Interview: Jews and American Comics Editor, Paul Buhle

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Released earlier this week by The New Press, Brown professor Paul Buhle’s Jews in American Comics could have easily been yet another rehash of a long line of academic treatises on the subject of Jewish-American involvement in the creation of the superhero, most recently exemplified by Danny Fingeroth’s Superman Disguised as Clark Kent.

Fortunately for us, however, Buhle considers himself something of a peer to artists like Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman. A spiritual descendant of Harvey Kurtzman and his ilk, the realm of capes and tights never really did all that much for the author.

Instead, the book maps the role of Jewish creators from the early days of syndicated comics through the innovations brought forth by EC/MAD, and ultimately through the explosion of the underground and its subsequent repercussions.

For a more complete review of the book, check the most recent issue of The New York Press. After the jump you’ll find a full—if short—interview conducted with Buhle for the publication.

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Where Demented Wented Book Release

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Where Demented Wented Book Release
Desert Island Comics, Brooklyn, NY 8/8/08

[Gary Panter, Bill Griffith]

[More photos available on our Flickr page.]

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“This is the largest crowd that Rory’s ever had,” laughed Bill Griffith, only half-jokingly. Desert Island Comics was packed Friday night, in joint celebration of Fantagraphics’ upcoming Rory Hayes anthology, Where Demented Wented and a posthumous celebration of the artist’s 59th birthday. The owners Brooklyn-based shop had diligently swept all of the store’s waste-high shelves into the its remotest corner, but the space was still standing room-only, at best.

Griffith’s bafflement at the matter was palatable. After all, Hayes was never really recognized in his lifetime, whatever minor fame he achieved paling in comparison to habitually lauded peers like Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson. Posthumous fame hasn’t exactly been forthcoming, either. For all intents and purposes, the newly-issued Fantagraphics volume is the first widely available anthology of Hayes’s work.

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