The Graphic Novel from Diaspora to Diaspora: James Strum's the Golem's Mighty Swing and JT Waldman's Megillat Esther in the Tree of Contexts
Strum's The Golem's Mighty Swing and Waldman's Megillat Esther would at first seem to have little in common beyond being graphic novels contrived by a pair of Jewish males. The one is an original tale, the other a recasting of an entire biblical book with original commentaries; the one is simple in style, the other complex. But the two works are connected by underlying foci that include the issue of salvation effected through divine versus human instrumentation; the conundrum of defining the messianic idea within the Jewish tradition; the question of revealed and hidden identity across the history and geography of the Jewish experience--the complex layering of the concept of crypto-Judaism, or marranism. These and other issues, such as that of physicality and of beauty, and that of acceptance and rejection of the "other", interweave both works in different ways, as they share diversely common ground within both the history of the novel and the history of the Jewish relationship with the word and the image.
Keywords: Graphic Novel, Messianism, Marranism, Crypto-Judaism, Identity
Dr Ori Z. Soltes
Professorial Lecturer, Departments of Theology and Art History, Georgetown University