Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2012

Publication Title

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S.

Abstract

How should we interpret the transnational economy of comic books produced and published by American Israelis in Israel that are distributed by American Jewish publishers in the United States? When such comic books earn haskamot—letters of approbation by religious authorities attesting to their religious merit and educational worthiness—and become religiously sanctioned Jewish books, what are the consequences for our understanding of American Jewish writing? Are Orthodox comic books a novel, albeit conservative form of Jewish oppositional culture? I asked these questions at the conclusion of an earlier essay on contemporary American Jewish comic books, hoping that others would see them as indicative of the issues describing and catalyzing a new area of American Jewish literary studies. In what follows I probe for answers: first, by establishing a critical and sociohistorical context for reading Mahrwood Press's Orthodox comic books as innovative but understudied cultural productions; and second, by analyzing a number of examples to show how they convey a masculinist, Jewish ethos opposed to an individualist, secular modernity while admiring ingenuity that conserves tradition. Mahrwood Press provides an exemplary case study, because its founder's biography and publishing vision, the artists and writers he commissioned, and the stories he wrote and published spotlight how issues of cultural renewal and heterogeneity complicate our understanding of networks and the flow of information across spaces, places, and times. Mahrwood also reveals a provocative strand of the contemporary religious imaginary in US and American Jewish comic books.

Comments

Roth, L.."Innovation and Orthodox Comic Books: The Case of Mahrwood Press." This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S. following peer review. The version of record is available online at https://muse.jhu.edu/article/478729

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.