Saturday, February 27, 2016

Today is Norm Breyfogle Day : the Return !

Since Today is Norm Breyfogle´s 56th ammiversary I spent most of the day looking for new things to post. First I checked February last year but I didn´t get to do a post on his birthday because of my own health issues.

Speaking about health issues I should address that Norm Breyfogle is still recovering from the stroke he suffered although I could not find a definite account of his current condition in 2016. I mentioned this in my post on the Phantom Stranger last Halloween and also the LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT : NORM BREYFOGLE hardcover that DC has put out to help Norm.

Like I said, I don´t have any information how he is right now but if you have already bought this and still want to help Norm in some way there is currently a petition underway at CHANGE.ORG for Marvel to reprint Norm Breyfogle´s work in a collected edition which you can sign and share too.

This would also be a good idea for Disney to do, not only to get some goodwill from their readers - which they desperately need with the stuff they are currently putting out - but also because it makes good business sense. From the business perspective there is definitely a demand for his work right now and you could easily collect all his Marvel work in one big book. There is also the fact that he did a three issue HELLCAT series and I think the way Disney is trying to cash in on anything related to their cinematic universe or their television universe it´s not unreasonable to assume they want to capitalize on Patsy Walker´s appearance on ALIAS.

Now since my last post on Norm Breyfogle´s birthday I have managed to track down and read most of the books on my wanted list. I got all his issues of PRIME, the few BLOODSHOT issues he did, I think I got all his issues of THE SPECTRE and LOBO issue 51. There might be some issues from OF BITTER SOULS I don´t know but besides the first trade I could not find any material. The same goes for the DANGER`S DOZEN series.

Lately I have been occupied with reprint series so I wanted to see if there are german comics that contain any Norm Breyfogle BATMAN stuff but he got on the bat books at the tailends of when Ehapa folded so there are only a few issues that made it into the actual BATMAN TASCHENBUCH.

Now thanks to the machine lettering and the font size not a lot of the original text survived but the binding on those is surprisingly resilient.

I still have most of my old Taschenbücher from Ehapa and while the older ones are more a loose leaf collection the " newer " ones hold up pretty good. Those are not rare so you should be able to find them at a good price and they are definitely worth their money. Especially the BATMAN SUPER DREI which was Ehapa´s way of recycling old material by sticking three previously published pocket books together. I´ve been looking through those to find some Norm Breyfogle stuff but since he was only in two Taschenbücher to begin with I didn´t find much. One of these days I´ll have to do a post on the BATMAN SUPER DREI comics and also the companion book SUPERMAN SUPER DREI ( one of those even contained Alan Moore´s great Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow ? ).

One book I´m always forgetting is the SHADOW OF THE BAT series and Ehapa published at least the first issues with Norm Breyfogle art in their Ehapa Comic Collcetion line. They are in the regular american comic book format and you can find them at a reasonable price at any comic shop.

So after Ehapa closed its doors the next publisher to do DC comics in Germany was the Norbert Hethke Verlag. This was right when I was doing my military service in Munich because of which I had access to a real comic shop - JÜRGEN`S COMIC SHOP - for the first time in my life.

While my time at the Deutsche Bundeswehr was not my favorite of times comic wise it was one of my absolute highlights. There were three outlets available to me, the first one was the aforementioned comic shop, where I went as soon as we were finished for the day. They had the actual stuff and a lot of american comics with a lot of back issues and I spend a lot of time there. Then there was a newsstand on the way to the comic shop or back to the barracks where they had american comics from the last three months or so. And finally there was a newsstands at the train station in Munich where I passed every time I came in to the barracks or went home. They had older issues so I went there to look for issues of series that I had discovered in the other two shops which they didn´t have. So there were some books where I got the Hethke comics but most of them were books where the american issues were not available anymore like the new Justice League or Green Arrow - Longbow Hunter. With the bat books I found a lot of Norm Breyfogle´s issues with the american comics so I didn´t get a lot of the Hethke Bände but if you want to read Norm Breyfogle´s issues in german this is where you will find the bulk of it.

And I guess that´s it. Neither Dino nor Panini has gone back to that particular period of the bat periodicals and I haven´t seen any of those books in the official DC collection Hachette is publishing in Germany.

