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German Museum Says Shalom to Jewish Comic Creators

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Heroes, Freaks and Superrabbis — the Jewish Colour of Comics, is the latest exhibit by the Berlin Jewish Museum.  It looks at 45 Jewish comic creators who are some of the most successful comic artists.  An example is Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, who named their creation Kal-El, which is also a Hebrew word meaning “voice of God.”

Much of the exhibit, which opened April 30, deals with how Siegel and Schuster, as well as Kirby, Simon and other New York comic book writers, dealt with the issues of World War II.

New York-based Rabbi Simcha Weinstein thinks heroes share a lot with their Jewish creators ancestry.  A topic he explored in his 2007 book Up, Up, and Oy Vey! Doesn’t Spider-man/Peter Parker share the neurotic, nebbish quality of Jewish comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Woody Allen?

The exhibit is on display until August 8.

An exhibition of the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme in Paris and the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam in cooperation with the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Superman was the work of Jewish cartoonists—as were Batman, Spiderman, and other superheroes of the era. Ever since the comic strip was invented in the immigrant neighborhoods of New York, Jewish artists have played a key role in developing the medium. The exhibition draws on the work of over forty artists to trace the history of Jewish illustrators, scriptwriters and publishers of comics throughout the twentieth century. It presents heroes and anti-heroes, hard-hitting opponents of Hitler, and neurotic petty bourgeois. With over 400 objects on display, it spans an arc from the first superhero comics of the 1930s and 1940s, through the underground scene of the 1960s, to the more challenging literary format of our time, the graphic novel.
Veterans of the medium such as Rube Goldberg, Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman are represented along with contemporary artists such as Art Spiegelman, Rutu Modan, Joann Sfar and Ben Katchor by numerous original drawings, sketches, and comic books.

When: 30 April—8 August 2010. Opening: 29 April 2010 at 7 p.m.
Where: Jewish Museum Berlin, Old Building, Level 1
Admission: 4 euros, reduced: 2 euros

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