Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hurrah ! It´s Norm Breyfogle Wednesday !

Well, not really. Since comic creators still don´t get their own holidays we have to wait a bit for that. It still IS his birthday Today so I wanted to do a little homage post to one of my all - time Batman artists.

Especially since he´s nowhere in sight of the NEW 52. You would think that with the sorry state the company´s in right now and the constant changes of creators they would use every available resource they have.

On the other hand it doesn´t really surprise me since I´m not sure it fits with their new grim and gritty Image - ification of their universe. Is it just me or were none of the actual execs of DC around during the 90s ? Because that was when we did all this grim and gritty for the first time - which made it slightly original. Call me jaded but most of what´s going on at DC right now seems like a lot of rehashed bad ideas from the 1990s.

I don´t like to repeat myself but a company that just doesn´t have the common sense to give Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire cart blanche on any property they fancy is shooting it´s own kneecap. And they also had no idea what to do with George Perez either. They f - ed up Power Girl, for heaven´s sake ! How can you f up Power Girl ? Especially when you have artists like Kevin Maguire and George Perez on the book.

Man, it really doesn´t surprise me that they don´t call Norm Breyfogle for anything. Anyway, this post is not about me going on another rant about the actual state of DC comics - since that is neither very pleasant to read about nor will it accomplish anything about ending the horror that is the NEW 52 before it´s time since DC is just raking in huge amounts of cash with their current four colored orgy of violence and unfulfilled tittilation.

No, Today is about giving props to one of the best artists out there whom - sadly - a lot of newer readers don´t know because of all the hype around the NEW 52 books. If they know Norm Breyfogle at all it´s from his work on the BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED series. Which has been canceled. Sob.

But before that Norm Breyfogle did one of the definite runs on BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS with Alan Grant that still hasn´t been collected.

At least from DC. In Spain PLANETA DE AGOSTINI collected the run in 5 hardcover volumes before losing the DC license to ECC Ediciones. I already did a post on that where I also translated the article NORM BREYFOGLE´S BATMAN : A DIFFERENT LOOK by David Hernandez from spanish to english which you can find here . It really goes more into detail and since I can´t possibly come up with anything nearly as good I´m not even trying. I have done a few posts on Norm Breyfogle already so I spent most of the time Yesterday and Today ( when I wasn´t working of course ) going over them and sorting out which pictures I have already used

and which part of Norm´s long comic career I already covered. And of course I corrected all typos ( at least all I could find ), added all new changes and checked out all the links if they were still working. Which is one of the reasons why it took me so long to get this post done.

Originally I was going to do a post on one of the books I just recently acquired and go back to the INFERNO storyline but then facebook notified me of Norm Breyfogle´s birthday so I changed plans at the eleventh hour.

So, I already did a post on Norm Breyfogle on BATMAN. I sorta, kinda did one on one of my favorite villains / anti hero ANARCHY in this post . And I did GREATEST COMIC ARTISTS : NORM BREYFOGLE which covered pretty much everything else, so we can go home. What´s left to write about ?

I still haven´t read a lot of PRIME since my last post on Norm Breyfogle. I got two issues because they were rather cheap but since they are issues 10 and 11 I can´t comment on the series. The art is of course nice.

I got one issue of Valiant´s BLOODSHOT by Norm Breyfogle but since it´s issue 30 not much to report here either. Usually I stock up on cheap back issues at the Comicbörse Stuttgart and other conventions but since the Comicbörse was cancelled I´ll have to wait for this year´s Salon del Comic de Barcelona or Comicsalon Erlangen for that. If I can attend there at all.

What I did manage to get was the six issue miniseries METAPHYSIQUE which Norm Breyfogle did for Malibu´s BRAVURA imprint. It is a story that mixes superheroes, religion, ESP experiments by the government and the usual Breyfogle craziness into one of the weirdest not drug induced mind trips you will probably take reading a comic this side of Grant Morrison. Norm does it all on this one - except lettering and colors - and since it´s owned by him there may be a sequel coming somewhere in the future.

There has been a number 1 issue of the second volume OF BITTER SOULS, which has left Speakeasy Comics and gone to Markosia but that seems to be the only issue so far. At least according to what I could find out on the internet. So it seems the first trade about which I already wrote will be the only one available for the near future. And his association with Archie Comics also seems to have come to an end since he wasn´t present in the most recently released fourth volume of ARCHIE : THE MARRIED LIFE.

