In the 1930’s a young generation of American Jews created a new form of art: the comic book. Its characters and stories were shaped according to a specific cultural background and a historical atmosphere. The Great Depression, with its labour shortage and poverty, and the increasing anti-Semitism, not only in Europe but also in America, throw these young artists and cartoonists into the booming but discredited comic industry, mainly run also by Jews.
Among them, we find Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman’s creators; Bob Kane (born Kahn) and Bill Finger, the artists behind Batman; Will Eisner, creator of Spirit and graphic novel pioneer; Julius Schwartz, the editor known as the father of science-fiction comics, and the man behind the Justice League; Martin Nodell, the creator of Grenn Lantern; Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg) and Joe Simon, the men behind Captain America; Max Gaines, the true father of comics, his son William, editor of the MAD magazine, and the satires partner of William, Harvey Kurtzman; Stan Lee (Stanley Martin Lieber), the creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, and also the boss of Lee, Martin Goodman of Marvel Comics.
All these artists took part on the creation of one of the most fundamental icons of the 20th century pop culture: the superhero. Consciously or unconsciously, in the great majority of these characters its creators introduced topics, element and influences of their inherited Jewish tradition, as well as important issues as assimilation or Jewish identity.
Bet Shalom has created a Comic Club where we will read, discuss and organize public lectures and meetings in collaboration with the related publishing companies.