DC Comics

A Bird, A Plane – A Jew

Comic books get more Jewish with age.

10/12/2015 - 20:00
Associate Editor

The “secret identity” may be both the oldest and greatest Jewish contribution to literature, from Moses and Esther to the 19th-century poet Judah Leib Gordon’s painful maxim, “Be a Jew in the home, a man in the street.” Even God finds it useful to have a secret self, “hester panim,” said the Jewish mystics, God’s “hiding his face.” But nowhere was the concept more fantastically developed than by the Jewish writers of comic books, where just about every superhero was endowed with a “secret identity,” with Superman — famously created by two Jewish writers,  Joel Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933, the year of Hitler’s seizure of power — as the template for all superheroes that followed.

In “Fantastic Four,” the Thing and his friend discuss forgiveness and Yom Kippur. Marvel Comics

Studio JW- Comic Book Men

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.

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