TJFF presents PEOPLE OF THE COMIC BOOK The Creators of Superheroes, Graphic Novels & Toons

Paul Buhle
Author Paul Buhle's illustrated talk on JEWS AND COMIC ART * Sun April 18 * 11AM * Al Green Theatre * FREE

PEOPLE OF THE COMIC BOOK:
The Creators Of Superheroes, Graphic Novels & Toons

 Sidebar Series to the 18th Annual Toronto Jewish Film Festival

Curated by TJFF’s  Ellie Skrow

April 17 – 25, 2010

http://www.tjff.com/

 

Includes an illustrated talk with Paul Buhle – Jews and Comic Art
Al Green Theatre
Sunday April 18, 2010
11:00 AM
a FREE Event

The connections between Jews and comic art on the printed page and on screen (film, TV and computer) offer one of the most enigmatic and valuable sagas in all Jewish/popular cultural life. Before Jewish artists and entrepreneurs created the comic book and the archetypal superhero, Rube Goldberg and Milt Gross invented wildly imaginary machines and the first graphic novel. More important, the Fleischer brothers as much as invented animation, with Betty Boop’s syncopated madness. For 30 years, movie cartoons filled theatre screens between features, and as they crashed, William M. Gaines (EC Comics) and Harvey Kurtzman (Mad Magazine) reinvented comic art once more. And that was only the beginning! Comics scholar Paul Buhle opens up the TJFF’s exploration and celebration of this field with film clips and observations, high points, disappointments and, increasingly, Jewish self-identification.

The Comic Art Forum
with special guests Harvey Pekar, Ben Katchor and Paul Buhle
Al Green Theatre
Sunday April 18, 2010

4:00 PM
a FREE Event
What’s new in Jews and comics, and … what’s old! This forum includes guests Paul Buhle, Harvey Pekar and Ben Katchor who  will probe familiar questions (what is it about comic art that drew Jewish artists in the first place?) and go on to recent ones (why is 90 percent of comic art on the web?). Just some of the other topics: Where is the comics industry going, now that the traditional comic book of the pulp variety is dying, and what has happened since comics became a growth industry, but mainly for the sale of superhero characters to Hollywood? Paul Buhle (author/editor of 42 books) and Harvey Pekar (American Splendor) have collaborated on a series of comic art volumes, including The Beats, Students for a Democratic Society, an adaptation of Studs Terkel’s Working and the forthcoming Yiddishland. Graphic novelist, cartoonist and regular contributor to The New Yorker and the New York Times Ben Katchor  is the only cartoonist to receive a “genius” MacArthur Fellowship

The connections between Jews and comic art on the printed page and on screen (film, TV and computer) offer one of the most enigmatic and valuable sagas in all Jewish/popular cultural life.

Before Jewish artists and entrepreneurs created the comic book and the archetypal superhero, Rube Goldberg and Milt Gross invented wildly imaginary machines and the first graphic novel.  More important, the Fleischer brothers as much as invented animation, with Betty Boop’s syncopated madness. For 30 years, movie cartoons filled theatre screens between features, and as they crashed, William M. Gaines (EC Comics) and Harvey Kurtzman (Mad Magazine) reinvented comic art once more. And that was only the beginning!

Comics scholar Paul Buhle opens up the TJFF’s exploration and celebration of this field with film clips and observations, high points, disappointments and, increasingly, Jewish self-identification.

People of the Comic Book celebrates the pioneers and creators of this unique form of popular culture, and TJFF through a series of documentary films, features, shorts and special events, pay tribute to the remarkable contribution of Jewish artists.  These include filmmaker Gary VandenBergh  (who brings an exciting work-in-progress on Mad Magazine artist Will Elder to the Festival), and director Sam Ball (Pleasures of Urban Decay and also Joann Sfar Draws From Memory – a work-in-progress on the French graphic novelist).

Some other examples include Harvey Pekar, who will be in town with his American Splendor, and will chat following the screening, Fritz the Cat (a special midnight screening at The Bloor), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (with a special intro by Paul Buhle), Ron Mann’s Comic Book Confidential;  The False Forest and Other Picture Stories (a live reading by Ben Katchor), Irreverent Imagination: The Golden Age of Looney Tunes;  Joan Sfar Draws from memory (work in progress, with Pleasures of Urban Decay), The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story; The Mad Playboy of Art (work in progress on Mad Magazine art works), and Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist.

Superman, who first appeared in 1938 on the cover of Action Comics No. 1 (an issue worth $1 million today), was created by a couple of Jewish kids — Toronto-born Joe Shuster (cousin of Frank Shuster of Canadian comedy duo Wayne & Shuter) and Cleveland native Jerry Siegel and their story will be seen in the Canadian Premiere of Last Son.