From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books
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Jews created the first comic book, the first graphic novel, the first comic book convention, the first comic book specialty store, and they helped create the underground comics (or “Comix”) movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Many of the creators of the most famous comic books, such as Superman, Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman, as well as the founders of MAD magazine, were Jewish. From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books tells their stories and demonstrates how they brought a uniquely Jewish perspective to their work and to the comics industry as a whole. Over-sized and in full color, From Krakow to Krypton is filled with sidebars, cartoon bubbles, comic book graphics, original design sketches, and photographs. It is a visually stunning and exhilarating history.
Steve Rogers gets a shot in the arm that turns him into a superstrong Nazi fighter. For Jewish kids in the 1940s who felt powerless, this was the ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy. 24 FROM KRAKOW TO KRYPTON: JEWS AND COMIC BOOKS ripping off Superman left and right, or perhaps simply threatened by the competition, sued Fawcett. DC claimed that Captain Marvel was too similar to its flagship character. Several rounds of legal action between the two companies ensued over the next several years.
started editing the milestone title All-Star Comics. Why was it a milestone title? Because Winter 1940’s now-famous AllStar Comics #3 featured the debut of the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team, composed of the Flash, Green Lantern, the Spectre, the Hawkman, Dr. Fate, the Hour-man, the Sandman, the Atom, and Johnny Thunder. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the real-life Kavalier and Clay, were known as the troubleshooters of the industry, constantly called on by publishers like Timely
I think all the Jewish friends that I had, if they could draw at all, they went for it!” Jaffee also admits that the shockwaves Superman sent through the industry made comic books seem like an exciting new place to be. “I got out of high school in 1940,” he said. “So during those years comics were starting to boom! And since I’d always loved to draw cartoons, that seemed like a natural place to go.” Jaffee’s former boss Will Eisner reasoned that the comic-book industry’s status—or lack
stellar report card because amid all the As one B pokes out, dragging her son into mediocrity. Through this long-form work, we definitely get a sense of why Pekar is the way he is. In The Quitter, the present-day Pekar also muses about various choices he has made, like when he decided to stop working for the government in the late 1950s. He realizes that at that point, if he had kept his civil service job he could have moved out of his parents’ house. Maybe his life would have been completely
the ultimate immigrant, the supreme stranger in the strangest land, and thus the supreme metaphor for the Jewish experience. His parents send him to Earth in a tiny rocket ship, reminiscent of how the baby Moses survived Pharaoh’s decree to kill all Jewish newborn sons. And in the context of the 1930s, when Siegel and Shuster created him, Superman can be seen as a child survivor from the planet Krypton, whose population, a race of brilliant scientists, is decimated in a Holocaust-like disaster.