01 March 2012

Not so Mazel Tov after all!

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.


  1. Good summary, Tsering, but how does this relate to another text?

  2. Great summary tsering, I like how you go into details about the jewish tradition, and how you boldly come out and say who the creators were of the first superman. To me, I think it shows how well you understand the text article. :)