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Contemporary Religion and Popular Culture

Re-Constructing the Man of Steel

Superman 1938–1941, Jewish American History, and the Invention of the Jewish–Comics Connection

Authors: Lund, Martin

  • Presents compelling encouragement to readers to reconsider the application of contemporary reading of the Jewish experience onto comics in the United States
  • Draws attention to the imprecision and incorrect assumptions surrounding the emergence of comic culture in the 1930s and 1940s
  • Offers up in-depth readings, investigations, and contextualization of the last thirty years of scholarship in comics
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eBook 76,99 €
price for France (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-42960-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 89,66 €
price for France (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-42959-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

In this book, Martin Lund challenges contemporary claims about the original Superman’s supposed Jewishness and offers a critical re-reading of the earliest Superman comics. Engaging in critical dialogue with extant writing on the subject, Lund argues that much of recent popular and scholarly writing on Superman as a Jewish character is a product of the ethnic revival, rather than critical investigations of the past, and as such does not stand up to historical scrutiny. In place of these readings, this book offers a new understanding of the Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in the mid-1930s, presenting him as an authentically Jewish American character in his own time, for good and ill.
On the way to this conclusion, this book questions many popular claims about Superman, including that he is a golem, a Moses-figure, or has a Hebrew name. In place of such notions, Lund offers contextual readings of Superman as he first appeared, touching on, among other ideas, Jewish American affinities with the Roosevelt White House, the whitening effects of popular culture, Jewish gender stereotypes, and the struggles faced by Jewish Americans during the historical peak of American anti-Semitism.
In this book, Lund makes a call to stem the diffusion of myth into accepted truth, stressing the importance of contextualizing the Jewish heritage of the creators of Superman. By critically taking into account historical understandings of Jewishness and the comics’ creative contexts, this book challenges reigning assumptions about Superman and other superheroes’ cultural roles, not only for the benefit of Jewish studies, but for American, Cultural, and Comics studies as a whole.

About the authors

Martin Lund is a Swedish Research Council International Postdoc at Linnaeus University, Sweden. He is also a Visiting Research Scholar at the Gotham Center for New York City History, CUNY Graduate Center, USA. He has a PhD in Jewish Studies from Lund University, as well as a Masters in Theology, History and Anthropology of Religion, also from Lund University, Sweden. His publications include articles and book chapters on subjects such as comics and religion, identity, race, and place.

Table of contents (10 chapters)

  • Introduction: Who Is Superman?

    Lund, Martin

    Pages 1-17

    Preview Buy Chapter 29,94 €
  • Introducing the Jewish–Comics Connection

    Lund, Martin

    Pages 19-42

    Preview Buy Chapter 29,94 €
  • The Jewish–Comics Connection Reconsidered

    Lund, Martin

    Pages 43-67

    Preview Buy Chapter 29,94 €
  • And So Begins a Startling Adventure

    Lund, Martin

    Pages 69-82

    Preview Buy Chapter 29,94 €
  • Superman, Champion of the Oppressed

    Lund, Martin

    Pages 83-98

    Preview Buy Chapter 29,94 €

Buy this book

eBook 76,99 €
price for France (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-42960-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 89,66 €
price for France (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-42959-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Re-Constructing the Man of Steel
Book Subtitle
Superman 1938–1941, Jewish American History, and the Invention of the Jewish–Comics Connection
Authors
Series Title
Contemporary Religion and Popular Culture
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-42960-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-42960-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-42959-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VIII, 215
Topics