Gender and Sexuality in Israeli Graphic Novels
This book explores how Israeli graphic novelists present depictions of masculinity and femininity that differ from conventional portrayals of gender in Israeli society, rejecting the ways that hypermasculinity and docile femininity have come to be associated with men and women.
The book is the first to explore Israeli graphic novels through the lens of gender. It argues that breaking down existing gender delineations with regards to masculinity and femininity is a core feature of the Israeli graphic novel and comics tradition and that through their works, the authors and artists use their platforms to present a freer and looser conceptualization of gender for Israeli society. Undertaking close readings of Israeli graphic novels that have been published in English and/or Hebrew in the last 20 years, the book’s texts include Rutu Modan’s Exit Wounds and The Property, Ari Folman and David Polonsky’s Waltz with Bashir, Galit and Gilad Seliktar’s Farm 54, and Asaf Hanuka’s "The Realist".
This book is of interest to students and scholars in comics studies, Israel Studies, Jewish Studies, and Gender Studies.
"Thoughtfully focusing on a particularly tempestuous period of instability and political uncertainty, Reingold’s incisive study brilliantly illuminates a vibrant selection of bold artistic responses to many of the cultural, political and religious contradictions and controversies seething within Israel’s complex society and fragile democracy. A lively and insightful exploration of the provocations and risks taken by political cartoonists that rewards readers with gripping visual exemplars and compelling analysis. This superb book sets a high standard, an invaluable resource for scholars of contemporary Israeli society and political cartoons alike."
- Ranen Omer-Sherman
University of Louisville
Reenvisioning Israel through Political Cartoons: Visual Discourses During the 2018–2021 Electoral Crisis
Reenvisioning Israel through Political Cartoons: Visual Discourses During the 2018–2021 Electoral Crisis examines the ways in which the work of Israeli political cartoonists broadens conversations about contemporary challenges in the country. Matt Reingold shows how 21 cartoonists across 10 different Israeli newspapers produced cartoons in response to the country’s social and political crises between December 2018–June 2021, a period where the country was mired in four national elections. Each chapter is structured around an issue that emerged during this period, with examples drawn from multiple cartoonists. This allows for fertile cross-cartoonist discussion and analysis, offering an opportunity to understand the different ways that an issue affects national discourse and what commentaries have been offered about it. By focusing on this difficult period in contemporary Israeli society, the volume highlights the ways that artists have responded to these national challenges and how they have fashioned creative reimaginings of their country.
"Reingold’s timely study of recent Israeli political cartoons is searching and compelling. Addressing challenging subjects with sharp insight, he fleshes out the complexities of Israeli society. He demonstrates how Israel's political cartoonists operate as editorialists, bravely commenting on their own country and calling for political and cultural change. His work expands our understanding of Israel during a period of tumultuous politics and of the nature of political cartooning as a distinct field of visual media."
- Samantha Baskin
Cleveland State University
Jewish Comics and Graphic Narratives offers a superb overview of this subfield in comics studies, clearly explaining the various nuances behind the terms of comic books and graphic novels, as well as what makes such graphic narratives Jewish. This is an excellent critical guide to English-language Jewish graphic narratives ... offering a savvy interdisciplinary and comparative assessment of their signposts, uncovering their history, socio-cultural impacts, and the circulation arc... Reingold's thoroughly researched, poignant, and highly readable book ... is a must-have study and research tool for scholars, students and anyone invested in Jewish literature and the comics field.
Dana Mihailescu, Northwestern University
Jewish Comics and Graphic Narratives
The most up-to-date critical guide mapping the history, impact, key critical issues, and seminal texts of the genre, Jewish Comics and Graphic Narratives interrogates what makes a work a "Jewish graphic narrative", and explores the form's diverse facets to orient readers to the richness and complexity of Jewish graphic storytelling.
