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Happy Hanukkah, Jack Kirby and Ben Grimm!

13 Dec

Updated December 13, 2017

from December 23, 2016
and December 15, 2012

The 1976 Jack Kirby family Hanukkah card

The 1976 Jack Kirby family Hanukkah card

I am a big fan of The Fantastic Four and of them, I am first and foremost a fan of The Thing. He is easily in my top five, possibly top three comic book characters. And speaking of the First Family of Marvel Comics, Ben Grimm was created by two men who surely were members of the First Family of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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And while many of the legends of the comic industry, like Superman creators Joe Siegel and Jerry Shuster, Will Eisner, Stan Lee and Jack “King” Kirby were Jewish, it doesn’t necessarily follow that their famous creations are Jewish. Superman is not Jewish, The Spirit is not Jewish (though many of Will Eisner’s contemporary creators contend that Eisner always implied that he was. So maybe…)

But Benjamin Jacob Grimm is undoubtedly Jewish.

And here's his bar mitzvah to prove it.

And here’s his bar mitzvah to prove it.

From wikipedia, oy vey!:

In keeping with an early taboo in the comic superhero world against revealing a character’s religion, the fact that Grimm was Jewish was not explicitly revealed until four decades after his creation, in the story, “Remembrance of Things Past” (in Fantastic Four, vol. 3, #56, August 2002). In this story, Grimm returns to his old neighborhood to find Mr. Sheckerberg, a pawn shop owner he had known as a child. Flashbacks during this story reveal Grimm’s Jewish heritage, and he even recites the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer often recited over the dead and dying, over the dying Sheckerberg, who eventually recovers. In a later story, Grimm even agrees to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah, since it has been 13 years (the age a Jewish boy celebrates his Bar Mitzvah) since he began his “second life” as the Thing. To celebrate the ceremony, Grimm organizes a poker tournament for every available superhero in the Marvel Universe.

It is a fact that The Thing is in many ways just Jack Kirby writing himself on the page. While The Spirit may be what Will Eisner wished to be, in many was The Thing is who Jack Kirby really was.

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Remind you of anyone?

 

Some personality traits of the cantankerously lovable, occasionally cigar-smoking, Jewish native of the Lower East Side are popularly recognized as having been inspired by those of co-creator Jack Kirby, who in interviews has said he intended Grimm to be an alter ego of himself.

So as we approach The Festival of Light, it is only appropriate to wish both Ben Grimm and Jack Kirby a very

hanukkah_happy

thing-chanuakh-e1448920247567

This has been

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.

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Superman, The Man of Shill (JLA Blog 3)

18 Nov

November 17, 2017

The Justice League movie opened this weekend, and as I predicted, the reviews are moderately stinky. I was hoping that we’d at least get some cool toys based on the film, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. So in honor of the mediocre film, let’s take a look back at some mediocre superhero tie-in products. 

(If anyone is still interested in buying some kryptonite rocks, I think I have some moss covered stones in my backyard. Hit me up for the hook up.)

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May 5, 2011

This week marks the anniversary of the day in 1938 that Superman Debuted in Action Comics #1.

In honor of the event I am going to showcase a few of the more obscure products which have been endorsed by Superman.

KRYPTONITE ROCKS

It’s Terrific!
It’s Fantastic!
It’s a Rock!

These are rocks painted green with glow-in-the-dark paint, $2.50 per rock, $1 shipping and handling. So what is the theory here? Why is Superman ripping off kids- er, selling Kryptonite? Superman is selling them to his friends- The Parasite better not send in $3.50- so they can take possession of the irradiated chunks of the planet Krypton and keep them safe, in lead boxes, so Superman can never come in contact with them. Ah. My God, this is easily one of the worst rip off’s I have ever seen. Selling rocks to kids. Anyone who bought these should go to the DC offices and hurl them back through the windows.

SUPERMAN PEANUT BUTTER and PEANUTS

Superman is the hero and protector of all humanity, except the approximately 0.6% of the population with severe peanut allergies and can die from anaphylaxis if they inhale even a tiny amount of peanut dust. I hope he changes Super-suits after he leaves the peanut factory or he may end up killing the very baby he rescues from Brainiac.

Check out this ad for Superman peanut butter. Superman is willing to protect the secret of its great taste with his life! I don’t blame him. Once Lex Luthor gets the secret of great taste, he can corner the peanut butter market, and how far behind can grape jelly be?

SUPERMAN CINEMATIC PICTURE PISTOL

There is a short filmstrip in the gun. You look through the hole in the back of the gun and see a frame of a filmstrip. Pulling the trigger advances the film.

This is easily, hands down, the most irresponsible toy I have ever seen. Yes, I get that this is from another era, that kids were routinely given toy guns and even real guns to play with. I get all of that. But whose idea was it to put a movie inside a gun? To teach young kids to put a gun to their heads and pull the trigger?

A movie in a gun? Thanks, Superman.

SPECIALMAN

OK, it’s a Japanese rip-off but out of all the stuff on this page, this is probably the most fun. But given the amount of lead probably used in the paint, it is likely also the most dangerous.

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