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Our Heroes

What if movie superheroes—Thor, Wolverine, The Fantastic Four, and Captain America—got in touch with their Jewish roots?

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This weekend, Captain America: The First Avenger opens in theaters nationwide. Like most superhero blockbuster movies, this one, too, ignores the deeply Jewish roots the masked icon—created by writers and illustrators who were struggling with their own identity as American Jews—used to have when he was a mere comic book character. But it’s not too late for our superheroes to get in touch with their Jewish roots.

Mike Reddy

Mike Reddy

Mike Reddy

Mike Reddy

Mike Reddy is a graphic artist based in Brooklyn. His drawings have appeared in the Believer, the Ganzfeld, and many packages for The Fiery Furnaces. Recent projects include the new edition of New Yorker contributor Gilbert Rogin’s What Happens Next? + Preparations for the Ascent and a daily drawing series for the blog Annals of Americus.

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Dan Klein says:

I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t pretty.

I go back to the 1930′s and more recently to Michael Chabon.

Hysterical. And love the art. Make the last one a poster, please!

philip mann says:

Look closely at stories in the Torah,at how so many of the characters were suppose to have incredible strength,could beat whole armies singlehanded. You have to wonder how far back the idea of superheros really goes.

Teddy says:

Well, the idea of humanoid characters with powers is ancient. There is nothing uniquely Jewish about that. Using those powers to defend the world or to make that world a better place,when one is wearing a rather weird, easily spotted costume seems to be a concept with obvious Jewish roots.

Ben “The Thing” Grimm of the Fantastic Four has been clearly identified as coming from a working class Jewish family since at least the 1990s. He’s shown reciting the Sh’ma here: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/Thing.html and there are other comics where he is shown sitting shiva after his friend and teammate, The Human Torch dies.

Wendy says:

Check out Falafel Man by comic artist Dorit Maya Gur. A new Jewish superhero with an Israeli spin. Fights evil with falafel balls.

well what about the Flintstones (eg “Fred Flintstein”)– one could have a lot of fun going through various cartoons

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Our Heroes

What if movie superheroes—Thor, Wolverine, The Fantastic Four, and Captain America—got in touch with their Jewish roots?

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