Issue #9

  1. Introducing SITRA ACHRA

  2. Talmudic War Machine & A Shadow’s Dream

  3. Bruise Garden

  4. Mascha Kaléko: The Poet, The Stream

  5. Deli on the Move

  6. Bad Butcher

  7. Over or Under

  8. Remove/Release

  9. Renew Our Days

  10. Our Boys: A Travelogue

  11. Vitraji Vulgarum

  12. “Seeing is Not Enough”

  13. Cross-Pollination

  14. Theremin and the Touchless Touch

Bad Butcher

David Duvshani & Julia Fermentto-Tzaisler

  • “BAD BUTCHER” is written at the top in a circle with jagged lines. Below it is a knife, a dead chicken, and a drumstick. “By David Duvshani & Julia Fermentto-Tzaisler” is written at the bottom.

  • The following 24 comic frames are black ink on white paper with text at the top narrating the scene and an image depicting the story. Text at the top will be noted with italics in the following format. Text at the top: This is the terrible tale of Shuki the butcher, the owner of ‘Hip And Thigh’ a small butcher shop in Jerusalem. Shuki is sitting at the counter of the butcher shop, holding a chicken thigh.

  • Text at the top: Shuki spends most of his days in the freezer, where he cuts, chops and packages the meat. Shuki is standing in the freezer, chopping meat with a slicing knife. Large cuts of meat hang from hooks all around him in the background.

  • Text at the top: The lovely young Zisl works at the register, selling chicken hearts, spleens and beef tongues, nights and days. Zisl is standing by the register holding a wrapped package, and three faces peer out from the counter in the background.

  • Text at the top: Every once in a while Shuki makes sure to deposit some of the cash in a secret box at the warehouse behind the store. Shuki has one hand on a box.

  • Text at the top: Little does he know that in that warehouse there is the 450 years old holy grave of Rebbe of Deshkael ztvk”l. Rebbe of Deshkael is lying down and floating in the frame.

  • Text at the top: Every time that Shuki hides the money, the spirit of the Rebbe of Deshkael ztvk”l freaks out. Rebbe of Deshkael’s body is horizontal in the frame and his speech bubble in the center reads: “Shuki son of Arie Leib! You bloody bastard!” and a second speech bubble on the right continues, “Leave my holy grave!”

  • Text at the top: At first Shuki thought the voices he heard, those harsh curses, were all in his head. There are only speech bubbles pictured with the voice of Rebbe of Deshkael in one speech bubble on the left: “All your teeth should fall out except one, and that one should hurt!” and another speech bubble on the right saying: “You should grow like an onion, with your head in the ground!”

  • No text at the top. Shuki is standing in the freezer in the background on the left saying: “Zisl, who speaks such words as these?” Zisl is in the foreground saying: “Far be it from your servants to do such a thing!”

  • Text at the top: In the midst of the night Shuki enters the warehouse to see what is the source of the problem once and for all. Shuki hunches over holding a knife and with two speech bubbles says: “Who’s voice is it?” “Asmodeus!?”

  • Rebbe is seen on a black background with four speech bubbles saying: “I am the Rebbe of Deshkael ztvk”l!” “And you stand on my holy grave.” “Hiding dirty money in it.” “Defiling my sacred name.”

  • Text at the top: Shuki jumps with fright, his heart almost bursted out of his shirt. Rebbe is floating in a circular form saying: “I haven't eaten in 450 years. If you bring me something to eat I won’t report you to the IRS.”

  • Shuki is holding a knife in the foreground and Rebbe is waving his hands on the right side of the frame. Shuki: “Give me a break, what a nudnik!” “A spirit will report me to the IRS?” “You’re not worth a shekel!”

  • Text at the top: Suddenly light and thunder hits the warehouse! The Rebbe of Deshkael ztvk”l turns Shuki’s face backwards, and makes him an absolute mute, he can’t even move his lips. Shuki’s body is contorted with his hand covering his mouth. Rebbe’s face is on the right side saying: “Thou son of perverse rebellion!”

  • Text at the top: All night long Shuki is stuck and frozen in the warehouse facing backwards, he tries to call Zisl for help but not a single sound comes out of his mouth. Shuki’s body fills the frame with his head and hand in the lower right corner and his legs reaching the upper and lower left corners.

  • Text at the top: In the morning Zisl arrives, opens the shop, stacks the chicken liver and wonders where shuki is… Such a dedicated butcher, he never missed a day of work in his life. Zisl is in the butcher shop holding a knife, butchered meats and a deli counter surround her.

  • By noon, already dead worried, she starts searching and finds him in the back stuck as if he were Lot's wife. Shuki is upside down on the left and Zisl looks over him with a worried face and a hand covering her mouth on the right.

  • Text at the top: Nearby hovers the spirit of Rebbe of Deshkael ztvk”l. Rebbe laughs and spreads his arms wide in the frame. Rebbe: “Nu, yet another money launderer!”

  • Text at the top: Zisl might be young but she’s brave as a lioness. She is not afraid of dead rebbes nor ludicrous spirits. Zisl lifts a hand and says: “One has to make a living somehow, will you help us pay the rent?”

  • Zisl towers over the Rebbe. She holds his small body with one hand, and holds a knife in the other. Zisl says: “A little shekel here and there is no harm.” “Now unfreeze him mister Rebbe!”

  • Text at the top: The Rebbe’s laughter is getting louder and louder, he demands a daily dish of chopped liver. Rebbe raises his arms and says: “And both of you cut the cheating out!” “Only then I'll unfreeze him!”

  • Text at the top: Zisl rushes to the kitchen and starts chopping the liver wholeheartedly. Zisl grins and chops the liver. Pieces of liver fly above her head reaching from her held utensil on the right side and into a bowl on the left side of the frame.

  • Text at the top: The spirit of Rebbe of Deshkael ztvk”l munches voraciously and immediately thereafter he unfreezes Shuki. Rebbe smiles wide and holds a piece of liver on a fork and a glass. Rebbe says: “My soul thirsteth for Thee.”

  • Text at the top: Shuki and Zisl enter the butcher shop humbly, the cheating age at “Hip And Thigh” is over, or at least for now. Zisl is cooking with a frying pan and Shuki is on the right side with his head hunched over his body.

  • In the background, Rebbe floats upside down in the upper left corner and Zisl dances on the right side. In the center, Shuki holds a knife and says: “You can't eat hope. You can't eat it, but it sustains!”

David Duvshani and Julia Fermentto-Tzaisler, Bad Butcher, Comic, 25 frames, 10 x 10cm each, Ink on paper, 2021

Julia Fermentto-Tzaisler and David Duvshani have worked as a couple since 2018. They published a weekly comic column, Apocalyptic Predictions, in Haaretz newspaper in Israel (2019-2020)

David is an artist working with comics, painting, and print. He is a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and his work has been exhibited internationally. He contributes to Tohu magazine, where he has a podcast of interviews with artists and a comic column The Travels of Reb Mendelovitch, an experimental comic in the form of a scroll. His comic book, Crusades, was published in France in 2019. 

Fermentto is a fiction writer. She has been heralded by the Israeli press as a “brave new voice” (Haaretz). Her debut novel, Safari, was published in Israel in 2011, and became a bestseller. Her second novel, By the Orange Orchard, won the Ministry of Culture Award for Young Authors. She holds a Ph.D in Jewish-American and Yiddish literature from UC San Diego. They live together in Tel-Aviv.