Christopher Reeve as Superman
Photo: AFP

Florida exhibit showcases Jewish artists' role in comic books

'I didn't know Superman, Batman and Captain America were created by Jews,' says director of Children's Museum in Plantation, Florida

The exhibit ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950, at My Jewish Discovery Place Children's Museum in Plantation, Florida is bringing comic book heroes back to life for a new generation of fans, the Miami Herald reported.


The report mentioned that the first superhero - Superman - was created in 1938 by two Jewish boys, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Bob Kane and Bill Finger, also Jewish, created Batman in 1939. Then came Captain America in 1940 from Jewish artists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.


Museum Director Debbie Hochman was quoted by the Miami Herald as saying that the exhibit is a chance for children to learn not only about well-known comic book heroes and how they began but also about the people who drew them.


''They are heroes in their own right,'' she said.


'Nazis were the villains of that time'

The report said the exhibit, which originated at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta, came from various private and institutional collections and is traveling throughout the United States.


'When I saw it, I fell in love with it,'' Jewish Museum Executive Director Marcia Jo Zerivitz told the Miami Herald regarding the Breman exhibit. "I didn't know these (characters) were created by Jews.''


The report said the works displayed in the exhibit are all original and explain the genesis of aforementioned cultural icons and many others, like Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman.


"Most were created during the economic and political turmoil of the 1930s and '40s. For Jews it was a way of confronting Hitler, who became the superheroes' nemesis in many comic books, as World War II and the Holocaust ravaged Europe," The Miami Herald report mentioned.


According to Hochman, ''there were a lot of artists of that era who were Jewish and doing artwork. There was a frustration that was going on with the world at that time and this was a way to express that.''


Comic books were considered vaguely disreputable and, thus, one of few professions open to Jews during a time rife with prejudice, the report said.


The exhibit, which runs until Aug. 31, offers vintage artwork, comic books, multimedia presentations, memorabilia, and videotaped interviews with leading artists and writers.


Hochman said her children were surprised to find comic books that included the Nazis.


''They were the villains of that time. That's what people were writing about,'' she was quoted as saying by the Miami Herald. 


פרסום ראשון: 06.15.08, 13:51
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