'The Spaceship of Time' (1964).

Asher Dikstein - AKA Asher Ein-Dor - was an Israeli graphic artist and illustrator, mostly known for his psychedelic poster art. During the 1960s, he was a pioneer of Israeli comics, nicknamed the "King of Hebrew Comics". Dikstein created the science fiction comic serials 'The Spaceship of Time' (1964) and 'Mysteries of the Lost Continent' (1965), and was a driving force behind the comic magazines Adventures for Teens (1965), Bambi (1965) and Bucky (1967-1971). He also made the cover designs for a great many paperback pulp novels, and was a prominent illustrator for the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement.

Early life and career
Asher Dikstein (אשר דיקשטיין) was born in 1943 in Tel Aviv. Even though pursuing artistic ambitions was not encouraged within his religious environment, he started painting while a first grade student at the Tachkemoni School. By the 1950s, Dikstein became fascinated with cartoons through the comic stories about 'Pineapple, Pear and Pickle', made by Yaakov Ashman and Mein Shenhav for Our Land magazine. Later on, he also discovered American comics, which left a lasting influence on his own work. He began his professional career as a self-taught artist for advertising agencies, while finetuning his craft through self-study.

Dan Golan - 'Underwater Operation' (1965).

The Spaceship of Time
Starting his career in a time when only a handful of Israeli artists were making comics, Dikstein was a prominent and prolific pioneer, both as illustrator and editor. In 1964, he made his debut with the science fiction story 'The Spaceship of Time' ('Hallalit HaZman'), published in Our Land (Haaretz Shelnu), the magazine edited by Dikstein's childhood hero Yaakov Ashman. Its panels filled with sexy women, terrifying monsters and strange alien creatures, the story told the adventures of two children who join a scientific expedition into a distant past, where they meet a two-headed alien. While most Israeli comics at the time were caricatural, Dikstein's serial had realistic, dramatic art, inspired by the American comic masters Alex Raymond, Milton Caniff and Burne Hogarth. Editor Ashman's boosted Dikstein's debut story by introducing it with a special cover illustration and a full editorial article about the comic and its young cartoonist.

Dan Golan
For many years, Asher Dikstein remained a regular comic artist for Our Land magazine, often working with the scriptwriter Pinchas Sadeh (AKA Yariv Amatzia). One of his regular features was 'Dan Golan', an Israeli secret agent strongly inspired by the popular 'James Bond' series. The first story saw Golan fighting Nazi missile scientists in Cairo. The second dealt with an underwater operation, reminiscent of the 007 film 'Thunderball'.

'Mysteries of the Lost Continent' (1965).

Mysteries of the Lost Continent
From April 1965 on, Dikstein was simultaneously present in Things for Kids magazine, drawing his second major science fiction serial, 'Mysteries of the Lost Continent' ('Meistarei HaYabeshet HaAvuda'), about the discovery of the sunken city of Atlantis. Serialized in 15 issues, exceptionally printed in color, the comic was based on the 1929 Arthur Conan Doyle short novel 'The Maracot Deep'.

Ramdor Publishing
During the 1960s, Dikstein worked extensively as art editor and illustrator for Ramdor Publishing. His main work was making cover illustrations for a great many 1960s and 1970s paperback pulp novels, many carrying his signature "Asher". These included adventure series with the counterspy 'Patrick Kim', the ancient Roman hero Machista and western gunslingers like 'Bill Carter' and 'Ringo'. In the three issues of Ramdor's short-lived 1965 comic magazine Adventures for Teens, Asher Dikstein made no less than four serials. Besides pirate and science fiction features, Dikstein made a western serial based on the 'Winnetou' stories by the German western writer Karl May, and an original Hebrew 'Tarzan' story entitled 'Tarzan in the Basement of Horrors'. Around the same time, Dikstein was also the driving force behind the four-issue companion magazine Bambi, that carried stories for younger children, including comics based on 'Dr. Doolittle' and the fairy tales 'Snow White', 'The Ugly Duckling' and 'Little Red Riding Hood'.

'Tarzan in the Basement of Horrors'.

Bucky magazine
More enduring was the comic magazine Bucky, published weekly by Ramdor and named after the American space hero Buck Rogers. Launched on 15 July 1967, Dikstein served as editor and translator of foreign comics - mostly from the USA, Britain and France - but at times he also contributed his own stories. Publisher P. Orbach purchased many World War II-themed comics from the UK, but had Dikstein do some controversial art editing. By turning the Nazis into Arabs and the Britons into Israelis, the editors changed the theme of the story by making it about the Israeli War for Independence. In 1971, after 170 issues, the magazine folded, coinciding with the collapse of the entire Hebrew comic market.

Illustrator for children
During the 1970s, Dikstein illustrated the well-known children's books about the monkeys Kofiko and Chipopo by Tamar Bornstein-Lazar, as well as Yigal Mosinson's 'Hasamba' series, about a group of Tel Aviv children assisting the underground paramilitary organization Haganah in its battle against the British for Israeli statehood. Dikstein also provided illustrations for the western novels written by Miron Uriel under the pseudonym Archie Berman. In the same decade, Dikstein began working for Michael Shir's children's paper Thimble, illustrating stories about the dolphin Flipper and the heroic border collie Lassie, as well as a serialization of Kipling's 'Jungle Book'.

Flipper - 'The Mysterious Ship' (1971).

Illustrator for adults
Eventually, Asher Dikstein turned towards more adult subject matter. Under the name Asher Ein-Dor (דיקשטיין), he illustrated the work of the avant-gardistic Hebrew poet David Avidan. He also launched the erotic magazine Bull, for which he created the sadomasochistic Nazi-themed story 'Plots of SB. 7 and Her War on the Titans!' in collaboration with Gad Bar El. Dikstein also illustrated the first covers of the entertainment magazine Lahitun, showing an original sense for graphic design.

Originally a humble religious artist, Dikstein eventually became known for his poster art, mixing anti-war sentiments with psychedelia and horror. During the 1960s and early 1970s, the artist led a bohemian lifestyle, filled with drug use and sexual experimentation. His escapades often made the gossip section of This World magazine.

Conversion to Chabad
At the height of his success, Asher Dikstein underwent severe personal crises, eventually leading to his disappearance from the forefront of comics and illustration. After a suicide attempt and much soul-searching, Dikstein decided to leave secularism and convert himself to the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement. Later in life, Dikstein lived in the Chabad community of Safed, a city built on hilltops in the northern Galilee region. He became the graphic artist and illustrator of the Chabad magazine Bamchana, and made paintings for the "Mitzvah tanks", vehicles used as portable "mini-synagogues". In 2004, Dikstein briefly returned to comic medium with 'Holy Stories', a comic book intended for the ultra-Orthodox community. Asher Dikstein died in 2021.

Anti-military psychedelic poster art by Asher Ein-Dor and Dan Gilad (1971).

Series and books by Asher Dikstein you can order today:


If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.