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Superman Is Jewish?: How Comic Book Superheroes Came to Serve Truth, Justice, and the Jewish-American Way By Harry Brod,

  • Title: Superman Is Jewish?: How Comic Book Superheroes Came to Serve Truth, Justice, and the Jewish-American Way
  • Author: Harry Brod
  • ISBN: 9781416595304
  • Page: 400
  • Format: Hardcover
  • As brilliant as it is witty, Harry Brod s surprisingly insightful expos delves into the secret identities of the world s most famous superheroes.Many of us know that the superheroes at the heart of the American comic book industry were created by Jews But we d be surprised to learn how much these beloved characters were shaped by the cultural and religious traditions ofAs brilliant as it is witty, Harry Brod s surprisingly insightful expos delves into the secret identities of the world s most famous superheroes.Many of us know that the superheroes at the heart of the American comic book industry were created by Jews But we d be surprised to learn how much these beloved characters were shaped by the cultural and religious traditions of their makers Superman Is Jewish follows the people of the book as they become the people of the comic book Harry Brod reveals the links between Jews and superheroes in a penetrating investigation of iconic comic book figures With great wit and compelling arguments, Brod situates superheroes within the course of Jewish American history they are aliens in a foreign land, like Superman figures plagued by guilt for not having saved their families, like Spider Man outsiders persecuted for being different, like the X Men nice, smart people afraid that nobody will like them when they re angry, like the Hulk Brod blends humor with sharp observation as he considers the overt and discreet Jewish characteristics of these well known figures and explores how their creators including Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby integrated their Jewish identities and their creativity Brod makes a strong case that these pioneering Jews created New World superheroes using models from Old World traditions He demonstrates how contemporary characters were inspired by the golem, the mystically created artificial superhuman of Jewish lore And before Superman was first drawn by Joe Shuster, there were those Jews flying through the air drawn by Marc Chagall As poignant as it is fascinating, this lively guided tour travels from the Passover Haggadah s exciting action scenes of Moses s superpowers through the Yiddish humor of Mad to two Pulitzer Prizes awarded in one decade to Jewish comic book guys Art Spiegelman and Michael Chabon Superman Is Jewish explores the deeper story of how an immigrant group can use popular entertainment media to influence the larger culture and in the process see itself in new, empowering ways Not just for Jewish readers or comic book fans, Superman Is Jewish is a story of America, and is as poignant as it is fascinating A surprising question, one that takes a certain amount of chutzpah to even raise To add even a bit chutzpah, this book considers questions about the Jewishness of superheroes than just Superman, and offers answers that will surprise many You mean Spider Man is Jewish too Well, actually, yes, but in a very different way than Superman is And, as we ll see, the shift between them reflects the evolution of Jewish life in America itself in the generation between the two, the generation that gets us from World War II and the Golden Age of comics to the 1960s and the Silver Age of comics The historical turning points of those tumultuous years and others, like the powerful 1950s crusade against comics for supposedly causing juvenile delinquency, turn out to be central to our story because these events, and their great impact on American Jews, appear on comic book pages themselves, and behind the scenes in their production For it turns out that the history of Jews and comic book superheroes, that very American invention, is the history of Jews and America, particularly the history of Jewish assimilation into the mainstream of American culture.
    Superman Is Jewish How Comic Book Superheroes Came to Serve Truth Justice and the Jewish American Way As brilliant as it is witty Harry Brod s surprisingly insightful expos delves into the secret identities of the world s most famous superheroes Many of us know that the superheroes at the heart of th

    One thought on “Superman Is Jewish?: How Comic Book Superheroes Came to Serve Truth, Justice, and the Jewish-American Way”

    1. Professor Brod has written a nifty enough book He provides details and context about not only the history of comic books in America from the invention of Superman through World War II to Marvel s ascendance, but shares insights about some of the relatively newer developments of the genre his chapter on Art Spielgman s Maus, for example.I m a dabbler not a diehard when it comes to comic books, but I ve loved the art form ever since my adolescent obsession with a dozen or so Marvel titles which I [...]

    2. This is a fascinating book about how the Jews who wrote the first comic books about superheroes were able to imbue their stories with Jewish characters, personalities, and traditions.The first example discussed in the book is, of course, Superman Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster invented this character in the early 1930 s Before coming to Earth, Superman s given name was Kal El, which could be translated from the Hebrew as All is God Kal El s parents sent him away from his birth planet Krypton, befo [...]

    3. Harry Brod has decided to write a nonfiction book covering much of the same material of Chabon s enormously successful novel _The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay_ If you had to choose between the two, choose Chabon over Brod.Not that Brod would disagree he dedicates a chapter to Chabon Brod s book is a fanboy s book He just loves Jewish culture and comic books in equal measure, and wants to talk about both as much as possible The book feels like eating dinner with an excited uncle filled [...]

    4. Dr Harry Brod fantastically recounts the history of comic books through the steadfast belief that the Jewish influence on them is what made them so perfect Learning about some of the greats like Eisner, Kirby, Kubert, and Spiegelman from a Jewish point of view gave me a different feel and appreciation for their work.On the other hand, at times it seems like the Jewish angle is a bit forced and feels like its being reached for It doesn t take anything away from the book at all, just an observatio [...]

