From Krakow to Kryp­ton: Jews and Com­ic Books

  • Review
By – December 5, 2011

There are any num­ber of ways of look­ing at the Jew­ish aspects of the sev­en­ty-five year old comics indus­try in Amer­i­ca. One could take a bio­graph­i­cal approach or chron­i­cle the his­tor­i­cal events that helped shaped the comics field. One could explore the sub­text of com­ic book sto­ries to reveal the Jew­ish metaphors found between the lines, sum­ma­rize the plots of comics with Jew­ish char­ac­ters and add com­men­tary, or focus on the pub­lish­ing his­to­ry of a spe­cif­ic genre or type of pub­lish­er (alter­na­tive, inde­pen­dent, main­stream) or a spe­cif­ic peri­od (Gold­en Age, Sil­ver Age, or Bronze Age).

Arie Kaplan ambi­tious­ly inter­weaves all of these approach­es. Besides read­ing many, many comics for his research, Kaplan inter­viewed leg­endary comics cre­ators; excerpts from these con­ver­sa­tions appear through­out the book. Occa­sion­al side­bars high­light inter­est­ing fac­toids that don’t eas­i­ly fit into the main text. The book includes repro­duc­tions, many in col­or, and. is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, timeline.

Steven M. Berg­son is a research admin­is­tra­tor at the UJA Fed­er­a­tion of Greater Toron­to, is a past pres­i­dent of the Ontario chap­ter of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries, and has served as a librar­i­an at the Toron­to Jew­ish Library. He main­tains a blog about Jew­ish comics and graph­ic nov­els at http://​jew​ish​comics​.blogspot​.com.

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