From Krakow to Krypton Jews and Comic Books

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  • Arie Kaplan (author)
  • JT Waldman (foreword)
  • Harvey Pekar (foreword)
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About the Book

Jews created the first comic book, the first graphic novel, the first comic book convention, the first comic book specialty store, and they helped create the underground comics (or “Comix”) movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Many of the creators of the most famous comic books, such as Superman, Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman, as well as the founders of MAD magazine, were Jewish. From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books tells their stories and demonstrates how they brought a uniquely Jewish perspective to their work and to the comics industry as a whole. Over-sized and in full color, From Krakow to Krypton is filled with sidebars, cartoon bubbles, comic book graphics, original design sketches, and photographs. It is a visually stunning and exhilarating history.


Sophie Brody Honor Book for 2009, American Library Association

National Jewish Book Award Finalist for 2008

USA Books Finalist, Best Books in 2009, Popular Culture category

Books for Youth Winner for 2009, Booklist Editors’ Choice, American Library Association


In From Krakow to Krypton, Arie Kaplan threads together the disparate elements of comicdom–Jewish culture, geek culture, fandom, sci-fi, adolescent power fantasies, outsider art, and the New York City of reality and myth–and ties them all together. . . . A smart, fun book.
— Danny Fingeroth, author of Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero
A new and fascinating look at the history of comic books . . . you really don’t have to be Jewish to thoroughly enjoy this trip down comic book memory lane.
— Al Jaffee, long-time MAD Magazine contributor
Arie Kaplan has written a miracle of a book, as comprehensive as it is entertaining; a virtual Jew’s Who of the comic book universe.
— Larry Gelbart, legendary TV writer/screenwriter (M*A*S*H, Tootsie)

Arie Kaplan

Arie Kaplan is the author of From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, a 2008 National Jewish Book Award Finalist and 2009 Sophie Brody Honor Book (awarded by the American Library Association). Kaplan is a comedian, MAD magazine writer, and author of the comic book miniseries Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer for IDW Publishing. His other comic book credits include the DC title Cartoon Network Action Pack and the Papercutz series Tales From the Crypt. Arie lectures all over the country about comic books, comedians, and popular culture. He is the author of Masters of the Comic Book Universe Revealed! (Chicago Review Press) and he’s also written for MTV, Cartoon Network, and PBS Kids.

JT Waldman

Visit JT Waldman's website

JT Waldman is a comic book illustrator and interaction designer. His first graphic novel, Megillat Esther, drew from archeological, rabbinic and pop cultural sources to create a bold retelling of the biblical story of Esther. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Arts and Ideas in the Humanities, Waldman also holds a technical degree in digital design from the Vancouver Film School. He also studied at the Facultad de Bellas Artes de Sevilla in Seville, Spain, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Liberal Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel. JT lectures and offers workshops on Jewish art, comix and midrash. He also contributed to two books, From Krakow to Krypton and The Jewish Graphic Novel, that both detail the intersection of comic books and Judaism.

Read interview with author in Society of Biblical Literature, The Bible and Graphic Novels: A Review and Interview with the Authors of “Marked” and “Megillat Esther”.

Harvey Pekar

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