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Brooklyn's Jewish Comic Con: Comics, Art, Superheroes and More

Ellen Levitt

Posted on May 5, 2018 22:09

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The small but scrappy Brooklyn Jewish Comic Con 2018 featured panel discussions about Jewish comic strips, graphic novels by Jewish writers and artists, art created by Jewish artists and more.

The third annual Brooklyn Jewish Comic Con featured exciting news about graphic novels, discussions of comic books and writing, an exhibit of art incorporating Jewish themes and superheroes, and none other than the legendary Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Held on April 26th and April 29th at Congregation Kol Israel in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, this event brought together writers and artists, comic book fans, and curious souls who flock to bigger and better known Comic Cons as well.

Comic Cons (comic book conventions) have become a major cultural force in our society, with such events staged throughout the United States and other countries. People who attend can dress up (cosplay), sit in on panel discussions about comics, anime, film and related topics, purchase comics and swag related to comics, and attend meet-and-greets with artists, celebrities and experts on these topics. Some of these Comic Cons are huge, multi-day, multi-million dollar affairs.

Other writers and artists who spoke at the Brooklyn Jewish Comic Con included Julian Voloj, whose most recent work is "The Joe Shuster Story: The Artist Behind Superman"; cartoonist and children's book writer Arie Kaplan; and Danny Fingeroth, who has written about Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, as well as "Superman on the Couch." 

The Brooklyn Jewish Comic Con charged a modest admission ($20 per person) for a two-day lineup of activities plus art gallery hours for a month and packed a lot of ambition. Among the panel discussions held were "A Contract With God At 40," about the legendary graphic novel by the late Will Eisner; "Shoah in Comics," about how graphic novels have dealt with the Holocaust; "The Jewish Roots of Wonder Woman," "Nice Jewish Fangirls: Women Navigating in Fandom," "Superman At 80," and a talk by Dr. Ruth Westheimer about her new graphic novel "Roller Coaster Grandma." 

Several artists exhibited drawings and paintings that were part of "Pow!!! Jewish Comic Art and Influence" curated by artist Archie Rand and author Rabbi Simcha Weinstein (whose latest book is "Up, Up and Oy Vey: How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero"). Lynne Cassouto, a graphic artist and lifelong New Yorker, displayed her drawing of the Fantastic Four celebrating the Hanukkah holiday. Other artists drew and painted about Betty Boop, Superman, and other superheroes and comic stars. 

Brooklyn Jewish Comic Con even featured its own T-shirt for the event, and vendors sold comic books and accessories related to comics. A kosher food truck set up shop outside the synagogue, and even religious services were held in the early morning and early afternoon.

This was the second Brooklyn Jewish Comic Con I have attended and I found it to be fun as well as thought provoking. The themes and stories covered in these talks were eye-opening. Some topics were quite humorous, while others were heavy and somber. Overall it was a fascinating experience and a worthy niche offering to the comic con canon. Excelsior!

 

 

 

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on May 5, 2018 22:09

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