The Comic Book Rabbi

simcha weinstein is a rabbi in brooklyn and the author of a book called up, up, and oy vey!: how jewish history, culture, and values shaped the comic book superhero. i was thrilled to discover it when i did because my dad and i were in the middle of a specifically jewish comic book exchange. it expanded our reading list from the rabbi's cat and the adventures of rabbi harvey and maus to the fantastic four and superman and the x-men.

jewish writers and artists invented a majority of mainstream superheroes. their culture, history, and morality informed those comics. consider how similar the origin of moses is, for example, to the origin of superman. both were bundled up by loving parents and sent into space to be raised by aliens. and how similar superman himself is to the idea of a jewish messiah. in conversation, i've had fun paraphrasing whole chapters from simcha's book. but his website says it better than i ever could.

this portrait was used to illustrate an article, rabbi of the geeks, in the columbia spectator. i wrote the author before drawing his picture. a few days later, i received the following message "hey rama! this is simcha weinstein, your favorite rabbi!" he asked that i draw something kitschy.

© 2007 rama hughes