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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Super Heroes In German Comics

 http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-IUX89xP8vAY/TsqLRZA4FgI/AAAAAAAAaQE/TJu3F4Pa95A/s1600/d%2Bgruppe1.JPG
Before you ask: No, I have no idea why the text changes size toward the bottom of this post -I've retyped and changed it several times!
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 Oh boy, is this going to be a BIG post! It was pointed out to me that a great deal of the German comic posts I wrote had either vanished or lost most of their images.  I have no idea why -it seems to be a Blogger thing as it never happened over at WordPress (but a LOT of other things did).

I am still looking at up-dating the Scream post -where a German publisher took the title for Germany- and the Vulcan becoming Kobra post.  All of which have suffered at the hands of Blogger -who do not seem to want to discuss the problems.

Anyway, it gives me the chance to answer a couple questions.

Firstly: "Why are you mentioning these other German characters?  If you published the first German super heroes/team then shouldn't you just be posting about that?"

Answer...well, I may be a comic creator but I am also, obviously, also a comic fan.  I keep looking for things I may have missed -as with the Captain Berlin post: http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/captain-berlingermanys-only-super.html

I just stared and racked my brains because I had NEVER heard of the character.  How did I miss him?  WHAAAT?!  Then a bit more digging and I found out.  Not an actual comic character.

Wind Konig. Dorn, Der Engel I liked.  I am a big fan of Dorn and am still waiting for #5 to appear! Fellow blogger, Subzero then alerted me to -and later supplied me with the issues- of New Arden.  Though he and his brother, Enrique had created their own super heroes a few years back in the form of Power Freaks.

So I like to see these things and other people's take on super heroes in Germany. I do not have the exclusive rights to creating German super heroes!  That would be rather dull.

If I had the chance, yes, if it was paying work, I would sit down and write/draw D-Gruppe and the characters that revolve around the group until I drop dead at my drawing board aged 110 with the final panel of a story with all the solutions, unfinished.

It's the way I roll.

To be more honest I would have to say I would write and pencil D-Gruppe but I think an inker of the style and quality of Ben R. Dilworth would need to be the inker.  Never know.  Also, I would have a go at translating into German all the D-Gruppe stories to date since the first story "The Revenge Of The Ice Queen"/Die Rache der Eis-Königin was only ever badly translated by German publication Watcher in the late 1980s.

Oh, and D-Gruppe in colour.

I like to live in hope that some publisher might be interested one day but at the moment a lot of German comic publishers are very "arty" and you mention "super heroes" and they begin wretching and their heads explode.

Anyway, onto the posting and fingers crossed this does not vanish!
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Return Of German Super Heroes And My Ego Explosion Of 2013!



I am not sure WHY Blogger does this but older posts tend to have images that vanish after a few weeks/months.  No reason why this should happen but I'm told now that this also applies to my German comics post of last October.

Well, it's been a year and a lot of new people here so why not re-post the complete-with-all-images post?
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On German Super Heroes And Why I Am STILL The “Daddy”! ego! ego! ego!

WINDKONIG -Herr Der Luft (WIND KING -Lord of the Air) Well, despite all my trying -I did even send an order to Crago Verlag who published Germania Comics Teams fan based superhero- but I never ever got a copy of issue 1.  That said, I have issues 2 and 3 (signed by the Team) but part 1 was in …two parts? So issue 3 would really be issue 4?
Anyway, those of you speaking German will notice that on the front cover it reads: “Deutschlands erster Superheld” -Germanys First Super Hero. hmm. Not quite.

Dr. Thomas Richter is a doctor specializing in the treatment of children and is based in the city of Bochum. As I do not have his origin issue all I can tell you is that when Richter changes into Windkonig he can control the wind and air via a “Gurtel” (belt) he wears.

He first appeared in Der Comic-Herold 2, from Crago Verlag in Marz 1996 (or at least a pin up did).  then, in issue 3, dated December, 1996, the character appeared in a strip drawn by Damir Hamidovic -“Abenteuer Strasse” (Adventure Street). The first actual title bearing his name that he starred in came out in 2002. The third and final issue appeared in 2004 and after that….

Nothing.

Santiago Ruiz (Subzero) and his brother did try to interest Germania Comics Team in a Windkonig storyline but it was rejected. I did actually draw a 4 pager but heard nothing back.

