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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The 2000s were arguably the most productive, in terms of comics with Jewish women. In addition to a Chick tract featuring Rahab

The Outcast (2001). Adapted by Jack Chick. Art by Fred Carter.  © Chick Publications

and a silkscreened minicomic about Judith,

The Book of Judith (2006), p. 11. Adaptation and art by Sean Bieri. © Sean Bieri

there was Megillat Esther, containing the complete Hebrew text, as well an English translation.

Megillat Esther (2006), p. 53. Adaption & art by J.T. Waldman. © Jewish Publication Society

DC Comics introduced a new Batwoman who was both Jewish & lesbian.

"Lights" DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 2007), 6th story, p. 2. Story by Greg Rucka. Art by Christian Alamy. © DC Comics

The Jewish Hero Corps included superheroines who dressed tzniut.

"The Amnesia Countdown" Jewish Hero Corps #1 (2003), p. 17. Story by Alan Oirich. Art by Ron Randall. © & TM Alan Oirich

Orthodox women were shown in 3 narratives. In the 2nd issue of Assholes, Mitch is forced to go on a blind date with Andrea’s observant cousin ; alas, all they seem to have in common is that they both know Andrea & are both Jewish.

Assholes #2 (2008), p. 15. Story and art by Josh Eiserike & Mitch Roth.

The Big Kahn had a cast of characters which included the disgraced rebbetzin Rachel Kahn and her daughter Lea, who both had to cope with the fact that Rabbi Kahn was really a Gentile man who had never told them the truth. Lea, who had been rebellious before his death, starts to turn back towards tradition, while Rachel finds her devotion to Jewish law questioned by the community.

The Big Khan (2009) , p. 164-165. Story by Neil Kleid. Art by Nicolas Cinquegrani

“Unmasked” told the true story of Ariella Dadon, whose husband repeatedly refused to grant her a Jewish divorce.

Unmasked : The Ariella Dadon Story (2009), p. 2.. Story by Inbal Freund-Novick. Art by Chari Pere. © Inbal Freund-Novick & Chari Pere

Bernie was an autobiographical minicomic about the cartoonsis’s mother who is half-Jewish, half-Filipina.

Bernie : The Wackiest Jewlipino on Earth! (2006), p. 1. Story and art by Cheryl Gladstone. © Stinkypoo

Leslie Stein had a short piece in the Comic Festival anthology, in which she made reference to her “Jewish nose”.

"Someone is Yelling at Me Over the Phone" Comic Festival (2005). Story & art by Leslie Stein. © Legion of Evil Press

Sharon Rudahl told the story of radical Emma Goldman in a 112-page graphic bio.

Dangerous Woman : The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman. (2007). Story & Art by Sharon Rudahl. © New Press

Edu-Manga which published a series of English-language graphic biographies devoted one of their books to the Anne Frank story.

Edu-Manga : Anne Frank (2006), p. 54-55. Story by Etsuo Suzuki. Art by Yoko Miyawaki. © Digital Manga Publishing

Neal Adams & Joe Kubert illustrated a mini-bio of Holocaust survivor Dina Babbitt, which appeared in the final issue of X-Men : Magneto : Testament, as well as a backup story in The New York Times.

A 9-minute film using visuals from the comic story may be viewed at YouTube.

"Story of Dina Gottliebova Babbitt" X-Men : Magneto : Testament #5 (March 2009), 2nd story, p. 4, reprinted in The New York Times, Aug. 9, 2008. Story by Rafael Medoff. Art by Neal Adams & Joe Kubert. © Marvel Comics

Although Houdini : The Handcuff King took artistic license with its subplot of someone trying to prevent Bess from slipping a key to her husband, the essence of the story – that Bess was an invaluable partner supporting Houdini – is based on truth.

Houdini : The Handcuff King (2007), p. 8. Story by Jason Lutes. Art by Nick Bertozzi. © Hyperion

In Token, Shira Spektor was a teenage kleptomaniac who fell in love with her Hispanic partner-in-crime.

Token (2008), p. 71. Story by Alisa Kwitney. Art by Joelle Jones. © DC Comics

Mendel’s Daughter told the story of a woman who survived the Holocaust by hiding in the woods with her 3 siblings.

Mendel's Daughter (2008), p. 79. Story & art by Martin Lemelman. © New York Press.

We Are on Our Own is unique in being the only Holocaust-era graphic autobiography written by a woman.

We Are On Our Own (2006), p. 80-81. Story & art by Miriam Katin. © Drawn & Quarterly

Goodbye Marianne – which was a Jewish Book Award winner about a Jewish girl sent away on the Kindertransport - was adapted into a graphic novel.