There is one last bat related mini series I have to mention before ending the post ( I´m having trouble keeping my eyes open and my laptop is starting to act up ) : ANARKY. I´m always planning to get the trades but because I have some of the issues in german and I can´t never find them I keep putting it off. This first mini series is highly recommended and it was published in Germany by Dino Verlag in issue 6 of BATMAN SPECIAL.  

There are some Superman stories by Norm Breyfogle in Dino´s SUPERMAN issue 60, issue 70 and SUPERMAN SPECIAL 11 and the Captain America story from MARVEL FANFARE in Condor´s HULK COMIC TASCHENBUCH 23. 

And with that we have all of Norm Breyfogle´s publications in german covered but I don´t want to end without a few samples of his great art.

There are also a few links I have to add to the post : Dan Greenfield at the 13TH DIMENSION has a 13 cover salute to Norm Breyfogle who takes up five days of COMIC BOOK RESOURCES´ Year of the Artist archive with entries on MARVEL FANFARE 29 ( thanks for the Captain America page ), WHISPER 10 , BATMAN ( D´uh ! ),  OF BITTER SOULS 2 and HELLCAT 2 .

And speaking about Hellcat, you can see a lot of Norm´s art on that series in this post from Jason Levine on AROUSING GRAMMAR which has a few more posts on Hellcat. There´s one post about the MARVEL DIVAS series which I did not read because they had to play the " I have cancer " card. Can writers please come up with something else to make characters " interesting " ? ( Well, apparently not since they used the same schtick to validate female Thor ) Or at least find a disease that´s not so clichée ?

Also I found it weird that Firestar got cancer from her superpowers. Not that it´s not hypothetically possible but it is not possible. Because Hank Pym fixed this when she and Justice where Avengers - in Training during Kurt Busiek and George Perez´ run on AVENGERS. So even if she got sick from her powers wouldn´t it make more sense to first consult Hank Pym to find out what went wrong instead of going straight to a regular cancer clinic ? Unless the writer didn´t do his homework ( and who does this nowadays ? ) and didn´t know that this problem had already been fixed.

Since Tomorrow is Milton Caniff´s birthday and I´m pretty sure I will not be able to do a post ( come on, even I have to rest ) we start the video section with the first part of the 1940s serial of Terry And The Pirates.

One of the things I always hated about Frank Miller´s Batman Year One is that he got rid of the yellow oval of the Batsymbol. I know his reasoning for doing this but for me it´s a really ridiculous reason because on one side you can´t blame a company for trying to copyright their product.

Comics are a business and to think otherwise is just deluding yourself. Besides - the yellow oval worked. It may have been invented for all the wrong reasons but it worked and getting rid of it just to bully your own personal viewpoint about creator rights on the rest of the world is petty. And if you see people on the street wearing Batman merchandise it´s ALWAYS the yellow Batsymbol - because they know this is the real Batman. So for me Norm Breyfogle´s Batman looked always more real than Batman drawn by a lot of other artists because he always had the right Batsymbol.

Since most of this post was about where you can find Norm Breyfogle´s comics in the german version here´s a video about where you can find these kinds of comics. Whoa, a real comic shop. Who´d have thunk, eh ?

Here´s Jessica Nigri cosplaying as GNAR from League of Legends not to be confused with the Legion of Legions from Grant Morrison´s brilliant Flex Mentallo comic. League of Legends is a MORP that I´m told is not an adult game although the cosplayers I´ve seen online do wear some very risqueé costumes ( Jessica Nigri has cosplayed as another character from League of Legends which looks like every horny male´s definition of sexy elf princess ). As always Jessica Nigri looks impeccable in both cases. 

We end the post with the next video of Dami Im on X Factor Australia ( I told you there were more coming ). I have decided to go in chronological order and here´s her first performance on the show where she got a standing ovation. And to think that she didn´t get through bootcamp.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

German comics 101 : Karl May´s Winnetou

As I´ve often said I don´t believe in coincidences so you can make what you want about the fact that in my post about Gail Kim honoring her brithday a few days back I included the trailer for the Karl May movie Der Ölprinz because Heinz Erhardt was in it ( he also was born that day ) as if I knew I would come back to that subject Today, on Karl May´s birthday.