I’ve just found that issues are still (?) available from here -but check first:
http://www.roki-art.de/5.html


Interior art varied from good to pretty amateurish but this was a fan character and the point is at least they got the character into his own short-lived book. I understand costs and a few other internal problems saw an end to the character which is a pity.
And then we have….
Without doubt my favourite German super hero has to be Dorn -Der Morgenstern (Thorn -The Morning Star). I wrote a rather lengthy post on his origins a good while back so in case you missed it….
When Helden Turned Into Dorn Der Morgenstern


 There are a few German comics -Small Press, Idependent- that I like to get out every-so-often and re-read. Nostalgia and big chunk o’ fun all in one. Randalf Paker may not mean much to English language comic fans but in 2001 Caption Comics published the comic series that he wrote and drew based upon a long running role playing game (RPG) he was games master of.


The title, Helden/Heroes was initially sold in gaming shops but really took off and spawned the comic.  So what was it about?


This is from the IPP website -http://ipp-comics.de/en/


Helden (Heroes) is the retelling of the fantasy role-playing game group that I led as the gaming master. The charakters and story of this group were so exciting, I had to write it down somehow. Since I love drawing, I used the COMIC to tell the story. —Ralf Paul


In this story seven heroes from the farthest corners of the World meet and stumble into their first adventure. In the center of it all is the mercenary Benwick, who, because of the imprisonment of his mother, is forced into a difficult mission…

Helden #1
Helden Issue 1 Page 1
Helden Issue 1 Page 3
The colour blowing your mind yet? I love this! Unfortunately, I can’t show the gorier scenes!
Helden #2
Helden Issue 2 Page 3
The heroes gathered.  Well, almost. I can tell you that this image says it all.

Helden #3
Helden Issue 3 Page 1
  Thank goodness he’s wearing that loin cloth!!!

Helden #4
I show people the cover below and they mostly all go “oooh” I’m just not sure why??!

Helden #5
Things are fickle in gaming and comics. As issue 6 was finished the interest had waned to such a degree that the cost of high quality printing, especially in pre-print on demand days, was too high.

Helden #6
Nr 6 felt bulkier than usual (all the IPP books were printed on top quality thick paper stock) what I found inside was the cover and,uh, issue nr 7!  Yes, the heroes finally get together and…well.  Nothing nice happens.

What is more there is a nice ending involving a rather bloodied Morning Star. “What’s a ‘morning star’?”  Its like a mace with spikes -DON’T you even dare ask “What’s a mace, then?”!!!!
Helden Issue 6 Page 3
Though I tried order the new title, when I heard that the follow-up was to be titled Dorn Der Morgenstern/Thorn The Morning Star, no comic shop was interested in getting me copies.  Why? It was foreign language and was not carried by Diamond. That made it “impossible” to get hold of.

So what did I do? I sent an email to Ideenschmiede Paul & Paul GbR and got a nice email back and…voila! I got Dorn 1-4.

Was I impressed? Of course I was.  Other than Helge “Herod” Korda and Mathias “EmdE” Dinter who were producing the semi parody Heroes From The Black Lagoon only one other person I knew was doing German super heroes -me, starting in the early 1980s with D-Gruppe.

This was no American artist drawing a super hero based in what an American artist thought Germany looked like: this was a German creator.

The IPP web site explains Dorn…

“The Morningstar also known as Dorn” describes the life of Paul Paker – a computer genius and game freak. An experiment gone awry and murdering circumstances have pushed him into a corner of society. Only an idea as phantastic as the events which put him there can release him. This improvised idea results in an ingenious but rather complex plan.

A German Super Hero.

