As a life-long comic book collector, I have always marveled at the fact that the comic book companies have taken steps to create characters that people can relate to on multiple levels. One of these levels takes that form of religious leanings. This article takes a look at many of the Jewish comic book characters over the years.
In no way is this a complete list of all of the Jewish comic book characters that have graced the pages of our favorite comics over the years. It simply takes a look at some of the more popular characters and how they have dealt with their Jewish faith.
Ben Grimm became to be known as the Thing after the initial accident that gave the Fantastic Four their powers. Perhaps the most popular character on the list of Jewish comic book character, Ben Grimm found it hard after his accident to come to terms with his religion. He was quoted in many comic books as believing that God was distant, unforgiving, out of touch, or even non-existent.
Max Eisenhardt was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. In Uncanny X-Men #199, we find that he saved the lives of many other victims by using his hidden mutant powers. For a very long time, he stayed active in the Jewish community, and took pride in his meetings with other Holocaust survivors.
In, The Uncanny X-Men issue 199, it was revealed that Katherine Pryde’s grandfather, Samuel Prydeman was a Holocaust survivor. She is often seen wearing a Star of David necklace, and is seen in some issues practicing her Jewish faith.
Katherine Kane is one of the more overtly religious characters in DC Comics. While there have been very few actual statements over the years of her religion, religious symbols of the Jewish faith are seen in her house all the time.
Benny Krupp, Captain Underpants, is Jewish. In fact, if you look over the character’s last names, many of them share their last names with prominent Jewish people throughout the years.
Private Izzy Cohen
When Stan Lee created, Sergeant Fury’s Howling Commandos, he stocked the platoon with characters of different religions and different ethnic origins. Private Izzy Cohen was the addition to the team to represent the Jewish people in the military.
The Phantom Stranger
While no official statement has ever been made of the enigmatic Phantom Stranger’s religious beliefs, there have been multiple statements made in his comics that would make one believe that he at least has some kind of religious reverence for the power of God.
What makes the Phantom Stranger an interesting case here is the fact that there are varying stories about his origin. There are four official possibilities (you can read about them here), and three of them would make him Jewish. If this is true, it would make the Phantom Stranger the most powerful Jewish comic book character.
While there are many other Jewish comic book characters, these are the most popular, prevalent, and recognizable. Again, these Jewish comic book characters were inserted to make it so that a wider audience could relate to comic book characters.
Associated Content: Stan Lee Interview with Associated Content
Associated Content: The Phantom Stranger The Most Enigmatic Character in Comic Books