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Goodreads Israel Comix Bookshelf

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Uzi by Nimrod Reshef is an action-packed 4-part miniseries that introduces Uzi, a former elite unit's combat soldier who finds himself in the middle of an all-out war between Heaven and Hell, as well as one between the Israeli police force and the Russian mafia. Uzi has some exemplary Sephardic characteristics, although nothing is told specifically in the story about his ethnicity. Furthermore, the title shows a connection to the world of Kabbalah and traditional Jewish mysticism.

Uzi fights for his life

In contrast to earlier depictions of the Mossad, the current decade's comic book Mossad characters seem to be more morally questionable and mysterious.

In The Crew #3 (Sept. 2003), "Moishe the Cleaner" is actually ex-Mossad and he mentions how teh Mossad "retired" him. It's unclear whether they had to retire him for following orders on a job or for disobeying orders.
Moishe the Cleaner tries to recruit Danny for a job

Buy The Crew #3

In Spectacular Spider-Man #8, the titular character is suddenly confronted by heavily-armed Israeli soldiers and a trenchcoated agent who seems to know more than he should and who might only assist the local authorities as long as it suits his agenda.
a trenchcoated Mossad agent has a discussion with Spider-Man

Buy Spectacular Spider-Man #8

Semantic Lace is a science-fiction graphic novel that takes place in a future Israel, in which cybernetically-linked robots are used by the military to aid in defense.

cover of Semantic Lace

in a flashback, Assad has a lunch meeting with a Mossad official who wants to recruit her

Buy Semantic Lace : Ghost Story

Israel2 was a Hebrew webcomic by Moshik Gulst that was free to view online. It seems to be a science-fiction story.
cover of Israel2

page 20 of Israel2

A new Israeli Hebrew superhero comic series appeared this decade - Adire Tkelet. It remains tio be seen if it will be any more successful than its predecessors Uri-On or Sabraman.
cover of an issue of Adire Tkelet

Former Sabraman creator Uri Fink co-wrote & illustrated a graphic novel which takes place in a world in which the world's greatest comics artists & writers immigrated to Israel, where they produce stories about the superhero known as The Golem. The cover image (of a non-exitent Golem comic is an homage to the famous cover of Action Comics #1 which depicts Superman smashing a car into a hillside.
cover of a non-existent issue of the Golem comic

An animated golem video (with singing by Yasmin Even) may be found at

Rising Stars was a well-developed, carefully planned limited series, lasting 2 years over 24 issues. In the story at the end of the 2nd volume ("Selah", Rising Stars #16 Sept. 2001), Laurel Darkhaven, a guilt-ridden, angry "special" decides to use her superpower to bring peace to the Middle East by uniting the Jews & Muslims in grief - after she destroys their holiest sites in Jerusalem. The "special"called Poet offers her an alternative method of achieveing peace. He asks her to use her power to make the barren land of the Middle East (not just Israel) fertile, bringing much-needed water to the dry desert climate. She succeeds at her taks and peace reulst, but at a high price. Using up all of her energy, Laurel dies in the process.
cover of Rising Stars #16

Poet sits by Laurel's grave and thinks about the significance of Jerusalem

Buy Rising Stars volume 2

In the science-fiction series Drafted, a group of the aliens kidnap the entire city of Jerusalem, as part of their plan to enlist the aid of the earth's humans in an upcoming war.
the city of Jerusalem is kidnapped by aliens

Buy Drafted volume 1

Jalila is one of a group of Arab comic books which was first published in Arabic and later followed by English editions. In the pages of Jalila, reference is made to the end of the "55-year war". Since the story was written in 2003, the "55 years" refers to the nunber of years since Israel's War of Independence. The two enemy groups that the titular superhero Jalila must battle are the United Liberation Force (i.e. Palestinian Liberation Organization) and the Zios Army (i.e. Zionist army).
a terrorist attack kills the rabbi, priest, and imam who were presiding over the World Pride celebration in Jerusalem

Buy Jalila #1

During the "Obsidian Age" storyline in JLA (Oct. - 2002, the Justice League travels back through time in search of Aquaman. They encounter a group of ancient superheroes, including a Superman-like alien called The Anointed One, who (unlike Superman) was raised by the ancient Hebrews and who has Hebrew words tatooed (or painted) onto him.
the Anointed One stops a ship full of Egyptian raiders

