Celebrating fictional Jewry

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A lot of people working in the early American comics industry were Jewish. I’m thinking right now particularly of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, both children of European Jewish immigrants, who together created the Fantastic Four. They gave us the Thing: Ben Grimm, a nice Jewish boy from the Lower East Side. Kirby drew the above image on a Hanukkah greeting card, showing the Thing with kippa and siddur. Despite the number of Jewish people working in the entertainment industry, there have never been a great many Jewish characters in popular fiction. It isn’t easy growing up loving sci-fi and fantasy and comic books of all sorts and only seeing someone like you in a twentieth of the fiction you consume, and that a generous estimate. It’s even tougher if you’re one of the many Jewish people who doesn’t fit into the typical pop-fiction mold of American Ashkenazi Jewry. There aren’t so many characters who are explicitly, textually Jewish. We intend to bring those that do exist to the attention of readers, to celebrate them, and to hopefully encourage more creators to include Jewish characters in their works.And, most of all, sometimes it’s just plain nice to be reminded that there are people out there having robot-punching adventures in space who are, in a way, just like you.

A lot of people working in the early American comics industry were Jewish. I’m thinking right now particularly of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, both children of European Jewish immigrants, who together created the Fantastic Four. They gave us the Thing: Ben Grimm, a nice Jewish boy from the Lower East Side. Kirby drew the above image on a Hanukkah greeting card, showing the Thing with kippa and siddur.

Despite the number of Jewish people working in the entertainment industry, there have never been a great many Jewish characters in popular fiction. It isn’t easy growing up loving sci-fi and fantasy and comic books of all sorts and only seeing someone like you in a twentieth of the fiction you consume, and that a generous estimate. It’s even tougher if you’re one of the many Jewish people who doesn’t fit into the typical pop-fiction mold of American Ashkenazi Jewry.

There aren’t so many characters who are explicitly, textually Jewish. We intend to bring those that do exist to the attention of readers, to celebrate them, and to hopefully encourage more creators to include Jewish characters in their works.

And, most of all, sometimes it’s just plain nice to be reminded that there are people out there having robot-punching adventures in space who are, in a way, just like you.

— 10 months ago with 208 notes
#judaism  #jewish  #ben grimm  #fantastic four  #comics 
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  16. dr-archeville reblogged this from agelfeygelach and added:
    I believe Ben Grimm’s demeanour and speech patterns were also based loosely on those of Kirby.
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