Saturday, 24 April 2010

Who Decided That Adults Didn't Need Pictures in Their Books?

Big thanks to Ellie Skrow, curator of the Peoples of the Comic Book sidebar at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. Thanks to Ellie, I had the opportunity to learn about comics and their Jewish creators. Who knew that Clark Kent/Superman’s work place, the Daily Planet was named after the Toronto Daily Star (previous name of the Toronto Star)? Hard core comic book readers probably knew, but I am a new fan of comic books so I knew nothing. Adding to my educational knowledge of comics were Ben Katchor, Harvey Pekar, Paul Buhle and Henry Mietkiewicz. Thanks to these wonderful guests I acknowledged the centuries-old elitism of the literary world in separating illustrations from text in adult literature; agreed with Harvey Pekar that the average person is as important as superheroes; thirsted for more information about the Who Framed Roger Rabbit and its references to the Blacklisting of Jews and the rise of unions; and wished I could have been a fly on the wall for Henry’s interview with Superman co-creator,Joe Shuster. (at left, a model illustration of what would become Lois Lane)

Ellie Skrow, curator Special Programs for TJFF; The Comic Art Forum with Ben Katchor, Paul Buhle and Harvey Pekar. Ben and Harvey had a good back and forth about drawing: Ben said anybody can draw and Harvey disagreed. I'm with Harvey on this one.

Paul Giamati in the Harvey Pekar bio pic, American Splendor; the real Harvey Pekar introducing American Splendor where he admits to messing up his pension (he was a government file clerk for 30 years) so badly that he has to continue working; Harvey and moderator at the Q & A where Harvey responds to the question, "do you have any siblings?" with the answer "I got a brother." followed by silence.

Former Toronto Star journalist, Henry Mietkiewicz introduces Last Son, the documentary about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman. DC Comics fired the duo in 1948 and applied a gag order that forced them into legal silence about creating the super hero. Henry was the last person to interview Joe Shuster before his death. He got the interview because he promised not to ask about the lawsuit.

Writer/lecturer Paul Buhle introduces the screening of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I always saw a woman married to a rabbit; I never saw the political context of anti-semitism, blacklisting and the land grabs that turned LA into a city of freeways instead of communities.

My next project will be going to the library to check out some graphic novels. The Toronto Public Library had over 3 thousand in its collection. I think I'll be able to find something I like. How about you?

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