Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
Volume 29, Number 2, Winter 2011
pp. 50-72 | 10.1353/sho.2011.0044
The Jewish legend of the golem is often considered the prototype as the “original” superhero (influencing the creation of Superman and other characters). During the 1970s Marvel Comics used the golem legend to create their own unique brand of “monster” superhero. This essay describes the various ways Marvel has used the golem motif in its sequential art stories. First appearing in the pages of Strange Tales, this golem differed from the original stories of Rabbi Loew’s supernatural savior. The character really did not resonate with the comic book-buying public, lasting only three issues and one guest appearance. Yet the concept of the golem was too powerful a metaphor to be discarded. Marvel Comics brought back another type of golem for their Invaders World War II series. The creators (specifically writer Roy Thomas) tried to answer the question, what if a golem had been there to protect Jews during the Holocaust? This golem was a man/ clay hybrid who was also a Rabbi.