160309: Jewish Museum: Superman and Golem. Jewish Memory in Comic Strip Art

Jewish Museum: Superman and Golem. Jewish Memory in Comic Strip Art Shalom Superman Golem – of course, but Superman - a Jew? And Batman as well? They are the brainchildren of the Jewish cartoonists Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel; maybe that could make them Jewish. Something that is questioned by the exhibit “Superman and Golem” is the question if comics can serve as a kind of “medium of Jewish memory”. Soon after Jewish comic strip artists immigrated to the USA during the first decades of the 20th century, they detached themselves from the usual topics, which mainly concentrated on the difficulties faced by immigrant. During the 30s, a number of the super heroes were “born” in comic strip studios. The exhibition catalogue, designed like a comic, offers different interpretations regarding the connection of these comics to Judaism; e.g. Batman’s, as well as other super heroes’ secret double identity is placed in connection to Jewish mimicry. Only rarely does Superman directly express his non-Aryan views as in “What if Superman ended the war… “ in 1940. Holocaust topics only found their way into the comic strip world during the last 25 years of the 20th century. The most renowned example is Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” (mouse). His comic strip won the Pulitzer Prize Special Award in 1992. But comic strip artists also addressed topics regarding Jewish history beyond the Holocaust: in James Sturm’s “Golem’s mighty swing” the humongous and mighty mythological redeemer supports a baseball team. Comics designed by Jews are not solely a US phenomenon. Frenchman Joann Sfar’s “The rabbi’s cat” describes the life of Sephardic Jews in North Africa and the Israeli Uri Fink created the super hero Sabraman (Sabra = a native-born Israeli Jew). The Jewish Museum successfully offers an adequate environment for the comic strip exhibit. The Palais Rothschild Baroque wall decorations disappear behind the huge number of comic strips presented as originals as well as newspaper and magazine clippings. The exhibit introduces 42 artists from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. Film interviews with the artists supplement the show. Résumé: a must for fans of not only Jewish comics. by Lotus Brinkman Jüdisches Museum 60311 Frankfurt, Untermainkai 14/15, until 22. 03.09 www.juedischesmuseum.de

Jüdisches Museum
60311 Frankfurt, Untermainkai 14/15
Tel: +49 (0)69-212-35000, Fax: +49 (0)69-212-30705
Email: info@juedischesmuseum.de
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 10-17, Mi 10-20 h

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