The published format of comics appealed to Calle Claus. From the very first Superman comic in 1938 in the USA it has been associated with that mainstream hero in tights. It wasn’t until the 1970s that comic books in their book form were rediscovered and marginally reclaimed by independent artists keen to experiment: they provide the perfect forum for stories of a lesser length. The heroes in the stories of Calle Claus – the Hamburg-based comic artist, writer, film-journalist and teacher – are no super heroes but rather heroes of the everyday. They have their personal weaknesses to contend with as well as the everyday adversities of life. Be it love, the dictates of fashion or day-dreams, Claus Calle dedicates his comics to the problems of straightforward, loveable and sometimes rather eccentric types.
In Das Bildnis einer jungen Dame
(‘The Portrait of a Young Woman’) a former museum guard tell the curious story of how he fell in love with the portrait of a woman painted by the Renaissance artist Petrus Christus. When the museum guard sees a school pupil with that same face he construes a way to make contact and to win her trust. Human weaknesses, day-dreams and projecting one’s ideals on others are also the themes of Zuckerkick
(‘Sugar Kick’). Young Clarissa undergoes a rapid and bizarre personality change to attract the attention of her pop idol, losing sight of her own personality in the process. In the mini-comic Spring
(‘Jump’) school student David puts his courage to the test at the outdoor pool in the hope of being noticed at last by the girl he adores. In his first comic book Finderella
Claus delves into this same theme and presents it expansively in a strange underwater world with sea monsters and human-like underwater creatures. With no words at all he tells the story of a mermaid unhappy in love who tries by means of fashionable accessories to gain the interest of her heart-throb. But she discovers that love can blind you and after a few adventurous wrong turnings finds out who really makes her heart beat.
Calle Claus is very active in the Hamburg comic scene: along with Berlin’s it is one of the most creative in Germany. In his comics the artist interweaves autobiographical elements with quotes from pop culture or fiction. His great graphic talent is evident in his polished illustrations and style, flicking back and forth between opulent texture and minimalist strokes.