Wednesday, April 17, 2024

50 creators who worked on Batman call for release of Israeli infant hostage whose family wore T-shirts of the Masked Manhunter, & Doonesbury cartoonist depicts Hamas properly

Something most remarkable was performed by quite a few comics contributors, old and new, who've had writing/art/editing credits on Batman over past years, as the Times of Israel reports:
Fifty creators of the iconic Batman superhero character signed a petition urging the governments of Egypt and Qatar to press for the release of Yarden and Shiri Bibas along with their two red-haired sons, Ariel and Kfir. All four family members have been held hostage in Gaza since October 7.

The family was kidnapped from Nir Oz by Hamas terrorists on October 7, a day that saw 3,000 terrorists infiltrate southern Israel to massacre 1,200 Israelis — most of them civilians — and kidnap 253 people into the Strip. Mother Shiri and her sons were captured separately from her husband Yarden.

One of the iconic images of the family that has been circulated since their capture shows the four wearing Batman apparel. Ariel, 4, is a dedicated fan of the Gotham City protector.

The petition was sent to Egyptian and Qatari ambassadors in Washington, DC, on April 12. The effort was organized by Dr. Rafael Medoff, historian and director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

“These comics creators have spent decades developing a hero who fights for the innocent and stands as a beacon of hope for his community, and we’re trying to channel that spirit through this effort,” Medoff told The Times of Israel. [...]

Some of the Bibas petition’s high-profile signees include Mike Carlin, DC’s head of animation; longtime DC publisher Paul Levitz; and former president of Warner Animation Sander Schwartz.

The petition was also signed by some of Batman’s veteran writers, including Chip Zdansky and Mark Waid. Leading artists from the franchise who signed include Mark Bagley, Dan Jurgens, Denys Cowan and Amanda Conner, the celebrated artist behind the Joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn.

“As members of the community of Batman writers and artists, we are contacting you concerning the young Batman fan who was taken hostage by terrorists and held in Gaza since last October 7,”
said the creators.

“Moved by the many anecdotes of Ariel’s affection for the iconic character who has become a symbol of hope and justice for so many, we implore your governments to exercise all possible leverage on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to immediately release the Bibas family, and all the Israeli hostages, from captivity,” said the petition.
Well this definitely is amazing, considering how quite a few of these same creators, even the veterans, have taken such a lenient position on Islam in the past, and on that note, maybe it'd be a good idea to remind everyone why they still have fences to mend, and not just in the sense they've acted as apologists for the Religion of Peace in some way or other.

For example, Levitz, when he was in charge of DC comics, vehemently refused to greenlight Frank Miller's story that later became Holy Terror, yet Levitz had no issue going ahead with a collaboration with the Kuwaiti publishers of a propaganda comic called The 99. Waid was once involved in the writing of the storylines that led to Age of Apocalypse in X-Men, which drew a bizarre moral equation between Israel's officials and the PLO. Zdarsky's quite a woke leftist ideologue himself, as is writer Andrew Farago, the museum curator who attacked Comicsgate and blocks even Jewish X posters who could support the hashtag. Jurgens once wrote an apologia tale for Islam in the pages of Superman, as did Mike Grell in Iron Man during the early 2000s, and should it be mentioned it's ludicrous and offensive how a lethal villainess like Harley Quinn is being depicted with a Jewish background? After all, chances they'd do something similar with a Moslem character are next to nothing.

The writers who signed onto Wyman Institute's petition who do impress me more are Chuck Dixon, Ann Nocenti and even Steve Englehart. The latter 2 are leftist, to my knowledge, but unlike a lot of modern ones, seem to recognize the advantage of avoiding divisive statements, on social media or otherwise.
No stranger to Batman lore, Medoff penned an essay for a book called “Theology and Batman.” One of the book’s central themes is the theodicy — or sense of redemption — Batman brings to the world by vindicating goodness over evil.

Many of the creators of Batman, Superman and other superheroes were of Jewish descent. Quite a few books and essays have been written about how these creators were influenced by Jewish history while at their drawing boards.
Yes, but whatever the background of the creators, those of more recent times aren't exactly helping matters, if the latter of these 2 examples says something:
Earlier in 2024, an issue of DC’s “The Penguin” remembered that Bruce Wayne — Batman’s alter-ego — is Jewish. The moment came when Bruce Wayne referenced his handkerchief as being a Hanukkah gift from his father to his mother.

