Martha Thomases: Frontieres Sans Comics
Please forgive me. I’m hideously jet-lagged.
Also, I haven’t read a comic book nor any of the news sites for more than ten days. Whatever the scandal du jour is, I don’t have an opinion.
Although I was in Israel for more than a week, I didn’t see a single comic book. I saw some newspaper cartoons at the Holocaust Museum, and the international edition of The New York Times in Jerusalem had strips, but that was it.
There were no comic book stores in any of the areas I walked through. I would think this might be some kind of kink in tourist destinations, but the Arab market in the Old City had three yarn shops. They were clearly designed for the local market (meaning they had no high-ticket tourist bait), so why were there no comics?
Certainly, the kids new about American superheroes. On Purim, not only did I see various Supergirls but Iron Men, Hulks, Spider-Men and more. It’s funny to see a kid with side-curls and a Thing t-shirt. I hope Jack Kirby would be pleased.
One of the most amazing people I met was in Akko, a city in the Western Gallilee. He had been in the Army, like many Israelis, but he and also been a junkie and had been in prison for a spell. He got himself together and was working with teens at risk. One of his projects was to organize a chess club. Chess is the hip thing to do in Akko. Arab kids play it. Jews play it. They play in tournaments together.
He told the story of a tourist couple, walking in the old section of town late at night, who saw a group of teen boys standing around a dark corner. The tourists were frightened, but had to walk that way. When they got close to the boys, they saw that two of them were playing chess, and the rest were watching.
It’s what the cool kids do.
It seems to me that a kid that can learn how to play chess can learn how to plot a story, or at least appreciate a story with a good plot. If there isn’t a comic book shop in Akko (and, like I said, I didn’t see one), maybe that’s a business opportunity.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to catch up on The Walking Dead.