I have written about Karl May and the Winnetou movies in a few posts so I decided to write a bit about the comics since this is still a comic blog despite posts about movies, wrestling and hot movie and tv cult sirens.

Karl May is one of the most read german authors and the most translated one. He was probably the earliest german author to achieve rockstar like status which may have been in part because he claimed to be the Old Shatterhand narrator from his novels going as far as having gunsmiths build the famous rifles Bärentöter ( Bearkiller ), Silberbüchse ( Silverrifle ) and the Henrystutzen ( Henrycarbine ) from his books. Now when I think about Karl May the first thing I think about is of course the westerns of Winnetou, Old Shatterhand and Old Surehand but I never read much of the comic adaptions so I had to do some research. There are two names that you will most likely encounter when you look for WINNETOU comics.

The first one is Helmut Nickel who did the best and most commercially successful comic adaptions which were first published by the Walter Lehning Verlag between 1963 and 1966 in the regular comic book format. 

Not only had Helmut Nickel been a big fan of Karl May since infancy he also had studied ethnology which he brought into his work. His body language is impeccable, he always gave the different native american tribes distinctive features and he integrated nature and the landscapes - which were always a big part of Karl May´s travel reports - in his pages.

Originally Helmut Nickel wanted to become a veterinarian but because he wasn´t allowed to study in East Berlin he moved to West Berlin where he found out that his prefered course of study was not offered at the free academy so he chose ethnology, pre - colombian culture and art history.

To finance his studies he worked for an advertising studio where he came into contact with the comic publisher Gerstmayer. Beginning in 1954 he drew wild west stories, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Christo and the futuristic Titanus based on a novel trilogy by Claus Eigk.

At the same time he created the series Don Pedro about the conquest of the Aztec empire by Hernando Cortez which was integrated as a back up series in Hot Jerry. All these comics didn´t have a long life span which was about to change when Helmut Nickel took charge of the comic series Robinson in 1955. During the second half of the 1950s Robinson was the only successful competition to the Lehning Verlag which dominated the market of adventure comics with its house artist Hansrudi Wäscher.    

Nickel´s art captivated german readers with perfect compositions, great perspectives and varied graphics but the content might have been too much for the audience of children ages eight to fourteen. " Too text - heavy ! " was one of the main criticisms of the publisher. After his studies Helmut Nickel moved to New York where he worked as the curator of the Arms and Armor division of the New Yorker Metroploitan Museum. At the same time he took the offer of Walter Lehning to do a comic adaption of Karl May´s Winnetou stories. Nickel drew the comic until 1965 when the payments from Germany were delayed for months and then stopped.

Besides WINNETOU the Walter Lehning Verlag published OLD SUREHAND

and KARA BEN NEMSI ( he´s Old Shatterhand ), both Karl May properties.

I could not find any info on who did the art on those books but later on OLD SUREHAND and KARA BEN NEMSI were published with KIT CARSON.

Helmut Nickel´s WINNETOU comic series was first reprinted by the SPLITTER Verlag in a album sized hardcover edition from 1989 to 1994.

From 2012 to 2013 Verlag Sackmann und Hörndl a.k.a. comicplus+ did another hardcover edition with a limited print run of 1,000 copies.

And because 2012 marked Karl May´s one hundredth birthday they did an over 400 pages thick special for the masses that include the first two volumes from the limited edition print run - without the editorial pages. 

Now the Helmut Nickel WINNETOU was not the first comic adaption as you can see by the FIX UND FOXY cover on the top of this post. I´m not sure when this particular issue came out but it must have been before 1953 when the Zeichenfilmbuch comic by Walter Neugebauer was reprinted.

In 1975 the swiss comic company Gevacur AG published KARL MAY EXTRA which presented the Winnetou series by spanish artist Juan Arranz. 

This series was republished in a limited edition by comicplus+ in 2013.

Condor also published Winnetou in KARL MAY from 1976 to 1977.

And from 1977 to 1979 Condor published WINNETOU UND OLD SHATTERHAND by spanish comic artist Juan Lopez Ramon. 

The next Winnetou comic came out by Wick from 1999 to 2007 although it had little to do with Karl May. The art is by belgian Willy Vandersteen who also did the very successful SUSKE EN WISKE ( published in english as Spike and Suzy, Luke and Luzy, Willy and Wanda or Bob and Bobette ).

