Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.
Here’s a very worthy Kickstarter that’s just a tiny bit shy of being funded with a few days to go that’s a daughter’s tribute to her father and her people. A Minyan Yidn is a project put together by trina Robbins and Hope Nicholson adapting into comicsTrina’s father’s writings about his early 20th century life. Contributor Mike Netzer has more to say about th eprohect below and Nicholson provided some art. Please consider backing this very worhty project.
by Michael Netzer
I’ve become involved in a project that pierces into the very soul of modern-era comics.
‘A Minyan Yidn’ is a collection of stories originally written and published by historian and creatress Trina Robin’s father, Max B. Perlson (Mutye), depicting life in early 1900’s Belaruse and later in Brooklyn Jewish communities.
Trina translated and adapted her father’s published stories from Yiddish literature into comics form. The project is co-edited and published by Hope Nicholson, a boutique publisher and promoter of exquisite comics. It’s illustrated by prominent alternative and mainstream artists across the genre spectrum including Anne Timmons, Ken Steacy, Shery Flenniken, Steve Leialoha, and too many to list here. The Kickstarter project is on its last stretch and can use a final push over the finish.
This project pierces into the soul and evolution of modern comics founded by a vast number of Jewish creators and publishers who helped shape the industry. Beginning with the creators of Superman and much of the core Marvel universe, along with most of the early publishers, all bred within the communities these stories tell of – or were raised under their influence by parents who emigrated from them.
Because it was difficult for immigrants to be accepted into thriving American industries, Jewish immigrants turned to new and budding enterprises like journalism, film and publishing, that had not yet become financially attractive enough for mainstream America. These history-driven conditions converged into an early 20th century phenomenon that brought a large number of Jews to the forefront of the dawn of comics.
There’s little doubt that the injustices Jewish immigrants suffered in early Europe gave way to a new hope in America that gave birth to, among other things, heroes who bring new hope to the world through comics. This wonderful window into life in early Belaruse and Brooklyn not only informs through the stories it tells, but also reveals that history’s influence on the surge of comics talent that emerged from it.
My 4-page contribution to the collection is a story about a hassid who everyone calls ‘Moyshe Henye’s’ (you’re gonna love why he has an apostrophe in his name). Moyshe is a pious man, always studying and praying, who as a result is uncaring of the people around him. Well, one day God comes by and introduces himself…yes, just like that. Moyshe won’t have anything to do with him because God doesn’t belong to his brand of Hasidism.
Mutye (if I can allow myself to be familiar with Trina’s father who through these stories is as familiar as many of my colleagues, friends and legends who’ve graced comics), who certainly came under criticism from the elders for portraying God in this way, wouldn’t settle for such a brittle story. He instead reveals how new hope for Moyshe comes from the most unexpected place. The humble personification of God and light dancing in the darkness ending, are the forefather themes of the Super Hero mythology that inspires good in humanity to bring it a new hope.
‘A Minyan Yidn’ comes full-circle bringing some of that founding culture and folklore into a modern comics anthology, almost a century after the original stories first saw publication in Europe. It is a portal into the people and communities that raised and inspired the creative spirit of the drawn story form. A trans-generational once-in-a-life-time peak into the inner psyche of an evolving comics love, beween a father who loved to tell good stories – and their transformation into a comic book under the hands of the prodigal loving daughter.