Buy JLA : The Obsidian Age : Book One

Matchman Comics was an online comic series created for the specific purpose of promoting DoubleSign.Com, an online matchmaking service. In issue #8 ("Match Shtick"), Matchman puts the kibosh on a gang of thugs who are engaged in kidnapping nice young Jewish girls from the kibbutzim in Israel, only to sell them to the highest bidder back in the Five Boroughs.
a hard-working, female kibbutznik is kidnapped

In the Christian comic book series Power Mark, the titular character assembles a multinational / multicultural group of children to assist him in telling the Bioble stories via state-of-the-art virtual reality technology. Among the youths he enlists is Yosi of Israel. Though he lives in Israel, looks Jewish and wears a yarmulke, no mention is made of his Jewish background or beliefs, he is never shown referring to the Bible as the Torah or Tanakh and neither he nor his parents question the idea of his joining a Christian missionary group.
info page for Yosi

Yosi is recruited into the Power Mark team

Buy Power Mark #3

As a way to promote the television series Heroes (especially during the periods when the show is on hiatus), NBC comissioned a series of weekly brief comic book stories that were available (in Acrobat format) for downloading exclusively via the NBC website. Since that time, a collection of the first 34 stories has been colelcted into a printed hardcover graphic novel.

In the case of the character Hana Gitelman (aka Wireless), the character was introduced via the online comic stories and she had a more siginificant role (as well as more dialogue and "screen time") in the comics than she ever had on the TV show itself.

Hana was introduced in the story "Wirless Part 1", in which readers are shown that she is rejected from serving in the paratroopers unit out of fear that her judgement could not be trusted.
Hana attacks her superior officer in a foolish attempt to prove her worthiness

In the story "The Death of Hana Gitelman", Hana sacrifices herself while destroying a spy sattelite that endangered the lives of all of the super-powered mutants.
Hana destroys the tracking sattelite

Buy Heroes : Volume One

Y : The Last Man also has a tough, strong-willed female soldier character - Alter Tse'elon. In the first issue (Sept. 2002), a plague kills all the males on the planet, which allows Israel (whose female soldiers have the most ground forces battle experience of any Middle eastern nation) to secure its borders in a way it was unable to do before. However, when it is discovered that a single man has survived the plague, he is seen as a strategic advantage that Alter insists must belong to Israel alone.

In a flashback sequence in Y : The Last Man #48 (Aug. 2006), Alter's pre-plague life is shown, including the incident that led to her promotion.
Alter tries to stop an Arab woman at a checkpoint

the suicide bomber blows herself up

Alter attacks her colonel

Read the entire first 32-page issue of Y (in Acrobat format)

Buy Y : The Last Man : Unmanned (book 1)

In "Blow Up"(411 #1 June 2003), a grieving Israeli air force pilot comandeers a jet after his daughter is killed as a result of a suicide bomb attack. Rather than use the jet to exact vengeance, he uses it to issue a creepy warning to both sides that the violence must end.
the comandeered jet is used to drop fliers

an Arab woman and an Israeli woman look at one side of the flier - 'you killed my daughter'

the rest of the flier is shown - 'I could have killed yours. We must stop now, before you know my pain

Buy 411 #1

With Families of Altered Wars, author-illustrator Ted Nomura imagines various "what if "war scenarios, such as "what would the world have been like had World War II continued into 1946?" Issue 109 (June 2003) contains part 5 of the story "Raumkreg", in which a "pre-Israeli air force" is formed for covert operations, thanks to the work of a former U.S. Army Master Sergeant. The issue also contains part 1 of the Brotherhood of Tigers storyline "Jenin : 2002".

In the page shown below, Nomura provides a brief, true history of the Israeli Air Force before continuing with his speculative fiction.
abbreviated history of the Israeli Air Force

The back cover of the comic depicts 3 of the fictional planes in color with brief descriptions.
3 of the planes used in the fictional story

Among the characters in the graphic novel Cairo (Vertigo, 2007) is Tova, an Israeli Special Forces soldier trapped on the wrong side of the border. She just wants to go home, and she'll punch, kick, or shoot whoever she has to to get there.
cover of Cairo

Buy Cairo

In the 29th issue of G.I. Joe : America's Elite (Nov. 2007), which will be reprinted in G.I. Joe America's Elite Volume 5: WWIII Omnibus, the team successfully prevents an assasination attempt on the Israeli Prime Minister when he delivers a speech at the Western Wall.
the Prime Minister visits the Western Wall, where he has planned a press conference

Pre-order G.I. Joe America's Elite Volume 5: WWIII Omnibus

Although cartoonist Stephen Pastis usually inhabits his humorous comic strips with anthropomorphic animals. Howver, for this special strip, Pastis sends a message of consolation and humanity instead of humor and borrows from the minimalist style of Yaakov Kirschen, depicting a simple television set without showing any faces.
a TV set tells the horror of an attck on an Israeli bus and the young victims who were on it

Buy Lions and Tigers and Crocs, Oh My!: A Pearls Before Swine Treasury, which contains reprints of the comic strip, as well as Stephan Pastis' commentary.

