The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, a novel that takes place during the "Golden Age" of comics, a magical era right before television when the country was at war and needed a medium that could help them coupe with these difficult times. Who was behind the creation of many of these superheroes? Who desperately needed an alter-ego? The American Jewish male; growing up in America Jewish males faced many stereotypes, most of which were concerned with the physical stature and the masculine identity. As we have discussed in class, the majority of the thoughts revolve around the idea that the Jewish male is a frail, somewhat feminine, intellect who in no way fits the description of the rugged all American male that many men strive for.
When Michael Chabon, author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, was asked what kind of superhero he most relates to he said; "There's Daredevil, who was blind; Hour Man, who had his powers for an hour; Bouncing Boy bounced into people; Matter Eater, who could eat anything, and as a nebbishy Jewish guy from Cleveland, I always identified with characters with greater frailty." This notion of relating to someone or something else is what made the comic book industry such a booming business, and this is also why it was so easy for Jews to identify with these characters. The first of these characters was and still is Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jews who grew up together in Cleveland and moved to New York to work for DC comics. Superman was an inspiration for many of Jewish Americans who, like Superman had been ripped from their home lands and placed in a foreign land because of war and the destruction of their people. While Jews did not have any super-human powers like Superman, they must have associated with the idea that mild-mannered Clark Kent was able to transform in to a crusader for justice, something I'm sure that each and... [continues]
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