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      Werner or What – Brösel

      Copyright: Egmont Ehapa VerlagThe comic artist Brösel is a dedicated motorbike fan. His hobbies include tinkering about on bikes with his mates and going out for a drink in the evening to ponder about how to pull a fast one on the MOT people or the police. And that’s precisely when he gets the best ideas for his comic, in which his real life mingles with that of Werner, his alter ego.

      Like Brösel, Werner prefers to wear denim and cowboy boots, obviously rides a motorbike and drinks Werner Beer, also called ‘Bölkstoff’. Brösel’s puns, with plays on words based on the north-German dialect, are another important stylistic device in his comics. In fact, they’re so popular that they’ve found their way into national language use. Brösel spices up his comics with phrases that have been born in many an alcohol-fuelled hour, adds a bit of crazy slapstick – and there’s your Werner comic. The titles of the albums, such as Freie Bahn mit Marzipan or Exgummibur! speak for themselves. The outrageous slapstick and unconventional, regionally flavoured biker humour are equally popular with young people and adults. Millions of readers are mad about Werner, covering themselves with devotional objects related to the character and flocking in droves to see the cinema films.

      Brösel draws his comics in a traditional cartoon style. Characters, objects and backgrounds are presented in a strongly exaggerated way, as is the character of Werner, whose most obvious feature is his elongated nose, which is only outdone by his super-sized pointed cowboy boots. What began as a simple comic strip for the motorbike scene very quickly became Germany’s absolute cult series. Whilst the first albums were just a collection of simple corny jokes, personal anecdotes and short episodes from Werner’s time as an apprentice, the current albums depict album-length holiday stories or motorbike races. The best moments of his comics achieve a surreal character, as, for example, when he takes a mad idea from the pub and turns it first into a comic and then into reality, as happened, for example, when first the character of Werner and then the artist himself built the Red Porsche Killer out of several motorbike engines and went in for a race with Holgi the Porsche driver.

      Matthias Schneider
      is a cultural researcher and freelance cultural journalist.
      He also designs film programmes and exhibitions on the theme of comics.

      Copyright: Goethe-Institut Stockholm
      Mail Symbolinfo@stockholm.goethe.org
      March 2005