Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 13 to 16
A Bunch of Jews (and other stuff) is a graphic novel created by Trina Robbins from translated editions of her father, Max Perlson's Yiddish short stories, written between 1900-1930.
These stories are emotional tributes to Jewish old-country traditions and culture in Belarus, Russia, and the excitement and stress of immigration to the United States.
Stories of power-hungry schoolteachers, greedy businessmen, haunted poets, heartbroken husbands, loyal dogs, and wise old women are contained within these pages, all adapted by artists with a wide variety of experiences, from modern webcomic cartoonists, to classic underground comic artists.
These stories are a powerful tribute to Jewish life across the world, before the coming of WWII would change things forever...
About the authors
Joan Steacy is a visual artist who has worked in a variety of disciplines, including sculpture, illustration, and digital painting. She grew up in southern Ontario, and moved to Victoria in 1987. A graduate of Sheridan College, The Ontario College of Art & Design, and The University of Victoria, she currently teaches at Camosun College in Comics and Graphic Novels, a program she co-created with partner Ken Steacy. She is also the author/illustrator of "So, That's That!" the biography of her father, a scrap-metal dealer who lived to be 100. Most recently, she illustrated a short story for "A Minyen Yidn" by Trina Robbins.
Miriam Libicki holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an award-winning graphic novelist.
Hope Nicholson is the owner of Winnipeg-based publishing Bedside Press. She's an ardent comics fan passionate about bringing new stories to light, and author of the book "The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen" which shines light on characters forgotten by comics history.
- Nominated, Eisner Award - Best Anthology
Excerpt: A Bunch of Jews (and other stuff): A Minyen Yidn (un andere zakhn) (by (author) Trina Robbins; original author Max B. Perlson; cover design or artwork by Barbara 'Willy' Mendes; illustrated by Steve Leialoha, Ken Steacy, Joan Steacy, Shary Flenniken, Sarah Glidden, Eve Furchgott, Elizabeth Watasin, Anne Timmons, Caryn Leschen, Jen Vaughn, Robert Triptow, Terry Laban, Miriam Libicki & Miriam Katin; edited by Hope Nicholson)
Kotletn never came into our house, because poverty never came out of it, and it is well-known that poverty and good meals are eternal foes. So I never saw Kotletn. I did know, however, that Kotletn were a very fine meal.
Who was it who told me? First, I was told by Borukhke, the landlord's son.
Secondly...I once visited Shakher, the dry-goods merchant while they were eating dinner, and it was Kotletn.
The wonderful aroma filled every corner. However, as noted above, Kotletn never crossed our threshold.
So I thought that when I grew up and began to earn my living, I would save up until I became rich and then...Kotletn!
”A beautiful book...Comic art readers, but especially Jewish readers drawn to the lore of their ancestors’ European past, will celebrate Robbins and her artists” —Paul Buhle
“A Minyen Yidn immerses you immediately into the 1900’s worlds of Eastern European shtetl life...A fascinating and entertaining collection, Robbins is truly a Alrightnikeh!” —Sarah Lightman
"A Bunch of Jews is made of a bunch of stories and is an amazing read. The stories are beautifully written as an expression of Yiddish, immigrate, and Jewish experiences both in mostly Jewish towns and after they left them. The artists took those beautiful stories and created beautiful art that reinforced them and gave them a new life. Together, the verbal and visual experience provides a nostalgic and historic glimpse into the kind of life many enjoyed and could not get back after displacement. The narrative is made of pieces of life that may emerge again, showing how culture can perpetuate and can be revived just through recreating stories and sharing memories." - roguesportal.com
"If there is a constant aesthetic to the artwork, it is the ubiquitous cool of the underground. Outsiders who work only in monochrome. Watercolors. Retro nods to quills and woodcuts. Older styles for Old World stories, more Caldecott than Comics Code. Jazz for a New York story from the radio years. Moments of quiet beauty, like two friends sitting close at a table in “Duboy”. Some of the people that Perlson paint will barge into any panel they please, and Robbins has the wherewithal to let them.
Robbins’ take on her dad’s book crackles with magic. Perlson captured his age as well as his people in A Minyen Yidn. Robbins brings both out by showing us the world the folks back home were living in. A husband reflects on his troubles during his public transit commute. A drunk rushes through a train yard. Old man on the block. Old man in the shtetl. Goat country.
The indie rock feel and the source material’s armchair anthropologist love of all things local make A Minyen Yidn a surprisingly timely, hip read. Max Perlson is a time traveler. His presence in each story comes and goes with the same acumen as contemporary nonfiction authors who weave themselves into their research, like Sarah Vowell or Mary Roach.
Max would have flourished on This American Life. A Minyen Yidn could be a podcast but for Perlson’s love of books. There’s a joy in these stories, but there is another joy in seeing them literally bound together forever. Perlson defies the ages because A Minyen Yidn is timeless. Fate has brought it back into the world, and making friends with Mutye is an opportunity not to be missed." - doomrocket.com
Other titles by Trina Robbins
Other titles by Ken Steacy
Other titles by Joan Steacy
Other titles by Jen Vaughn
Other titles by Miriam Libicki
Other titles by Hope Nicholson
Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection (Vol. 2)
Comics That Caught Fire
Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection (Volume 1)
Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection (Volume 2)
Pros and (Comic) Cons
Love Beyond Body, Space and Time
an Indigenous LGBT Sci-fi Anthology
Sally the Sleuth
Gothic Tales of Haunted Love
A Gothic Romance Graphic Novel Anthology