And this is the second name you will probably come across when looking for Karl May comics. The series was published by Standaard Uitgeverij from 1962 to 1987 and the only thing the comics have in common with the Karl May books are the names of the main characters. Despite all this the series was successful enough to last 83 issues which is no small feat.

Although the studio of Willy Vandersteen was not new to western comics as they produced the BESSY comics which were a big thing in Germany.

And speaking about comics which were big when I was a kid, when superheroes and especially Batman became hugely popular in Belgium and Germany thanks to the campy tv series Willy Vandersteen was asked to create a comic series to capitalize on that trend so he turned the strongman from the SUSKE EN WISKE comics Jerome into a superhero.

The comic was called WASTL in Germany and between 1968 and 1972 a total of 173 stories were produced with a print run of 150,000 at the height of its popularity. Sadly due to the declining quality of the stories the series ended much to my chagrin as I was heavily into that series.

In 2011 there also was a tribute book to Helmut Nickel by Edition 52. 

And although it was not available to the general public I should mention that the german comic organisation INCOS released a WINNETOU UND OLD SHATTERHAND comic album in 2012. It was limited to 200 copies and contained a comic by hungarian artist Ernö Zorad which was first published in 1983 in the east german youth publication TROMMEL. 

Lastly there was a Kara Ben Nemsi comic by Unipart from 1975 to 1976. 

There also were some foreign editions like in Spain but the post is long enough with only the german publications. And I want to do other things Today ( like drool about Elke Sommer´s cleavage in Unter Geiern ).

And speaking about impressive cleavages from my youth : since I didn´t post Yesterday I couldn´t give a shout out to Playmate of the Month April in 1986, Teri Weigel who celebrated her 54th birthday. Because of Teri´s perplexing physique and her protruding torpedo shaped sweater puppies she became quite popular and was in a few specials from PLAYBOY. She also was one of the few playmates who also appeared in PENTHOUSE although not as a Pet of the Month. She was just everywhere during the 80s. She later had her breasts enlarged and did porn but I think she looked best in her famous appearances as Jade on Married with Children.

Since we´re on the subject of centerfolds and birthdays I have to mention another Andy Sidaris related anniversary. Penthouse Pet Samatha Phillips who played Samatha Maxx, the buxom blonde with the high squirt factor in The Dallas Connection ( a.k.a. Deadworks ) and who holds the record for getting her nude pictures published in the most countries turns 50.

Well - rounded in more than just the physical sense, Sam is a woman for the new millenium : she´s ambitious and she´s busy and not above using her spectacular naked body as fame currency. Sam has been a member of an all girl rock group, The Lykettes, a talk show host. a reality tv host, radio DJ, a spokesmodel, she has hosted any kind of show that exists on the planet and she became a pop icon as one of the most sought after models of the 80s. However the walking blow up sex doll template reaped the greatest exposure in the realm of sexploitation quickie flicks thanks to her rack - tastic 34D - 26 - 35 measurements and she´s famous for producing the Busty Cops movies starring all her centerfold friends.

Sadly she was only in one Andy Sidaris movie but you can see her naked in classics like Hot Springs Hotel, Passion Cove, Bedtime Stories, Fallen Angel, The Regina Pierce Affair, Passion´s Obsession and Sexual Malice

Our first video is a documentary about the author Karl May.

On Karl May´s 100th birthday in 2012 this special edition of Nachtstudio took a look at the relationship between the germans and Karl May.

And because I had to include cult siren Elke Sommer in some way here is the trailer for Unter Geiern ( Among Vultures ) also starring Götz George and Terence Hill ( still under his name as Mario Girotti ). Like always Pierre Brice played Winnetou but instead of Old Shatterhand played by Lex Barker he teamed up with Old Surehand played by Stewart Granger who reprise the role two more times and got a lot of german fans from this.

There also was a Winnetou cartoon although I could only find a short bit.

Naturally the germans had to make a political correct version for new audiences called WinneToons which naturally is one big crapfest.

Originally I wanted to add the movie Durch die Wüste from 1936 but since the embedding was disabled for that video I´m going to include german - british Schlager singer Ireen Sheer who celebrates her 67th birthday Today. In 1974 she represented Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest but here she is with Feuer which gained Germany a sixth place.

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