comics-Related Book ; Best Publication Design)


Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps by Art Spiegelman (Best Comics-Related Book)

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