Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I've seen a lot of stupid mistakes in comic book art over the years. From "Luthor" spelled "Luther" to Alan Scott being depicted as right-handed. But this? This, my friends, takes the cake:

That image is from this year's DC Universe Holiday Special. Specifically, the Jonah Hex Hanukkah story. It's a pretty good story all things considered. It includes Jonah Hex doing what he does best while also giving us one of those tantalizing glimpses at what makes Jonah Hex tick.

Anyway, the story gets kicked off when a Jewish father and son are ambushed by bandits on the first night of Hanukkah. Since this is a Jonah Hex story, the father most certainly dies. The image above is from the end of the story where the boy finally gets the chance to bury his father and say proper Jewish rites over the grave.

Think about that for a second. Then look at the picture again. Go ahead, take your time. Then come back. See the problem yet?

Okay, here's the issue: if this is a Hanukkah story where one of the central conceits is that a boy wants to give his father a proper Jewish burial then why in the name of all that's holy is he buried under a freakin' cross?

I have no doubt that this was one of those situations where an artist and writer got their signals crossed. Such things happen. But, you know, this is why they've got editors. So they can edit out these kinds of mistakes.

At least, I assume it's a mistake. As I am not Jewish, I may be missing something of deep significance and have simply made myself look the fool. But I doubt it.

I like the idea of celebrating all faiths and customs more or less equally in these kinds of specials. But in order to do that the people making them need to avoid stupid mistakes like this one. Try harder, everyone. I know you can do it.

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At 3:27 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

You know, I read that story and I liked it, and I honestly didn't catch the bit with the cross until you pointed it out.

Now of course, it's so OBVIOUS!

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Diamondrock said...

I mostly liked it too. And it took me a few moments before I noticed that...

At 3:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL thanks for this, guys! This really made my week. I appreciate your kind words about my story, as well as taking the time to load up one of the panels! This was my first commissioned comic, and it was a thrill to write.

In case you didn't guess, I'm Seth J. Albano. My grandfather John Albano created Jonah Hex, and his son -- my uncle -- John Albano Jr was a colorist on the book. I also wrote "Guiding Light", the story currently in question.

To clarify, yes, I DID indeed notice the cross the first time I saw the black-and-white pages. And while it gave me a good chuckle, I honestly couldn't have asked for a better artist than Renato Arlem (and this was BEFORE I saw Bruno Hang's colors!), so I shrugged it off at the time. I DID mention it to editor Mike Carlin (who also edited the death of Superman), but by then it was too lake; Renato Arlem pencils and inks his own work, you see.

Now I know a lot of writers like to blow smoke up their artist's assholes, but understand that Mr. Arlem doesn't speak much -- if any -- English. Not only that, but as you can well see I tend be a wordy guy when I'm out to make a point, so you can imagine what my script looked like. The guy had a lot of work ahead of him, and he truly nailed it.

Of course all that doesn't answer why there's a flippin' cross in the story to begin with. I've tried asking Renato himself, but unfortunately he never got back to me (we each use online translators to talk to each other and send packages to one another... the results are pretty funny actually, and that likely goes both ways). If he ever gets back to me, I'll get back to you.

Meanwhile, here's my best defense; so what? What SHOULD a Jew properly be buried under if he/she died in the middle of the desert during the California Gold Rush? Doesn't a cross say "hey, someones buried here, do not disturb" better than anything else that can be easily assembled?

LOL just my take though. Again, thanks for reading and noticing the gaff. For that, three fun facts about the story;

1. Kaleb Kane and his son Avram are the ancestors of Kathy Kane, aka Batwoman. This was approved by Mike!

2. Sutter's Mill is a real place, and John Sutter is a real person (unlike me, he was Jewish).

3. The part of the Turner Twins is played by Gimli the Dwarf. The part of Rabbi Kaleb Kain is played by Gene Wilder from "The Frisco Kid". The part of April the Prostitute is played by a friend of mine named April.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Diamondrock said...

Wow, it's an honor to have you reply here, Seth. And I think your answer is as good as any; I had the same thought myself. It's awfully hard to construct a Star of David out of broken pieces of wood, after all. And you've got the mark the grave with something.

And I'm thankful to hear that you didn't take my light-hearted ribbing (such is my job as a blogger) too seriously as it wasn't meant to be a serious mark against your story (which I did enjoy). I'm glad to hear that everybody really is on the ball there.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post; you've made my month. It's great to know that there are actually people out there who take notice of my lonely little blog from time to time.

(And if you talk to Mike Carlin, apologize for my doubting his editorial skills...)

At 3:22 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

Well, that makes perfect sense... you have to mark it somehow. I suppose they could carve a cross of David on the crossbars or something. Or maybe Jonah just made it.

And congratulations on your first story, sir! It was very well done.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Matthew Isenberg said...

Oh God This is hilarious....I come to your blog and see another guy who reviews comics.... and it was funny as hell. Excellent job! You've renewed my faith in critics everywhere!


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