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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The 1980s brought Kitty Pryde, arguably the most popular Jewish superhero in the history of comics. Although little is mentioned of her Jewish identity in the stories, she is almost always shown wearing her Magen David necklace. The necklace even saved her life when she was attacked by Dracula

"Night Screams"The Uncanny X-Men #159 (July 1982), p. 12. Story by Chris Claremont. Art by Bill Sienkiewicz & Bob Wiacek. © Marvel Comics

The futuristic series Hex had a story with a Batman whose mother was Miriam Cohen, an American rabbi who advocated for gun control. 

"Night of the Bat" Hex #11 (July 1986), p. 13.  Story by Michael Fleisher. Art by Mark Texeira, Carlos Garzon, & Pablo Marcos. © DC Comics

One of the minor subplots of a Spider-Man story involved African-American Randy Robertson’s marriage to Amanda Batavides – a white Jew who eventually divorced him. 

"Dinner Hour" The Spectacular Spider-Man #117 (Aug. 1986), p. 19-20. Story by Peter David. Art by Rich Buckler, Dwayne Turner, Bob McLeod, Del Barras, Brett Breeding, & Joe Rubinstein. © Marvel Comics

In Captain America, the Red Skull told his life story to his enemies. When he was a youth during the Nazi era, he’d fallen in love with a Jewish girl who spurned him & whom he later killed. 

"Sturm Und Drang: The Life and Times of the Red Skull" Captain America #298 (Oct. 1984). Story by J.M. DeMatteis. Art by Paul Neary & Roy Richardson.  © Marvel Comics

Aline Kominsky-Crumb mined her past again, showing how she had low self-esteem and self-image, yet still tried to be protective of her sensitive brother. 

"Growing Up Arnie's Girl" Weirdo #26 (Fall 1989), 8th story, p. 5.  Story & art by Aline Kominsky-Crumb. © Last Gasp Eco-Funnies

The money-obsessed JAP stereotype was used in Marnin Rosenberg’s dating rant in National Lampoon, 

"Marnin Rosenbrg in 'Bad Luck with Women' " National Lampoon (June 1987), p. 2. Story by Josh Alan Friedman. Art by Drew Friedman. © Drew Friedman

while the graphic novel Greenberg the Vampire presented an example of the guilt-inducing Jewish mother. Greenberg also showed Oscar’s mother as a heroic figure, trying to rescue him from the clutches of evil Jewish female Lilith, mother of all vampires. 

"Greenberg the Vampire" Marvel Graphic Novel #20 (1986), p. 47. Story  by J.M. DeMatteis. Art by Mark Badger. © Marvel Comics

In Will Eisner’s A Life Force, there is a rare Jewish scene of a Jewish wife preparing for Shabbos, 

A Life Force (1988), p. 13. Story and Art by Will Eisner. © Kitchen Sink

as well as the reappearance of a character’s old flame who needs his help immigrating as a refugee. Though she still harbored feelings for him, her life had moved on & she wanted his to, as well. 

One of the evangelical Chick tracts published in the 80s – Miss Universe – adapted the story of Queen Esther

Miss Universe (1987). Adaptation by Jack Chick. Art by Fred Carter.  © Chick Publications

British publisher Knockabout published an anthology of short Biblically-based stories titled Outrageous Tales from the Old Testament. As the title suggests, these stories – which featured Yael, Yeftah’s daughter, the Levite’s unnamed concubine & proverbs from The Wisdom of Ben Sirah – emphasized the sensational sexual & violent parts of the tales. 

"Jephthah And His Daughter" Outrageous Tales from the Old Testament (1987), 7th story, p. 31. Adapted by Neil Gaiman. Art by Pete Rigg © Knockabout 

Several 80s comic stories took place during the Holocaust or had Holocaust flashback scenes. All-Star Squadron had a woman explain the death camp to a just-captured POW. 

"Ring of Fire... Ring of Fear!" All-Star Squadron #9 (May 1982), p. 9. Story by Roy Thomas & Gerry Conway. Art by Adrian Gonzales & Jerry Ordway. © DC Comics

Uncanny X-Men used surreal imagery to represent a survivor’s traumatic memories of what she experienced in a camp. 

"Gold Rush!" The Uncanny X-Men #161 (Sep. 1982), p. 8. Story by Chris Claremont. Art by Dave Cockrum & Bob Wiacek. © Marvel Comics

Supergirl’s landlady – a survivor – shared her story & learned that her daughter also survived, but became a super-powered anti-Semite. 

"Echoes of Times Gone By" Supergirl #13 (Nov. 1983), p. 6. Story by Paul Kupperberg. Art by Carmine Infantino & Bob Oksner. © DC Comics

Captain America’s landlady was given a chance to take her revenge on a Nazi war criminal. In the end, he was killed by another woman – the daughter of a prominent Nazi hunter. 

"The Calypso Connection!" Captain America #245, p. 30. Story by Roger McKenzie. Art by Carmine Infantino & Joe Rubinstein.  © Marvel Comics 

Art Spiegelman’s award-winning memoir Maus told the story of what happened to both of his parents. However the narrative was biased in that it was drawn by Art & based only on the oral testimony of his father Vladek. His mother, Anja, committed suicide before Art began work on the book & her journals were destroyed by Vladek. 

Maus : A Survivor's Tales (1986), p. Story & Art by Art Spiegelman. © Pantheon

An Uncanny X-Men story showed Kitty at a survivors’ gathering in Washington, trying to learn the fate of her great aunt Chava who disappeared during the Holocaust. 

"The Spiral Path" The Uncanny X-Men #199 (Nov. 1985). Story by Chris Claremont. Art by John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green. © Marvel Comics

In an Outsiders story, a Hitler clone learned about the man he was cloned from, realized that his servant was a Jew, and committed suicide.

"Sympathy for the Fuhrer" The Adventures of the Outsiders #35 (July 1986). Story by Mike W. Barr. Art by Alan David & Paul Neary. © DC Comics

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Great topic. I wish that I could have seen it at the AJL conference. I spoke at the one in Pasadena on the founding of the Vilnius Jewish Library. I found your site by searching for information related to artist Arnold Drake. Would you happen to know if Drake is Jewish? I am adding art by Jews to the permanent collection of the library. Thank you.