Up, Up, and Oy Vey is how Jewish history, culture, and values shaped the comic book superhero. Weinstein talks about how many Jewish themes and ideas the are in both older and modern superhero comics. Weinstein discuss how every new generation of hero comics show themes found in the bible. Some examples of this are heroes such as Superman invoking integrity, Batman-justice, Captain America-patriotism, Justice League- teamwork and Spider-man responsibility and redemption. Weinstein then goes on to discusses Spider-man and how his struggle in particular shows a lot of Jewish themes. Such as Spider-mans guilt for the death of his uncle. Then Spider-man thinks he could have prevented the death merely by stopping the robbers. So Spider-man spends his life “trying to pay down his own guilt” The slight difference in this opposed to other Jewish stories is that this guilt is caused by his uncle not his mother. Another similarity is the physical appearance of Peter Parker, Weinstein says “he is drawn as a dark haired, spectacled, neurotic worrier...has a dry sense of humor.” All things you hear stereotypical Jews being noted for.
I found this to be such a fascinating read. I had recently found out that most of my family came from Germany in the late 30’s and early 40’s to escape Nazi Germany. My family is predominantly German-Jew so any time I come across something that can help me get a better grasp on the Jewish identity I’m in. However, this reading gave me more. Not only has my appreciation for comics grown in these last two weeks I even feel like I might be connecting with them even more now, never mind if Weinstein’s ideas or theories are correct, it still gave me a connection with a medium that until two weeks ago was nothing more than “kiddy fare.” I fully plan on finding the book this reading came out of and giving it another look.
Unfortunately, the second reading was not as enjoyable as Up, Up, and Oy Vey. I found myself getting lost over and over, and I never really grasped the idea or concept that Umberto Eco was trying to get across. I guess after reading Scott McCloud I expect everything on comics to have some kind of spice, or at least the ability to hold my attention for longer than 30 seconds.