Obscurity of DC Presents: Obscure Book Club, Week 107 (April 28-May 4) --- SERAPH!

Why hello there, @ObscurityofDCClub and other members of the DC Community! Welcome to Week 107 of Obscurity of DC’s Obscure Book Club! This week, we’ll be focusing on…

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SERAPH!!!
AGE SUGGESTION: 12+

Number of Issues: 5

Description from dc.fandom.com: Seraph is an Israeli super-hero and member of the Global Guardians. In his civilian identity he is Chaim Lavon, a school teacher. His powers are taken from artifacts that he believes were handed down to him from historical figures in the Torah. This includes the Mantle of Elijah protecting him from harm, the Ring of Solomon granting wisdom and teleportation, the Staff of Moses allowing water manipulation and long hair giving him the strength of Samson. Seraph will also call upon a higher power for miracles when he needs them. Seraph was created by E. Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon, first appearing in Super Friends #7.

Now that that’s over with, here are some discussion questions:

  1. Seraph has a vast arsenal of biblical tools that he uses to fight crime. Which of these tools is your favorite, and why?
  2. Why do you think Seraph refused to learn the identities of the Super Friends? Would you have done the same? Explain.
  3. Few heroes – especially at the time these comics were published – neglected to have a secret identity. Why do you think Chaim decided against the double-life?
  4. With Seraph comes many biblical and Judaic references. Do you enjoy the relationship between Seraph and his religion? Why or why not?
  5. Why do you think Bob Oksner (the creator of Seraph’s alter identity) decided to make Chaim Lavon a teacher? What significance does this hold? Explain.

Do you have an interest in exploring the unknown? Do you like discussing comics? Do you like pineapple on pizza? If so, The Obscurity of DC Club is the club for you! Join HERE if you’re interested!

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I’m glad to see this character being discussed. As someone who grew up on the Super Friends cartoon, I always enjoyed the characters who are known as the “diversity characters”, so when I saw the international heroes appearing in the Super Friends comics, I was drawn to them, because they were so different and new.

It’s been a while since I’ve thought of Seraph, so I took a quick trip to Wikipedia for a refresher.

He wears the ring of Solomon that gives him wisdom and allows him to teleport short distances, and the mantle of Elijah that protects him from harm. The Staff of Moses can extend to whatever length he needed, and can transform into a serpent and manipulate water. Additionally, he sports long hair which he believes grants him super strength like Samson. He apparently can request spectacular miracles from “a higher power” as he needs them.

I would think the most useful would be the ring of Solomon. I think everyone could use more wisdom, which would also help someone to remain focused and calm under stress.

If I’m remembering the issue this happened in correctly, he stated that he felt he hadn’t earned the right to know their identities. Would I have made the same decision? I’m not sure, curiosity would be poking at me, but perhaps the Ring of Solomon would give me the wisdom to realize it wouldn’t serve me to know them. :rofl:

I can remember being surprised that Chiam didn’t hide who was, at that time the only hero that I knew that didn’t hide his identity was Aquaman.

I’m not sure why he chose not to have one, but I do remember that people always seemed to be surprised Chiam was Seraph. He would always appear in costume, and onlookers would be shocked: He’s the Seraph! Seems like he didn’t hide it, but no one knew anyway. :rofl:

I’ll be honest, I didn’t give it much thought. I just took it as one aspect of his hero identity. It was just more out front with Seraph because his powers were given to him through God. I can remember with Fire (at that time, Green Fury) and Owl Woman, both of them had discussed the spirits who gave them their powers. Not as “religious” as God, but that aspect was there for them as well.

Leaders in religion are often seen as teachers. Given the biblical source of Seraph’s powers, it made sense to make him a teacher.

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Amazing responses @cellardweller115!

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I just read Seperath. I like him a lot, fascinating superhero and honestly underrated. Great pick @Jurisdiction

Ring of Solomon is probably his most notable tool. It speaks well about his identity while also being a useful tool he uses to help the Justice League. My personal favorite though is the staff of moses. It’s practically a trashing stick, but it can grow in length for him to do cool stuff like pole vaulting.

Seraph is a man of honor. He respects the privacy of others and choses not to know because while he may have earned their respect, he is also not willing to take advantage of their generosity. Well I’m probably gonna say yes. My favorite characters like Maxwell Lord, Hardware, and Martian Manhunter will so take out advantage of that information, so I will do the same. :rofl:

The actual reasoning might be superfluous, but I like to consider maybe a overreaching idea that his choice to reveal his identity is tied to him being open with other people and not feeling to hide things from people. He doesn’t hide things like being a superhero or his Jewish heritage because he’s proud of both of them.

