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Happy Hanukkah Ben Grimm!

23 Dec

Updated December 23, 2016
from 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.

But Benjamin Jacob Grimm is.

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.

The story of the Thing was unusual for another religious reason, as well: the fact that the Thing was actually brought back to life in one story not by science, magic, or alien power or technology, but by the hand of God.

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

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This has been

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Green Lantern Vs. Yellowface

12 Dec

December 12, 2016

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“HA HA! I’ve got you now, Green Lantern,” cackled Yellowface. “I’m yellow, my murder machine is yellow, even this whole universe is yellow! You are powerless against yellow! I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!” Yellowface turned on his evil-looking murder machine and drooled with anticipation at Green Lantern’s impending doom.

Green Lantern slowly pulled off one of his bright white gloves, filled it with power ring-created rocks, and bludgeoned Yellowface into oblivion. “Powerless against yellow my butt!”

OK, that never happened, but it should have. Being powerless against yellow is and always was a stupid weakness. There are a million ways around it. Sinestro is attacking with a yellow sword? A quick burst of blue spray paint solves that problem. Didn’t Green Lantern learn anything from Batman? A utility belt with a spray can would be invaluable to him.

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Here’s one that happened not too long ago. The original Green Lantern was a member of the Justice Society. They were moving into a new base of operations and Green Lantern couldn’t help carry a crate. His ring’s weakness was wood so he was powerless to carry a heavy box. Let me repeat: the superhero was powerless to carry a heavy box. An actual paid comic book writer wrote that.

But was he powerless? No, he wasn’t. Here are just a few possibilities he should have tried:
– Lift up the section of the floor it was sitting on and float the floor wherever the crate needed to go. Lift floor, lift box. (In the comic, the floor was clearly not wood.)
– Use his ring to lift the crate by the metal nails and studs. Lift the nails and the rest of the crate goes with it.
– Coat the box with dirt or dust from the surrounding area, then use the ring to carry the box.
– Create a powerful exoskeleton, lift the box with his bare hands.

Of course, there is always the chance that Green Lantern was just feeling lazy and used the old wood weakness excuse to take a break and let Wildcat do all the work.

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