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Monday, 22 May 2017

We Will STILL See The Green Skies (update)

John wanted to know (everyone knows they CAN comment on CBO, right?) so here we go.

Obviously with the need to get money to eat and the current legal battle (two actually) I have not had much chance to do more work on the book other than the 60 lettered pages I think I mentioned before. I have, however, gone over the pages and noted that two characters are missing -these are characters who were to be part of the Black Tower next generation of heroes.  So they will need to be included or I will never forgive myself!  :-)

A three page section has been expanded to seven pages and may be used in Black Tower Super Heroes 8 -the last issue of that run. But the main space battle will take some time to finish.  I have never claimed (despite what some idiots say) to be the greatest comic artist on Earth, but I want this to look good. Alien craft by the hundreds....but whether they are near Earth to save or destroy it.....?

Whatever happens I want this book finished and out before Christmas.  Which means my two proof readers will need to see it first!

So The Green Skies is neither shelved nor forgotten and I want to get this six inches (15cms) stack of artwork off my table asap!!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Gods! Giant Robots! Super Heroes! Alien Invasions! Cavemen And....

...you want more??

What an incredible read!!!!



Well over 300 pages!!!!!

What genius is behind this masterpiece???

This wreaks of desperation!


Invasion Earth Trilogy I & II-The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super Heroes/Cross Earths Caper

I -The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super Heroes

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-42ZNRvzkxOU/U43QMbw9yzI/AAAAAAAADPo/Hc5VnGFrUUQ/s1600/NEW+RETURN+Front.jpg


Paperback, 
A4
Black & White
331 Pages
Price: £20.00 (excl. VAT)

It begins slowly.  It always does. It's a deception that everything in the world is as it should be and that never changes.

Earth’s heroes and crime-fighters are going about their daily tasks –fighting a giant robot controlled by a mad scientist’s brain, attackers both human and mystical -even alien high priests of some mysterious cult and their zombie followers and, of course, a ghost and a young genius lost in time. 

Pretty mundane. 

But psychics around the world have been sensing something.  A "something" that sends feelings of sheer terror through their psyches.

There is a huge alien Mother-ship near the Moon. Undetected by deep-space radar and other instruments, only a few on Earth have sensed it and they cannot penetrate the hull but only feel psychic screams and....worse.

And then it begins: strange orange spheres isolate and chase some of Earth’s heroes who then vanish into thin air –are they dead?  An attack by an old foe or foes -?

Black, impenetrable domes cover cities world-wide. 

Then it becomes clear to those within the domes what is going on: Alien invasion of Earth! 

A war between the Dark Old Gods and the pantheons that followed! 

Warriors from Earth’s past having to battle each day and whether they die or not they are back the next day! 

No one suspects the driving force behind the events.  One single evil guiding events.  Events that could cause destruction and chaos throughout the multiverse.

Assaulted on all fronts can Earth’s defenders succeed or will they fail...is this truly the end? 



II-The Cross Earths Caper

 

 http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-S0uaExuRIPQ/UouqRS2lVzI/AAAAAAAACHs/NbnZvfVNLxc/s1600/CROSS+EARTHS+CAPER+COVER.jpg
The Cross-Earths Caper: Part II of the Invasion Earth Trilogy
Paperback, 
A4
Black & White
107 Pages
Price: £15.00 (excl. VAT)

Following the events on Neo Olympus and the Boarman invasion of Earth, many heroes and crime-fighters have withdrawn from activity. Some are trying to recover from injuries while others are fighting the mental scars left by the events.

But things have to go on.  As heroes from other parallels who helped during the recent events return home, members of the Special Globe Guard are shocked at the sudden appearance of Zom of the Zodiac. Never a sign of good things a-coming!

Very soon, a group of heroes mount a rescue mission and find that a quick rescue mission can turn sour equally quickly. As they overcome one challenge the the heroes become lost between parallel Earths and face new threats.

 Sometimes one Earth just is not enough. The complete story published in issues 7-10 of Black Tower Adventure now in...one handy dandy book!


