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Up, Up, and Oy Vey!: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superheroby Simcha Weinstein
Synopses & Reviews
Up, Up, and Oy Vey! chronicles how Jewish history, culture, and values helped shape the early years of the comic book industry.
The early comic book creators were almost all Jewish, and as children of immigrants, they spent their lives trying to escape the second-class mentality which was forced on them by the outside world. Their fight for truth, justice, and the American Way is portrayed by the superheroes they created. The dual identity given to their creations mirrors their own desire to live two lives — privately as a Jew, and publicly as an American.
Their creations are the descendants of a Jewish tradition littered with stories of super strength from Samson to the Golem of Prague. An increasing number of fans and amateur historians, obsessed with back-story "mythology," claim they've uncovered the secret "Jewish-ness" of the comic book characters. Superheroes, they claim, are usually outsiders; gifted yet misunderstood, and strangers in a strange land.
This book observes comic book superheroes through three different lenses — historical, cultural, and biblical/spiritual. Utilizing a bibliographic and subjective methodology, the author (an ordained rabbi) charts how the superhero model has unconsciously tapped into the deepest core of Jewish spiritual understanding.
Both teenagers and adults, especially those that are history enthusiasts, pop culture fans, seekers of Jewish spirituality, new-age mysticism cohorts, and of course, comic book readers, will enjoy reading this exciting and inspiring account of the birth and mythical origins of the comic book.
From the birth of Krypton in Cleveland to the Caped Crusader, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and more, Up, Up, and Oy Vey! chronicles the uncanny story behind the story about the origins of the planet's most famous superheroes. While the Jewish contribution to film, theater, music, and comedy has been well-documented, the Jewish role in the creation of the All-American superhero has not been — until now!
About the Author
Some of Rabbi Simcha Weinstein's earliest memories involve comic books, superheroes, and (the now valuable) vintage Batman and Superman toys. His hobby inspired him to such a great extent that he chose to study film and photography in college, and he ultimately received his bachelor's degree in Film History from Manchester Metropolitan University in England.
Following graduation, he became an associate for the British Film Commission and was responsible for the coordination and production of several hundred feature films throughout the United Kingdom. His productions include The Full Monty, which was nominated for an Academy Award; Tomorrow Never Dies, one of the more recent James Bond films; and From Hell, starring Johnny Depp.
It is said that when man makes plans, God laughs. Following a major career turn, not to mention a life-altering paradigm shift, Simcha is now the rabbi of Pratt Institute as well as one of its professors, and he is also the rabbi and chaplain at Long Island College Hospital. He is well-known throughout Brooklyn as the founder of the downtown Brooklyn Jewish Student Foundation, and in 2003, he created the semi-annual Brooklyn Heights International Jewish Film Festival.
Simcha lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York, with his wife and two children.
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