Posted By Sandra Alland

There's much to say about Berlin's Jewish Museum. I'll start with the current comics exhibit, on until 9 August. It's called Heroes, Freaks and Super-Rabbis and is stunning in depth and scope.

Comics and graphic novels were pretty much invented by Jewish artists, and in the 30s and 40s their characters were often overtly fighting the Nazis. Captain America, Superman, Batman, Daredevil, check it out...


I especially like this quote from Superman: "I would like to land a strictly non-Aryan sock on your jaw, but there's no time for that!"

In the 1960s, Jewish artists created Hulk, X-Men and Fantastic Four -- all of which had characters with Jewish backgrounds. The exhibition chronicles the history of Jewish comics from before the 30s and after, and follows the 1950s U.S. censorship that led to the banning of comics with the words "horror" and weird", and also led to the awesome creation of Mad Magazine (which saved Jewish-run, anti-racist EC Comics). 

The exhibit also traces the beginning of the graphic novel, and discusses Jewish women in comics (though Alison Bechdel is oddly absent). It's so extensive and well-produced I have nothing bad to say, except that the film that greets you when you enter mocks blind people. Okay, the times, the times…but still.

If you're interested in comics, graphic novels, and/or Jewish history, you won't be disappointed.

1 Comment(s):
Steven M. Bergson said...
Why do you find that Alison Bechdel is absent from a discussion of Jewish women in comics? Though 2 of the characters in her "Dykes to Watch Out For" strip are Jewish, I've never come across anything suggesting that Bechdel is Jewish herself.
June 30, 2011 01:41:59
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