The DC Message Boards have been buzzing with a discussion over whether the following words from the "Countdown" #32 backup story are a slur against Jews (here's the whole post by "phanboy216" for context):
I'm not normally sensitive about stuff like this but did anyone read the Eclipso origin this week? Something jumped out at me that really bugs me.
In the second panel, the narrative says "As the Old Testament gave way to the fairer and more balanced God of the New..."
Is DC saying that the Christians worship a better God than those who only believe in the Old Testament (like Jews)?
First, it's an ignorant statement - it's the same God
Second, even if unintentional, DC should give more thought when tying religious issues into comics.
Third - and this just makes me laugh, they make God sound like Fox News ("Fair and balanced"?!?!)
I know it's just a poorly-written 2-page story that is trying to explain 40 years of ridiculously convoluted continuity, but I just wanted to at least raise the point that DC writers need to be more sensitive and DC editors need to do their jobs...
another poster, "rsokolic," wrote,
"More importantly for DC Comics (although perhaps less so for the rest of the world), the page associates Eclipso, who has always been identified as a villain in the DC universe, with the Hebrew Bible, and the Specter, who has always been identified as a hero, with the Greek Bible.
The implication is that Judaism (at least ancient Judaism) was villainous and Christianity (at least ancient Cristianity) heroic. This is about as clearly anti-Semitic as one can be - saying Jews bad, Christians Good. This seems much closer to teh type of racial anti-Semitism that was the foundation for the Holocaust. In this conception, it is not merely that the Jewish faith, or the Jewish God is bad, but that Jews themselves are less good than Christians.
This is about as bad as the old portrayals of Wing and Pieface in the '40's, '50's and '60's. Julie Schwartz must be turning ovrer in his grave (Not to mention the Spectre's creator, Jerry Siegel, or Joe Schuster, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby or the other followers of a less fair and balanced God who created the comics industry).
Interestingly, this issue was published during the 10 days of Repentence, when Jews ask for foregivenness from those who we have harmed (part of the rituals ordained by our unfair and imbalanced God). Perhaps the writer and editor of this two page back up, or even the Senior Vice-President and Executive Editor on behalf of his staff, should make a suitable show of contrition or regret for this slur"
Was this short bit of narration anti-Semitic? Or, as other posters on the DC Message Board commented, is the original poster just being too sensitive & PC?
First of all, the idea of a "New" and "Old" Testament is Christian in nature. Jews refer to their sacred books as the Tanakh, and academics refer to them as the "Hebrew Bible."
So right off that bat, if you want to make comparisons between different characters in your comic and you put the Old & New Testaments in there, you're already sort of in the danger zone in terms of offending someone.
If the symbolism was indeed there in this "Countdown" story that evil Eclipso = Old Testament and Good Spectre = New Testament, then you've got some problems. But I haven't read the issue so I'm just going off of what I have heard.
As for whether it's a slur or just a lot of PC bellyachin', what do you think of this "BC" cartoon (published on Easter/last day of Passover):
Is this cartoon saying that Christianity has replaced Judaism? Or that even the Jews were responsible for killing Jesus? Or is this just a cartoon about cavemen who apparently have menorahs and elegant glassware?
It's verrrrry complicated. We tended not to use overt religious stuff in our books at DC. This is why.