Gabriela Geselowitz interviews Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor -- authors of the tome "Superheroes: Capes, Cowls and the Creation of Comic Book Culture" -- about the Jewish roots of the comic industry and its masterminds.
Shortly after Harvey Pekar died last week, at 70, YouTube videos of his infamous quarrels with David Letterman got a dizzying number of views. Pekar was already a cult hero for his underground “American Splendor” comic-book series that began appearing in the mid-‘70s, but it was the Letterman appearances a decade later that catapulted him into fame.
Somewhere in our emotional attic, next to dog-eared baseball cards and yellowed Herald Tribunes, are comics from the 1950s and ’60s. Look at the old Action Comics or Adventure Comics: In contrast to what’s on sale today, the drawings were less busy, the stories more coherent, the themes more about human emotions and the problems of secret identities than about obtuse scenarios of world destruction. There was more soul, less science fiction.