02 March 2010

Comics with Heritage

Up, Up, and Oy Vey Simcha Weinstein
The beginning of the comic article is not detailed. In the plot, there is a need for a superhero. The article doesn’t provide a name of this hero, just a cut off picture of a muscular arm, part of a cape, and a band of stars on the wrist. With little description of who this superhero could be, or what he looks like, cause suspense to the reader. Weinstein adds in a side note about “if the word ‘man’ appears at the end of someone’s name, you can draw one of two conclusions...”. He establishes his characteristic of why the word “man” appears in a person’s name. Before superheroes such as “Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man”, there were people mentioned from the bible that had “courage and supernatural powers”. Jewish people looked up to people from the bible European Jews immigrated “into New York’s Lower East Side”. The Jewish people used stories from the bible to apply to their life and pass it on to their children. The children would retell the stories “using dots of colored ink on pulp paper”. This relates to superheroes because “Superman was first drawn on cheap brown wrapping paper”. When Jews faced problems in their country and Hitler. This encouraged young Jewish artist and writers to craft the need of “powerful characters who were dedicated to protecting the innocent and conquering evil”. A group of Jewish men created familiar characters such as Superman, Batman, the Joker, Justice League of America, Green Lantern, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and X-Men. These superheroes fulfill the themes of the Jewish tradition: integrity, justice, patriotism, teamwork, family values, anger, responsibility and redemption, anti-Semitism and reconciliation. The Jewish theme of good over evil has been applied to comic book stories. After September 11th, the need of a superhero had a comeback. The Spider-Man movie came out afterward. Filmmakers brought a superhero to the New York scene. Stan Lee is the creator of Spiderman. Lee created a hero that was different from other Jewish creators created superheroes. Lee’s superhero was a teenager and not an adult. Spider-Man “acted as a sponsor for many Jews”. Spider-Man brought Jewish pride. Lee created Spider-Man with Jewish ethics. According to Lee, his character resembles David from the bible. David had an interest in spiders but he didn’t understand their reason for creating webs. Through David’s personal situation, he learned that the web is a form of protection. Spider-Man himself is a form of protection. Spiders in nature, keep insects under control. Spiderman performs in the same way. He keeps villains under control. The article concludes how Will Eisner, the superhero pioneer, used comics to express his Jewish heritage. The author elaborates on his connection to comics. He also finds them inspiring because it links to his Jewish heritage.
I found this article interesting because it demonstrated a connection to religion. I felt drawn to this article because I was amazed at how the Jewish people created these fictional superheroes as hope and inspiration during the time of the Holocaust. This article opened my mind about the themes of Jewish tradition. I thought that it was very creative of the writers to create the superheroes that have a meaning to the Jewish heritage

1 comment:

  1. This is a very cut and dry list summary, and I don't see a lot of engagement with the text beyond writing that it was "interesting."