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      Strizz and more – Volker Reiche

      Copyright: CH. Beck VerlagYou can recognise fans of the Strizz series by the fact that they read Volker Reiche’s comic strip first, before they turn to the articles in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), because Volker Reiche, his pen dipped in vitriol, always comments most trenchantly on current events and occurrences in the worlds of politics, culture and business.

      Over the years he has steadily expanded the character inventory around Strizz, the simple office worker. Strizz’s discussions were initially confined to exchanges with Leo, his stubborn boss, but the secret star of the series, his young nephew Rafael, has now become his most challenging dialogue partner. The little boy, who is always full of beans and whose mind is as sharp as lightning, has a great weakness for philosophical questions and, together with his collection of toys, he forms a ‘philosophical sextet’. His childlike curiosity brings the adult world into desperate straits, usually involving platitudes and expressions from politicians and intellectuals, which he questions and skilfully debunks. The range of characters also includes Strizz’s girlfriend Irmi, along with the animals Paul the tomcat, Müller the dachshund and the neighbour’s dog Tassilo. You immediately develop affection for each of these characters, as they are all so lovable.

      As in the American cult series Doonesbury, Volker Reiche allows social events to flow into his comic strip and links them in an appealing way with the life of his numerous characters, whose variety is reminiscent of Carl Barks’ Entenhausen cosmos. His elegant combination of enigmatic wordplay, political satire and charming characters, to whom he gives a whole spectrum of animated facial expressions with only a few strokes, probably comes from his many years of experience.

      In his almost thirty-year-long career he has illustrated for Disney Publishing, drawn the character of Mecki for the TV magazine Hörzu and worked as a caricaturist for the satirical magazines Pardon and Hinz und Kunz. For a long time, Volker Reiche was active behind the scenes, with his name familiar only to a few insiders. Strizz means that he has now not only received the long overdue popularity, but has also justly been rewarded with the prize for the best German-language comic strip at the Comic Salon in Erlangen.

      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