Let’s face it: When it comes to comics history, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Jew. Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joel Schuster were Jewish. So was Batman creator Bob Kane. It’s like the Adam Sandler song. The legendary Jack Kirby (Jacob Kurtzburg) was Jewish. So was Jewish publisher Martin Goodman who hired his Jewish nephew Stan Lee (Stan Lieber) who employed Jews like Gene Colan, while DC’s EiC Julie Schwartz had Gil Kane (Eli Katz) and Joe Kubert and?
You get the picture. And I didn’t even mention Will Eisner. Or Peter David. Or Neil Gaiman.
But Jewish superheroes? That’s like the short list of great Jewish athletes. The fact is religion and race are rarely mentioned in a comic character’s canon. We can safely assume Luke Cage is Black, and the Black Panther was certainly African when Lee/Kirby rolled him out, but we’re not sure if The Falcon was Negro or colored, while Tony Isabella’s Black Lightening seemed Black but he was positively Italian.
Cable was either Episcopalian (if you believe Louise Simonson) or agnostic (if you take Rob Liefeld’s word for it, which no one does), while Wolverine is Canadian, bub, and Banshee is Irish, but where oh where are the Jews? Six million Jewish comic book creators and not one Jewish hero?!
Okay, Marvel has Kitty Pryde and, if we’re really digging deep, Leonard “Doc” Samson, but you only need the two fingers of Kurt Wagner (a German) to count them.
Now, according to Paty Cockrum, Marvel’s Main Jew (outside of Avi Arad) is none other than Magneto.
“Everyone knows Mags is Jewish,” says the wife of beloved X-Men co-creator Dave Cockrum. “His concentration camp origin was part of the rich, brilliant back-story that Chris Claremont gave him. And now the anti-Semites that have taken over Marvel are trying to erase that.”
Woe, lady! Bold words! But Paty Cockrum (nee Paty Greer) is not one to mince any. She wasn’t mincing them when Stan Lee personally hired her in the early 1970s as a full-time Marvel production artist, where she came under the tutelage of Marie Severin and met her future husband. Paty’s credits as a pencilor and/or colorist for Marvel include The Cat #3 (April, 1973), Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #29 (Oct., 1976), “The Leaving” in What If #38 (April, 1983), Marvel Team-Up #149 (Jan., 1985), “The Sword of Sh’rlii” in Epic Illustrated #31 (March, 1985), Amazing Spider-Man #264 (May, 1985), Excalibur #25, Marvel Graphic Novel #17, Nightcrawler (first series) #1-4? There’s more. You can look them up.
Paty’s gig, in recent years, has been taking care of her husband, who, as all of you who read this column know, has had better days. But her most recent vocation is publishing her memoirs. What began years ago as a series of letters to Bob Harras (each opening with “Harras, you idiot,”) has become the basis of a book being serialized as the column “Down in Flames, You Bastards!” at http://www.screamifyouwantit.com. And the most recent entry pulls no punches as Paty accuses Grant Morrison and others of blatant anti-Semitism in their purposeful re-writing of the Magneto canon.
“The schmucks couldn’t stand the freakin’ Jew being so popular!” writes Paty. “So they pounced. They cancelled [Claremont’s] book in mid-arc (something so blatantly unprofessional as to boggle the mind) and proceeded to do Avengers Disassembled, which led right into House of M, designed to be the vehicle they would use to destroy Claremont and the hated backstory once and for all. What Harras had failed to do in 10+ years, they were bound and determined to do.”
Is any of this possible? Paty makes her case: “The most recent Wolverine,” she writes, “is the most blatant exercise in anti-Semitism and misinformation about the Holocaust storylines that has ever been printed. And the boys at Marvel knew it, but they allowed it to be printed anyway?
The story equates victims of the Holocaust?the whole Holocaust tragedy?with modern day rabid American exploitation of the middle east (as viewed by the snobbish Brit/Scots aristocracy of Morrison and Millar, terpsichorean) and suggests that the Holocaust victims deserved what they got just as Americans deserved what they got on 911 because of their greedy, colonial policies aimed at ‘poor Saddam’ the genocidal maniac.”
“Jesus H. Murphy!” I said when I read that. “Are comics actually getting interesting again?” I instantly picked up the phone and called Paty. “You’re still not Jewish, right?” I asked.
“Nope,” she said. “You’re still Jewish,” she added. “Right?”
© 2004, Clifford Meth