Israel's first "nanotechnology-powered" superhero is now available in English at ynetnews.com. Cartoonists Eli Eshed and Uri Fink collaborated on "The Golem," which is a perfect name for the product of science gone awry.
Golems are clay creatures of Jewish legend brought to "life" by rabbis who can master the correct Kabbalistic incantations. Mary Shelley was said to have been inspired by them when she created Frankenstein. The most famous of these Jewish Frankensteins was the 17th century Golem of Prague, created out of clay and brought to life with one word, "emet" ("truth"), placed on its forehead by Rabbi Jehudah Loew.
Rabbi Loew is one of my ancestors, and I've always felt a spiritual closeness to him, which grows the more I read about his life and legend. His golem was meant to stand for truth, to become a protector of the Jewish people during times of persecution. Things didn't turn out as ol' great-grandpa planned.
Since then, the golem has come to symbolize how the "creations" of man can go horribly wrong. I wonder if this comic's creators are aware that if they are to stay true to the golem legends their superhero must ultimately fail. The moral of the Jewish myth is that it is dangerous for mankind to "play God," or to "alter nature" by giving life to clay.
It is a message that resonates today, of course, as the far left is beginning to voice its opposition to nanotechnology on the assumption that to manipulate molecules is to mess with "nature," and the far right is mobilizing against the concept of "transhumanism," "human enhancement" and other schools of thought and technologies that seek to improve upon our essentially weak -- yet, "God-given" -- bodies.
The comic, however, is obviously taking a lighter approach. In this modern version, it's government bureaucracy that goes awry. The first comic begins with Professor Finstein's "Israeli Super Hero Project" about to become the victim of budget cuts. He convinced the government to build it using "these very small appliances," which turned out to be nanobots, of course. What he did not say was that he neded "67 trillion" of them to build a proper super hero. "Oy vey .." exclaims the guy from the Israeli budget office.