A Jewish Superhero is about as rare as a heterosexual male flight attendant. Well, Al Weisner hopes to change that. This retired hairdresser from Philadelphia has singlehandedly created and drawn a comic book staring a “Kosher Crusader” for the last 12 years.
Weisner was inspired to produce this Hebrew Hero when he discovered no others existed, even though some of his favorite comic book characters were created by Jews. Every Comic-Con regular knows Segal and Shuster invented Superman, but check this out: Stan Lee (For anyone out there who’s not aware that all current movies are “Talkies”, he created Spiderman) changed his name from Stan Lieber; and Batman creator Robert Kahn changed his name to Bob Kane. (Not to be confused with Bob Crane, the “Hogan’s Heroes” star who turned out to be such a nymphomaniac that a feature film – Autofocus – was dedicated to his lifestyle. That guy had more lovers than Vincent Chase.)
But there’s many rumors that The Thing, one-quarter of The Fantastic Four, is Jewish. Weisner strongly disagrees, arguing “Other than saying he’s Jewish, he doesn’t do anything that is actually Jewish.” Well, that sounds like every comedian I’ve met in L.A. The only time my Jewish comedian friends make religious statements is when they say quips like, “My body’s a temple, so I get as many people to kneel in front of it as possible.”
So what powers does this Kosher Crusader have? Is he the only superhero whose day job is at a talent agency? Is he the only superhero who saves people then complains about his back hurting? Does he catch criminals who’ve just robbed a bank and keep 10% of what they stole?
The Yiddish champion’s name is Shaloman; and his powers include superstrength, impenetrability and X-ray vision. Does Shaloman have a weakness? He must; every truly great Superhero has a weakness: Superman has kryptonite, the Green Lantern has the color Yellow; Daredevil has loud noises….and Ben Affleck portraying him. Okay, to be fair – that’s not a flaw; it’s a tragedy.
But Shaloman – who was created out of rock by 3 wisemen – actually does have a weakness. Weisner explains, “When he was created out of the rock, bits and pieces flew all over the world. If he gets too close, it temporarily saps his strength.” Wow, way to create some unpredictable drama, Al! And to up the ante….Shaloman loses his X-Ray vision when he’s around 14-karot gold. Good luck catching the Persians.
You know what I love about the birth of Shaloman? He can use it as a comeback in any debate! If some smartass says, “Were you born under a rock?”; he can respond, “Actually, yes.” (Sidenote: Do you think if Jesus ever walked into a building and didn’t close the door, somebody said, “Were you born in a barn?”)
I wonder what Shaloman’s Super Hero costume is? Whatever it may be, his outfit can’t possibly be worse than Billy Zane’s ridiculous, purple ensemble in The Phantom. (On Zane’s resume, that film’s listed as The Paycheck.)
So we finally have a Superhero who, in the words of the creator, is “an observant Jewish person”. Well, with X-Ray vision; I hope he’s observant! I love that Jews say they observe Holidays. I grew up Episcopalian (Catholic Lite); we never used this to our advantage. But we should start! Imagine calling your boss, “I can’t make it in today. I’m still observing the blood of Christ. Don’t punish me, unless you wanna go to hell.”
In keeping true to his religion, Weisner’s comic books have no physical contact between men and women; because that’s not allowed in Hasidic Orthodox Judaism. The author explains, “(Shaloman) could save a woman if he needed to, but then he steps back. He doesn’t need a hug or a kiss.” No sex in the Shaloman comic books? Hmm….I think I just lost my interest in this character. Please, if I wanna view a boring, sex-less story; I’ll read the lyrics to a Justin Bieber song.
There’s a cue that Shaloman immediately responds to. Whenever someone says, ”Oy vey!”, he comes to the rescue. Catholics are in trouble; because in a crisis, they tend to scream, “Fuck me!”….which doesn’t bode well for the altar boys.
By Claude Stuart
©2010 Claude Stuart. All Rights Reserved.
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