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Sunday, June 14, 2015

The comics side of the AJL jubilee conference (2015)

From June 21st - June 24th, the Association of Jewish Libraries will be holding its 50th annual conference in Silver Spring, Maryland. One of the sessions on Tuesday June 22nd is titled "Graphic Representations of the Holocaust and Jewish Life", which will be moderated by popular culture expert Rachel Leket-Mor. Steven M. Bergson (editor of Jewish Comix Anthology, volume 1) will share "Secret Origins of the Jewish Comix Anthology. Christopher Huh (who is currently working on a new novel about Raoul Wallenberg) will talk about his Holocaust graphic novel Keeping My Hope. Dr. Rafael Medoff, a historian who has assisted with such works as "The Last Outrage" (X-Men : Magneto : Testament #5), They Spoke Out : American Voices Against the Holocaust, and "The St. Louis Refugee Ship Blues" (Washington Post, 2009), will discuss "Cartoonists Against the Holocaust: A New Way of Teaching about Genocide”.

The session is limited to conference attendees. The per diem Tuesday registration costs $184.59. To register, please go to

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Jewish Side of Wizard World Comic Con Philadelphia 2015

Today (May 9th) is the third day of this year's Wizard World Philadelphia comic convention.

Among the guests in attendance will be creators of comics with Jewish characters in them.

On Sunday (May 10th), 2 of those guests will participate in a session about golems in comics. The description of that panel follows.

12:00 – 12:45PM JEWISH SUPERHEROES AND THE GOLEM (ROOM 109) The Jewish comic book creators of the Golden Age of Comics (1930’s-1950’s) were inspired by a variety of sources. While many of these included cinema, pulp novels, and science fiction, some creators reached into their heritage to old tales of the Golem- a mythical clay creation come to life. Discover how the Golem myth inspired Marvel and DC characters like the Hulk, Thing, and Clayface. Jewish comic book creators Al Wiesner (Shaloman) and Joshua H. Stulman (Israeli Defense Comics) explain how the Golem continues to play a major role in their comics.
Other guests include :

Neal Adams is the illustrator of the “Son O’ God” stories, which appeared in the pages of National Lampoon. 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.

Peter David is the writer 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 is the author of Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero.

Joshua Goldstein is the author-illustrator of Zayin : The Wars of Independence and Maccabbee Lady.

Dean Haspiel is the illustrator of Harvey Pekar's autobiography The Quitter.

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

Joshua Stulman is the author-illustrator of the comic book series Israeli Defense Comics and is a contributor to the Jewish Comix Anthology.

Al Wiesner is the author-illustrator of the comic book series Shaloman.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Jewish sessions at CSSC 2015

Today (May 7th) is the first day of the annual 2-day Canadian Society for Study of Comics conference, which will be held at the Toronto Reference Library.

The subject matter of the presentations will cover a wide spectrum of formats and content, including those which discuss Jewish comics creators and comics with Jewish content.

Below is a sampling of the "Jewish" presentations.

Thurs., May 7th

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Ariela Freeman - Life? Or Theatre? : Charlotte Solomon's Foundational Graphic Narrative

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Session A : Crafting Cultural Perspectives

Jaleen Grove - Digested Identity : Jewishness, Oscar Cahen and Magazine Digest, 1944-1946

Aidan Diamond - Tikkun Olam comes to Gotham City : Kate Kane and the Jewish Superhero

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Session B : Creative Direction

Keith Friedlander - Authorship and Editors : Reactions to Karen Berger's Departure from Vertigo

Fri., May 8th

10:00 - 11:30 AM
Session B : Identity & Cultural Politics

Jeff Barnes - The Utility of Editorial Cartoons for Understanding the Palestinian Past : The Case of al-Thawra

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Session B : The Art of Subversion

Robert Hutton - Comics Publishing and Literary Heroism in Harvey Pekar and Dave Sim

3:00 - 5:00 PM
Session B : Traumas

Claire Farley - Miriam Katin's We Are On Our Own and the Double Voice of Memory : The Graphic Genre and the Visualization of Traumatic Memory

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Jewish Side of TCAF 2015

This weekend (May 9th and 10th), readers, writers, artists, publishers and fans of comix will converge at the Toronto Reference Library to take part in the the FREE Toronto Comic Arts Festival (aka TCAF).