Good-Bye Marianne (2008), p. 53. Story by Irene N. Watts. Art by Kathryn E. Shoemaker. © Tundra

In 2002, Wiley Miller used his usually funny Non Sequitur comic strip to send the serious message “Never again”. To do so, he had Danae, the young girl show stars in many of the strips, imagine herself as a Jew in a concentration camp, while a survivor tells her what he went through. It’s been included in some Holocaust lesson plans.

Non Sequitur June 11, 2002. Story & art by Wiley Miller. Reprinted in Non Sequitur's Sunday Color Treasury, p. 88. © Andrews McMeel

The graphic novel A Jewish Girl in Shanghai was published in China and has been adapted into an animated film.

A Jewish Girl in Shanhghai (2008), p. 182-183.Story & art by Wu Lin. © East China Normal University Press

Quite a few comics showed Jewish women involved in rituals or celebrations. Lauren Weinstein & Rebecca Gopoian addressed the “December dilemma” in their own ways, the latter in The New York Times.

"Chanukah Blues" (2007) Story & art by Lauren Weinstein. Reprinted in Girl Stories. © Henry Holt   

The Creche" New York Times, Dec. 23, 2007. Story by Rebecca Gopoian. Art by David Heatley © New York Times

In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi recalled how an Iraqi missile had missed her home but hit her neighbor's house. Since the attack was on Shabbos – a day when her family typically stayed home – her Jewish friend & her family perished.

Persepolis (2003), p. 140-141. Story & art by Marjane Satrapi. © Pantheon

A young couple invited Superman to Shabbos dinner to discuss their son.

"A Contagion of Madness"Action Comics #835, p. 19-20. Story by Gail Simone. Art by John Byrne & Nelson DeCastro. © DC Comics

The syndicated comic strip Edge City – about a Jewish family – has a weeklong Hanukkah storyline and a weeklong  Passover storyline every year. The cover of the first trade paperback collection showed Len cutting  the challah on Shabbos.

Cover of Edge City : A Comic Strip Collection. Art by Terry LaBan. © Andrews McMeel

An unnamed mother lit a Yahrzeit candle with her son in the 9-11 tribute story “Tradition”

"Tradition" 9-11 : the world''s finest comic book writers and artists tell stories to remember v. 2 (2002), p. 45. Story by Paul Levitz. Art by Joe Staton and Bob Smith. © DC Comics

and Kitty Pryde lit one for her Gentile lover.

"Yartzeit" X-Men Unlimited #38 (Nov. 2002), p. 1-2.

Pajama Diaries is another syndicated comic strip about a Jewish family, which occasionally has recognition of Jewish holidays or commemorations such as Yom HaShoah.

Pajama Diaries (2010). Story & art by Terry Liebenson. © King Features

In most golem stories, in all media, golems are either genderless or male. However, Heeb ran a 1-page comic with a female golem that suggested they might not be as obedient as certain men would prefer them to be.

"Working Girl Golem" (2008). Art by Joe Infurnari © Heeb

Kyle Baker reimagined Cinderella as not only Jewish but egalitarian, breaking the glass under the chuppah  - with painful results.

"Once Upon a Time" Kyle Baker : Cartoonist (2004), p. 49. Story & art by Kyle Baker. © Kyle Baker Publishing

In Biff Bam Pow, the cover story featured a character rather unique in the world of sports – “One Punch Goldberg” the Jewish female boxer. [Real-life examples of Jewish women boxers include Hagar Finer and Binnie Klein]

"The Fight of the Millenium" Biff Bam Pow! #1 (Oct. 2007), p. 14? Story by Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer. Art by Evan Dorkin. © Slave Labor

Rabbi Harvey Rides Again introduced Abigail, a smart tough former miner who became a teacher & who helped Rabbi Harvey with a case.

Rabbi Harvey Risdes Again (2008), p. 120-121. Story & art by Steve Sheinkin. © Jewish Lights

The Rabbi’s Cat books featured Zlabya, a Sephardic woman who is the rabbi’s daughter and who feels neglected by her new scholarly husband.

Rabbi's Cat 2 (2008), p. 53. Story & art by Joann Sfar. © Pantheon

In “A Mother’s Heart”, which appeared in Kosher Spirit, a widowed mother who is unable to afford a blessing from Reb Levi Yitzhcok of Berditchev for both herself & her son insists that her son receive the blessing instead of her, even though she’s told that her son’s innocence makes the blessing practically unnecessary. Although the rabbi is touched by her sacrifice, he nonetheless denies her a blessing.

"A Mother's Heart" Kosher Spirit (Tishrei 5763), p. . Art by ? © Kosher Spirit

The No Girls Allowed anthology included the story of Esther Brandeau, the first Jewish woman to settle in Canada who disguised herself as a Gentile man.

No Girls Allowed (2008), p. 46-47. Story by Susan Hughes. Art by Willow Dawson. © Kids Can Press


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