Bill Love, a comic book expert and reviewer, joined us at the Klau Library for a double session on the impact of Jews on the comic book industry. His talk was titled "Comics Without Jews? Nothing Much to Talk About," a contention that was easily proven through Bill's presentation. He explained how different Jewish personalities in the the comic book enterprise played an absolutely pivotal role in how the artform took off in the 1930s and because of their contributions is still alive and kicking today - despite its rocky beginnings and an attempt by the government to quash it entirely. The talk highlighted famous industry names like Stan Lee, Will Eisner, and Dick Kirby - creators of beloved characters like Spiderman and the Thing, and creators of the comics book format as we know it today. The conversation and questions touched upon many areas of thought, as Bill Love discussed character ethnicity and race, banned books, and the ethical foundations and personal moral-code of the superheroes.
Bill gave somewhat different versions of the talk to two audiences; once in the morning to HUC students and staff at the Library's "Brunch n' Learn" where attendees were treated to bagels, coffee, and pastries, and then again in the evening to the community where attendees ranged from an 8 year-old comic-enthusiast, to those who grew up in the Silver Age of comics, beginning in the 1950s.
On exhibit at the Klau Library are numerous graphic novels and comics from the collections in Cincinnati as well as New York. There are classics like Maus (Art Spiegelman) in both English and Hebrew as well as many modern graphic novels about the Israeli experience (Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan), tales for children (Rabbi Harvey by Steve Sheinkin), and a Jewish superman equivelant (Shaloman by Al Weisner) - and much more of course! This exhibit will be up through mid-November and we hope you will stop in to see it.