Among the talented people who will be at TCAF this year are a small number of comix professionals who have done comic art using Jewish characters or themes.

* AH Comics Inc. (table #172) is the publisher of Jewish Comix AnthologyDuring TCAF, Jewish Comix Anthology will be for sale for a mere $20 - that's 50% off of the retail cover price! The AH Comics website will also allow people to use the 50% discount if you prefer to shop online, but you must bring your copy to TCAF in person to get it autographed by Andy Stanleigh, Steven M. Bergson, Liat Shalom &/or Joe Infurnari. 

Jonathan Baylis (table #131) is the author of the So ... Buttons mini-comic series.

* Steven M. Bergson is a Jewish comics blogger and the editor of Jewish Comix Anthology. Steven will be at the AH Comics Inc. table (#172) on Saturday May 9th from 3:00 - 5:00 PM.

Willow Dawson (table #109) is the illustrator of the anthology No Girls Allowed : Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventurewritten by Susan Hughes and published by Kids Can Press. The anthology includes the story of Esther Brandeau, the first Jewish person to immigrate to Canada.

Drawn and Quarterly (tables 134-136)  has published Exit WoundsJamilti and Other Stories, The PropertyThe Golem's Mighty Swing, and Jerusalem : Chronicles from the Holy City. D+Q also published the story "The Peasant and the Snake" in one of its anthologies, which has been reprinted in Jewish Comix Anthology.

Fantagraphics (tables 162-164) is the publisher of Jewish Images in the ComicsPalestine, and Barracuda in the Attic.

* Matt Lubchansky is a Jewish cartoonist who writes and illustrates the webcomic Please Listen to Me. Earlier this year, his 3-ingredient Passover brisket recipe comic was published online at Saveur

Jason Lutes (tables 134-136) is the author-illustrator of the comic series berlin (which has been collected in the trade paperbacks Berlin : City of Stones and Berlin : City of Smoke) and is the author of Houdini : The Handcuff King).

* NBM Publishing (tables 169 & 170) is the publisher of the Jew in Communist Prague books, BrownsvilleThe Big Khan, and the Isaac the Pirate books.

* Jon Rosenberg (tables 286-291) is the author-illustrator of the webcomic Goats, which includes the Jewish character "Jon", as seen in the strip from Nov. 24, 2005.

Liat Shalom is the illustrator of the story "A Grave Matter" in Jewish Comix AnthologyLiat may be found at the AH Comics Inc. table (#172) from 3:00 - 5:00 PM on Sat., May 9th.  

* Andy Stanleigh (table #172) is the artist and publisher who adapted the story "Pillow of Feathers" for Jewish Comix Anthology and who published the book. He may be found at the AH Comics Inc. table during TCAF.

* Julian Voloj is a graphic novelist whose autobiography Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker is debuting at TCAF. Julian will be taking part in a free "Reading and Conversation" event being held tomorrow night (May 7th) at COBA Collective Of Black Artists, Daniels Spectrum 585 Dundas St. E., Suite 130 from 7:30 - 9:30 PM (in conjunction with the Miles Nadal Jewish Community CentreCultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), and Be'chol Lashon). He will also be making an appearance at the NBM tables (169 & 170) during TCAF.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Will Eisner Week, JOMIX, giveaways

Will Eisner at Toronto Comicon, holding a copy
of the Yiddish edition of A Contract with God

Will Eisner was one of the most influential and one of the most talented comic artists, helping to foster a respect for the format and teaching a new generation through both his classes and via the text books he authored (e.g. Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative). In 2002, Eisner received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation for Jewish Culture. Among the Jewish works he has written and illustrated are Fagin the Jew, The Name of the Game, and Minor Miracles. Minor Miracles includes the short story "Street Magic", which was reprinted in Jewish Comix Anthology, volume 1.

Next week, several events will take place at various venues across the U.S. that will honor the legendary cartoonist during Will Eisner Week.

Among the events is a special meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium during which Paul Levitz (author of "Tradition" in DC Comics' 9-11 September 11th 2001) will give a talk titled "The Contradictions and Importance of Will Eisner". During the same meeting, Danny Fingeroth (author of Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero) and Arie Kaplan (author of From Krakow to Krypton : Jews and Comic Books) will give a presentation titled "Spirit and Shadow : Will Eisner and Orson Welles".


March 1st will also be the opening day of the JOMIX exhibition, but that won't be closing until May 8th and the gallery talk / tour is being held on March 10th.


