(21F4) Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero

December 15th, 2021, 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Danny Fingeroth, the author of the definitive book on Jews and comics, Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero, will explore the backgrounds of the largely young American Jewish men from Eastern European backgrounds who created the most well-known superheroes who are so prominent in current popular culture, notably in movies such as Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse.  Accompanied by an entertaining and informative PowerPoint slide show, he will discuss how the creators’ Jewish origins may have helped make superheroes the most familiar popular culture icons of all—on TV, in movies and electronic media, as well as in comics.

The innovators to be covered include:

  • Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Cleveland high school pals who created Superman – and his nebbishy alter ego, Clark Kent—thereby changing the face of popular culture forever.
  • Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who invented most of the major Marvel superheroes, including the Avengers, the Hulk, and the X-Men.
  • Bob Kane and Bill Finger, who created Batman in a Bronx apartment.
  • Will Eisner, who gave the world the landmark superhero, The Spirit, and decades later pioneered the modern graphic novel, becoming the “Philip Roth of the Graphic Novel.”

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Danny Fingeroth, the son of a cantor,  is a popular-culture critic and historian, with a focus on comics and graphic novels, especially from a Jewish perspective.  He gives entertaining and informative slideshow-enhanced presentations on the connection between comics and the Jewish-American experience.

Danny’s most recent book is A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee (2019 St.  Martin’s Press/Macmillan), the definitive biography of Lee, co-creator of Marvel Comics and its most famous characters, including Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men.  (The book can be purchased at https://tinyurl.com/t877n7nh .  The audiobook version with Danny’s reading from the book is at https://tinyurl.com/bxwfk42y.

A longtime executive editor and writer at Marvel Comics, where he ran the company’s Spider-Man line, Danny is the author of books including Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews Comics and the Creation of the Superhero (available at https://tinyurl.com/ude8j274).

Danny was one of the founders of Brooklyn’s Jewish Comic Con and was the curator and moderator of the YIVO Institute’s “Comics and the Jewish-American Dream” interview series.  He has spoken on comics-related topics at Columbia University, the Smithsonian Institution, The American Jewish Historical Society, the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, the Society of Illustrators and many other venues.  For more info: www.dannyfingeroth.com