Many Inspiring Jews in Comics


As one who enjoyed a five-year stint as a freelance illustrator for Marvel’s British publications, I enjoyed reading Arie Kaplan’s article on Stan Lee (“Stan Lee Gave Comic Books Permission to Be More Jewish, JT online”). I was, however, surprised that one of Marvel’s leading Jewish characters, Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, the strong man of the Fantastic Four, was overlooked. There have been scenes where Ben has been depicted wearing a yarmulke and reading the mahzor.

Jews have been predominant in the comics industry, and the frequently acknowledged Cadillac of the field, the superbly illustrated and well-written E.C. Comics, featured the editorial talents of Harvey Kurtzman (who inspired me to get into the field) and Al Feldstein. Kurtzman, of course, created the groundbreaking MAD and edited two historically accurate anti-war pro-human comics, “Two-Fisted Tales” and “Frontline Combat.”

Unfortunately, Feldstein got the industry in hot water for his three horror comics, but he also edited eight other titles, and these often featured stories that targeted anti-Semitism and racial prejudice. When I was a young preteen, and a non-Jew at the time, my eyes were first opened to the story of the Holocaust by Mr. Feldstein’s story “The Master Race,” excellently illustrated by Bernard Krigstein. (“Master Race” recently sold in auction for $95,000!)

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