Shabot 6000 is one of the few free online Orthodox Jewish humor comic strips in America.
nothing funny about 60 .... 69, on the other hand ....

In 2007, the French-languge graphic album Moussa et David : Deux enfants d'un même pays was published by Tartamudo. It tells the story of a Palestinian boy and an Israeli boy who become friends through playing soccer together.

You may look at all the pages as a very fast slide show by going to

Below is a video of the highlights of the book, set to Arabic and Jewish music.

Buy Moussa et David

Carlos Latuff is a controversial Brazailian cartoonist.

Among his series of illustrations is the touching "Forgiveness", 2 of which are shown below.
an Arab man hugs an Israeli man, tears in their eyes

It is doubtful that the scene below would occur, since an Orthodox male is forbidden from holding hands with women (except for his wife).
an Arab girl in a wheelchair holds hands with a Hasidic Israeli boy (also in a wheelchair)

However, Latuff has also produced inflammatory artwork, such as the cartoon below (found at, illustrating the thoughts of reknowned Israel-basher Norman Finkelstein.
Norman compares an attack on a bus with an attack on an Israeli terrorist, showing that both have 'collateral damage'

Another inflammatory cartoonist whose work is getting noticed is Katie Miranda. Two examples of her comic strip narratives are below.
Miranda suggests that Israelis are stealing Palestinian homes and specifically criticizes the remarks of Baruch Marzel

'we are tired of waiting periods and interim agreements'

"Israel Man & Diaspora Boy" is a very recent online comic by Eli Valley which adds a visual element to certain pro-Israel / anti-non-Israeli-Jews statements that were made by famous Zionists, such as Jacob Klatzkine.
caricatures of 'perfect' Israelis and 'ugly' Diaspora Jews are contrasted

Between 2005 and 2006, writer Eli Eshed and cartoonist Uri Fink (best known for Sabraman and Zbeng were responsible for the online humor comic strip The Golem : Adventures of an Israeli Super Hero.
critique of Israeli education and goverment - high taxes with little in return

Uri Fink also published the eponymous one-shot comic Fink!.

Fink! is a mixture of stories using different subjects, purposes, and styles.

In "Hum-Maus", Fink appropriates the anthropomorphic style & symbolism made famous in Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer-Prize-winning work Maus. However, in Fink's version, Israelis (bulls) are introduced and they end up treating an innocent Polish Jewish family as if they were a fanily of terrorists.
a Jewish-Polish family is subjected to a house search by Israeli soldiers

In 2 other separate stories, Fink incorporates the look and feel of an Archie comic. In one story, Archie and the gang stand in for haredi Jews, while in another they are Muslim teenagers.
Batya and Sharonica plan a surprise for Arik, oblivious to what's going on around them and to the repercussions of their actions

Rajib decides to become a suicide bomber

Buy Fink!

Etgar Keret's graphic novel Pizzeria Kamikaze (2006) has been adapted into a feature film titled Wristcutters. Both the graphicnovel and the film involve a special section of teh afterlife reserved for suicides.
Gelfand's racism remains intact --- even in the afterlife

Buy Pizzeria Kamikaze

The story "Love, Raed" is notable in at least 3 ways : (1) It is written by Jason Franks (i.e. not by a Palestinian) ; (2) there are almost no Jews in the story, which is told from the point-of-view of a Palestinian youth ; (3) the story appeared in an anthology of "tainted love" comix stories not in an anthology of religion comix stories or political comix. The motivation for Fatima to become an extremist is only partly explained by her political conviction and sense of justice. An important motivator for her is the acdeptance of her ex-lover's politics (which she had disagreed with) --- even after he had broken off the relationship with her.
lovestruck Fatima holds out hope for the future and places a high value on education

Fatima learns that Raed is no longer her boyfriend

a much-changed Fatima talks with Ibrahim, who is worried about her

Fatima the suicide bomber, on a bus

To order Tango #7 (Love & Sedition), go to

After 9/11, many cartoonists came together to cathartically express their sense of loss, while at the same time producing stories and art that could be used to raise money for worthy charities.