Dorn Issue 1 Cover
Yes, folks, before Der Engel there was Dorn..a German Superhero. Well, he had to sort things out first such as a costume and a name.
 Take a look at the lovely artwork below.
Dorn Issue 1 Page 5
Dorn Issue 1 Page 6
Dorn Issue 2 Cover
One of my favourite spreads from the comic comes when Dorn reveals himself on TV!
Dorn Issue 3 Page 15
For various reasons the title never got beyond nr 4 and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who heaved a depressive sigh.  But now….HOPE!
My scanner decided to crap out on me so I thought I’d check online for cover images but apart from my previous items on the series I found only one other source -IPP.  A company I thought was no more!  And I found something a few of us have been hoping for a loooong time now -Dorn nr. 5 is currently being put together!
Dorn Issue 5 Cover
The gift in the cracker is that, as you’ll notice on the cover scans not my own, Helden and Dorn can be read as web comics.  So check out the IPP web-comics if you speak German but if not there is still a LOT of great art!
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In more recent years we have had The NextArt publishing Tomppa’s Der Engel


The below cover and art are from a German comic titled Der Engel (The Angel) by Tomppa (that’s him in the photo below).

above Tomppa
 I published the following on the old CBO so….


Regulars will recall that I had posted on the fact that there was no reason why there could not be UK based super heroes, you just needed to adapt them to UK settings, etc.. Subzero on his Tales From The Kryptonian blog (see blog roll) followed this about German super heroes.  The same thing applied.
However, we both noted how hostile certain factions in both German and UK comics were to even attempting home grown super heroes.


I need to point out that Tomppa has done just that.  He has taken a scenario and based his character in Berlin in the year 2029 -not that far off really.  The story works well and there is good characterisation and I think that Der Engel will one day become a classic German comic series -rather like Dorn Der Morgenstern has become legendary.


What struck me was the art style.  In the first issue it looks a little sketchy and crude in places, though the architecture looks great.  I ought to point out that there is nothing wrong with the art -bear with me I’m getting there!  In the second issue the art improves and there is some nice usage of effects.  We then get to issue 3 where the art has improved greatly -better use of washes and much, much more.


This had me puzzled.  Then I looked at the dates of the comics.  Nr. 1 -2009.  Nr. 2 -2010 and Nr. 3 -2012.  That explains a lot as you would not expect such a change in quality over three issues produced in the same year (there are exceptions).


If you are one of CBOs German regulars and you’ve not bought the series yet -please do!  And I know there are people out there who like to collect  super hero books in other languages to compare or as novelties -Der Engel is one you ought to try.


With all the events going on at the moment with revolutions, mass rallies and attempted supression I think Der Engel is, and will continue to be, contempory even in ten years time.  The world changes that little.
Now, when does Der Engel action figure arrive???


There isn’t one?!  Oh.  Have a big helping of art then!


Remember there is a The NextArt link on the blog roll but you can use this link to browse and buy:
http://www.thenextart.de/verlag/index.html


Der Engel Nr. 1

Autor/Zeichner: Tomppa
28 Seiten, s/w/rot, US-Comic-Format
4,00 EUR
ISBN: 978-3-939400-28-8


Berlin in 2029. The cityscape has changed completely. Violence in the streets is a daily occurrence. Here the Angel goes on his own personal vendetta little realizing the dimensions of the conspiracy he has become caught up in.



Der Engel Nr. 2

Author / Illustrator: Tomppa
28 pages, b / w / red, U.S. comic format
4.00 EUR
ISBN: 978-3-939400-25-7


The assassination of the governing mayor of Berlin is on the verge of executed. Will the Angel be able to save him -and what happens if he cannot?



Der Engel nr. 3
Author / Illustrator: Tomppa
28 pages, b / w / red, U.S. comic format
5.00 EUR
ISBN 978-3-939400-38-7


The action intensifies as the Angel tries to intervene in the conflict and a new masked man appears.  However, the Angel’s intervention has tragic consequences.






 Not heard much since I did these reviews but I have fingers and toes crossed in the hope of seeing more of Der Engel!


All I know about New Arden is what Subzero posted over on Tales From The Kryptonian
http://talesfromthekryptonian.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/d-gruppe-germanys-first-super-hero-team.html


“A series that wasn´t afraid of being labeled as a superhero comic was NEW ARDEN CHRONICLES from Final Art Comics in 1999 which clearly showed it´s influences like the art of Todd McFarlane and the Image comics of the 1990s.”

So that’s a complete mystery to me!

(a 2014 up-date: No, still not found any copies of this comic!!)

