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Most of the Panellists should be known to you but if not, don’t panic I’ve got a few details on them at the end of the column.
This week’s question comes from David Horenstein. The question is:
” Since Jewish people pretty much created every superhero out there, how come there isn’t a single title that stars a Jewish superhero?”
Alan Grant: “Unusual question, and I’m not sure if I have an answer. You’d have to ask the original (Jewish) creators why they didn’t make any of their creations Jews. There again, not many superheroes are Islamic, Buddhist, Christian, Paganist or indeed any stated religion. Maybe it’s just that the irrationalities of religion and the irrationalities of comic book superheroes don’t mix very well.
There again, perhaps the original creators were Jewish in the same way that I’m Christian–i.e. nominally, with no belief at all on my part.”
Terry Moore: “Because superhero comics are made in America, where we’ve also never elected a Jewish president. That just says volumes, I think. Say what you want, our actions speak for themselves.”
Rick Shea: “That is really damn odd, isn’t it? To be honest, I never really thought about it, but maybe it just came down to sticking to what’s common or safe or not touching the topic at all. Religion is a topic covered so rarely in comics. Have we ever seen Spider-Man or Batman pray, go to church or officially declare their religion? That is strange that none of the Jewish creators who created the majority of the iconic comic characters made a point of showing that any of those characters are Jewish.”
Lee Dawson: “Isn’t there? When I think about it, I don’t know the religions of any of my favorite superheroes. Perhaps this was intentional when these characters were created so that everyone could identify with them. Who knows, maybe Batman is Jewish? Maybe he’s Catholic? Religion is always a touchy subject. I think unless someone is trying to make a specific point about a character then leaving it out is probably a good idea in order to make the character appeal to as many people as possible.”
Alan Donald: “Probably for the same reason young Stanley Liber changed his name…”
Alonzo Washington: “I think there is a number of Jewish super heroes in comic books. However, I think their identity of race and religion remains a secret. Super Man resembles a number of Jewish folklores. His name is also taken from those who tried to oppress the Jews. The Nazi Super Soldier. A number of Jews have been able to achieve success by concealing their identity. Kinda like don’t ask don’t tell. THIS IS A LUXURY MOST MINORITIES DON’T HAVE. However, having the ability to appear as a White American is a great super power to have. Changing your last name from Mesenbourg to Parker can send an individual a long way in this racist society. Therefore, many Jewish creators design super hero that can be viewed as White & Jewish. Bat Man, Robin, Spider Man, Super Man, The X-MEN and the others all could be Jewish. We know one thing for damn sure they are not African American, Asian or Hispanic. I will never forget the first time I saw Super Man 2 the movie when Super Man saved a little boy from a lake of water. When he landed a lady in the back ground said “of course he’s Jewish.” And I say of course many of our super heroes are Jewish. They just keep it in the closet.”
This Week’s Panel: Alan Donald (columnist, SBC), Rick Shea (Top US retailer), Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise), Lee Dawson (Publicist, Dark Horse) and Alan Grant (Batman, Judge Anderson).
Next Week’s Question: “Do you think that Superheroes will remain the dominant genre of (American mainstream) comic books in the next decade or so? And if not, what other genre do you expect will challenge their dominance or supplant them entirely?”
SBC reserves the right to edit questions for reasons of consistency and inclusivity.