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The Fantastic Four(skin)

Comic book heroes represent the archetypal man that most adolescent and teenage boys would like to become, albeit without the abilities to break in to banks with their bare hands, burn down a house with laser vision or fly around the world. Which, would be pretty cool to develop in your teenage years giving you a pretty much unprecedented advantage in the work-place when you rip through the walls of your competitor's office.

One new comic book hero contains a characteristic that most boys in England but fewer in America share: that of possessing a foreskin. In his fight against those who would circumcise the nation, 'Foreskin Man', created by one Matthew Hess, is here to save the day or the skin, as it were.

But despite a roaring success after introducing the figure at a recent Comicon in San Diego, Hess has drawn particularly bad press from US social organisations believing his drawing of Foreskin Man's enemies, namely caricatured, supposedly Jewish figures such as Dr.Mutilator are anti-semitic, The Washington Post tells us.

'In the comic’s second issue, the mohel (a specialist in Jewish ritual circumcision) barges into a San Diego home, snatches a baby boy from his mother, and proceeds to circumcise the infant on a pool table before being stopped by Foreskin Man.'

'The (Monster) mohel has a dark complexion, hook nose and is practically drooling at the thought of apparently doing harm to a child,' said Nancy Appel, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League.'

'He even has claws on his fingertips. He is blood thirsty just like the grotesque Jewish stereotypes that appeared in Nazi propaganda. It’s absolutely a direct parallel.'

In creating such evocative enemies in his superhero series, Hess hoped that his organisation MGMBill, which stands for 'Male Genital Mutilation' would have succeeded in getting its namesake bill, as draft legislation, considered for passing by those in power.

'Critics agree that [the comic] is drawing attention — but, they say, not support. In a June 8 editorial, the San Francisco Chronicle said the comic’s 'classic anti-Semitic imagery is inexcusable' and shows an 'ugly undercurrent to the campaign.'

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