Thursday, April 29, 2010

Take a Birthright Trip (Even If You Aren't Jewish)

Contrary to popular belief, I am not Jewish. Yes, my last name is Davis, I'm from Long Island, and a disproportionate number of my friends are of the Hebrew persuasion. But I'm actually the offspring of a Catholic and a Lutheran. So, while my Semitic pals have all traveled to Israel in the last few years on Taglit-Birthright's dime, I must rely on secondhand accounts of King David's tomb and the Wailing Wall.

But if I'm going to get a secondhand account, at least Michael Jonathan is Jewish promises to be a charming one. Michael Jonathan is the creator of Eros Inc., a bureaucratic urban fantasy about cupids living in Los Angeles. Now, Jonathan is gradually releasing a travelogue of his Birthright Trip.

Confession time: as much as Eros Inc. has grown on me, I hate hate hate the art (sorry, dude). But Jonathan's style is much better suited for his travelogue than his narrative comic. Maybe it's just that his real (incidentally shiksa) girlfriend gets rendered with a tad more affection and care than the fictional ladies and dudes of Eros Inc. It's more likely that his imprecise brushwork and aversion to backgrounds is better suited to a sketchbook. And I'm beginning to see Jonathan play with his visual language in his travelogue. I'm hoping this exercise translates into some bolder art choices in Eros Inc. as well.

Michael Jonathan is Jewish is just getting off the runway (we haven't even hit Israel yet), but I expect that it will prove an amusing tour, especially for those of us who are curious about Israel but have never been. Jonathan is a warm and witty writer, and his diary reads like it was written for a friend. And more than being a simple tour of Israel, it sounds like it will also be an exploration of faith from someone for whom religion is more cultural than spiritual.

[Michael Jonathan is Jewish]


Callan said...

Hooray for people with last name as Davis! However I am also not jewish, I didn't realise that Davis was a jewish name, where did you learn that?

Lauren Davis said...

@Callan: Davis isn't a particularly Jewish name (after all, it's very common among the English and Welsh), but it's also a not uncommon Anglicization of "David" and similar names. So a good handful of Jewish folks living in the UK and US are also named Davis.

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