The meat of the exhibit is the original drawings loaned to the museum by artist Jerry Robinson. Robinson has an amazing collection of original comic book drawings (the hand drawings that were later mass reproduced via printing presses to make the published versions). The collection includes early Superman and Batman comics, as well as lesser-known heroes such as Daredevil and the super-patriotic Yankee Doodle Jones. Robinson isn't just a collector, he's one of the comic book world's great artists. He created the Joker, considered by comic book buffs to be the first and best super-villain. He also invented Batman and Robin's alter egos, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. One of the best pieces in the exhibit is the first doodle of the duo Robinson sketched. He did it while sitting in a college psychology lecture. Wayne and Grayson's faces appear in pencil surrounded by lecture notes.
If you're wondering why an exhibit on comic books is sitting in the city's biggest Jewish museum, be patient because I'm about to tell you. Are you being patient? Are you still being patient? Do you wanna know? I'm about to tell you. Do you really, really wanna know?
Many, if not most of the enduring comic book heroes were created by Jewish artists. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk were all created by Jewish artists. That shouldn't surprise you, really. If you think about it, all the clues were there. Come on -- Superman? Batman? Names that end with "man" are so Jewish. And those tights didn't leave much to the imagination. Another clue was superhero politics. Superman was battling Nazi Germany before the United States joined in. The exhibit includes a Feb. 27, 1940, comic (that's about two years before the U.S. and Nazi Germany actually fought a battle) showing Superman capturing Hitler and bringing him to trial at the League of Nations. "I'd like to land a strictly non-Aryan sock on your jaw," Superman tells Hitler.
Artificial turf of dreams: Those of you tuned into Georgia Public Broadcasting's coverage of the state high school football semifinals at the Georgia Dome on Saturday may have seen me in action. Remember that guy who scored the winning touchdown in Buford's thrilling, come-from-behind, last-minute win over Dublin? That was me -- in the red sweatshirt behind the end zone photographing him.
Usually, I'm one of those killjoy types who responds to enthusiasm about team sports with annoying comments about how much better off we'd be as a country if we focused all that energy on more meaningful things. But I gotta come clean and say that the enthusiasm on the field and in the stands was infectious. I played high school football (junior varsity, second-string, on a really bad team), so I had at least some idea of what a thrill it must have been for the kids to be playing on the same field that the Falcons and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl use. My enthusiasm was so great, in fact, that a security guard had to keep me on task. During MLK H.S.'s whooping at the hands of LaGrange, I was on the phone with Scene & Herd Recurring Character Matt Gove trying to position myself in front of a camera so he could see me. A security guard figured out what I was doing and barked at me to get off the phone.
Season of giving: It's the holiday season, so I won't tell you about how awful one of the bands I saw at the Star Bar on Saturday night was and how they made me so sleepy that I went home before the last band came on. Nope, it's the holidays. This is no time to be negative.
Instead, I'll tell you about the great band that went on before them. It's called Two Cow Garage. A disembodied voice coming through the bar's P.A. called the band the best thing to come out of Ohio since I-75. A lot of writers call Two Cow Garage Southern garage or cowpunk. I didn't hear the Southernness, though. I just heard soulful garage rock. They had a boozy, let-it-all-hang-outness that made it hard not to watch them (how the bassist managed backing vocals with a lit cigarette in his mouth, I'd like to know), and lead singer Micah Schnabel has one of those gruff, pleasant shrieky voices that makes him sound like he means what he's saying.
Seoul Man: On Sunday, I went to the Barnes & Noble store on Barrett Parkway in Marietta, not to buy unwanted biology books from the clearance bin, but rather to hear author, journalist and Marietta High School grad Bradley K. Martin discuss his book Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader. Thirteen years in the making, the book is a rare portrait of the bizarre and cruel reigns of North Korea's supremely weird Kim Il-Sung and his supremely weirder son Kim Jong-il.
Accurate information about North Korea is hard to come by because the dictatorship has isolated the place so effectively. Martin has been to North Korea several times, first visiting in 1979 as a reporter. He joked that the realization in 2002 that North Korea had nuclear weapons was bad news for just about everyone but him, since it helped get him a book deal. During the Q&A, I asked him if he thinks that North Korea would ever use nukes. He thinks that they would, but only if they're attacked and that they'd probably target Japan instead of South Korea. They have enough conventional artillery to annihilate Seoul, South Korea, without resorting to nukes. I can't decide if that's good news or bad news.
For a smutty story about Wonder Woman, check out www.andy2000.org.
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