This is a post Jewdar should have put up a few months ago when it was time to get our afikomen present (take that, children!), but as it’s our birthday today, let’s hope the missus is reading this.
Some time ago, Jewdar posted about the “diversity” question in Marvel Comics We didn’t really discuss it at the time, but another way in which the comic book universe tends to fail in diversity while it pretends to care is that characters seem to be various versions of the same physical type–in shape, when in fact, just looking around the country, it seems pretty likely that were an average, random American to get super powers, he or she would be a bit on the doughy side of things. And taking it even further–once they got, say, super strength, they would remain pretty out of shape, because how could they burn calories. There is one character who actually captures the truth of what a real American superhero would be–the protagonist, Josh Jaffe, is a middle-aged Jewish shlub (in the interests of journalistic integrity, we should point out, so is Jewdar) who gets super powers. He’s pudgy, balding, beset by anxiety over his job and family and failing virility, and he–and his family–are clearly Jewish.–now that’s a relatable superhero. It was only a mini-series collected into a trade paperback, but buy it, and encourage the comic world to do more like it.
Jacked was created by Eric Kripke, also the creator of Supernatural, a great show with a lot of surprising and amusing little Jewish asides. Running into its fourteenth season, it’s really one of TV’s underrated gems. But while Kripke was a comic book naif, Howard Chaykin, author of Midnight of the Soul, is not just a comic book legend, but an explicitly Jewish comic book legend, who for years has created some of the best and most interesting Jewish characters, ranging from lantern-Jawed tough guys like Reuben Flagg and Harry Block to the odd characters populating comics like Angel and the Ape. He’s in rare form in Midnight of the Soul, featuring a troubled WWII vet, Joel Breakstone, as he seeks to solve his adulterous ex-wife’s murder with a foray into New York’s demimonde of heroin dealers, jazz musicians, and crime-lords. And believe us, for fans for Jewish comics, the payoff at the end is well worth it.
So missus Jewdar–are you paying attention?