 
I should not forget The Power Freaks written and drawn by Santiago and Enriques Ruiz. In 2011 Santiago wrote to me:


“As for german publishers not liking superheroes ( aside from the successful ones from other countries ) we made the same experience. Which was how we came to self publish POWER FREAKS. We never intended to but nobody was interested not even the independent publishers and suddenly people go from ” I´ts impossible to do german superheroes. ” to ” It´s impossible to do MORE THAN ONE ISSE OF german superheroes. ” 
That was the late 1990s? I’d add a cover image but can’t find the comic so here’s an interior page!
My own D-Gruppe was parodied by Helge “Herod” Korda back in the 1980s in a mini comic title “D-Suppe” (D-Soup). Sadly, my copy was stolen. And I am still pissed about that.


And, although after D-Gruppe, Heroes Of The Black Lagoon by Helge and drawn by Mathias (EmdE) Dinter was the only other German originated super heroes -if a parody. I still like looking through it over twenty years later!
Above: Never saw or managed to get a copy of this and, apparently, those selling copies in Germany on ebay will NOT sell outside of Germany!
Copies of D-Gruppe strips did circulate in Germany and the zine Plop! was interested at one point but I’ve no idea what happened there or even to then editor Heike Anacker (?).


In 1989 a German Small Press publisher was the first to actually publish the strip in German but the mess that was made…well, here’s the posting I did.
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Watcher Das Internationale magazin fuer Phantastik was a photocopied fanzine of sorts published by Chris Dohr from Trier, in Germany.  It covered movies -such as The Fly (original), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Willow, the TV series UFO as well as fantasy literature and comics.


There were some great single illoes by American Dave Fontaine, from Attleboro-where is he now?? The third issue of Watcher contained a lengthy strip by David Stepheson (from the UK -another “Where is he now!?”) The Master Of Mengerheim (a strip originally published in Black Tower Previews Comic.


But earlier in 1989, Chris published the first story featuring D-Gruppe -Rache Der Eis Konigin. By 1989 “Gruppe D” as it was title in the magazine, was a well known strip in Germany amongst fans. Helge “Herod” Korda had already parodied it in a mini comic titled D-Suppe (“D-Soup”) which I no longer have sadly.


I was not very impressed by the way the strip was presented (crooked printing on some pages) but where I had a big problem was…the translation.  Ice Queen is feminine so it should have been “Die” rather than “Der” (?). I was also surprised that the name of a German national monument such as Externsteinen was miss-spelt as “Externen Steinen”!


Although I was not too keen on this German version I was surprised to learn that it had been copied and distributed to comic fans in East Germany where there was a strong underground zine scene.


But what the heck -here, unedited, is the story from Watcher. Herod -if you see this PLEASE tell me you still have a copy of “D-Suppe”!!!















I think in some interview I outlined how D-Gruppe came about. Created while I was still a kid in Germany. So, the group and characters were created in Germany by someone whose mother and family was German.  And the Previews New Talent comic featuring  the first story went to publishers in Germany blah! blah! blah!
So, basically, Der Engel, Windkonig, “New Arden” -yah-boo-sucks! I beatcha all! (inkplosions online comic strip “Versus” did not appear until 2001).
Come on, Germany -give me respect!!





D-Gruppe: Past, Present & Future


I was asked by Ekki what plans I had for D-Gruppe following the mini series and 2012 Annual -all events taking place before The Return of the Gods graphic novel?


Well, the important thing for me was to get the old stories that have been lying around for a couple decades, and which establish D-Gruppe, out in print first. The whole Revenge Of The Ice Queen followed by the Zeitgeist saga established a great deal and led into two main books: The Trial and, of course, The Return of the Gods: Twilight of the Super Heroes.


The Trial was originally published in the mid-1990s in four parts though it had been intended to serialise it before in the comic project JAG 2000 (long story). In this story, which I am NOT going to go into details of because it is currently being re-lettered (originally hand lettered but that is too poor a quality to offer readers today), the D-Gruppe members are seen inter-acting with the UK heroes and, in fact, the UK heroes travel to Germany to help D-Gruppe and heroes first glimpsed in the Zeit Geist story.


But important changes to BT characters took place in this story -how did Wavell get that huge facial scar we see in Return?  How did Tech-Man get replaced by Rachel Flynn?  Even the ending links all the D-Gruppe storylines to Return.


The Trial should be out as a graphic novel in December of this year (2013).


Hopefully, the very -very- long delayed appearance of Task Force Germany will have taken place before then.  The first story should have appeared in 1994 but there were delays -initially Art Wetherell was to draw the book but had to opt out and a couple other artists stepped in but there were problems.


