“It may not be true in all cases, but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb. If the word ‘man’ appears at the end of someone’s name you can draw one of two conclusions: A) They’re Jewish, as in Goldman, Feldman, or Lipman: or B) They’re a superhero, as in Superman, Batman, or Spider- Man,” (Zeddy Lawrence, a television writer). This is the opening quote in the introductory chapter of Up, Up, and Oy Vey! How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero by Simcha Weinstein. This quote typifies the whimsy of this delightful tale of the creators of the superheroes and their characters. This short book includes colorful graphic novel sequences from Captain Marvel, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Uncanny X‑Men, addressing such issues as the Holocaust, the yahrzeit candle, and kvetching. The book has its serious side as well. Weinstein describes how anti-Semitism in the early 20th century severely limited the work opportunities of Jewish writers and artists. Comic book writing provided them with a vehicle to utilize their artistic skills and engage in tikkum olam (repairing the world) through their wondrous superhero golems. It’s a perfect gift for young or old comic book aficionados.
Simcha Weinstein holds a bachelor’s degree in film history from Manchester Metropolitan University in England and is a former film and television location scout. He went through a “life-altering paradigm shift,” studied at a yeshiva, and became a rabbi. Currently he is the rabbi of both Pratt Institute and Long Island College Hospital. Illustrations, index, notes.