29 February 2012

Superman: The Behind the Scenes Jew

Everyone needs a hero, and during the harsh and oppressive times of World War II, two young Jewish writers were seeking their hero. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were the original creators of Superman. The war was going hard and no one in America would even hire or accept Jewish people, it was a very anti-Semitic kind of nation. Siegel and Shuster started submitting comics under the name Bernard J. Kenton just to get their work out there. And there began the legend of Superman.

Many years later another Jewish man, Simcha Weinstein, wrote the book Up, Up and Oy Vey, based on his belief that Siegel and Shuster created Superman base on Jewish values and beliefs.
His first assumption of this is that Superman's parents sent him to a foreign land, in a small spaceship, because their planet Krypton was being destroyed.In reality Jewish children were being sent from their homes to keep safe from the Germans. An even more relevant story, is that of Moses. Moses' mother sent him away in a reed basket, to a foreign land, to keep him from being killed. So was Superman Jewish or is this just a coincidence? Hmmmm...... Lets continue.
Weinstein points out another clue that Superman may have been based on Jewish values. Superman's real name is Kal-El. Weinstein points out that in Hebrew this means vessel of God or voice of God.
Superman is also an outsider, he is literally an alien. Jewish people at these time were pretty much considered aliens at this time. It was hard for Jews to find jobs so they had to go into less accepted professions such as the comic book industry. So many comic book creators were Jewish.
Just as Siegel and Shuster created an alter ego, so they could publish their comics and be accepted in America, Superman had an alter ego, Clark Kent. Superman's father actually told him that he had to have an alter ego so people would not see his powers, because they would fear him, but one day he could use his powers to help out the human race. This talk with his father parallels with the talk Moses had with God. The story is basically that God speaks to Moses and tells him to take his people out of Egypt into Israel (saving the people).
One of Superman's power is that he has incredible strength, but he has one weakness and that is Kryptonite. In the bible there's a man named Samson, he posses incredible strength and he has that strength because of his hair. When Delilah cuts his hair he lost his strength.
Superman also parallels with Jewish values from the Mishnah. One section deals with justice, truth and peace, and Superman's very own motto is "Truth, justice and the American way". Another section says to be bold, light, swift, and strong. And Superman possesses these very characteristics.
In the original comics they made very settle hints that Superman was fighting off the Nazis, he even saved Lois Lane from them a couple of times. In more modern comics they made it more obvious, because it was more acceptable than it would have been in the thirties.
Weinstein makes very good claims that indicate that Superman could have been based on Jewish values and beliefs.
The author of Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud claims that if we understand the way comics are made rather than their content they will grow in value. Weinstein points out the way Superman may have been made, and it opens peoples eyes to the rest of the real story. Now this could be good and it could be bad. If people would have realized the thing Weinstein has back in the thirties, Superman would have totally been rejected. However, the fact that Weinstein has brought this to peoples attention, can allow for more acceptance of this comic, or just comics in general.
The facts are obvious that Siegel and Shuster needed a hero, so they created Superman in Jewish values and beliefs. They had a mythical character save them from oppression, without anyone else knowing it. They told all those anti-Semitists to suck it by creating Superman, and that's AWESOME! :)

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Nice post, Kylee. Just proofread a tad closer ;-)