I still wanted to do a post on Norm Breyfogle because just this week I came across some of his work I haven´t mentioned or forgot to mention.

Because of my post on FLASH in January I realized how little of William Messner - Loebs´ and Greg LaRoque´s FLASH I had read. So when I went to my regular comic shop in Esslingen I found a dozen old issues ( which was especially fortunate since I only had 3 comics in my comic box ) which lead me to re - read my old FLASH issues. So far I have read up to the end of the RETURN OF BARRY ALLEN storyline because that´s the point from which on I have all the issues but I don´t want to continue - I have still so many issues missing before that. And since I probably can´t find those issues until Erlangen I stopped with FLASH. It´s hard but the early issues are just so good and I want to complete the run if I can.

Now, since I had gotten some new FLASH issues I had to take out some of the other comics in the longbox. It was mostly FLASH but also annuals and other series because it was not enough FLASH stuff for a full longbox.

With the new issues however - and possibly more of them in the near future - I started looking for other scattered FLASH issues like DC RETROACTIVE - THE FLASH so I had all my FLASH stuff in one box. One of the comics I found was the FLASH 80 PAGE GIANT and Lo and Behold, the second issue opened with a story by Brian Augustyn and Norm Breyfogle.

For more of his work at DC - besides the occasional short story - you might want to check out THE SPECTRE series that started in 2001 and which had post - Parallax Hal Jordan as the host of the Spectre.

Mr. Breyfogle did issue 15 to 23 and issues 25 to 27 which was the book´s final issue. This is a series I should probably own since most of the other issues were drawn by Ryan Sook and P. Craig Russell - a personal favorite of mine - did covers for most of the issues penciled by Norm Breyfogle.

On the other side of the street I had written in a previous post that he had done an issue of BLACK PANTHER and the HELLCAT 3 part series but I totally forgot to mention that he also did the AVENGERS ANNUAL 2000.

Which is doubly embarrassing because not only am I sure that I already used the cover by Carlos Pacheco on the blog ( although without the logos and type ) but it´s included in the fourth AVENGERS ASSEMBLE hardcover which I have only leafed through like - what ? -a hundred times ? You might think a fella would remember some of the great art from the issue.

So these are my tips for Norm Breyfogle stuff to read and if you haven´t gone over my old posts to which I posted the links make sure to head for the back issue bins for his work on BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS if you haven´t already. The same goes for his ELSEWORLDS books BATMAN : HOLY TERROR and FLASPOINT which thankfully hasn´t got anything to do with the NEW 52 and didn´t f - word up 75 years worth of DC continuity.

Now you might say that there is not that new stuff in this post and you would be right. Which is the reason for the next section, our ever so popular link section. These are all either web pages that provided helpful information, pictures to illustrate the post or are previously unposted articles or interviews I found while doing ( or preparing ) the post :

20th Century Danny Boy has a really lengthy interview with Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle on their five year tenure on BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS and some other topics, as well as a long article on Norm Breyfogle´s 1992 Batman redesign . They also did a post on his 50th birthday that has a lot of great art on it like some original pages. Comic Book Resources has an older interview with Norm Breyfogle and Chuck Satterlee about their OF BITTER SOULS book which may be a bit outdated but still has some interesting parts as it looks back on Norm´s early days in the industry. They also listed Norm Breyfogle as number 199 of their 365 reasons to love comics list. O´Ryan´s Observatory was especially busy with four posts on Norm Breyfogle : one about his work on DETECTIVE COMICS with Alan Grant ( which is labeled as number 1 so there may be more to come ) whereas the rest is one interview in three parts ( part 1 / part 2 / part 3 ) . And last but not least 13th Dimension provides THE GOTHAM TRIBUNE : NORM BREYFOGLE and there´s some cool Breyfogle art on Comicverso´s SHOWCASE : Norm Breyfogle post .

I couldn´t end this post without including some homage covers by Norm Breyfogle. The first one - though probably not used as a cover at all as far as I know - is Norm´s version of the A DEATH IN THE FAMILY cover.

The second one was indeed used for a cover but don´t worry if you can´t remember it. It was used for a special holographic cover for PRIME which is a real shame. Of course it´s done in homage to ACTION COMICS 1.

And with that I´m wrapping up this post since it´s already two hours after Norm Breyfogle´s birthday and I think you have enough to read. Now there are a lot of Norm Breyfogle interviews you can find on YouTube, even some where you see him drawing. But I´m going with a fan made motion comic of DETECTIVE COMICS 601 since it has the most action.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

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