01 March 2012
This was the calling of two young men, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. But Jerry Siegel is the one that writes about how he came upon the idea of creating such a superhero. He said that he has had an image of what kind of superhero character that he would want to create but on one faithful night the character came to him in a clearer image. They wanted to make a superhero that would somehow represent their own personal lives; their struggles and their put downs. Superman as a person is shy and nervous when it comes to talking to women, just like the Jerry and Joe. This characteristic of Superman or Clark was a reflection of the social acceptance struggle that the two men struggled with. He is also Jewish, the same ethnicity as the two creators.
The story of Superman is a mirrored image of some events that happened in Germany in 1939. Although there are parts of the story have been altered. Superman was sent to Earth by his parents in a spacecraft that his father made. His father did this because he was convinced that their planet was going to blow up. This was a mirrored image of when German Jewish families sent their children off to England. In the #10 issue of Superman is a mirrored image of the Olympics of Berlin in 1936. The German team came into the arena with their arms stretched out well saying “heil Hitler.” This was also when Hitler was trying to say that Germans were the superior race of the world. And was expecting the German team to outperform everybody at the Olympics.
Some can also say that the story of Superman can be a mirrored image of the biblical story of Moses. The people were facing the murder of any male heirs that were born. So in an attempt of saving Moses, his mother places him in a basket and sends him down stream to be found by the Pharaoh daughter. She finds him and raises him as her son and he later receives an inspirational talk from God.
During the creation of Superman, the country was experiencing the Great Depression. Jerry and Joe tried their best to make sure that Superman was published. They would gather whatever they had just to afford a postage stamp. Joe would then draw on some cheap brown wrapping paper. Just like some young artist, they received rejection letters. But they didn’t let that stop them from trying to publish Superman. But little did they know that Superman would become an American icon. They finally found a publisher that was willing to publish Superman. They got paid $130 for the first 13 pages of Superman comic in June of 1938. The issue that sold out quickly would be worth today about $450,000.
This handout made me realize that this story is a replica of the biblical story and that the storyline has been reused numerous times in cartoons, but the characters, setting are changed. It just makes think about how many stories could be mirrored storylines of other ancient stories. It is funny how we could read modern stories about almost anything and not even realize that it could be an altered version of another story. For example, Dragon Ball Z and Superman are the same but altered characters and settting. I didn’t even notice this until Mr. V made it noticeable in class.
In Superman: From Cleverland to Krypton Weinstein off by telling the story of Kristallnatch or "The Night of Broken Glass" and how the world needed a superhero. And this hero turned out to be Superman. Weinstein analyses the connection of Superman and Jewish tradition. He discusses how at the same time Jews were being attacked in Germany, they were also discriminated in America. During this period Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Jewish comic artists, suffered as their strips were denied due to their religion and eventually created a character that embodied their frustrations. Clark's or "Superman" struggle for a date reflects the creators' desire to gain social acceptance. Weisman goes alot deeper and analyses how Superman is based off of Jewish discrimination throughout history. He also analyses how Superman resembles Moses as both stories are very similar but have different setting. Examples of Jewish referances are everywhere including biblical stories like Moses and Samson. Even Adolf Hitler is refered to in several occasions like the 1936 Berlin Olympics as well as refferance to the poison gas used by the Nazis. In the last paragraph he goes back and analyses how Superman refers to It's creators as in the comic #81 he tells Lois " It's like we've had a whole other life together. I can remember a whole childhood in the 1920's", the childhood his two Jewish creators lived.
I would've never thought that Superman is based off of Jewish history but after reading Up, Up, and Oy Vey i understand the connection. The connection is pretty obvious as Jewish referances are everywhere. What i found more interesting was how Nazi newspaper Das Sshwarze Kops attacked the comic as well as America "Woe to the American youth, who must live in such a poisoned atmosphere and dont even notice the poison they swallow daily" (pg.25). I now see how Superman is an example of "living with the times" as the comic is well related to Jewish history as well as messeges they tell through the stories.
