One fact that readers of Fanboy Comics may not know is that I am a Pittsburgh gal, born and raised. Primanti Bros. sandwiches, Mr. Rogers, the Steelers, Andy Warhol . . . the works (n’at). While it has been years since I departed the city of the three rivers, Pittsburgh will always hold a special place in my heart. This special fondness for the ‘burgh is what intrigued me about CHUTZ-POW! Superheroes of the Holocaust, a new comic book anthology that tells the stories of five Pittsburgh-area Holocaust survivors. Produced as a joint effort between The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and The Pittsburgh ToonSeum (one of only three museums in the US to be devoted exclusively to the cartoon arts), CHUTZ-POW! aims to educate readers about the events of the Holocaust and to promote social justice, peace, and compassion.
As a comic book anthology, CHUTZ-POW! boasts an amazingly talented and accomplished creative team. In addition to the support provided by The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and The Pittsburgh ToonSeum, the comic was written by XERIC Award-winning writer and comic book historian Wayne Wise. The four stories compiled within the collection were illustrated by Mark Zingarelli (Time; Entertainment Weekly), Dave Wachter (Dark Horse’s Breath of Bones A Tale of the Golem, The Guns of Shadow Valley), Marcel (M.L.) Walker (Hero Corp., International), and Chris Moeller (DC’s Batman: Shadow of the Bat, Lucifer).
Separated into four separate accounts of survival and determination, CHUTZ-POW!‘s vignettes demonstrated how everyday individuals have the inner strength to be superheroes, saving countless lives through their bravery and perseverance. Detailing interviews with and the personal accounts of famed sports photographer Les Banos, husband and wife survivors Moshe and Malka Baran, teacher Dora Iwler, and World War II veteran Fritz Ottenheimer, the stories and artwork are simultaneously compelling and inspiring. Serving as an easily digestible history lesson, CHUTZ-POW! would make a great resource for educators to implement in their classrooms when covering the events of World War II.
Given that CHUTZ-POW! Superheroes of the Holocaust is noted on its cover to be Volume One, I am anxious to learn if further volumes will be released to not only encourage readers to learn more about the impactful events of our history, but to honor more of the individuals who lived through it.