Back in 1982 I was sending project proposals, character sketches and so on to Marvel Comics. At that point i saw working for my all time favourite comic as the star to aim for. What a dim-wit! Anyway, I wanted to develop the silent character, The Attacker, and I thought Marvel might go for a comic in which everything was visual -no caption boxes, speech balloons, etc.. The character was shortish and wore a skin-tight black costume with large white eye-holes.


I was a little shocked when I saw the black costumed Spider-man emerge a couple years later.  But that’s comics.  The other character I tried to convince Epic Comics (part of Marvel) was really “great” -the creator owned line had started up in 1982 so I got straight to it. Marvel had rejected The Attacker -“no comic fan is going to buy a comic where you never find out the characters real identity and there is no text!” but -BUT- surely a Lutheran priest (later changed to Catholic) that has some kind of strange, all-black creature linked to him would be a winner?


No.


Considering what they were publishing I thought to feedback of “too dark” was just ridiculous.  A year or so later came…Venom.


So the character who started out as German, had to be changed to an American reverted back to German. But there is a problem. If someone is the artist of a book and they have asked to work on your script -your characters- all and good. But, oh no, artists can be an odd lot.


“Yeah, I see him as a Nazi who was in charge of a concentration camp and was sent to Hell and he now hunts and kills Nazies(sic)” was how one artist saw it.  He even re-wrote everything to conform to his idea.
My response? “NO! You have the character details and you can choreograph action scenes freely BUT the story and the character ARE the story and the character”


And the response?  “I can’t see it going anywhere the way you’ve written it. If we go with my idea I think this would be a sure hit!”


We parted company. Never heard of the man again.


Then another approached me having seen my sketch and idea on a German comic forum -for the life of me I cannot recall what forum but I did get about a lot!  “Love the script!” he wrote.


A month later I got pages through and a letter. “I think this works better than your idea. I see him as a Catholic priest, a paedophile who was also a drunk and embezzler.  To cleanse his soul he makes a deal with lucifer….”


Oh dear.


Then the pages of a character that looked exactly like Venom. This was not the look I had wanted or explained. Neither was there a scene anywhere in my script showing a terrified little girl on a bed as the priest disrobed!!  I explained what the whole idea of the character was and that the whole story of the priest-amorph came out over the planned four issues in a big climax in Koln Cathedral.


“But that’s lame”, I was told, “the way I see it you have got to show people this guy is a ****** ****! Then you build on that. I can’t see it work your way.”


We parted company. I ought to point out that not only did the artist want to re-write everything and change character appearances and names but he also wanted that “Nazi element. Everyone knows Germans were Nazis!”


This is something I have come across over and over again in the last couple decades. I allways allow artists freedom to draw action scenes so long as the result fits in with the actual story/script -unless they really do need that action written for them. But I can think off-hand of fifteen artists I’ve worked with who have decided to re-write (badly) and make changes.  Where are they now?
So, I decided that amorph and priest would become a part of the Task Force Germany team.  Sadly, after a couple more stops and starts nothing came of it until now.


Leere (emptyness/blankness/void) was another problem. I tried explaining that the character is not an invisible man and neither is he wearing a mask like the old Charlton Question character.  You can see a vague “something” where the head is. But you could also see slightly through him. Clothes are the only solid texture on him/it/her.


There are several characters like this in Black Tower -a link I wanted to explore by now. Characters such as Nemesis (a Belgian character) and No Face from The Paranormals (published in Tales Of Terror 3.



The other character was Donar (Thor) but a more traditional version exiled on Earth and living in ancient forestry.  The exile would have been due to his objecting to the plans on Pax olympus that led to Return Of The Gods.
 And, living in the forestry, Donar would have a problem with the theft of food by a real-life European wildman called…uh, Wildemann!
 
