Super Man and the Bugout reading: what if Superman had been a nice Jewish boy from Toronto

Roy Trumbull has performed an excellent reading of my short story The Super Man and the Bugout -- a story about Superman as a Jewish boy raised in Toronto's suburbs (one of Superman's creators being, of course, nice Jewish boys from Toronto!), put out of work by the arrival of benevolent aliens who welcome Earth to the Galactic Federation.
“Mama, I’m not a super-villain,” Hershie said for the millionth time. He chased the last of the gravy on his plate with a hunk of dark rye, skirting the shriveled derma left behind from his kishka. Ever since the bugouts had inducted Earth into their Galactic Federation, promising to end war, crime, and corruption, he’d found himself at loose ends. His adoptive Earth-mother, who’d named him Hershie Abromowicz, had talked him into meeting her at her favorite restaurant in the heart of Toronto’s Gaza Strip.

“Not a super-villain, he says. Listen to him: mister big-stuff. Well, smartypants, if you’re not a super-villain, what was that mess on the television last night then?”

A busboy refilled their water, and Hershie took a long sip, staring off into the middle distance. Lately, he’d taken to avoiding looking at his mother: her infra-red signature was like a landing-strip for a coronary, and she wouldn’t let him take her to one of the bugout clinics for nanosurgery.

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  1. Cory,

    Joe Shuster was born in Toronto, but moved to Ohio when he was ten.

    Jerry Siegel was born in Cleveland.

    Consider yourself disambiguated.

  2. …Actually, the “What If?” story I’ve always wanted DC to have the guts to write would be to have Kal-El’s rocket land outside of a small jewish community in 1917, right after the end of WWI. So, when WWII comes about, and Hitler starts lining the Jews up in the gas chambers, we get to see an angered Klaus Kantzenbach come to full superpowers and totally exterminate every Nazi save for Wernher Von Braun, who is the only scietist who can figure out where Klaus came from. and maybe send him back.

  3. SNL did the Uberman skit – an alternate universe where young Kal-El is raised to be a good German, and eventually a secret weapon for Hitler.

  4. I thought Superman and his good friends Spiderman and (the little-known Silverman) were all jewish?

  5. And with what exactly would the rabbi circumcise the baby Kal-El?

    I believe you can’t be a roll neck and a Jew.

  6. Next time you see “Superman II,” listen very closely to the crowd chatter in the scene where Supes rescues the little boy who falls into Niagara Falls. A woman says, very loudly, “Of course he’s Jewish!” (The line doesn’t appear on the DVD subtitles, but the closed-captioning feature on the TV set picks it up. And it’s pretty audible, especially if you know it’s there.)

    Maybe Ma & Pa Kent weren’t Jewish, but raising their boy on the farm with those good Midwestern work ethics… he turned out all right! They raised him to be a mensch, not a schlemiel like that Luthor kid.

  7. #6 sure you can, you just can’t go through with the bar mitzvah, so he’ll never be a man.

  8. Sure, he’s a real mensch, but uber? Feh! The Jewish Superman would be a lot more interesting than the current hokey super-boyscout.

  9. …Of course, there’s the most important question of all: regardless of whether he was brough up Jew or Gentile, how did the post-Crisis Kents address the issue of the circumcision? Guaranteed if he grew up in the midwest, he would have had to have had it whacked or get *really* ridiculed.

    “Oy vey! Moshe, this is the fifth mohel I’ve broken on this little schmuck! Go call Rabbi Goldstein and tell that goniff that he needs to quit buying from that discount house. And tell him I don’t care if his brother Chaim
    owns the joint, either! He’s obviously selling nothing but scheiss!”

    …As for Spider-Wimp, Peter Parker has been shown to be a Christian of unspecified denomination, as is Aunt May. Mary Jane is now, thanks to Brand New Disaster, clearly a follower of Satan, otherwise known as Joe Quesada :-)

  10. Two points:

    One: Back in it’s heyday, MAD magazine ran a very good (i could argue Better, but I won’t push it) piece on if Superman had been raised a Jew. He becomes a Doctor, makes his mother very proud, and always knows *exactly* when to call.

    Two: Keep little Clark out of the sun for a few days and he becomes just as vulnerable as any person. Remember: Superman is a solar-powered super hero! He needs Yellow-sun radiation to be nigh invulnerable. The comics have told us (sporadically) that he slowly looses power when denied the light, and rapidly looses power under the light of a red sun.

  11. A nice Jewish Superman might be inclined to show as much reverence for his Jewish Culture as a Superman from Kripton would show to his lost world. Would a Jewish Superman support Israel? Would he open a can of Super-Jew kick-ass on his culture’s enemies? And would he justify his behavior with one simple statement: Because We are the Chosen People? I’d love to read some truly profound superhero politics set in the real world.

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