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The Saturday Comics: Mendy and the Golem

10 Mar

March 10, 2012

Last week I featured Christian comics so in the interest of fairness I present Mendy and the Golem.

Billed as “The World’s Only Kosher Comic Book”, Mendy Enterprises’ Mendy and the Golem first appeared in 1981. Written by Leibel Estrin and drawn by Dovid Sears, the comic book featured the offbeat misadventures of Mendy, an Orthodox Jewish boy, and his pet Golem. Other characters include Mendy’s parents, Rabbi Yaakov and Sara Klein; Mendy’s sister, Rivky; and a host of colorful supporting characters such as Moshe the Mayven; the Lone Stranger and his faithful friend Toronto; Captain Video; Dr. Hardheart and his evil robot Oy Vayder; and Professor Nemo.

The comic’s humor has been likened to that of “Rocky and Bullwinkle”, taking shots not only at pop culture, but even at the comic book and its creators. Nineteen issues were produced, and a 20th written and illustrated but never published.

Around 1983, the American musician Bob Dylan (né Robert Zimmerman) was studying Jewish scripture at the main Lubavitcher synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York. At that time, a letter from “R.Z., Hibbing, Minn.,” appeared in an issue of “Mendy and the Golem.”

I actually own an issue, number 12, which you will see in the gallery below. I distinctly remember buying it in the candy store down the block from my house. They had an old spinner rack full of comics (Try finding one of those nowadays. Thanks, direct market.) and one week, among all the superheroes I saw Mendy and the Golem. It was very out of place and I never before or after saw another issue. I bought it and it is a good thing I did. While almost every other issue sells today for four of five dollars, this one sells for fifteen. Why? Beats me.

You can find the official Mendy and the Golem comic site by clicking this link.

 

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13 Responses to “The Saturday Comics: Mendy and the Golem”

  1. Mac of BIOnighT March 10, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    From the quality of the drawings, the artist must have been nine or ten max… :-/

    Incredible find, anyway! 🙂

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  2. Daniel March 10, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    Interesting. I’ve heard of comic books & comic strips in India feauturing Hindu gods & goddesses as superheroes / heroines, so this comes as no surprise, oddly enough.

    & if you want modern variations on the Golem, there was a comic book character called ” Concrete ” who was basically a giant, bi – pedal, walking pile of….. concrete. & I have a copy of a silent b & w film on DVD from the 20’s or 30’s called ” The Golem “.

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    • Mac of BIOnighT March 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      That film is often quoted as a source of inspiration (but I never found any official confirmation of this) for the looks of one of the first Japanese giant-robots called – er – Giant Robo, by the late and greatly missed Mitsuteru Yokoyama. You know the live action series as “Johnny Sokko” in the US.

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      • Daniel March 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

        Interesting. Some people say that it also had some influence of the cinematic version of ” Frankenstein ” & perhaps Fritz Lang’s b & w ” Metropolis “.

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        • Mac of BIOnighT March 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

          I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, considering its fame. Unfortunately, it’s a film I’ve never been able to see – like many other silent classics – and one of those I want to get some day.

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          • Daniel March 11, 2012 at 7:06 am #

            I have it on DVD & I had both ” The Golem ” & ” Metropolis ” on VHS, back when there WAS a VHS.

            ” Frankenstein ” & ” The Golem ” both seem like the 1st films dealing w / artificial life or A.I. Before HAL 9000, C – 3PO, R2 – D2, RoboCop, the ” Terminator ” movies, ” Blade Runner ” or even ” Short Circuit “, ” Batteries Not Included “, ” Wall – E “, ” The Stepford Wives “, ” Galaxina “, ” Cherry 2000 ( Gonzo post – Apocalyptic Sci Fi adventure film ) “, or either version of Galactica & its Cylons, etc.

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            • Mac of BIOnighT March 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

              True 🙂
              There was also the android in Metropolis, even if it came out after the films you mention, it is so beautiful and iconic that I think we should include it in the list.
              Speaking of influential films, this is another one I’ll have to watch sooner or later:

              http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014646/

              The beauty of both set design and costumes, along with the very expressive lighting, have certainly influenced many a sci-fi film. Go to minute 3.40 and have a look

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              • Daniel March 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

                Based on texts by A Tolstoj – Tolstoy ( As in THE Tolstoy ) ? I am officially in awe of your Internet mining abilities, my friend !

                I would love to find a clip of RUR. It was a play, but I think there was a movie based on it.

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                • Mac of BIOnighT March 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

                  RUR!! Awesome, yes! 🙂 I’d love to find a clip of that, too, but I’ve never found it 😦 Should I stumble across it, I’ll let you know. I really wish I had a time machine to go back and see the play, though…

                  Here are a couple of radiodrama versions (the first two by BBC are lost, unfortunately):

                  http://relicradio.com/otr/2011/10/sf175-r-u-r-by-columbia-workshop/

                  http://www.radiodramarevival.com/episode-176-going-beyond-2000-to-a-world-of-robots/

                  As to Aelita, I can’t take the credit for the link, as it was actually given me by a – uhmmm… I don’t think you have this word in English… somebody who studies and is an expert in Greece, not just the classic stuff, but also modern-day Greek life, politics, etc. Anyway, he gave me the link once while we were exchanging emails about expressionist cinema etc.

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                  • Daniel March 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

                    I’ve seen some adaptations based on RUR on Youtube, but they were mostly experimental theater – type stuff & just not really memorable.

                    Wherever you got the link to Aelita, it was still very impressive.

                    I have to wonder if the Replicants of ” Blade Runner ” could be classified as modern – day ” Golems “, even though they were fashioned from genetically – engineered flesh & blood ? I have a special Edition of the movie which I save for nights when there’s nothing else special on TV. It’s a cinematic ICON.

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                    • Mac of BIOnighT March 11, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

                      I believe the whole concept of super-hero could be classified as modern-day golem. For instance, the Golem had a word on his forehead, if you added a particular letter to it, he died. All the most powerful super-heroes have a weak point (Superman/Krypyonite, for example).
                      On the other hand, the same can be said of classic fictional heroes such as Achilles (heel) or Samson (hair). Probably all stories are basically one, and that one story is just part of human nature and emerges now and then with different details. Probably Achilles, Superman, the Golem, Iron Man, Samson, and all the others are just the same archetypal character…

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                    • bmj2k March 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

                      This might be my favorite comment in a thread full of great comments.

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                    • Daniel March 12, 2012 at 8:22 am #

                      I think that we have all the bases covered. Joseph Campbell would be well – satisfied. That reminded me – I have a copy of his ” Hero With a Thousand Faces “, possibly still unpacked, that I ought to look for.

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