In a “Batwoman” reboot released in 2006, the character Kate Kane — Batwoman’s alter-ego — was reintroduced as a Jewish, lesbian cousin of Batman, demonstrating how comic artists both shape and reflect their times.
And they don't think this is even remotely insulting to the intellect the Kane character's depicted as lesbian solely for woke brownie points? And implying Wayne could have some Jewish ancestry (in some past renditions, it was established his ancestry was from Scotland), will not work if the writing is as woke as it's become lately. To imply Bruce is even bisexual only damages the character's image/reputation all the more, and is an embarrassment to Bill Finger and Bob Kane's legacy. Let us be clear. Those writers and artists who've joined Dr. Medoff's petition did the right thing. But unless they can prove they're repentant, and writers like Jurgens and Grell won't boomerang back on apologia for Islam tomorrow, what good is this project going to do in the long run? Add to this the unlikely scenario any of these creators will show the courage and altruism to work on a comics project tackling Islamic terrorism, and that's another frustrating issue right there.

Besides the above news, Dr. Medoff tells on Israel National News how Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Truedeau's acknowledged that Hamas is evil, and mocked them in his newspaper strips:
One of America’s most beloved newspaper comic strips has dared to poke fun at Hamas. Get ready for controversy!

In the latest Sunday installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Doonesbury strip, a fictional anti-terrorist fighter—known as “the Red Rascal”—bursts into the bedroom of an actual Hamas leader, Ismail Haniye, who is living in Qatar.

The cartoon shows Haniyeh enjoying luxurious accommodations, and identifies him as “one of three Hamas leaders worth billions, who enriched themselves with donor money intended for impoverished Gazans!”

Garry Trudeau, the writer and artist of Doonesbury, has dared to acknowledge a fact about the Hamas leadership that most of the mainstream news media prefer to ignore. [...]

What makes this Doonesbury strip even more interesting is that Trudeau has been strongly critical of Israel in the past. His view of Hamas is not motivated by any kind of built-in pro-Israel bias.

Not only that, but Trudeau has been extra sensitive concerning Muslim reactions to controversial cartoons, such as the one about Mohammed that was published in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015. Islamist terrorists responded to that cartoon by massacring twelve members of the magazine’s staff.

Trudeau accused Charlie Hebdo of engaging in “hate speech.” He argued that the magazine's publication of the cartoon was unjustified because it constituted "attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority."

But the Doonesbury creator can’t count on any of his past statements to protect him from a furious reaction to his criticism of Hamas. Pro-Hamas extremists in the United States are not known for their ability to calmly and rationally discuss differing points of view—especially when somebody reveals uncomfortable facts about their heroes.
Obviously, it's to be unfortunately expected Islam's sympathisers will react poorly and horrifically. Why, they could act the same way towards any and all of the above Batman contributors, and that too will be terrible, if God forbid it happens. Of course, one must wonder at this point if creators like Trudeau are repentant for the harm they caused by blaming the victims in horrible incidents like that in France. If not, then while it's amazing on the surface he'd attack Hamas as the evil entity they are, any failure to acknowledge he was wrong to blame Charlie Hebdo and other victims of Islamofascism in France ruins everything. I do vaguely recall at least a few Doonesbury strips that were negative to Israel, and so it sure has taken Trudeau a lot of time to show the courage to acknowledge that jihadist organizations like Hamas and PLO are barbaric evil incarnate.

So far, if there's one notable name connected with Batman stories whom I couldn't find on the Wyman petition, it's Frank Miller. How odd. Is he really that stupidly regretful for penning Holy Terror back in 2011 that he doesn't have the guts to participate in a project like Medoff's now? Well it's honestly disgraceful, IMO. Come to think of it, when even far-leftists like Kurt Busiek, Ron Marz, Dan DiDio, Joe Quesada, Gail Simone and Axel Alonso can't even contribute, that too has got to be saying something. This isn't just something that should involved Batman contributors, but all sorts of comics creators, even those more into independent productions. I'd strongly suggest Medoff try to contact them as well, and try to convince them to put aside all their vehement leftism and recognize why the message he's sending here is important for all to uphold, not just anybody who's worked on the Masked Manhunter. Calling for release of the hostages - many of whom have doubtless been subjected to torture and sexual violence - is surely the most important part of this whole tragedy.

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