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Roy Schwartz

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Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero

(for all ages) Superman is the most famous character in the world. He’s the first superhero, an American icon—and he’s Jewish! Introduced in June 1938, the Man of Steel was created by two Jewish teens, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the sons of emigrants from Eastern Europe. They based their hero’s origin story on Moses, his strength on Samson, his mission on the golem and his nebbish secret identity on themselves. They made him a refugee fleeing catastrophe on the eve of World War II and sent him to tear Nazi tanks apart nearly two years before the US joined the war. Join author Roy Schwartz for a fascinating and entertaining journey through comic book lore, American history and Jewish tradition, sure to give you a newfound appreciation for the Mensch of Steel!

Secret Identities: The Jewish Origins of Superheroes!

(for all ages) Comic books are a Jewish invention. Superheroes are a Jewish invention. Deep breath: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Captain America, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Avengers, X-Men, Black Panther and many others were created or co-created by Jews, some still teenagers! Join author, journalist and pop culture historian Roy Schwartz to learn about the amazing, crazy and funny Jewish history of comics!

Secret Identities: The Jewish Origins of the Marvel Universe!

(for all ages) The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest thing in showbiz, with 32 films earning almost $30 billion worldwide. But before all the glitz and glamor, comics were a disreputable, Jewish industry. Almost all of Marvel’s superheroes were created or co-created by Jews, including Captain America, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, Iron Man, Avengers, X-Men, Silver Surfer, Black Panther, Eternals and many more. And they were more than just playful fantasies—they were wish-fulfillment avatars of their creators, drawing on Jewish culture and folklore to fight Nazis, bigotry and intolerance. Join author, journalist and pop culture historian Roy Schwartz for a fascinating journey through comic book lore and Jewish-American history that’ll make you see your favorite superheroes in a whole new light!

The Spectacular Spider-Mensch!

(for all ages) The worst-kept secret in comics is that Spider-Man, the most profitable superhero in the world, is Jewish. Created by Stan Lee (Stanley Lieber) and Steve Ditko in 1962, Peter Parker has a quintessential New York Jewish sense of humor, constantly speaks Yiddish, hates Manischewitz, and even stepped on a glass at his wedding. And that’s not all! Join pop culture historian and author Roy Schwartz for a fascinating look behind the webs!

A Special Heritage: The Rich Jewishness of the X-Men

(recommended for ages 12 & up) Over two decades ago, the X-Men movie kicked off the current superhero dominance of cinema in the unlikeliest place; 1944 Auschwitz. The X-Men comic has been driven by Jewishness since its inception in 1963, about a small race of gifted people sworn to protect a world that fears and hates them. Join journalist and author Roy Schwartz to explore this uncanny history!

Superman vs. the SS: How Superman’s Creators Got Into a Real-Life Feud with the Nazis!

(recommended for ages 12 & up) Superman, the first superhero and an icon of Americana, was created in the 1930s by Jewish teens Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster partly in response to Nazism. While the character’s role as a propaganda figure has been noted often, little has been made of just how effective he was in upsetting the Nazis, and how personal the feud became. The personal war between two Jewish youths and the vaunted master race, predating America’s involvement in WWII by nearly two years, is a fascinating chapter in comic book and Jewish-American history. Join journalist and author Roy Schwartz to explore this amazing chapter in comic book history!

The Golem in Comics and Sci-Fi

(recommended for ages 12 & up) The golem, a manlike creature of clay animated by mystic means, is probably the most famous creature of Jewish folklore. Adam, the first man, was a golem. Golems are created (and eaten!) in the Talmud. And there’s of course the famed Golem of Prague. This last version, with its theme of a creation rising upon its creator, has become a cornerstone of modern science fiction, directly inspiring the idea of the robot, Frankenstein, Superman, Blade Runner, the Terminator, the Matrix and countless other works. Join historian and journalist Roy Schwartz for this amazing tour through pop culture history!

The Surprising Jewish History of Batman

(recommended for teens & up) Batman is one of the most popular and profitable superheroes in the world. He’s also Jewish. Created in 1939 by artist Bob Kane (Robert Kahn) and writer Bill (Milton) Finger, the Dark Knight’s history and mythology are rich in Jewish themes. From his mostly Jewish publishers, editors, writers, and artists to the Jewish actors who’ve played Bruce Wayne, the Joker, and Catwoman, to explicitly Jewish characters like Batwoman and Harley Quinn, to Batman himself accidently being made Jewish in the comics (!), there’s enough Yiddishkeit to fill a Batcave!

Kabbalah in Komics: Jack Kirby’s New Gods

(recommended for teens & up) Jack Kirby (Jacob Kurtzberg) is the most influential artist in comic book history and one of the most important artists of the 20th century. The New Gods, also known as the Fourth World saga, is his magnum opus. It’s also brimming with Jewish elements, from the Bible to the Holocaust to…Lainie Kazan? Join journalist and author Roy Schwartz for a deep-dive into the King of Comics' greatest work!

Men of Steel: Superman vs. Übermensch

(recommended for teens & up) Debuting in June 1938’s Action Comics #1, Superman is the first superhero, the mold from which all others were cast. He soon became a symbol of America, an embodiment of its spirit and ideals. And yet, ironically, he’s often compared with or attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche’s Übermensch—a philosophical construct associated with nihilism and Nazism. Is that Superman’s secret, true origin story? Join journalist and author Roy Schwartz for a fascinating new perspective on the world's most famous superhero!

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