This little group would have been brought together by Simon LeCorbeau, a multi-billionaire with a long history in Black Tower -he appeared in the second Pete Forrest & Geni story back in 1986.  And his choice to lead the team was…

Zauberinnen (Sorceress). Her origins were to be vague -was she a goddess or half-god or simply a supreme sorceress?
Her origins would be revealed towards the end of the first story arc but I do love to spin a mystery! A solo story -Tod Durch Bei Blind Verabredung or Death By Blind Date, would have revealed a few bits and pieces about the character in a back-up strip to have been drawn by Andrew Hope.
The Zeitgeist story had also established that heroes from other Earths had been stranded Black Towers Earth and there should have been stories establishing some of these -The Trial did so for some but Regenbogen Zauberer (Rainbow Wizard) never got to face the Storm giant in Germanys Höllental (Hell
valley -a real place).
 There was also the question, considering that D-Gruppe was getting over-crowded and the members needed to be accommodated at more convenient locations around the country ot “where?”
Well, for Klaus von Happe no problem buying out of the way property to redevelop. One had its own storyline -“Spukhaus” or Ghost House. What the heck was a house like this doing out in the middle of forestry?
And -haunted?  Well there is the Red Ghost…this old rough shows him. Though he may well become the Green Ghost and it is a character that last appeared in a 2002 (?) copy of Adventure and the Ten Dancing Monkeys story.
And the mystery surrounding Waldmeister should have grown when his brother (referred to in The Revenge Of The Ice Queen) Meer Peter (Sea Peter)…and another big jewelled staff!
But the characters seen in Zeit Geist were to change slightly.  David Holmes was a solicitor/lawyer when he was introduced in the story “The Owl” back in 1987 -he adopted the Owl guise in a rather violent pursuit of a murderer.  When he turned up in Zeit Geist he is merely a lawyer for von Happe Industries who helps out on some cases.
But after The Trial, Holmes was due to return to costume (reasons not being disclosed here!) and adapted/rebuilt one of the old D-Gruppe flyers (as seen in Revenge of the Ice Queen) into a personal transport which he named “Ollie” after his favourite TV character Ollie Beak http://www.turnipnet.com/whirligig/tv/children/smalltime/smalltime.htm
Above -the new and more violent Owl and below -Ollie the Owlcraft!
But there were newer characters independent of previous stories such as Adam Ewigkeit who had a very brief cameo in issue 2 of D-Gruppe, Herrc Spinne, Der Racher, Tom Katze und Kätzchen…well, the D-Gruppe world would be well populated.


All the rough sketches I’ve now found so I’m hoping that the new characters will appear fairly soon and we have to remember that some of D-Gruppe, including Kopfmann its leader, vanished into space during the Return Of The Gods story. Where are they? Will they return?
Guess.



“The Days Of Darkness” story should have been told by now but I’m planning and D-Gruppe will quite literally be shaken to the core by what happens.


And there is planned a couple of brief glimpses at the D-Gruppe of a darker Earth Parallel (EP667) -from which readers have already seen a far more different Link character.

All with Ben Dilworth on board so that the original team is back together!  Had Bastei actually published D-Gruppe and had that title continued we’d now be over twenty years into continuity!  Curse you Bastei!!!  :-/


Below, a glimpse of D-Gruppe EP667 courtesy of Ben Dilworth.

There was also the question of getting a permanent design for a D-Gruppe flier-transport  so a quirky design was this one….
Though a sleeker model could be based on the below which I think are quite cool and “futuristic” without becoming too science fiction.

As a final note on characters to have been introduced I have only two rough pages left featuring a character rejected by Eros Comix  because “its more humour not porn” -Devilina.  Independent of any D-Gruppe or Task Force Germany, Devilina would be a character popping up all over the place as well as in solo adventures.


Now, this posting is getting rather long but I hope it has shown that D-Gruppe was by no means a
small idea that never developed!

In fact, in 2014 it is planned to go all-out on the German side of Black Tower in a final “Do or Die” push so keep watching these pages.


All images, characters, designs (except the stealth aircraft!) are (c) 2013 Terry Hooper-Scharf and Black Tower Comics & Books

Germany's First Super Hero Team: D-Gruppe And My Sad Dream!


When the above edition of Black Tower Adventure volume 2 appeared I had high hopes.  Of course, thanks to printers who do not carry out quality control checks any longer (printing as a trade has really gone down hill in the last twenty years) this cover and contents had to be re-jigged.

Still, I was an enthusiastic bunny.  

Must have been the medication.