The story excerpted below involves a meeting of peace-seeking leaders in Heaven. Among those leaders is Israel's former Prime Minister Golda Meir.
Golda Meir - 'always you don't mention Jerusalem and two thousand years of struggle over the holy city!'

Golda Meir - 'great injustice must be fought, often at great cost'

Buy 9-11: Artists Respond, Volume 1

The decsription for this issue reads in part "After an aggressive protest breaks out in front of the Judeo-Islamic Party's headquarters, Katherine Yahweh is forced to confront one of the most sensitive issues facing her party: the Israeli/Palestinian conflict." If you have access to the Internet while in the United States, you can get a free Wowio account and then read the entire 2nd issue for free by going to

Watch a trailer for the issue.

Buy Election #2

Mostly about an American youth who gets involved in a terrorist cell, the graphic novel Johnny Jihad (2003) has a single page depicting an Israeli soldier (reprodcued below). In that scene, the soldier executes a youth wearing a khafiyeh and then smiles.
'There stood his executioner ... an Israeli soldier. He was smiling.'

Buy Johnny Jihad

In Hungry Heart (2007), a Russian-born Israeli immigrant to Canada must contend with her lover's continued online long-distance romance with an Israeli woman.
Nicole feels embarassed at being called 'Olenka' in public

The "exit wounds" of this next book's title seems to refer not to the physical wounds that result from weapons of war, but rather to the emotional wounds that we suffer when a loved one "exits" out of one's life without warning, reason, or compassion. Such abandonment is felt by the book's central protagonist, Kobi, as a result of Kobi's vagabond father, who never actually makes an appearance in the story itself.
Exit Wounds (Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, 2007).
An online study guide for the graphic novel may be found at

Numi tells Koby that his father may have been killed in a bus bombing

Buy Exit Wounds

"Opportunities Lost" by the aforementioned Katie Miranda seems to be based upon an interview, making it similar to Joe Sacco's style of comics journalism.
Khalid explains why his dream of becoming a doctor remains unfulfilled

Homeland (Chicago : Nachshon Press, 2007) utilizes both beautifully-rendered painted illustrations and photographs to tell the history of the state of Israel from ancient times to events as recent as 2006. It has already won such awards as the National Jewish Book Award, was chosen as for the USA Book News Best Books for 2007, was a Gold Medal Winner of the 2007 Moonbeam Book Awards and is a 2008 AJL Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teen Readers. According to a Worldcat search performed on June 18th, 123 libraries (or library systems) own at least 1 copy of the title.

cover of Homeland

Shabbetai Tzvi and pioneers

Buy Homeland

Another submission for one of the 9/11 anthologies was this one-pager showing the world united in horror (including Israel) upon learning of the attack upon the twin towers.
a world united in grief and horror

Buy 9-11: Artists Respond, Volume 1

Pilgrimage : Two Weeks in G-d's Countrty (2005?) is a sketchbook-style journal of Neil Kleid's trip to Israel, where he visited a number of sites including the Tower of David. The Tower had been inspirational for Kleid at an important stage of his life. This will be discussed in greater detail in Kleid's forthcoming graphic memoir Migdal David.
Kleid's observations while touring Jerusalem

To purchase Pilgrimage, go to

Cargo : Comic Journalism Israel-Germany was an attempt at cartooning exchange. German cartoonists came to Israel and reported on their experience, while Israeli cartoonists visited Germany and submitted their pieces. The page below is from "Ticket to God" (by Jens Harder) and shows how the protest against the effort to hold the World Pride Day march in Jerusalem united Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders who would otherwise be hard-pressed to even meet together in the same room. Unsaid by Harder is how the organizing of World Pride Day also united the GLBT community across varied backgrounds, cultures, religions and political lines.
press conference

Buy Cargo : Journalism, Israel - Germany

David Choe's illustrated travelogue of his time in Israel and Gaza ("Yoffee Toffee" in Rosetta : A Comics Anthology, 2002 ; reprinted in Bruised Fruit, 2002) includes his description of the Black Israeli community in Dimona.
'The vibe is so relaxed, people are just walking around, congregating, there is music from all around'