The reading then goes on to explain Superman's journey imitates the story of Moses. To start from the beginning Superman was from a planet called Krypton which faced total destruction and then Moses was from Egypt which faced extinction of all male offspring. The only way Superman survived this destruction was being sent into a rocket ship to earth and Moses survived death by being put into a basket by his mother down the Nile River. Both Superman and Moses are found and raised in completely different cultures then what they were born into. As the story goes on about them they are both told they have certain gifts and when the time comes they need to use it. Moses and Superman both stay hidden under their true identity in order to do what is required to come for their reasoning of life.
Charbon says Superman is Jewish and is simply proven by even the suffix within his alien name Kal-El. The suffix “El” is constantly one of the ancient names God periodically uses throughout the Bible. God shows a light for us to find a righteous path and the voice of reasoning. Seems that the prefix of Superman’s name Kal has similar meaning standing for “with lightness,” “vessel,” and “voice.” The proof through Superman action comics are clear that there is some biblical background implemented in his stories.
After reading Up, Up and Oy Vey I realized how David Knzles definition about comics came into effect. Knzles definition was comics need to have relevance so the audience can grow a greater understanding and also to be mass media which creates means of communication. I think Superman definitely had relevance at its time because it had to do with Adolf Hitler which was trying to turn the world upside down. Superman hit mass media like wild fire, they made movies, shows and radio series about him. A character created by two Jewish men turned into an all- American icon.
Is Superman Jewish? I cannot say, I can’t quite take in that a made up comic super hero has similarities to Moses which was a real biblical icon. All the similarities were remarkable and his made me look at Superman as a symbol now not just a comic book superhero!
It's because he's Jewish!!!
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were the creators of the first superhero comic book in November of 1938. This was when Superman was first brought into the world. Simcha Weinstein in his book Up, up, And-oy vey evaluates the Jewish role in the creation of such popular comic book superheroes as Superman, Batman, Hulk, Spiderman, and Captain America, as well as super-teams like Fantastic Four and X-Men. Weinstein uses the Bible and Nazi Germany to convey his message to readers that Superman has ties to Jewish culture.
From the very first sentence of the book Weinstein reveals his interest in the connection between popular superhero’s and the Jewish tradition. Weinstein mentions that before the origin of superheroes, there were superpatriarchs and supermatriarchs of the Bible but they were all female and male prophets. They functioned as present-day superheroes as they were courageous with supernatural powers to serve and protect the people. The creators of Superman were two Jewish men who had been through a phase in life where they were discriminated and so this hatred gave birth to a heroic character to confront to the society. This superhero was the supposed solution for the social acceptance of the Jewish. As, they were Jewish their fictional character’s life was linked to numerous Jewish beliefs and stories. For example, his parents sent him into outer space for his life to be saved just like the story of Moses. Superman’s name from Krypton, Kal-El, holds some biblical significance, such as “El” belonged to names of some of prophets. The similarity that was identified in the birth and purpose of both Moses and Superman made the claim more believable and provided a convincing story.
European Jews migrated to America in the 1900’s as they were victimized in Germany and during the entire World War II. Around that time Jewish children who were brought to America started inventing supernatural characters that would protect the world and fight the villains. Siegel and Shuster, the creators of Superman plus Bob Kane and Bill Finger who created Batman were Jewish comic book artists from America who started the superhero’s now worth millions of dollars.Weinstein gives us excellent examples that explain the cryptogram behind the Superman comic. From showing how Superman's personality is related to biblical characters, to relating Superman's childhood to those children from Nazi German. The fact that many famous comic artists are Jewish helps to support Weinstein’s claim. Superman as a fictional superhero character embodies Jewish beliefs but originally is not Jewish.
It is apparent that Stan Lee is jewish, but I had no idea that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster where Orthodox Jews. So many connections are made between the bible and Superman that it started to frighten me. Some of the initial connections Weinstein makes show's the connection between a celebration in the name o f Superman and the Orthodox Jewish practice of The Passover Seder. It gets even more tantalizing.
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.