You see, I thought that now there was a higher standard of print quality I could get on with a project I had been nurturing since 1985.  Getting my books to Germany. I had contributed some strips to Small Press titles back then, though I've no idea what appeared where or even "if" -it was all letters and people moving addresses a LOT back then (and that includes me -I was 48 years old before I had my first "permanent home" and could un-box things).


Bastei was the main company I dealt with and I have, in past posts, outlined what happened. Negative things included Germany's First Super Hero Group -D-Gruppe  falling into limbo when Egmont bought Bastei and all "kids books" got dropped.
 Growing up on a farm in Germany, visiting the forestry and reading as well as hearing old stories, I found that I had none of those incredible crime fighters/anti-heroes from British weekly comics so what does a kid do?  If you just said "make up his own" then you get.....well, nothing really.  But you were spot on!

Have no fear: I am not going to bore you with how D-Gruppe came about -again, there are previous posts!



 I knew full well that a crime-fighter, whether in costume or just a mask, did not need to have skyscrapers to work.  People who said -and still say- that are unimaginative buffoons.  What the hell, I'm not losing any friends here (not making any either, I'd bet!).  Did King Arthur, Robin Hood, Dick Turpin, Hercules, Baron von Munchhausen or heroes of European and British folk tales need skyscrapers to amaze and thrill people?

No.
So I set up all the dummy art pages and cover mock-ups and set about tracking down and trying to re-establish communications with my old German publishing contacts.

Yoikes!

Most had retired or been made redundant and all said the same thing "there is no imagination or incentive amongst German publishers to actually publish comics!"   Hey, I like up-beat chats with old professionals....well, usually.

I then thought that, perhaps putting D-Gruppe into Adventure and showing German publishers might be a good idea.  I re-thought and, eventually, after a lot of work, scrapped pages and covers the four issue Zeitgeist mini series appeared followed by the 2012 Annual.  This was all eventually pulled together for the D-Gruppe graphic novel.

So what reaction did it get?  Well, it seems there are some very snooty arty-farty types in German comics who see anything other than serious social-political or "serious satire" as a waste of time.  Bloody rude people, too.
Of course, the-idea of translating the whole book into German seemed good.  However, how the hell do you translate "sub-atomic molecular de-stabiliser" and other such things into German?  Some words commonly used in comics I could not even find in my Langenscheid's Taschen Worterbuch (say that fast ten times!)

Even translated -how could I get the book into the market? German distributors are as, uh, "money interested" as those in any country.  And, bearing in mind the expense of the books (shipping them to distributors comes out of my pocket) would they even sell?  And distributors wanted anywhere up to 70% off the cover price for themselves.  When I worked it all out I realised it was not a possibility.

To be honest you really need a publisher who will handle everything once you have turned all the art in.  And pay you. Being paid is very important.  Seriously.

And you might think that with the massive upsurge in popularity of comics and super heroes (apparently there have been a couple successful movies -?) that some intrepid German businessman/publisher might jump up and shout "I'll have some of that!"


 In fact, as I've explained previously, I created heroes to cover most countries and particularly Europe -Belgian, Romanian, Russian, Dutch -heck -even a super heroine (Blue Flame) from Luxembourg. I'll not touch on the sore subject of the comics and characters I created for Indian publishers (there are posts on CBO).  There were/are of course heroes from Africa, Australia and so on but that's another matter.  It was nice to see them all in one book (Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes).

I have no doubt that German comic fans would like to see German super heroes.  Just as Bulgarian or Romanians would.  But you need the publisher willing to take the risk rather than just reprint DC and Marvel comics.


D-Gruppe is not dead as a concept.  The stories are all there and if you read Return Of The Gods you'll know some of the team, including its leader, vanished while pursuing a UFO.  Hence D-Gruppe: Lost In Space which I have the notes and sketches for.  And the major storyline of....no, I must stop blabbing.
I do despair at times with comics.  D-Gruppe's creative birthplace is the Detmold-Dalborn-Lemgo-Blomberg and of course the Lippe state.  I would love to see a D-Gruppe book read by comic fans there but I think that is a "never happen" dream -a bit like the ones where Ella Endlich, Pe Werner, Utte Lemper and Helen Fischer are desperately chasing after me but, uh, yeah.  I'll leave it there!

 

Einsatzgruppe Deutschland And D-Gruppe -Germany's Premiere Super Team...

....This might get a little confusing!

