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      Opulent novels and minimalist comics – Walter Moers

      Walter Moers doesn’t have little angels and devils sitting on his shoulders, but his own creations: Das kleine Arschloch (The little asshole) and Käpt`n Blaubär (Captain Bluebear). The vulgar little pain in the neck and the notorious storyteller whisper all these fantastic and funny stories in his ear and the comic artist, novelist, scriptwriter and children’s book author then puts them down on paper.

      Moers loves to be creative within diverse genres and areas which at first glance may appear to be diametrically opposed, and yet which are all united by his interest in the connection between word and image. Whilst he furnishes his opulent novels with a fantastic world of myth and fairytale and finely engraved illustrations, his comics are captivating because of their minimalism. With a few brief lines and some dots of colour here and there, he gives life to his bulbous-nosed protagonist, for better or for worse. And whilst his lovable Käpt`n Blaubär has long taken over Baron von Münchhausen’s position in the nursery in terms of popularity and making up stories, the comic Adolf touches Germans in their most sensitive spot: how to deal with their own history, with National Socialism. ‘Äch bin wieder da’ (I’m back again) is emblazoned in large letters on the title page and underneath there’s a stylised Adolf Hitler, who in spite of the little moustache and side parting resembles Das kleine Arschloch, and not just in terms of physical appearance.

      In his comics, Moers gives free rein to his obsession with satirising social taboo subjects. And Das kleine Arschloch shows us the unpopular flipside of popular children’s comic strips, such as Little Nemo, Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes, because no one is safe from the disrespectful verbal attacks of the little brat, regardless of their age or sex, their religion or political persuasion.

      Moers’ caricatures, however, are never misanthropic or even cynical, which has prevented his works, in spite of frequent requests, from being placed on the list of writing that is potentially harmful to young people. Moers is an uncomfortable writer, one who constantly challenges clichés, but that’s what makes him so original and unique. It’s only right that his work has received countless comic awards, film and television prizes, that his novels and comics hit the top of the bestseller lists and his films are real crowd pullers.

      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