01 March 2012

Hitler? No! It's Superman!

Simcha Weinstein, author of Up, Up, and Oy Vey!, begins his book with his introduction by stating that before Superman, Batman or even Spiderman, there were heroic figures from the bible. According to Weinstein, Jewish American artists and writing began to create characters that then led to creating comic books such as the creators of Superman (which are of the Jewish religion). After World War II, there was a decrease in the popularity of superhero comics. Even though this happened, we still find that every generation has their own heroes that they look up to. As Weinstein see's in his eyes, each superhero personifies a theme that can be found in the Jewish tradition. Weinstein explains and gives examples of what he means. Comics have gone through discrimination, fought from being the misunderstood outcast, and so much more. This leads Weinstein to the start of his book, Up, Up, and Oy Vey! 
Chapter one consists of Weinstein explaining how Superman is of the Jewish Religion. Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster created Superman, but that didn't come about until after the 1930s when comic book publishing was still in progress of making an appearance. That didn't stop Siegal and Shuster though. They submitted comic book treatments, and fought through the Great Depression with every penny they found to cover the expenses of submitting the comics. After many years after they submitted their work, Siegal recalled the birth of Superman, in 1934. It would take another 4 years for Superman to even get recognized. Once those 4 years passed, Action Comics paid Siegal and Shuster for the first 13 pages that they wrote of Superman. The issue sold out, and from then on out, there was a star that was created. Siegal and Shuster gave Superman a secret identity named Clark Kent. Both identities were found without the comics and made huge.

Weinstein discusses how ironically Hitler's "master race" was mistaken with the concept of "Superman". This happens in Superman #10. The Dukalia American Sports Festival looks almost exactly like the 1936 Berlin Olympics where Hitler had believed that it would demonstrate the superiority of Germans throughout the world. Superman became what Hitler couldn't even imagine of becoming for the Jewish children. Josef Goebbels announces that Superman is indeed Jewish. After that, Siegal and Shuster were criticized for everything. "As you can see, there is nothing the Sadducee's won't do for money!", "Jerry Siegallack stinks...." etc.

In Superman #1, Superman's journey to Earth is almost identical to the story in the bible known as Moses' Journey. Superman's biblical name is Kal-El. The suffix "El" is an ancient name for God used throughout the bible. The suffix "Kal" is a root of several Hebrew words that mean swiftness. In Superman #2, Clark interviews a scientist that had discovered a gas that was extremely powerful. This is where Superman gets his powers. From there on out, Superman became an inspiration for all creations.

This whole book is about Superman being Jewish. From the readings, it is very believable and I can easily believe it. There still may be a chance that Superman is not Jewish, but there is a lot of given evidence in this book to show that his ethnic background is indeed Jewish. If we think about it, all of the examples given from the bible make total sense.



2 comments:

  1. Well written summary, Chantel.
    You have actually made a lot of point from giving us examples. However, are you sure Weinstein is trying to prove that Superman is Jewish?

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    1. Good point, Tsering. I'm not sure that's his purpose either.

      Read carefully, Chantel: "This whole book is about Superman being Jewish." Weinstein's introduction doesn't say this :-/

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