It is rather interesting seeing the pages of Task Force Germany (Einsatzgruppe Deutschland) posted by Subzero over at Tales From The Kryptonian.  This is art by Subzero's brother, Enrique Ruiz who, as far as I know, does not have a blog or web page?
Thor Donner Arthur Rackham Wagner Rhinegold Rheingold Ring Nibelungern Norse mythology myth German Germanic
Thor -painted by Arthur Rackham c. 1910

There is the question, that I'm sure people will ask, of why another team of super heroes was needed for Germany?
My mind.  That's the answer.  You see, I get idea after idea after idea flash through my head day and night. At times I make quick notes.  At other times perhaps a sketch and a name.  If I actually wrote and drew every idea I had I would have no time to sleep but if I continued in comics I have enough ideas to last the next twenty years (like I'm going to live that long!).
D-Gruppe was created when I was a youngster in Germany in the 1960s.  By now the characters would be in their 80s or 90s so I only count their aging based on first printed appearance which would be in the 1980s (Prentiss, "The Mummy" dates back to 1985).  So they will get older.


No re-boots!  We can count D-Gruppe as being the German Avengers. Task Force Germany would be, sort of, like Alpha Flight or the Defenders with a mixed roster but low profile compared to D-Gruppe whose members have been featured in documentaries, comics (ridiculous!) and even made into action figures.

D-GRUPPE THE ZEIT GEIST SAGA


D-GRUPPE THE ZEIT GEIST SAGA brings the team up to 1995 while The Trial takes place in 1996. And it has not been the history I had planned since by now the Days Of Terror would have been at least ten years ago.

This is the blurb for the collected book:
"Germanys first super heroes have fumbled along since the “Externsteine Event” 

"One day something crashes into forestry followed by a “white out” event and the appearance of the Pied Piper of Hameln and then the appearance Frederick Barbarossa seemingly out of history at D-Gruppe headquarters and his calling them into action. At the Place of the Gods, D-Gruppe meets heroes from other German parallels –all targeted and some destroyed by a seemingly all powerful being known as “Zeitgeist” and the race is on to find and stop “It” But there is a traitor amongst the heroes. 
They were Germanys first. Germanys best heroes. But will they live long enough to succeed in their task? This book collects together the first adventure of D-Gruppe –Revenge Of The Ice Queen– along with the three part Zeitgeist saga and the 2012 annual that concluded the German super hero epic!"

The Trial saw a few of D-Gruppe's members put on trial in the Cosmic Fulcrum while those left behind team up with other (non-German) BTC heroes to investigate and...fight a number of threats.  I am currently re-lettering this.

The Narri Narro was a D-Gruppe adventure "after" a major event in the team's history.  Narri Narro is an annual German festival -folklore, myth, festivities, costumes ....so why not?  These pages were uploaded to the Yahoo D-Gruppe page as well as Comic Art Fans and Art Wanted back in...2007!!

Someone I knew wanted to draw the story but there were a few problems so I drew some rough layouts.  These are they!




 























There are also a couple scripts that artists specifically asked for so they could draw D-Gruppe.  One said 7 pages was hard work....and gave up.  The second actually raved about the story but said he had decided to write comics instead -"Do you mind if I change character names and use the story?"  I said "No problem.  I could use the money I'll get from suing your ****** ass!"

But here is where Task Force Germany come in: they have Thor (yeah, let Marvel/Disney sue over that because they do not worry be at all) -the traditional long red hair/beard Thor of the Norse legends.  It's been established that Evangeline from D-Gruppe "may" be some type of goddess ("I'm not supposed to talk about that").  We know that Waldmeister has some sort of deity connection and as his brother is Meer Peter (Sea Peter) who was due to make a comeback a while ago, the idea was that Thor would see Waldmeister and literally go ballistic -the reason I'm not telling!- which leads in to the tradional super hero groups....FIGHT!

As it is we have seen the more contemporary D-Gruppe in Return Of The Gods and in that team leader Kopfmann and some team members vanish while chasing a UFO. a few years have passed and D-Gruppe and Task Force Germany are active during the Green Skies event.

So we can guess that there has been no team clash yet....but it is coming!   And we have to learn what happened to Kopfmann and co.

Task Force Germany may well replace "Germany's Premiere Super Team"....now that could be interesting.

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