The beginnings of a character named Superman are featured in the third issue of a science fiction magazine created by Cleveland high school pals and sons of Jewish immigrants Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Superman was actually a villain back then. That of course would change, and pop culture historian Roy Schwartz says the creator's Jewish heritage is reflected in the superhero's story.
"He's a baby put in an ark and sent away to save his life, found and raised by people not his own, who grows to adulthood to be a mighty savior and embrace his heritage. That's Moses. That's the story of Moses. Superman is Moses," Schwartz said.
What You Need To Know
- The Museum and Laboratory of the Jewish Comics Experience is an exhibition that opens Oct. 9 at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan
- Five small exhibits are curated by the center's partner institutions at its West 16th Street building
- The exhibits discuss the history of Jewish comics and the Jewish creators of many of the most iconic comic book characters like Superman, Batman, Captain America and Spiderman
- The exhibition also features a laboratory area where visitors can learn to make their own comics
Schwartz is the co-curator of the Museum and Laboratory of the Jewish Comics Experience. It’s at the Center for Jewish History on West 16th Street in Manhattan.
Five small exhibits curated by the center's partner institutions are on display, discussing the history of Jewish comics and the creators of many of the most iconic characters in comic book history.
"The history of comic books in America, the comic book industry, the medium, it’s very tied into Jewish history," said Miriam Eve Mora, the director of academic and public programs at the Center For Jewish History.
The exhibition laboratory is a place for visitors to learn to make their own comics. Curators worked with artist Fabrice Sapolsky to create seven original characters known as the Jewstice League, embracing the full scale of Jewish life in comics.
"The Jewstice League shows some of the diversity of the global Jewish multiverse," Mora said.
The laboratory area includes a dress-up photo area. There is also a reading library, where people have take a break and read Jewish comics from the last 100 years.
"This exhibit is by no means just for people with an interest in Jewish matters, but anyone who loves comics and pop culture," Schwartz said.
The exhibition will be on display at the Center for Jewish History through the end of the year.