Comic Book Heroes In Time For Hanukkah
It’s the eighth night of Hanukkah, and as the holiday comes to a close, ComicsAlliance contributor Eric Drumm shares some of his favorite (and less-than-favorite) fellow Jews from the comic book world, mostly based on his stylized bad-to-the-bone factor. From the heroic to the villainous to the completely obscure, there’s a little something for everyone. Continue reading for a look at a few of comics’ most celebrated potential celebrators of the Festival of Lights.
The rock hard Hebrew known as the Thing actually has a long history of kicking it Hanukkah style. Sure, he punches out aliens, but he has been shown quite a few times stopping into schul when he can. Perhaps the most devout practicing Jew in the funny books, Big Ben waves his talis with pride. Legend has it the Thing’s Judaism was an homage to his very Jewish and very talented creator, Jack Kirby.
While not the most devout guy on the roster, Moon Knight is definitely the most crazy. The son of a rabbi (who eventually became a god-powered zombie), Marc Spector has a bloody past as mercenary and fights evil to redeem himself. Becoming a costumed hero and lending his devotion to the Egyptian god Khonshu offsets his Jewishness quite a bit, but he has the general idea…sort of.
Plucky Kitty Pryde is a veteran X-Man, and has been fighting for mutant rights forever. The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, the phasing hero floats through her fights and always keep Hashem close to her heart. In fact, when she is kicking ass, you can sometimes see her Star of David peeking out from under her uniform – especially via her Ultimate universe counterpart.
Not the biggest dude, Ragman more than makes up for it by having nightmarish powers. Literally absorbing evil souls into his costume, Ragman cleans up Gotham and occasionally runs with the Shadowpact. To prove his Hebrew stripes, Ragman sometimes enlists the help of rabbi buddy to guide him through the darkness.
Not many dudes can punch out the Hulk, so lets be glad he’s on our team. Leonard Samson is a super hero psychologist (thanks, stereotypes!), and provides both counsel and ass whippings when he has to. His mane of green hair might make his traditionalist mother shriek, but he wears it well.
When the Bat cleared out of Gotham after Infinite Crisis, Kate Kane stepped in as the city’s defacto Caped Crusader. Something of a millionaire, her wealth allowed her to fill in for Batman with gadgets and gear, but her strong resolve made her a pillar in the Gotham vigilante crew. As a warning to shiksas everywhere, Kate’s kind of with the Question.
Like the mighty Moses, Magneto is strong in his beliefs no matter how unpopular they are. A Holocaust survivor, his hatred for humankind burns cold. Over the years the Master of Magnetism has caused quite a bit of terror, but his nobility has redeemed him in the eyes of many. He may be a crazy hate monger, but torture of the hands of a dirty Nazi probably set him on that path.
As one of the biggest icons of the ’90s (and I mean that in the most ’90s of ways), Malibu’s Prime was an adolescent boy that could turn into a super powered adult (geez, THAT doesn’t sound familiar) with the help of foamy green goo. Between flying around and acting like a jerk, Prime did actually get some heroing done. Not bad for a kid who hadn’t even had his Bar Mitzvah.
Nerd in spandex Nite Owl secured his place in the Watchmen with his brains, a little brawn, and a lot of gadgets and doodads. While not the most glamorous member, ‘ol Dan Dreiberg proved he could hang with the big boys (and managed to get his owl on with Silk Spectre as well). I wonder if he packs his yarmulke in his Owl ship…
How adorable! Dav Pilkey’s epic novelization/comic hybrid skills gave us Captain Underpants, a hapless Hebrew hero. Perpetually angry school principal Benny Krupp is hypnotized into thinking he is the heroic and sometimes super-powered Captain Underpants, changing back into Krupp when water is dumped on his head. Good thing Baptism is off the table for this guy!
In a word? Weird. Irwin Schwab is literally bug-f*ck crazy, hence the Ambush Bug personality. No powers, really. Just shows up, acts weird and disappears until people annoy Dan DiDio enough to bring him back. Sort of DC’s answer to Deadpool these days, Ambush Bug is a mystery to his fellow heroes, and to most of us as well. Especially whether or not his latest miniseries will ever conclude.
We wouldn’t be talking about half these folks if not for the Jewish talent that’s been flexing its collective comic muscle since before the Golden Age of comics. Guys like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Julius Schwartz and Will Eisner helped build the comics biz on Jewish sweat and creativity. In fact, legend has it that Siegel and Schuster created Superman as a veiled hero for Jewish children (and that Supes himself is the embodiment of Jewish values). It makes my heart proud every time I see heroes like Captain America punch out a Nazi, and we have a tradition of talented Jewish men and women to thank.