Accessible but comprehensive and in an easy-to-navigate format, the book covers such topics as:
- The history of the genre in the US and Israel - and its relationship to superheroes, Underground Comix, and Jewish literature
- Social and cultural discussions surrounding the legitimization of graphic representation as sites of trauma, understandings of gender, mixed-media in Jewish graphic novels, and the study of these works in the classroom
- Critical explorations of graphic narratives about the Holocaust, Israel, the diasporic experience, Judaism, and autobiography and memoir
- The works of Will Eisner, Ilana Zeffren, James Sturm, Joann Sfar, JT Waldman, Michel Kichka, Sarah Glidden, Rutu Modan, and Art Spiegelman and such narratives as X Men, Anne Frank's Diary, and Maus
Jewish Comics and Graphic Narratives makes a significant contribution to the interrelated fields of Comics Studies, Graphic Novel Studies, and Jewish Studies. The original readings of key texts are illustrative of the complexity of this rich and developing genre.
- Victoria Aarons, Trinity University
The Wolf of Baghdad - Educator Guide
Produced alongside Carol Isaacs' this educators guide provides teachers with invaluable resources and curricular suggestions for how to make use of The Wolf of Baghdad in schools with students of all ages.
The resource can be downloaded here.
“Asaf Hanuka has long been one of Israel’s most provocative cartoonists and voices of dissent, and in these pages Matt Reingold’s terrifically incisive criticism illuminates compelling dimensions of Hanuka’s eclectic artistry, whether commemorating the Shoah, the insider-outsider identity of Mizrahi Israelis, anxieties about Israel’s faltering democracy, militarism, and human rights record, or the perils of fatherhood and masculinity. Hanuka’s vibrant graphic storytelling ranges from the fantastical and grotesque to the mundane, and Reingold captures all of it splendidly, demonstrating why Hanuka’s edgy work resonates both in Israel and internationally. An indispensable, captivating guide for both scholars and the classroom to a brilliant artist at the forefront of contemporary visual culture.”
— Ranen Omer-Sherman, Editor of Amos Oz: The Legacy of a Writer in Israel and Beyond
“This fascinating in-depth study of the work of Asaf Hanuka fluidly demonstrates the political, social, cultural, and artistic range of the cartoonist’s vision. Drawing upon Hanuka's hybrid background, Reingold shows the ways in which constructs of identity shape his richly figured comics. This is an important book that situates Hanuka’s comics in a narrative of social and political critique and speaks to the significant and enduring influence of this groundbreaking cartoonist.”
— Victoria Aarons, O.R. & Eva Mitchell Distinguished Professor of Literature, Trinity University
The Comics of Asaf Hanuka
The Comics of Asaf Hanuka: Telling Particular and Universal Stories tells the story of how cartoonist Asaf Hanuka illustrates both universal and particular narratives. Through close readings of Hanuka’s entire catalogue of comics and graphic narratives, Hanuka’s work is situated within the broader story of his own experiences of being an insider (as a Jew and Israeli) and an outsider (as a Mizrahi, or Judeo-Arab) in Israeli society. By moving chronologically through Hanuka’s works, the book traces how Hanuka navigates these disparate particular identities alongside more universal concerns about how to be a present partner to his spouse and to his children.
“The Comics of Asaf Hanuka: Telling Particular and Universal Stories significantly contributes to contemporary scholarship on the diversity of Israeli identities in visual media by providing the first thorough examination of the cartoons, comics, and graphic narratives of the award-winning Israeli artist Asaf Hanuka. Reingold’s compelling book captures how Hanuka’s oeuvre spanning over two decades has offered an increasingly nuanced and sharp critique of contemporary Israeli society, especially the erosion of democracy and the unfair treatment of its minorities, one which mirrors the evolution of the artist’s understanding of his own intersectional Israeli, Mizrachi, Jewish, and gendered identities. This is an indispensable book for everyone interested in the evolution of Israeli comics and identity issues.”
— Dana Mihăilescu, University of Bucharest
“This is a robust, layered reading that helps the reader understand Hanuka’s work in its Israeli context and helps to reveal what is truly groundbreaking about it. I enjoyed it immensely.”
— Kevin Haworth, author of The Comics of Rutu Modan: War, Love, and Secrets
“Matt Reingold’s close examination of Eisner Award winning cartoonist Asaf Hanuka's entire body of work adeptly analyzes the artist-writer’s diverse subjects and styles. Expanding our understanding of the comics’ landscape, this penetrating study fleshes out the many dimensions of Israeli society, Jewish identity, and Mizrahi heritage through Hanuka’s artistic navigation of that complex universe.”
— Samantha Baskind, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Cleveland State University