Buhle, Paul, editor. Jews and American Comics; an Illustrated History of an American Art Form. New Press, 2008. Buhle collects a bunch of pieces by Jewish cartoonists and comic writers showing –mostly through comics themselves, albeit with some text – the contributions of Jews to comic books, comic strips and cartoons. Covers underground comics extensively.
Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. St. Martin’s Press, 2000. Beautifully conceived and executed, a novel about two comic book creators that manages to be at the same time full of magic and fantasy and extremely (and sometimes achingly) realistic. Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Eury, Michael. The Krypton Companion. Twomorrows Publishing, 2006. A history and scrapbook of Superman over the years. Lots of illustrations.
Hajdu, David. The Ten-Cent Plague: the Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. A history of the comic book backlash, illuminating the roots of the hysteria and its consequences. Very well researched. Interesting musings on the results of demonizing popular culture.
Kaplan, Arie. From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comics. JPS. 2008. A history of Jewish involvement in comic book creation, production and distribution. Lots of illustrations from comic books throughout the different periods.
Sanderson, Peter. Ultimate X-Men. Marvel/Dorling Kindersley, 2000. An encyclopedic treatment of the X-Men, from their origins in the comic books to the first X-Men movie.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: a Survivor’s Tale and Maus II, a Survivor’s Tale: and Here My Troubles Began. Pantheon Books, 1986. Harrowing memoir, in comic book format, of the author’s parents’ Holocaust experiences and the effect on the whole family. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1992.
Weinstein, Simcha. Up, Up and Oy Vey: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero. Leviathan, 2006. A history of Jews and comics with an emphasis on subtextual Jewish elements in superheroes. A fair amount of conjecture.
Wertham, Fredric. Seduction of the Innocent. Reinhardt, 1954. Wertham, a psychiatrist, argued that comic books led to violence, sexual “deviancy” and juvenile delinquency. He famously suggested that Batman and Robin are a homosexual fantasy. Some of us think that, but think it’s a good thing.
Jews in Comic Books: How American Jews Created the Comic Book
Industry. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/culture/2/Literature/Jewish_American_Literature/Into_the_Literary_Mainstream/Comic_Books.shtml An article by Arie Kaplan on MyJewishlearning.com, summarizing information from his book (above).
Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters. http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html A fun website full of information on religion and comic book characters, both mainstream and less known. Links provide evidence for the conclusions.
Blogs and Communities
The Jewish Comic Book Blog http://jewishcomics.blogspot.com/ From the description: “primarily for announcements of new stories in comic books or strips that have a Jewish character in them, announcements about events related to Jewish comics (e.g. article publication, book publication, museum exhibitions, lectures, etc.) and for discussion about the Jewish comics themselves.”
StillJewish http://community.livejournal.com/stilljewish/ A livejournal community for discussing portrayal of Jewish characters and Jewish themes in popular culture. Not limited to comic books, but includes discussion of comics.