jewish-images-in-the-comicsFollowing his Black Images in the Comics and The Comics Go to Hell, this square shaped tome is the third one in the reference treasury created by Fredrik Stromberg. Following the physical format and internal structure of the first two volumes, the author begins with several pages of introduction explaining his rationale for putting forth such a volume and the organization of the chapters. The first chapter on history features comics that focus on various elements of the history of Jews to the present time. Subsequent chapters explore the depiction of Jewish traditions and religious ceremonies, Antisemitism, the Holocaust, Israel, Jewish household names through their literary, scientific, cinematic and musical creativity, and the folklore of the Golem. Other chapters explore how Jewish comic book creators, editors, and publishers have influenced comics and comic culture, comics created specifically for a Jewish reading audience, and the evolving treatment of Jewish characters in comic books internationally. This package is effectively completed with an annotated list of sources, a list of copyright credits, and a comprehensive index.

Stromberg provides concise but adequate background information on Jewish history, laws, and culture for those who may not be familiar with the topics and issues. The bulk of the book is his presentation of one comic pages, panels, or images from over 150 comic books from international sources to exemplify and accompany his one page essays. These crisp essays offer erudite commentary on both the comic book example and the wider topic of the chapter in which the essays have been organized. The visual examples not only span numerous countries, languages, and eras, they offer a wide compendium of artistic styles.

The book can easily be dipped into at any point and savoured over time, although this reviewer enjoyed the perspective gained from following the author’s organization and commentary while reading it chronologically. As with the first two books, I was impressed with Stromberg’s wealth of knowledge, research, organizational skills, and ease of articulation.

Jewish Images in the Comics: A Visual History
by Fredrick Stromberg
Art by Various
ISBN: 978-1-60699
Fantagraphics, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: Adult

  • Gail

    | She/Her Professor, Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta

    Reviewer

    In addition to teaching at the School of Library and Information Studies (University of Alberta) where she is an adjunct professor, Gail tells stories and conducts workshops on a wide variety of topics across Canada and the United States. Each year she teaches the following courses for the University of Alberta. All of her courses are delivered online: Storytelling, Comic Books and Graphic Novels in School and Public Libraries, Canadian Children’s Literature for School and Public Libraries and Young Adult Literature. She also teaches a course on Indigenous Literature for the ATEP program (Aboriginal Teacher Education Program) at the University of Alberta. Gail is the award-winning author of nine books on storytelling and folklore in popular culture.

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