Jewish immigrants created superheroes by tying them to patriotism and against fascism going on in Europe at the time. Superheroes seem to be as American as apple pie personally. There is a certain amount of patriotism seen in a superhero protecting a metro area from X problem. Spiderman and others wouldn’t be successful in a rural setting such as Elko for obviously painful reasons. Many of the ideas for superheroes came from the immigrants who were fighting other wars as they came from other places. The United States was a glimmer of hope for immigrants being pushed out of their homes based on their religion, race or other characteristics. Jewish people had issues with submitting comic strips to newspapers, as anti-semitism of Jews was at a high point (Anderman, 2016). Most of the big name superheroes that came from that generation were created by Jewish writers such as; Superman, Captain America, Batman and Robin, and The Hulk.
Persecution of Jewish people in Europe had major implications in creating comic books because the Jewish people all of a sudden had to move into bigger cities, in the United States and suffered many different crimes of the day. The American people at that time weren’t as open to refugees, as a Gallup poll showed in 1939 than 67% of Americans opposed German Jewish refugees to be relocated to the states (Newport, 2015) and never really warmed to immigration through the 40s. The United States doesn’t have a great history of welcoming refugees, the Jewish people were able to take that history only to attempt to sell it as patriotic to fight against crime, poverty and even in some comics fascism. The Nazi’s own propaganda ministry labeled Superman as a Jew in 1940 (Anderman, 2016). There are a lot of similarities in our readings to what really happened, two Jewish writers go to a newspaper with a bunch of comic strips and get turned down, only to create the first comic book. Sammy and Josef both pick Americanized adult names Sam and Joseph, (Chabon, 2000) which is a wonderful example of how immigrants have to assimilate into American society to be sort of welcome, but never all the way. It reminds us of how other immigrants have come to America, aren’t welcomed but America picks up part of that culture and doesn’t realize it. Comics and Television owe a lot to the Jewish immigrants, with this influx of superhero made for tv shows and movies on Netflix, Americans can really thank these pioneers for creating a distinctly American genre of writing.
Anderman, N. (2016, January 24). Supermensches: Comic Books’ Secret Jewish History read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/culture/1.698619. Haaretz. Retrieved September 9, 2017, from http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/culture/1.698619
Chabon, M. (2000). The amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay: a novel. New York: Random House.
Newport, F. (2015, November 19). Historical Review: Americans’ Views on Refugees Coming to U.S. Gallup. Retrieved September 9, 2017, from http://www.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/186716/historical-review-americans-views-refugees-coming.aspx
– Tommi Asylum