The Jewish festival called Purim will be held on the evening of  March 4th (during Will Eisner Week).

In celebration of Purim, Will Eisner Week, and the JOMIX launch, a Purim Book Giveaway contest is being held for American account holders over the age of 18.

To enter for a chance to win a copy of The Jewish Comix Anthology, please go to

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Mendel's Daughter : A Memoir by Martin Lemelman, please go to

To enter for a chance to win a copy of The Quest for Jewish Belief and Identity in the Graphic Novel by Stephen Tabachnick, please go to

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

a Jewish comics anthology book launch in Australia - today

Balaclava Junction - a collection of short Australian biographical stories in comics format edited by Ted Janet - is launching at Embiggen Books (197-203 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3000) at 2:30 AM EST (6:30 PM in Melbourne).

The books will be available for online purchase via

There are links to interviews, promos and articles about the book at

Below are a set of remarks I (Steven M. Bergson, the blog moderator) wrote about it, which will be excerpted for one of the back cover blurbs.
Having spent most of my life in Toronto (Canada), I consider myself fortunate to live in a multi-lingual, multicultural mosaic made up of people from countries all over the world. Among the immigrants who have made Toronto their home are Australians. During the annual Caravan Festival that was held annually, the TRANZAC Club (Toronto Australia New Zealand Club) hosted the Australian pavilion, one of the ones I was lucky enough to visit. Nonetheless, Australia is one of those nations which I never really learned much about, an exotic locale which would probably always seem far-off and mysterious.
Being a typical popular culture junkie, my sense of what Australians might be like went a bit beyond what I experienced at Caravan . I absorbed the lyrics of the hit Men at Work song “Land Down Under”, winced at the Fosters beer commercials, enjoyed the movies which were filmed in Australia &/or featured Australian actors (Don’s Party, Mad Max, A Cry in the Dark, Crocodile Dundee, Quigley Down Under), as well as the sci-fi TV series which utilized Australian-born talent (Doctor Who, Farscape, and Stargate SG-1). Through my twin boys, I learned about the Australian children’s entertainment phenomenon known as The Wiggles.
However, none of these representations of Australians were specifically Jewish. I only knew of a single (fictional) film about a Jewish Australian, which I had managed to see during the Toronto Jewish Film Festival - Hey Hey It’s Esther Blumberger. Despite being a reader and collector of Jewish-content comics and graphic novels from around the world, I had only ever read 2 Jewish-themed comic stories written by an Australian. Both stories were scripted by Jason Franks. “One More Bullet” was a dark Holocaust-era story about a death camp prisoner who is forced into committing horrible acts by a Nazi. “Love Raed” was a dark story about a hopeful Arab university student who tragically becomes bitter and decides to become a suicide bomber. My unscientific conclusion about Australian comics writers is that they are moody people who write dark stories.
Then I became in touch with Ted Janet. Specifically, he got in touch with me. I was thrilled to learn about his Balaclava Junction anthology and felt honored that he chose to share it with me. As near as I can tell, the stories won’t contain any of the usual stereotypical signifiers that Canadians and Americans tend to associate with Australia. No scenes in the Outback wilderness. No kangaroos, koalas, or dingos. No vegemite sandwiches. The stories can remind you in subtle ways that they take place in unfamiliar territory with references to such places as St. Kilda, Balaclava, and Caulfield. However, as you read through the stories, these places start to take on a familiar look and feel, as if you’ve been living there for ages.
As for the Jewish content of the stories, it shouldn’t be surprising that Jews in Australia deal with some of the same issues which are common to Jews in other countries : atheism vs. religiosity, assimilation vs. cohesiveness, Jewish identity (aka “Who or what is a Jew?”), how can we help our fellow Jews, how should we deal with interfaith relationships. The collection includes biographies, history, and even adaptations from songs by a Jewish Australian (which may be found on YouTube). As is typical with comic stories, the art is an integral part of the narratives, sometimes just summing up in images the hodge-podge of Jewish ideas that can become overwhelming.
I’ve never been to Australia and I don’t think I’ll be taking a trip there in the near future. However, thanks to Ted Janet and his team of talented artists, I feel as if I’ve visited the Jewish part of his country, made some friends, and look forward to meeting them again sometime.

Steven M. Bergson, Editor
The Jewish Comix Anthology