When it comes to superhero in the silver age especially those who are Jewish. Many choose to hide it with other aesthetic like Americana or replace it with a different symbol like Hal Jordan Green Lantern. I think I enjoy heroes like Seraph because it’s so obvious what they’re representing yet it doesn’t come off as stereotyping, as their other noble characteristics are more focused and show how their heroism was influence by their culture/religion.

It’s so that he could explain a way to educate the reader into the character powers which are rooted in religion, but also lightly educate people on biblical fables without coming off as preachy.


I really enjoyed the character which is why I think what I’m going to say next will possibly be my oddest take yet. :sweat_smile:

I think when researching Seraph, a teacher of mythology whose a superhero of mythology and I was thinking in the back of my head, this guy would have been awesome alongside Donna Troy when Marv Wolfman was writing Teen Titans. Terry was a bore and icky, Seraph isn’t either.

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Love your answers!

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Okay, this was fun. I’ve never read the Super-Friends series and really need to read all the in-between issues at some point. Especially love Overlord and I now have some serious cosplay goals.

They’re all pretty awesome in that they have whatever powers the story might require at any time. But my arbitrary favorite is the Seal of Solomon because I’m a Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah dork and it’s the only of the items that has mystical legend attached to it in reality and not just a line or two in the Torah.

I think it might be intended to echo the idea that despite his own powers, he sees them as god-like pinnacles of humanity (and/or kryptonianity, thanagarianity, exxorianity, etc) and man should not gaze upon the face of a god.

More practically, though, I think its just an artifact of the era that all Earth’s heroes respect one another’s private identities. So if I were somehow a fictional character in this situation, I would probably do the same. If I were me me, though, I would probably ask if they wanted me to leave, and actually put the choice in their hands to decide if they trusted me with their secrets.

As an echo of pentateuchal heroes, it’s not the world he lives in. He’s a man of the people, carrying gifts from god to protect them. (And needs to repent when he uses the powers outside the scope of protection.) He hears god directly, making him more a modern prophet than a superhero.

Yeah, it’s a unique angle, and sneaks some education into the stories, while still keeping them fantastical. In teaching both history (e.g. the 960 at Masada) and quoting verse, he presents a non-religious perspective on Jewish culture, much like many other characters do with other religions and cultures. He never preaches or tries to change anyone’s world or religious view, but it clearly defines his life and role in society. Being a kid targeted book, they make mention of the PLO and disputed lands, but casually avoid ever making the stories centered on the actual (then) modern conflicts. (And he seems to recognize that “Arabs” and Bedouins are people, not faceless enemies, though that is very much in passing.)

I mean, teaching is at the core of Jewish culture. The word Torah literally means Teacher. That’s what it’s supposed to do; not just entertain, but teach people to live a good life full of giving. Making him a teacher is akin to making a Muslim character a mathematician (Al Jabr) or - maybe to a lesser degree - making a Sioux character a medical doctor (Chief Man-of-Bats).

From a story perspective, it also allows him a mechanism to travel around the region and not always be in the same small Israeli town, but without being another billionaire playboy or curious archaeologist. We see him at a rural settlement, out in historical sites, and in neighboring countries (presumably Saudi Arabia). And being a teacher, he’s always surrounded by kid and teen student, as well as young adult volunteers (and their sisters), so any threat isn’t just “oh, I need to save this artifact” or “protect some private property” – he’s maintaining his oath to use his artifacts to protect the people.


One thing that nagged me throughout, though, is that Rekvah and others would call him Reb Lavon instead of Reb Chaim or Reb Chaim Lavan. They’re applying the western concept of “Mister” to the word “Reb,” instead of using it as would be typical in Israel and neighboring areas. Not to mention that the term is only used for married men, and, as far as we can tell, he is unmarried (and seems to have a kid-friendly relationship with Rekvah).

The other thing niggling at me is that his chosen name, Seraph, generally means serpent when used in the singular. When used to refer to the tier of angels, it is always plural. Part of the point is that there is no “single Seraph.” And it means “burning one,” yet none of his gifts/powers are fire related. I really wish they took a moment to either give him a better hero name, or give us some brief backstory as to why he chose it.

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Fantastic answers!!

I noticed this as well, but I didn’t think anyone else would. Good eye!

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Have you read any of his other appearances yet? I’m working through the Wedgwood list and am hoping some answers might lay in the Secret Origins issues. I’ve also seen him listed as appearing in a couple of issues of Doomsday Clock - not sure if that’s accurate, but will report back if they should be added to Wedgwood.

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If so, you could just add them in. That’s actually the reason we make these wikis

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I noticed that after posting. Corrected the “(1987-1986)” time warp type-o that DC Comics Presents was listed as. :wink:

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