Yes. Jewish Superheroes Do Exist



By: STEPHEN ARBIB  
Published: March 31st 2010


Magneto, Sabra & The Thing
Pic: Jim Lee, Scott Willam, Mike Perkins, Andrea Di Vito
Strip from Remembrance of Things Past
Pic:
Batwoman
Pic: J. H. William III

In this issue, The Thing returns to his old neighbourhood in New York to return a Star of David he stole as a teenager from a pawnshop. Through a series of events, the Pawnshop owner gets wounded and The Thing prays the traditional “Sh’ma Yisrael” while bent over the pawnshop owner, which leads him to ask “All these years in the news, they never mention you’re Jewish. I thought maybe you were ashamed of it a little.” The Thing explains that, to the contrary, he did not want to bring shame on the Jewish community. “Figure there’s enough trouble in this world without people thinkin’ Jews are all monsters like me.”

 

Magneto: Real name Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, he's a Marvel villain and arch-nemesis of the X-Men. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, he first appeared in 1962 in X-Men #1. While historically there was some disagreement as to whether Magneto was Jewish or Roma Gypsy, the recent X-Men movies have put this discussion to rest as Magneto was clearly portrayed as Jewish. In the original X-Men movie, released in 2000, the opening scene shows Magneto as a youth being led into a Nazi concentration camp along with other Jews.

 

And while Magento’s wife was Roma Gypsy, it likely had to do with the industry-wide taboo at the time against reference of specific real-world religions during the 1960s. Therefore, the writers did not want classify him as Jewish.

 

Sabra: Real name Ruth Bat-Seraph, she is a Marvel superhero who was created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema and first appeared in 1980 in the Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #256. The name “Sabra” means both a native of Israel and a kind of prickly pear known well in Israel.

 

Sabra was born near Jerusalem, Israel. She was raised in a special kibbutz run by the Israeli government after her powers were discovered. Sabra was the first superhuman agent to serve in the Mossad and was given a costume which bears the Israeli flag and colours. And while she is considered a genetic mutant by the U.S. Government, technically she isn’t a mutant. Sabra was granted her powers through an Israeli project similar to the program that created Captain America.

 

Ramban: Real name Aviva Joby Weinberg. Ramban first appeared in 1990 in Suicide Squad (Vol. 1) #45. Ramban is a DC Comics character and likely the most religious of all Jewish characters. Ramban is a rabbi, an observant Jew and the leader of the Jewish/Israeli superhero team Hayoth, an Israeli government-supported meta-humans group. Ramban has fought alongside Superman, Batman and Aquaman.

 

The most ironic part of Ramban is that he was created by two writers, Ostrander and Yale, neither of whom are Jewish.

 

Comic books originated in 1933, thanks to a Jewish novelty salesman named Maxwell Charles Gaines (née Max Ginzberg). Due to his love of reading newspaper strip comics such as Joe Palooka, Mutt and Jeff and Hairbredth Harry, he had the savvy to know that if he loved it, so would the rest of the U.S. From that spark grew the comic book industry publishing volume 1, series 1 Famous Funnies – the first comic book.

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Save the date, Comic Con is returning to Toronto.  The 2011 dates have just been announced.  It will be held on March 18-20, 2011 at the Direct Energy Centre.


Related articles: (Comics, superhero, batwoman, magneto, marvel)
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