Daily Israel Report

Berlin Exhibit Features Famous Jewish Comic Creators

An exhibit at Berlin's Jewish Museum features 45 of the best comic creators, almost all children of European Jewish immigrants to New York.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 5/5/2010, 10:58 PM / Last Update: 5/5/2010, 11:22 PM

A new exhibit at Berlin's Jewish Museum entitled "Heroes, Freaks, and Superrabbis – the Jewish Color of Comics" features the work of 45 of the best comic creators, almost all the children of European Jewish parents who had emigrated to New York.

An article by Agence France Presse reported that the exhibit is intended to investigate why Jews began drawing comic book heroes in the first place.

Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and the Incredible Hulk were all brought to life by Jewish comic makers.

Jewish Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and Jewish Captain America creators Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, each had their characters battling the Nazis, and even Hitler himself in 1940.

Berlin museum curator Anne Helene Hoog posited that the creation of the comics may have filled a personal, and perhaps cultural or even national, need for superheroes in the 1930s and 40s, when the Great Depression gave way to World War II, and young immigrants to the United States – especially Jews – were often poor refugees.

The exhibit will also display the traditional Jewish imagery found in some comics, including the resemblance of the story of young Superman to that of young Moses: both were set adrift to save their lives, then raised by those who discovered them.

Pulitzer-prize-winning Holocaust comic Maus, Mad magazine, and other comics will also be on display in the exhibit, which is held in cooperation with the Museum of Art and History of Judaism in Paris and the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. Running until August 8, the exhibit will feature over 200 original comics, including rare signed originals.