- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted January 3, 2006
Joe Kubert is a rarity among golden age comic book artists. His work is still every bit as dynamic today as it was in the 50¿s and 60¿s. That¿s a remarkable feat. Even ardent fans of the great Jack Kirby would have to admit the Kirby¿s later work in the late 70¿s and 80¿s was not of the standard of his earlier work. But like a fine wine, Kubert just seems to get better with age. His latest graphic novel ¿Jew Gangster¿ is reminiscent of those great gangster movies of the 1930¿s and 40¿s that starred the likes of Bogart, Cagney, and Edward G. Robinson. Set in Brooklyn at the peak of the depression, it tells the story of Reuben ¿Rudy¿ Kaplan, a Jewish teenager who is the son of immigrant parents. He sees his parents struggle to carve out a life for he and his sister, Rifke. His mother runs a small restaurant and spends the entire day cooking while his father works cutting dresses and making pennies. It¿s a life that Rudy at once detests and also fears. He¿ll do anything to avoid a similar fate. The book takes a bit of a page out of the 1937 film ¿Dead End¿ where the city¿s youth fear and admire the local gangsters. Here are men who are living the good life amidst these dark times. Rudy soon decides that¿s the life for him and he makes a contact with a local tough named ¿Monk¿ who pays Rudy more money to simply deliver a package than his father makes in a month. Rudy wants to use the money to help his family. This quickly brings Rudy into conflict with his father who tells him that he did not come to America to see his son become a Jew gangster. Rudy leaves home and Monk gives him a room in the back of a local pool hall. Rudy takes on more and more jobs with Monk, accompanying him to collect protection money and to break up a union that is trying to organize at a local business. Soon Rudy¿s even recruited some of his neighborhood friends into the fold but Rudy is also playing a dangerous game involving Monk¿s girl Molly, a game that could cost Rudy his life. The book is filled with the type of standard and colorful characters that made those gangster movies so fun to watch. There¿s the mother who loves her son and turns a blind eye to where all of his money comes from there¿s the father who struggles to build a better life for his family and there are the violent, tough-talking local gangsters who are not above roughing up or even murder to make a point. Kubert¿s art lives and breathes a gritty, Brookyn feel. One can almost smell the stink of the claustrophobic streets and feel the helplessness of its people. A wonderfully rendered urban tale. Reviewed by Tim JansonWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.