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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Buffalo Bill, Star Trek, Camembert and WHY I am so unique!
I have to write that I never realised how unique I was.  There I was living on a farm in Germany and I created the heroes who were to later become D-Gruppe.  I found a letter from the 1980s to Andrew Hope (writer of Fantomex for Marvel) in which I outlined the origin of the characters -pushing the origin of Kopfman and Deutscher Michel to the late 1960s. 

I recalled going into some offices inn Detmold with my mother and aunt and seeing an old illustration of a Lippischer soldier (Napoleonic era).
There was another poster I've never tracked down of someone dressed "in the colours" who I know was "Deutscher Michel" -the personification of Germany in a way similsar to John Bull or Uncle Sam. Here:
And I found a poster similar (might actually be the one) that combined with the above led to D-Gruppe's Deutscher Michel:
I think I made him out of Plastella? A German Plasticine type material that was not as good as the real thing.  But on a farm in the back of nowhere (as much as I loved Dalborn) I needed creative things to do.

So I drew comic strips on any old paper I had.  I wish I still had what must have looked awful, pages now.

I was young and I saw the comics -Disney I wasn't a great fan of though I like Uncle Scrooge, but there were other comics and a lot of them Westerns such as Buffalo Bill, Silberpfeil, Lasso, the Lassie inspired Bessy and others.  I thought that Bastei had to be one of the best companies around and they had great artists!

As with British Weekly comics, I was deceived!  Spanish, Italian, Brasilian and even Argentinean artists helped fill British comics, not just British talent.  And I had no idea that my beloved (now lost) Bastei comics were almost entirely Franco-Belgian created.  There was Hansrudi Wascher...who was born and grew up in the Italian part of Switzerland...

But I loved the comics and the look, even now, brings back fond memories.

And then there were the anthology Spuk Geschichten and Gespenster Geschichten that I almost achieved my goal of working for...until Egmont bought them out and cancelled everything.  I love these books and I even had a couple of the pcket books -featuring D. C. Thomsons "Mr Pendragon" and Marota's Werewolf run....both were stolen by comic people visiting me!

Yeah, even Silberpfeil (Silver Feather) was Zilverpijl (Flemish for "Silver Arrow") -a Belgian creation of  Frank Sels and amongst the comics artists were Edgard Gastmans and Karel Verschuere.


Or, rather, "Zack"!  A full colour weekly comic featuring Space 1999, Star Trek, Luc Orient, Michel Vailant and many others.  A real German comic.  Uh, no. I think we all know where the strips came from -excluding Star Trek and Space 1999 -the first was from Gold Key and the second, I think, Charlton Comics -both US.

Of  course there were some oddly coloured super hero comics from Williams and others -dealt with by Subzero over at Tales From The Kryptonian in various posts.

But in the mid-1980s the then finalised version of D-Gruppe finally got circulated around Germany. The reaction was amusement -"WHY are you drawing German super heroes?" to the dismissive "Super heroes -in Germany? You're mad!"  Yes.  Yes, I was mad. I got angry, though, when I realised that a lot of the Germans I was in contact had no idea about German mythology and twoi had no idea what Herman's Denkmal or die Externsteine were??????

There were some who realised it was fun and why not?  Helge ("Herod") Korda even did the "D-Suppe" (D-Soup) parody -another item stolen and I wish I could get a copy but I don't even know if it was a one off or not!  

And there are, as you'll know if you've read D-Gruppe (I have!), two Rotkappchen but what inspired the "German Maid" version?

In fact,I have the lid to the early 1980s "Der Leichte" version.  Oh yes -artists get inspiration everywhere they look (except the bank balance, of course).

Now I refuse to believe that a 50-50 German/English kid in Dalborn, was the only kid in Germany who drew or created their own heroes/super heroes!  I just could not have been...could I?  And no one since the 1980s has been inspired to do so (with the exception of Der Engel, Dorn Der Morgenstern and Power Freaks or New Haven)? 

It would mean that D-Gruppe precedes the above noted by 20-30 years.  I know I forgot to mention Wind Konig but like the others above it did not last very long.  D-Gruppe, on the other hand, seems to last with stories based in Germany and tending to ignore American style super heroics for a more European one.

Not a single person has been in touch to say they do a German super hero comic or know of one. That really disappoints me and makes me a little sad.

But, on the plus side, it still makes me the father (more like grand father these days) of German super heroes.  I just now need to get rich from it!


  1. Hi Terry,
    It must be some quirk of the German psyche that they just don't conceive of these stories and characters? It's like their quirky fascination with Edgar Wallace. I have no idea why, but if you put his name on a story it's like a license to print money in Germany.

  2. Darci, let me tell you. As a kid in Germany in the 1960s, The Edgar wallace Mysteries (I think a UK programme?) was always on. Magazine articles -Edgar Wallace, Ads in magazines for Edgar Wallace books -same in the 1970s and I note there still is this big Wallace thing. No idea why?!! And, yes, Wallace SOLD!