Some may say that Jewish superpowers are limited to parting seas and burning oil efficiently — but the Jews themselves weren’t even the ones wielding those powers — they were really just beneficiaries! The truth is that Jews have enjoyed a history of representation in the superhero genre, representing some of the most recognizable and influential superheroes ever.
- Magneto: Born “Max Eisenhardt,” Magneto grew up in the Warsaw Ghetto and was sent to Auschwitz in the mid-1930s. Primarily known as an adversary of the X-Men, Magneto is not necessarily a Super “Hero,” though his complex character prevents him from being a simple villain.
- Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver: The children of Magneto, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff were originally written as half Romani, Serbian Jews, though these aspects of their identity have seemingly been removed from their most recent renditions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- The Thing: Benjamin Jacob Grimm was revealed to be Jewish nearly 40 years after his first appearance in Marvel Comics. In a comic from 2002, Grimm has a flashback that shows him reciting the Shema; a 2006 comic follows the story of Grimm’s second Bar Mitzvah—representing his second life as The Thing.
- Batwoman: Despite never being explicitly stated, DC Comics’ Kate Kane is revealed to be Jewish through artwork where a menorah and Shabbat candles are prominently featured. Additionally, the 2006 “DC: Infinite Christmas Special” shows Kane celebrating Hanukkah with her girlfriend.
- Doctor Manhattan: Before his transformation into the blue skinned Doctor Manhattan, Jonathan Osterman was the son of a watchmaker living in 1920s Germany. When the Nazis rose to power, Osterman and his father, Josef, fled the country, though his mother was killed during their escape.