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Super Heroes Never Die comes to Brussels' Jewish Museum

18:16 01/11/2019

A new exhibition tracing the development of American comic strips - and their Jewish connection - has opened at Brussels' Jewish Museum.

Super Heroes Never Die - Comics and Jewish Memories is an updated version of a show created by the the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme in Paris and the Joods Historisch Museum of Amsterdam, which has travelled around the world.

"Most of the most famous superheroes we still know today like Superman, Hulk, Thor and X-Men were created by Jewish authors," says co-curator Karim Tall. "As were the early 20th century newspaper comic strips, some published in English, some in Yiddish.

"Superman's origin story is very reminiscent of Moses - and The Thing is clearly inspired by the Golem, which comes from Jewish tradition."

Tall, and co-curator Bruno Benvindo, have refreshed the exhibition, which is divided into five chronological sections, tracing the development of American comic strips from the early 20th century strips in newspapers to today's contemporary comic books.

Along the way we discover the creation of Superman in the 1930s, which was followed by many other superheroes in Marvel and DC Comics.

Recognition is given to Will Eisner, who created masked crime fighter The Spirit, but who is also recognised as the creator of the graphic novel with A Contract with God. There is space devoted to the politically involved Mad Magazine and also to the underground comics of the 1960s such as the work of R. Crumb.

Special attention is paid to Art Spiegelman’s Maus, a graphic novel about the Holocaust which won the Pulitzer Prize, a first for comics.

Throughout the show the visitor will be able to enjoy reading a number of original boards and perusing original covers. Running alongside this exhibition, the museum is opening a new exhibition space entitled Carte Blanche which is devoted to contemporary and emerging art. The first show is comprised of pieces of outsider art on loan from the Musée Art et Marges.

Super Heroes Never Die, until 26 April 2020, Jewish Museum, Brussels.
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Written by Richard Harris