Why Marvel’s Next ‘Voices’ Comic Should Spotlight Jewish Heroes & Creators


The diverse pantheon of Marvel Comics‘ heroes and creatives has been brought to the forefront in the Marvel’s Voices comic series, and the publisher’s next round of anthology collections must cover Jewish identity. Marvel’s early history included notable Jewish creators, and while they ideated many of the publisher’s most famous characters, there are only a few unambiguously Jewish major characters in the Marvel Universe. Nevertheless, there are enough Jewish Marvel characters to justify a Jewish identity-focused issue of Marvel’s Voices, especially considering Marvel’s real-world history with Jewish creators.

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The history of America’s mainstream superhero comic books began in the late 1930s at a time when most publishing fields were predominantly run by white male creators. Jewish writers and artists, whether or not they were white-passing, had difficulty finding work in these fields, but the comic book industry was a rare exception, allowing Jewish creatives like Jerry Siegel, Joe Schuster, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Joe Simon, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee (among many others) to not only make a living but also create a plethora of iconic superheroes. While most of Marvel’s famous characters are not Jewish, there are some notable exceptions, such as Moon Knight, Kitty Pryde, The Thing, and Scarlet Witch.

With this in mind, Marvel should have Jewish creators tell Jewish stories in a future issue of Marvel’s Voices. The series has done a phenomenal job of giving diverse creators a platform to tell positive stories about their identities, with issues focused on heroes from Black, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ and Asian-American backgrounds. And while Marvel Studios has routinely failed to tastefully depict Jewish characters and identity (with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Moon Knight being the most shameful offenders thus far), Marvel’s Voices is in the perfect position to finally allow Jewish creators to tell positive Jewish stories, honoring Marvel Comics’ early history in the process. Jewish people are both an ethnic and religious minority who are rarely depicted in the entertainment industry without harmful stereotypes and varying degrees of erasure (such as whitewashing), allowing Marvel to defy such conventions with a future issue of Marvel’s Voices.

Kitty Pryde Jewish

With Jewish writers and artists helming stories focused on heroes like Sabra, Kitty Pryde, Ben Grimm, Billy Kaplan, and Moon Knight, Marvel could tell stories depicting the joy of Jewish culture and history without falling back on tired tropes and stereotypes. Moreover, a Jewish issue of Marvel’s Voices could also generate interest among readers in learning about the intricacies of Jewish identity. As both an ethnic and religious group (and oftentimes both), there are numerous denominations (such as Orthodox, Reform, and Hasidic Judaism) and diaspora groups (Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Mizrahi) that should be explored tastefully.

Marvel’s Voices does an excellent job of allowing minority groups to tell their own stories, and while the entertainment industry writ large still avoids tasteful depictions of Jewish identity (and oftentimes even fails to acknowledge Jewish people as a religious and ethnic minority), Marvel can contribute to correcting this continuing issue. With Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Chris Claremont being key parts of Marvel’s own history, it is especially important for Marvel to acknowledge its history of Jewish creatives and have current (or new) Jewish writers and artists joyously explore their identities. A Jewish issue of Marvel’s Voices will be an excellent way for Marvel Comics to further diversify one of its best comic lines by spotlighting an often-overlooked minority group.

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