Video: Graphic Jews
Negotiating Identity in Sequential Art

In this video, Gregory Spinner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at Skidmore College talks about the exhibition Graphic Jews which builds on a long history of Jewish Americans and comics. Jews played an outsized role in the history of American comics, creating, writing, illustrating, and publishing some of the best-known comics during the mediumís Golden Age in the 1930s and 1940s. Yet for much of the twentieth century the actual scale of Jewish involvement in the medium was not obvious, as neither the creators or their creations were marked, let alone marketed, as Jewish. Cultural shifts in American society in the 1960s and 1970s took pressure off Jewish immigrants and their children to assimilate into American society, and, as result, both long-time comics professionals and younger artists began to draw comics in which Jews and questions of Jewish identity figured more prominently. Two important graphic novels from this period signaled the transition: Will Eisnerís A Contract with God (1978), considered by many to be the first graphic novel, and Art Spiegelmanís Maus (1980-1991). Along with copies of graphic novels by Corman, Davis, Katchor, and Sturm, Eisnerís and Spiegelmanís two novels are available for visitors to explore in the exhibition.

Filed Under: Video

Published: January 24th 2014