Buy Rosetta volume 1

"States of Mind" is a well-done capsule account of how two differently-oriented Birthright Israel participants went to Israel with a specific point-of-view and came back with their resolve strengthened. This one-pager by Richard Tenorio was published in the magazine Moment(Summer, 2005).
Prime Minister Sharon gets grilled from both sides of the political spectrum

By contrast, Birthright participant Sarah Glidden's How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less is a longer, contemplative work-in-progress examining what happened to Glidden on her trip, how she felt about what she saw, heard, and learned and how she struggled to properly evaluate the information that was thrust upon her and the others in her group.
Sarah realizes that the bus is driving close to 'the wall', so she asks Gil (their guide) to talk about it

Buy How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less : Orientation or
How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less : The Golan Heights

In this biographical story, which appeared in a 9/11 anthology, Joyce Brabner is shown talking to one of the Israeli activists she met in Israel. An incident that was mentioned by the activist in Our Cancer Year is illustrated in the story (i.e. how her peacenik friend was assaulted simply for wearing a shirt that promoted the message of peace).
a peacenik wearing a dove shirt is accosted by a group of Orthodox men

'the extremists ... are the ones who ... collect every piece of each  body ... and put the corpse together

Buy 9-11: Emergency Relief

The following page is from a sketchbook entitled Portraits of Israelis and Palestinians : For My Parents by activist-artist Seth Tobocman.
Is she an Arab or a Jew?

Buy Portraits of Israelis and Palestinians: For My Parents

In the short piece "Maloposka" (from the Winter issue of Guilt & Pleasure), Yirmi Pinkus reflects on memory and the associations attached to specific places.
'Tel Aviv, a city of immigrants, the first Mediterranean shtetl'

Nekudat Mifgash (meeting spot) is a 3-part autobiographical story of young Eliyahu Misgav, a former Yeshiva student who decides that he wants to learn to become a graphic designer while maintaining his Orthodox way of living. The story was submitted as his final project to the board of the Holon Institute of Technology and Design Academy.

page from Nekudat Mifgash

Sipur Varod (by Ilana Zeffren) is a Hebrew-language graphic autobiography by an Israeli lesbian - a specific type of comix biography that seems to be rare.

page from Sipur Varod

In this page from "Eucalyptus Nights" (from the Spring 2006 issue of Guilt & Pleasure), Miriam Katin shows a prejudiced officer's attitudes towards Israeli Sephardim. Sephardim are not shown in comics very often and when they do appear, it is usually not a flattering portrait.

'Is a Sephardi not a Jew?'

These next 2 pages from Ah, Gilgamesh, or Swim at Your Own Risk are another example of such portrayal. The first page shows Tatiana's lover making a self-depreciating joke about a Kurd and explaining that he seemed to be destined to be a lowly mechanic.

'the only reason you believe in me is because you are a foreginer'

The page below shows them on a date at the theatre, where he is warned not to start any trouble. When Tatiana seems puzzled by the usher's rude comment, he explains that - in Israel - he is considered "black", while she is considered "white".

'See? In Israel that is white and this is black'

Last year, Peter Kuper's semi-autobiographical hardcover graphic novel Stop Forgetting to Remember was published. Although Kuper spent a whole year in Israel during his father's sabbatical there, he gives the experience scant attention - the bottom 5 panels of page 158, in which he shows how alienated and victimized he became as a result of the language and cultural barriers, which seem to have been especially difficult since he was just a child at the time.

'the language barrier led to numerous misunderstandings and endless ass-kickings'

Buy Stop Forgetting to Remember: The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz

Miriam Libicki was an American-Jewish teen when she decided to make aliyah (move to Israel) and to immediately serve in the Israeli army. Considered unfit for combat-type duties, she was assigned clerical work, becoming what is called a "jobnik". Now living in Vancouver, Libicki has translated her experience in Israel into a comic book series, the first volume of which has been collected into a trade paperback.

5-page reviews pages of the first five issues may be found at

'i don't see my comic ... as an answer to joe sacco's PALESTINE.'

Miriam is also responsible for an illustrated journal which deals with the time she spent in Israel during the second Lebanon War and an illustrated essay titled "Towards a Hot Jew : The Israeli Soldier as Fetish Object" (which was published in the March / April 2006 issue of New Voices).

'My parents are telling me it's ten times the sirens went off today!'

'my short stint in Israel opened up a world of beauty to me'

1 comment:

Elite-Illustrator said...

you did not mention the FalafelMAn, by dorit Maya Gur !