NROTG 003

NROTG 004
NROTG 005
NROTG 006
NROTG 007
NROTG 009
NROTG 010
NROTG 011

NROTG 012 (2)
NROTG 013

NROTG 014
NROTG 015
ALL artwork and characters are (c)2013 T. Hooper-Scharf and BTCG

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Decision And Why. It Needs Explaining.


 I apologise for the ramble, though. I did say I would be open and honest about publishing so...

Firstly, I will make it clear that my severe financial problems have not gone away. They are here and I face them every day.  Nothing has changed there.

What has changed I will explain. I had a very long conversation and discussion with Frank Barrell on Friday and went over why I had made serious decisions lately regarding publishing.

All the lack of sales print outs from the online store were laid out. In fact, every printout covering 2010-2017 was laid out.

I will paraphrase Frank’s points.

I started publishing in 1984 though I was involved in printing in the 1970s and had even put together a school magazine (the story of that and why it was banned as well as my selling copies of Oz magazine can be found in my QRD interview).

1. When the school mag was banned did I give up and just say “well that’s it then”?

2. When I worked with small and later larger US Independent publishers and got ripped off or messed about did I quit?

3. When I invested more than a month tailoring Heroes Of India for Diamond Comics in India –almost 50 pages of art, colour samplers and covers- and they decided to drop the idea without telling me…the same thing another Indian publisher later did…did I quit?

4. When I put in weeks of work drawing horror/ghost stories and later, at the suggestion of a senior editor, put together a D-Gruppe sampler issue for Bastei Verlag who were then taken over by Egmont and all work in progress dropped without telling creators, did I quit?

5. Did I quit over the constant, daily, troll emails as well as lies these same people put on UK comic forums from 1999-2016?

6. When Fleetway cancelled projects I worked hard on and then never paid me the £5,00+ it owed me for scripts, did I quit?  When the two editors at Egmont did the same thing did I quit?

7. Marvel UK-same thing. Did I quit? (no mention was made of me holding a Marvel editor out of the window. Good)

8. Did I quit when the two best selling adult graphic novels I wrote were allowed (the publisher never even attempted to step in) to be illegally downloaded millions of times?

9. Did I quit when one artist after another who I had helped get into comics (when I was a creators representative) cold shouldered me?

10. When a lawyer from Defiant Comics threatened to sue me because my Black Tower logo (used since the 1970s) was similar to their logo (1993) did I just back down and quit or did I tell him I looked forward to seeing him in court and to **** off?   The answer to that is obvious.

11. When an idiot at IPC Media and their legal department threatening the full weight of Warner (who owned IPC then) if I did not stop using my own characters (seriously) and did not pay for using characters in Looking Glass, which was a project submitted to IPC a few years before, did I back off and quit? (same as with Defiant but I was on good terms with management at IPC and later Warner told me they had no idea any of this had been going on)

12. Did I back off and quite when a number of other such incidents occurred (I am not giving details here because the people involved are either no longer here (alive) or nothing to do with the companies today)?

At this point I have to say that points 13-20 involved personal events so I won’t go into those.

The obvious answer was “No” to each point. 

So when I asked what the point was I was asked “Why are you being a ****** quitter now?”

Bit rude, but….

Yes, I took the point that I have been without money before.  Yes, in the 1980s/early 1990s I did often go 4-6 days without food (note to youngsters: in those circumstances tomato ketchup in hot water tastes fine. I also lived on one cabbage for a week. Drink plenty of fluids and when you get food do NOT eat like crazy!! Small amounts only to start).

It was pointed out that with over 90 books over 9 pages on the online store it was stupid to just close it down.  There were also 10 other books prepared waiting publication.  And hundreds of pages of The Green Skies so was I seriously going to dump all that?

Frank then pointed out that Comic Bits gets thousands of views per day and has a truly world wide audience –more countries from Africa recently appearing in the stats, too.

I pointed out I still review books and the counter point was that “reviewing does not earn you money!”

I pointed out that a lot of genres were covered by Black Tower and these were in comics, comic albums and graphic novels –excluding the prose books.  Artists had turned in fantastic work but showing that on CBO had not resulted in sales –and I was told quitting meant those creators were being let down.

