Sep 22, 2014
On this special episode of The Comics Alternative, and just in time for Rosh Hashanah, Derek pulls together a variety of comics scholars for a lively roundtable discussion of Jewish comics. Joining him on the panel are Danny Fingeroth (author of Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero and Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us about Ourselves and Society), Steven E. Tabachnick (author of The Quest for Jewish Belief and Identity in the Graphic Novel and editor of Teaching the Graphic Novel), Harry Brod (author of Superman Is Jewish?: How Comic Book Superheroes Came to Serve Truth, Justice, and The Jewish-American Way), and Steven M. Bergson (editor of The Jewish Comix Anthology). The conversation begins with a series of questions to help define "Jewish comics" -- What makes a comic "Jewish"? What exactly is Jewish content? Does the ethnic background of the creator matter? Can a non-Jew write a Jewish comic? -- the answers to which are mostly left open-ended. They also spend a lot of time discussing the history of comics, in the United States and elsewhere, and how Jews contributed greatly to the medium. Among the many topics they cover are superheroes and Jews, immigrant narratives, trauma and the Holocaust, comics and religion, adapting the Hebrew Bible, and tales of assimilation. They even come up with a sample syllabus or "wish list" of comic-book series and graphic novels that could be used in a class specifically devoted to Jewish comics.