    5. Several years ago, I read The Adventures of Cavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, a fictional history of comic books through the life stories of two Jewish boys who create The Escapist, the first costumed superhero This book offers the factual history, beginning with Superman and the two Jewish boys who created him as well as other Jews who created Batman, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four and many But that s just the beginning, the hook Brod goes back to suggest the Golem as the background for powe [...]

    6. Superman Is Jewish How Comic Book Superheroes Came to Serve Truth, Justice, and the Jewish American Way by Harry Brod was an interesting but not entirely original work Some of what the author covers has already been explored in other efforts to understand comics Not being Jewish I obviously have an outsiders take on Brod s thesis which, overall, is sound but IMO occasionally excessive The connection between Chagall s flying or are they ascending figures and the flying heroes of the comics is a g [...]

    7. Excellent overview of Jewish cultural aspects in comics Don t let the title fool you the book covers much than Superman and his creators, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel His analysis delves into many of the Golden Age heroes, such as Batman tho created by two Jews, Brod says Bruce Wayne is definitely a WASP , and the Silver Age heroes of Marvel Did you know The Thing is Jewish I sure didn t adherents lit comics T In the latter parts of the book, Brod delves into Art Spiegelman s Maus, the work of [...]

    8. The book is a breezy and entertaining examination of how Jews and Jewishness has infused the history of comic books It s really well written, and fans of comic books will find it fascinating Perhaps because I m not a fan, however, but rather looking at this from a historical and cultural studies perspective, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of sophistication of Brod s actual analysis of comics and comic books He doesn t really how how Jewishness in particular or ethnicity in general actually [...]

    9. This book was fascinating to read I received a review copy from winning a goodness giveaway and approached it with a bit of trepidation As a minister and a comic book collector, I really wasn t sure if it was intended as a serious book, a tongue in cheek one or what Boy, was I surprised Very well written, I learned far about the creators of comic book superheroes than I ever imagined Suddenly characters and plot lines made sense The values expressed, the triumph of good over evil even in impos [...]

    10. An interesting read about the Jewish American influences in comic books, graphic novels, and satire magazines like Mad The first half of the book does a good job at describing comic book development from the first Superman issue to the era of Stan Lee s Spiderman, and then showing how that development parallels changes in Jewish American life from the Post WWI to the Post WWII timeframe culturally, financially, and socially.The second half of the book provides biographies of some prominent Jewis [...]

    11. This was a far superior treatment of the subject than From Krakow to Krypton Some wonderful observations between the covers that served as a form of personal vindication for all the crap I took from the Rabbis when I was growing up about wasting all my time with joke books Does start to fall apart in the last few chapters I don t think Michael Chabon deserved an entire chapter devoted to him but I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the cultural underpinnings of American co [...]

    12. You don t have to be a fan of comic books to appreciate this superb book, which manages to embed religious, cultural, and historical riches within explorations and explications of the art of illustration and sequential art the late Will Eisner s term Professor Brod s tone and style are at once reverent and humorous He s neither proselytizing nor pedantic Yet he presents his argument with academic and intellectual rigor.No You don t have to be a fan of comic books to appreciate this one But you j [...]

    13. Harry Brod discuss the jewish origins of Superheroes This is to mean not just the fact that many of the creators were themselves jewish, but that many of the stories themselves have messages that resonate with the recent Jewish immigrants to America shortly before the time of the second World War.I found the parallels between Superman and Moses fascinating and this gave me an interesting view of both comic book superheroes and Jewish Americans.

    14. My grandfather was reading this book and recommended it to me Some interesting stuff esp regarding the early days of comix, Superman vs Batman, Spiderman, etc , but a lot wasn t really news to me.That said, I abandoned the book during the final chapter I wasn t interested at all in the discussion of Kavalier and Clay for me, a history of comics doesn t need to address a fictional book about the history of comics.

    15. A decent look at the Jewish aspects of comic book characters I didn t like how he was defining what being Jewish is, it seemed to be whatever worked with his theory He then went off talking about the depiction of the Holocaust in comics, and that was fine, but I don t know, there wasn t much new going on here Not a bad a book, but nothing fantastic

    16. I really enjoyed this I m not a comics person, but I am a history person, and I liked reading about the history of Jewishness behind comics As far as I m concerned, you don t have to read comics to enjoy this book Not much else to say about it, I just genuinely enjoyed it.

    17. Fascinating book I had no idea so many creators of the golden age of comics were Jewish till I recently read about it in a biography of Patricia Highsmith This book also includes chapters about modern graphic novels, Maus, and Kavalier and Clay, which I am going to read soon.

    18. Scholarly enough to be called Academic, but with lively writing that gets one enthused about two awesome things Jews and Comics I think the subtitle is misleading this book wasn t just about super heroes My interest was grabbed at the beginning, and kept throughout.

    19. Great topic and insights, but not sure who made the decision to publish a book about comments with no illustrations Like a book on the Sistine Chapel with no pics.

    20. A real interesting and engaging look and interpretation about the Jewish identities of superheroes and comic characters I enjoyed it, though found some analysis a bit forced.

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