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Judaic Audio Lectures, Panel Discussions, Author Talks, Workshops & More

The AJL Podcast brings you the best talks on Jewish literature and the Jewish library world, with respected experts and popular authors. Please check back periodically, as new lectures will be added to the series.


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Entries for 'Comics'

The ways that women have been portrayed in comics during the past 75 years has led to criticism by fans, scholars, and creators in the industry. At one extreme, there are unrealistic superwomen who are shown being able to juggle both their career and their household, while still finding time to use their superpowers to save the world time and again. At the other extreme are women characters who are victimized, brutalized, and/or sexualized to a greater extent than their male counterparts. Although Jewish women characters are a minority in the comix genre, dozens of examples of such characters may be found. This session highlights several examples of such characters from various comix genres (e.g. Bibllical, superhero, biographical, war, graphic fiction, travelogues) and illustrate what types of values these characters embody.

NOTE: At the end of this recording, speaker Steven Bergson mentions the following speaker, Barry Deutsch, author of Hereville, whose presentation may be found here.

For the visuals from this presentation, please visit http://jewishwomenincomix.blogspot.com.

Presented by Steven Bergson at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

27 min 51 sec

It is not unheard of for a webcomic to be published in a print edition (e.g. the Eisner award-winning Cancer Mom). It is not unprecedented for a graphic novel to be published which features a young Jewish girl (e.g. Token). However, it is rare to find a graphic novel that stars an 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl who aspires to fight dragons. Author-illustrator Barry Deutsch discusses his literary influences, the experience of self-publishing a serialized webcomic, the process of creating Hereville, and future plans for Hereville - a book described by School Library Journal blogger Elizabeth Bird as "the best graphic novel of 2010 for kids. Bar none."

Presented by Barry Deutsch at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

30 min

AJL’s 2011 Western Regional Conference on Jewish Literature for Children revolved around the theme of graphic litrature. The event was held April 3, 2011 at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA.

Featured Speakers:

Sid Jacobson was editor in chief at Harvey Comics, where he created Richie Rich, and was the executive editor at Marvel Comics. His collaborations with illustrator Ernie Colon include the fascinating 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, and the new illustrated biography of Anne Frank entitled, Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography.

William J. Rubin is the executive editor of Nachshon Press and the chief architect of the National Jewish Book Award winner, Homeland: The Illustrated History of the State of Israel.

Barry Deutsch is the 2011 Sydney Taylor Award winner for Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword.

Anastasia Betts is a well-known education professional with an expertise in graphic literature.

1 hr 27 min 52 sec

Information about information books: do “they” pick out the pictures and write the narrative? Or do “they” write the text and find pictures to match? Find out as three recognized authors, Deborah Heiligman, Christos Nicola, and Bill Rubin, talk about the cahllenges of this genre.

Deborah Heiligman is the author of 25 books for children, including the AJL Notable books Celebrate Hanukkah, Celebrate Passover, and Celebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur.

Christos Nicola has devoted over 30 years to the study and exploration of caves in the former Soviet Union, as well as the Caribbean, Europe, and the Americas. He is the founder of the nonprofit Ukranian American Youth Caver Exchange Foundation. His book, The Secret of Priest’s Grotto: A Holocaust Survival Story, received a 2008 Sydney Taylor Honor Award for Older Readers.

William J. Rubin is the Executive Director/COO of the Community Foundation for Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago and the driving force behind the graphic novel HOMELAND: An Illustrated History of the State of Israel.

They presented this session at the Celebration of Jewish Children’s Literature that was held in honor of the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s 40th anniversary, as part of the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention, on June 25, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

1 hr 10 min 52 sec

Although several comic book stories have tried to describe life in Israel (Joe Sacco’s Palestine; Peter Kuper’s Promised Land; Uri Fink’s Fink!), very few of them have been written by women and none of them have tried to show what life is like for those who work behind the scenes in the Israeli army, working desk jobs and performing menial tasks (the so-called “jobnikim”). Miriam Libicki, who spent two years as a volunteer in the Israeli army, is currently completing work on her self-published comic book series jobnik!, while also writing illustrated essays such as “Towards a Hot Jew: The Israeli Soldier as Fetish Object,” “ceasefire,” and “Jewish Memoir Goes Pow! Zap! Oy!” Miriam discusses her influences, what led her to choose comics as a format, why she started the jobnik! series, her self-publishing experience, and how her work has been received thus far in Israel and elsewhere.

Miriam Libicki was born in 1981 in Columbus, Ohio. After living in Jerusalem and Seattle, Washington, she is now based in Vancouver, BC. She completed her BFA from Emily Carr Institute in 2006. She is the creator of the comic series jobnik! and the drawn essays “Towards a Hot Jew,” “ceasefire,” and “Jewish Memoir Goes Pow! Zap! Oy!” (in The Jewish Graphic Novel, forthcoming from Rutgers University Press). See her blog at www.realgonegirl.com

23 min 45 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Though the American comic book format has only been around for 75 years, every decade since 1933 has seen examples of stories taking place in Israel or using Israeli characters. There have been over a dozen examples since 2000 (and the decade’s not over yet!). This presentation showcases the variety and types of such representation. These include superhero stories, humor cartoons, first-person travelogues, “comics journalism,” biographies, wordless collages, graphic histories and graphic fiction. Though comics are still often seen as irrelevant and catering to a niche market, this presentation should demonstrate that there are notable exceptions, which make it worthwhile to be aware of what is being published and what those publications are trying to say.

An online handout which includes the visual elements of this presentation may be found at israelincomics.blogspot.com.

Steve Bergson is research administrator for the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, and he blogs about Jewish comics at jewishcomics.blogspot.com. He gave this presentation at the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention on June 23, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

32 min 44 sec