The Hebrew Superhero, a documentary that explores the image of the Israeli hero in the world of comics, is now streaming on IZZY!
The world of Israeli superheroes is complex and fascinating — here are some of the most interesting things we learned!
1. “Sabraman” was the first Israeli superhero.
Israeli comic book artist, Uri Fink, created Sabraman in 1987 when he was only 15 years old. The superhero, who spent his days fighting Nazis and demons, resembled superman; but, instead of the letter “S” he had the Star of David perched on his chest.
2. One popular Israeli superhero is known as Falafelman.
Falafelman doesn’t resemble the average herculean superhero; he’s a red-headed chubby boy who shoots falafel balls with hot oil at his enemies.
3. The progression of Israeli comics can be separated into three eras.
According to the documentary, there were three distinct periods of Israeli comics. The first era began in 1936, when comics were underdeveloped and in their infancy.
The second era was from 1975-1995, and this era represented adolescent rebellion; many of the characters had pimples and themes of general unruliness persisted throughout.
We’re currently in the third era, which is the era of personal narratives. These comics are realistic and depict scenes from everyday life, such as a woman contemplating divorce or struggling to raise her misbehaved child.
4. Many Israeli superheroes represented the traumas that Israelis actually went through.
For example, Uzi was a comic about an ex-soldier who returns to civilian life, but can’t seem to simply “switch off” his experiences from his army service. This is a similar struggle many real soldiers experience when returning back to their day-to-day life after the army or war.
Other comics depicted Israelis’ struggle with their identity in the Holocaust.
5. There aren’t actually that many Israeli superheroes.
While many people tried to build it, the idea of an Israeli superhero never caught on the way it has, for example, in the U.S. Most of Israel’s superheroes are either villains or ordinary civilians.
“I think one of the reasons we didn’t create superheroes is because we had real life superheroes,” an Israeli comic book artist says in the film.