© MGMbill/Associated PressSome liken Foreskin Man's confrontation with Monster Mohel to 1930s Nazi propaganda.
San Diego - Fists clenched and muscles rippling beneath a tight blue suit, the yellow-caped character is poised to take on evil-doers.

But as his name suggests, Foreskin Man is not a typical comic-book superhero. Neither is his choice of adversaries: doctors who practice circumcision and Orthodox Jews who support the religious ritual.

San Diego activist Matthew Hess says he conceived the Internet comic series last year as a way to boost a national effort to outlaw circumcision, an effort that has led to a measure on San Francisco's ballot in November that would make it illegal in the city to perform a circumcision on a boy younger than 18.

Recently, though, the series has drawn criticism from those who deride Hess' imagery as anti-Semitic and liken Foreskin Man's confrontation with a sinister-looking Monster Mohel to 1930s Nazi propaganda.

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 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 bloodthirsty just like the grotesque Jewish stereotypes that appeared in Nazi propaganda."

Hess is the founder of MGMbill, a national organization pushing to outlaw circumcision on boys younger than 18. MGM stands for male genital mutilation. The organization succeeded in getting a measure on San Francisco's ballot that would make it a misdemeanor in the city to circumcise boys younger than 18 without medical need.

Critics agree that the comic is drawing attention -- but, they say, not support. The San Francisco Chronicle said the comic's "classic anti-Semitic imagery is inexcusable."

The medical benefits of circumcision have become a heated debate among parents. Opponents dismiss the argument that clipping the foreskin serves the cause of hygiene, and say that it amounts to male genital mutilation.

Supporters say a ban would be a flagrant violation of constitutional rights. For Jews, circumcision is part of a religious covenant. The ceremony, held eight days after a boy's birth, is generally performed either in a synagogue or at home.

Source: The Associated Press