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Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero

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"Fingeroth's book is an easy, intriguing read, exploring the histories of superheroes and their creators. This is clearly a topic in which Fingeroth is eminently well-versed." -Jewish Book World  "Like a Yiddish theater play on the old Jewish Second Avenue, or like a really good comic book, Danny will make you laugh, cry and, best of all, he'll <p>"Fingeroth's book is an easy, intriguing read, exploring the histories of superheroes and their creators. This is clearly a topic in which Fingeroth is eminently well-versed." <br/>-<em>Jewish Book World</em></p><br/><p> "Like a Yiddish theater play on the old Jewish Second Avenue, or like a really good comic book, Danny will make you laugh, cry and, best of all, he'll make you think."<br/>--From the foreword by Stan Lee</p><br/><p>In Disguised as Clark Kent, Danny Fingeroth--a long-time executive in the comics business who wrote and edited Spider-Man as well as other famous lines for Marvel--reflects on the phenomenon of the heavily Jewish elements that, consciously or not, went into the creation of the superhero. <br/>Centering on questions of Jewish identity, which is historically about the push and pull toward and away from that very identity, <em>Disguised as Clark Kent</em> brings valuable insight into the fantasies that fuel our imaginations and entertainment industry, as well as many significant and often hidden aspects of our society.<br/></p>>


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"Fingeroth's book is an easy, intriguing read, exploring the histories of superheroes and their creators. This is clearly a topic in which Fingeroth is eminently well-versed." -Jewish Book World  "Like a Yiddish theater play on the old Jewish Second Avenue, or like a really good comic book, Danny will make you laugh, cry and, best of all, he'll <p>"Fingeroth's book is an easy, intriguing read, exploring the histories of superheroes and their creators. This is clearly a topic in which Fingeroth is eminently well-versed." <br/>-<em>Jewish Book World</em></p><br/><p> "Like a Yiddish theater play on the old Jewish Second Avenue, or like a really good comic book, Danny will make you laugh, cry and, best of all, he'll make you think."<br/>--From the foreword by Stan Lee</p><br/><p>In Disguised as Clark Kent, Danny Fingeroth--a long-time executive in the comics business who wrote and edited Spider-Man as well as other famous lines for Marvel--reflects on the phenomenon of the heavily Jewish elements that, consciously or not, went into the creation of the superhero. <br/>Centering on questions of Jewish identity, which is historically about the push and pull toward and away from that very identity, <em>Disguised as Clark Kent</em> brings valuable insight into the fantasies that fuel our imaginations and entertainment industry, as well as many significant and often hidden aspects of our society.<br/></p>>

30 review for Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Burgess

    I’ll be honest here, I waited a little too long after I read the book to write a spectacular review, For this I apologize. Here’s what I do know. Recently I’ve had a growing little interest in comics – I read a graphic novel about The Carter Family which I absolutely loved. Then I bought my husband a Batman comic anthology and I find myself sneaking into it quite often. It seems this book came to me at the perfect time. If nothing else, it was a wonderful introduction to the history of comics, s I’ll be honest here, I waited a little too long after I read the book to write a spectacular review, For this I apologize. Here’s what I do know. Recently I’ve had a growing little interest in comics – I read a graphic novel about The Carter Family which I absolutely loved. Then I bought my husband a Batman comic anthology and I find myself sneaking into it quite often. It seems this book came to me at the perfect time. If nothing else, it was a wonderful introduction to the history of comics, superheroes, etc. The reason I just felt so-so about the work as a whole is simply because I got sort of bored after a while. I was really into reading about how comics began but I sort of dazed off into space after a while as the potential connections to the Jewish-American experience trailed on. For the first half of the book I thought all of the possible connections the author drew were really interesting and clever, but without really having any experience with the superheroes, other than seeing a few movies, it only held my interest for so long. Of course, this is probably more of a personal problem than a reflection of the writing itself (which honestly applies to 90% of my reviews anyway, sorry hardworking authors of the world.) Speaking of the author, something about the way he wrote just spoke to me and said “Elizabeth, you want to be friends with this man.” So, whoever you are, your writing was very friendly and familiar. It seems like you really care about the Jewish-American connection to the development of these superheroes and did your research with an endearing, genuine sense of passion. No condescending, affected under and/or overtones that I very often get from non-fiction – just a pal teaching me about comics. Well done man, well done.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ariela Housman