I pointed to the lack of sales and a few other things but the response was that I had never quit before despite major problems so why was I quitting now? 

Paraphrasing again: “You are too ***** stubborn to quit.  You know that once this rough patch is over you’ll be like an express train again.  You think about it. Can you live with having quit?”

I get the point.  But, for the foreseeable future, what?   Yes, I will continue reviewing books as they arrive but beyond that--?

I was told that I needed to keep the idea of one day comic marts in Bristol even if not before 2018.  Again, depending on how many people want to book tables to just sell comics because last time I mentioned this I got no real interest.

The look and design of the Black Tower comics and books?  No. The covers have nothing wrong with them and the quality of contents and printing are excellent. Black and white is the best and affordable option –one of the books at the store is £5,75 in black and white. In colour that same book would cost £12.00+ (and remember I only get a small percentage since the printer and Print On Demand company take sizeable cuts –I have no real say in pricing).

The quality of the books cannot be improved upon.  Maybe Mr Dilworth can think of a new jazzed up Black Tower log?

Apart from that I can only wait and see. Flow through the rough waters.


But I really do not like to quit.  I have seen so many small publishers vanish or meet their ends in the last two years. I’m not sure how but I’ll dig my feet in. I guess at my funeral someone is going to say “He was a stubborn sod. Never knew when to quit!” Until then I will be that old bearded man people point out but hope I never notice.


Sunday, 16 April 2017

D-Gruppe -Germany's First And ONLY Super Team!


I'm not sure whether people following this blog ever saw this Comic Bits Online posting?  However, as it mainly involves Black Tower's D-Gruppe.....





I was going through some art to archive and one thing led to another and I ended up going through the four issue D-Gruppe series and the trade, containing the final, unpublished issue -The Zeit Geist Saga
http://www.lulu.com/shop/terry-hooper-scharf/d-gruppe-the-zeit-geist-saga/paperback/product-21156613.html


Larry told me that the idea of concentrating on D-Gruppe only in 2016 was a good idea.  Tygger, on the other hand, well, he asked "Why?"  and  went further asking "Why concentrate on another comic when you have all those already online?  What about a fan base -who is going to buy this?"

As usual, Larry argued that the new D-Gruppe would be in colour and "That gives it the edge over the old series and a fan base needs to be built up" which gave me second thoughts that led to more comments by Tygger.

Putting aside the arguments, it is going to be a pet project.  Looking at the current German market there are still no genuine German super heroes (unless you count Captain Berlin) and D-Gruppe has a pedigree going back decades.

But, as this post seems to keep vanishing -or lots of the images do!- I uploaded more images and here I give you a Bumper German Super Hero Posting.

If you are a German comic fan let me know what you think.

Super Heroes In German Comics -CBO is in its "Marvel Comics of the 1970s" mode...
dig it.


 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!
______________________________________________________________________
 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- ofNew 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!
********************************************************************************

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?


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  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.
Now, 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.
______________________________________________________

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 thePreviews 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 Beakhttp://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!

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.  HenceD-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?
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/72/f5/05/72f50557f21ed4c389392337f59b9b07.jpg
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 Germanywould 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!



 
























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.  In fact, some characters who have been "waiting in the wings" make their debuts in The Green Skies.

 Also, we have to learn what happened to Kopfmann and co...."D-Gruppe -Lost In Space!"

There is no shortage of Germannic myths and legends to draw from for future adventures.  Not all super villain versus super hero. We have the Germannic pantheon and have already seen the power they have and the trouble they can cause. 

There are creatures such as the Basilisk


You can also pull in characters from fairy tales such as Rumpelstiltskin
 Also, before the current glut of movies because Americans "discovered" him, we have my all time favourite: Krampus

Task Force Germany may well replace "Germany's Premiere Super Team"....now that could be interesting.  As could the potential threats and foes!

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.

And below, a couple of pages from the Bros Ruiz Task Force D -hey, Subzero posted more pages on his blog a while back -you did check the blog out, right?