Simcha Weinstein is an internationally known, best-selling author. He has appeared on CNN Showbiz Tonight and NPR, and has been profiled in leading publications, including The New York Times, The Miami Herald and The London Guardian. He chairs the Religious Affair's Committee at the renowned New York art school, Pratt Institute.
Simcha holds a bachelors degree in Film History from the Manchester Metropolitan University, England. Following graduation, he became an associate for the British Film Commission and coordinated the production of hundreds of feature films throughout the United Kingdom. They say that "when man makes plans, God laughs" as his path veered from show business to the yeshiva, and he eventually became a rabbi.
Simcha's unique background and life experiences have led him to reconsider the popular culture of his youth through the lens of his commitment to Jewish ethics and spirituality. This one-of-a-kind perspective, along with his wit, makes him an entertaining and much sought-after public speaker.
This book is a good introduction to the subject of the influence that Jewish history and culture have had upon the comic book industry. Unfortunately it is doomed to stay an introduction due to its lack of depth and relatively short pieces. It is more or less a collection of short essays on various superheroes and superhero teams, none more than twenty pages long. That it not to say that this is a bad book. One thing I really like about this book is that it covers not just the expected superheroes like Superman and Batman, who are always referred to in Comic Theory books like these, but also heroes that aren't thought of to be studied in conjunction with Judaism like the Justice League, The Incredible Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. It is extremely informative and to pack so much information in such a small space is to be commended but if the reader is looking for an in depth study of religion in comics, specifically Judaism, that goes into great amounts of detail then he should look for something else. However, if one is looking for more of a light read that packs serious, scholarly information in an introductory manner, then this book could not be more on the mark.
This book is a must for anyone who read comic books as a child or teenager. It is funny and informative about the origins of our favorite comic book characters, including Superman, Batman, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, the Xmen, the Incredible Hulk and Sabra. Weinstein goes into the origins of each of these superheros and tells us how these talented Jewish comic book artists melded Jewish history, legends and culture into their stories, including the Golem. The author doesn't neglect the female comic characters either. Sabra is the most prominent 'Eshes Chayil' or woman of valor. She proceeds to 'kick tuches and take names' in her comic book appearances. I was impressed with the amount of research that the author did in producing this book. It ought to be part of the curriculum in high school literature classes along with all of those dead goyishe authors like Shakespeare.
Who would've thought Bruce, Peter and Clark were jewish names? Simcha Weinstein handles the subject matter of connecting comic book superheroes with their biblical and judaic origins with profound thought, wit, and a healthy dose of humor.
Seperated into sections breaking down the major (and sometimes minor) heroes, Weinstein details the accounts of their origins and shows how, much like authors Roland Barthes and Joseph Campbell before him, how our own modern mythologies and achetypal heroes are rooted in cultural history and religion.
Of special note is a centerpiece section that reprints actual comic book pages from some of our favorite heroes in full color that further drive the author's points home, sometimes with a startling clarity, such as a piece of art featuring X-Men villain Magneto wrapped in a Tallit.
I recently went to a reading of Up, Up, and Oy Vey at a bookshop in Brooklyn. I have not yet read the book, but am very interested in graphic novels and thought, what the heck, what about comics! Simcha Weinstein spoke about the book with wit, humor, and heart. His knowledge of comics and the film industry is very impressive and fascinating. He had the entire audience captivated. The book chronicles the influence of the Jewish people in the comic book industry. Some believe that Superman, Batman, and even The Thing were Jewish! I know, it's funny! But with the research that he gives, it totally makes sense. In the end, we know they are just comic book heroes, not people, but the book is an interesting and totally new account about comics. I bought the book and can't wait to read it and I suggest it to everyone!
If you like Judaism and you like comics this is a must have. An overview on the history of Judaism's influence on comics. It is really fascinating. As a rabbi it became clear to me that Judaism molded the comic world. I always say that Moses was the first Jewish Super Hero, this book proves it. Really a lot of fun and a great Bar Mitzvah gift for a comic book lover.
Growing up as an avid fan of comic books,video games, and science fiction in general, its hard not to have some interest in a book about the philosophical background behind a number of these fabled superheroes. Up, Up, & Oy Vey does an excellent job of depicting how these characters were sculpted from the history, culture, and values of the Jewish people. The author does a great job of embedding humor alongside the well researched facts within the text, while still allowing the reader to relate to their own childhood memories of these characters. This quick read makes a fabulous addition to any fan of imagination, creativity and science fiction, be it within the framework of comic heroes or others.