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Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, a genuine Jewish superhero – The Legend of Shaloman #1

September 25, 2014


Some might argue that all superheroes are Jewish, thanks to their descent from the grandaddy of them all, Superman. But Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s spit-curled creation never wore any religion on his sleeve, and comic book heroes as a whole have never been all that overtly religious — with a few notable exceptions, of course. But yes, there’s at least one champion for the chosen people in the world of stapled newsprint sequential storytelling, a great hero in that field the same way Hank Greenberg was in baseball. Enter Shaloman!

There really isn’t that much to say about the character or his doings, as a mere glimpse at the cover above gives you pretty much the width and breadth of it all. A creation of Al Wiesner, Shaloman was a Superman-like figure with the powers of flight, super-strength, enhanced senses — the whole shebang. He wasn’t a man granted great powers though, but was instead a creation of wise men, who used magic to give powers to a rock shaped like a Hebrew Shin, which would in turn animate and become a man whenever a call of distress went out in the Jewish world. The call? Oy vey (or a spelling variant thereof), of course:


Shaloman’s adventures were your typical independent storytelling, with Wiesner’s plots and artwork a more refined, far less stupid version of, say, Reagan’s Raiders. There wasn’t much to bring you in besides the angle of a yarmulke-wearing superhero, but that’s one hell of an angle. There’s humor, but it’s fairly light — which is good, since any sort of parody element could easily degenerate into something that feels like an addendum to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The series has been published off and on since the 1980s, so there are a goodly number of issues out there. (The issue mined for this post was published in 1998.) If you’re looking for a little light reading for the High Holy Days, and you can’t track down a copy of Famous Jewish Sports Legends, give it a go. Zay gezunt.

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