    This would have been a tight essay at half the length. It didn't feel like there was really enough to justify the length of the book. At times it was quite repetitive. My biggest issue with the book, aside from the fact that I didn't feel there was really enough content to cover the length, was that Fingeroth identifies a lot of elements of early comics that seem Jewish to him, but he never adequately addresses the possibility that they might have other causes in addition or instead. The book had This would have been a tight essay at half the length. It didn't feel like there was really enough to justify the length of the book. At times it was quite repetitive. My biggest issue with the book, aside from the fact that I didn't feel there was really enough content to cover the length, was that Fingeroth identifies a lot of elements of early comics that seem Jewish to him, but he never adequately addresses the possibility that they might have other causes in addition or instead. The book had some good points, but overall I expected something more in-depth than what I got.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Roy Schwartz

    Insightful, witty, written breezily, and overall thoughtful, though some ideas are left curiously and unsatisfyingly underdeveloped or unexplored.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Jews & comics is pretty pleasant stuff as far as academic cottage industries go -- that is, teasing out the way the post-Holocaust emigre values of early superhero creators defined the medium. There's a lot to be said, especially looking towards Will Eisner, Art Speigelmen, Harvey Pekar, and others. Danny Fingeroth--a former Spiderman editor--keeps his focus pretty narrow, on the superheroes only. Even there, he remains a bit stiff, but not thorough enough to be impressively rigorous. Wish it we Jews & comics is pretty pleasant stuff as far as academic cottage industries go -- that is, teasing out the way the post-Holocaust emigre values of early superhero creators defined the medium. There's a lot to be said, especially looking towards Will Eisner, Art Speigelmen, Harvey Pekar, and others. Danny Fingeroth--a former Spiderman editor--keeps his focus pretty narrow, on the superheroes only. Even there, he remains a bit stiff, but not thorough enough to be impressively rigorous. Wish it went further into the daily lives of Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, etc., via oral history. Haven't had a chance to read the whole thing, but Arie Kaplan's "Frow Krakow to Krypton" looks like a much more readable and thorough exploration of the topic (with better illustrations, taboot).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson

    I happen to know Danny so you'll have to take that into consideration. Having said that, the reason I know Danny is partially because I read this book and wanted to meet him in order to further my research on a biography. He knows his subject thoroughly and just because he's writing about comics don't assume, it's not a very smartly written book. His take on the Superman myth is erudite and scholarly and really interesting. There is a lot of soul in this book as well. I highly recommend for anyo I happen to know Danny so you'll have to take that into consideration. Having said that, the reason I know Danny is partially because I read this book and wanted to meet him in order to further my research on a biography. He knows his subject thoroughly and just because he's writing about comics don't assume, it's not a very smartly written book. His take on the Superman myth is erudite and scholarly and really interesting. There is a lot of soul in this book as well. I highly recommend for anyone interested in comics research and history as well as anyone who enjoys popular culture.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Orla

    One of the few comprehensive academic books on this theory. Not sure I agree with it all but it's a good read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chelsee

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sgt Roman Hunter

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Richards

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian Callahan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dennis G

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Smith

  15. 5 out of 5

    Henrik

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lance Eaton

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julian Voloj

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frank

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eli

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary Gebhard

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jaq Greenspon

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Sowinski

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amy-lou Ahava

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Jacob

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura D'amore

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tara Ann

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charles-Everard

  29. 5 out of 5

    Madison

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anna Smithberger

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