Graphic Memory: Comics Artists Leela Corman and Sol Brager in Conversation with Arielle Angel

June 27, 2024

Join us for a reading of new work by two comics artists, Leela Corman and Solomon Brager, and a conversation moderated by Jewish Currents editor-in-chief Arielle Angel, on writing about the Holocaust from the third generation, the ethics of visual representations of historical violence, and the imperative to contextualize the Holocaust within broader, more inclusive histories. The writers will also discuss what it means to publish a book about the Holocaust—and engage with the mainstream Jewish literary and arts world—in a moment of mass death in Gaza.

Leela Corman’s Victory Parade is a graphic novel set during World War II in Brooklyn, New York, and in the newly liberated Buchenwald concentration camp. Corman takes the reader on an Expressionist journey through interwoven stories: a German Jewish refugee who becomes a professional wrestler, an American soldier haunted by the horrors of Europe’s mass graves, a Rosie-the-Riveter who falls in love with a wounded soldier while waiting for her husband to return from war. Victory Parade paints a deeply affecting portrait of how individuals and civilizations process mass trauma.

Sol Brager’s Heavyweight is a graphic memoir detailing the story of their great-grandparents’ escape from Nazi-occupied Europe and to the United States. Throughout, Brager distills fascinating research about the Holocaust, interwoven with connected facets of colonial history. Heavyweight asks us to consider how the patterns of history emerge and reverberate, not as a simple chain of events but in haunting layers. Confronting the specters of violence as both historian and descendent, this book is an exploration of family mythology, intergenerational memory, and the mark the past makes on the present.

Tickets are free for Jewish Currents members with registration and $5 for non-members via powerHouse Arena, with options to purchase one or both books. Jewish Currents members at the Illuminati and Elders of Zion tiers will also receive a copy of Solomon Brager’s Heavyweight in the mail after the publication date!

This event is in-person at powerHouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The event space is up several stairs but visible from the bookstore floor, which is wheelchair accessible. We are looking forward to being together in person. To help keep all of us safe, please rapid test prior to attendance. Masking is strongly encouraged. Please get in touch with if you have accessibility requirements or questions.

Photo by Dena Rosenberg

Leela Corman is a painter, educator, and graphic-novel creator, working in the realm of diaspora Ashkenazi culture and third-generation restorative work. Her books include Unterzakhn—which was nominated for an Eisner Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Le Prix Artémisia; won the 2015 Romics Prize for Best Anglo-American Comic; and received a 2023 MoCCA Arts Festival Award of Excellence—and the short comics collections You Are Not a Guest and We All Wish for Deadly Force. Her work has appeared in many publications, including The Believer, Nautilus, and The Nib. She is a founding instructor at Sequential Artists Workshop and an instructor at Rhode Island School of Design.

Solomon Brager is a cartoonist and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. They are a 2023-2025 Jerome Hill Artists Fellow, a member of the Pinko magazine editorial collective and the director of community engagement at Jewish Currents magazine. Their comics and research have appeared in The Nib, Jewish Currents, ArtForum, World War III Illustrated, Pinko Magazine, Refract Journal, and The New Inquiry, among other publications. They hold a PhD from Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Arielle Angel is the editor-in-chief of Jewish Currents.

Cosponsored by The Center for New Jewish Culture, a laboratory for articulating what Jewish culture is while creating it.