Are Comics Jewish?

February 15, 2021

The American comics industry was built by Jews, lots of Jews love comics, and lots of comics are Jewish. But beyond point-blank depictions of Jewishness—e.g. Will Eisner’s tenement sagas and Marvel’s The Thing praying in a tallis—what exactly is, and isn’t, Jewish about the genre?

Dr. Julia Alekseyeva is an author-illustrator and professor of English and Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Alongside her debut graphic memoir Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution (Microcosm, 2017), she has published shorter graphic essays in The Nib, Lilith, Paper Brigade, and Jewish Currents.

Mattie Lubchansky is the associate editor of The Nib, where their work most often appears, and a cartoonist and illustrator living in Queens. Their newest book, The Antifa Supersoldier Cookbook, will be out from Silver Sprocket in March.

Eli Valley’s comics have been labeled “ferociously repugnant” by Commentary and “hilarious” by The Comics Journal. His Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel (OR Books, 2017), was hailed by The Los Angeles Review of Books as “one of the most fascinating and darkly humorous books in living memory.”

Abraham Riesman (moderator) is a journalist and a board member of Jewish Currents. He is the author of the new book True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee and his work has appeared in New York Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic, among other outlets.