Eli Eshed

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Eli Eshed

Eli Eshed is an Israeli researcher of popular culture who has spent considerable time and effort analyzing the Israeli pulp magazines and paperbacks of the 1950s and 1960s.

He made an investigation, especially the pirated Tarzan brochures which were highly popular among Israeli youths at the time, published anonymously and without any authorization from the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In 2000, he published a very limited edition of a Hebrew book called Tarzan in the Holy Land. This book is a history and a bibliography of the Tarzan phenomenon in Israel, where there were more than a thousand original stories about Tarzan. Although it is in Hebrew, it is illustrated throughout with dust wrappers and pictorial bindings from all the main Tarzan series published in Israel. It is then a book of interest even for the majority who do not read Hebrew.

In 2002, Eli Eshed published From Tarzan to Zbeng about the pulp literature of Israel. This book became a best seller and earned Eshed the title "Writer of the Year" from Maariv.[1] He also researched the adventures of many other pulp icons, such as Patrick Kim, a fictional Korean CIA agent using karate against a variety of enemies worldwide.[2]

In 2003, Eshed published with the leading and best known Israeli comics artist Uri Fink. The book The Golem: A Story of an Israeli Comicbook is about the history of a comics series in an alternative state of Israel, an Israel in which there has been a fully developed and flourishing comics industry since the 1940s as a result of the success of this particular series. The series and the book are called The Golem. The Golem is the ultimate Hebrew super-hero and works alongside a beautiful woman super-heroine, Lilith.

The book describes the history of the series since the 1940s, when it was drawn by the young comics artist Jack Kirby (Jacob Kurtzberg in that alternative reality), who had immigrated to Palestine like so many other Jews. It offers “examples” from many comic-strips, in which the Golem collaborates with various real Israeli personalities, such as Itzhak Rabin, Moshe Dayan and Ariel Sharon, as well as with fictional characters, such as Tarzan the Jungle King in Africa and versions of well known Israeli fictional heroes such as Dani Din the invisible boy as well as many others. Specifically for the book, there have been created by master animator Gil Biderrman a song and a movie clip with limited animation sung by award-winning artist Yasmin Even about the Golem’s adventures. Both are supposedly made in the 1970s and imitate the style of that time.

Though imaginary, the book is based on real events and personalities in the world of Hebrew popular culture, people such as Pinchas Sade, Asher Dickstein, and Etgar keret who are presented as writers and artists of the series in the alternative universe. The “Golem artwork” in their styles was produced by Uri Fink. The book has been very successful in Israel and has become something of a cult book and was called by leading Israeli literary critic Menachem Ben “a master work of Israeli mythology“ and by screen writer and producer Alon Rozenblum "A must have book in every home". It is the last word on the subject of the super-hero in Israeli popular culture in 2005 the character of the Golem and Lilith had becomes the heroes of an English comic strip by Fink and Eshed.[3]

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