Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Guest Blogger Jesse Karp - Rabbi Harvey Rides Again

If you love graphic novels and you review them on top of it, you end up reading an awful lot of 'em. You wade through plenty of mediocre ones and you start to think that everyone knows about the really stand-out pieces as soon as they hit the shelves. Not so, I'm here to tell you. There are hidden gems, even in this day and age when graphic novels seem to be finally getting the attention they've long deserved. Case in point: Rabbi Harvey Rides Again, sequel to the equally wonderful The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey, both by Steve Sheinkin. The story of the humble and seldom ruffled Rabbi Harvey, who finds himself sheriff of a small Old West town filled with miners, outlaws and devious bubbes, the good rabbi can hardly employ the classic six-shooter solution and so brings to bear the wisdom of ancient Jewish folklore. Sound like it might be a hard sell for your hesitant tween? Let me assure you, the humor is so sly, the characters so engaging, the indiosynchratic art so charming, readers will find that the wisdom has somehow or other snuck by without an instant of discomfort. In point of fact, the stories are so well constructed that the solutions to the various townsfolks' problems (for instance, just how do you prosecute the wind for stealing someone's last piece of bread, anyway?) feel much more like an extremely satisfying punchline than any kind of a lesson.

For every Arrival or Hugo Cabret you know there's a Rabbi Harvey waiting to be discovered. Keep an eye out, a little Old West Rabbi humor never hurt anyone. A little wisdom never hurt anyone either, for the matter of that.

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