The award-winning cartoon artist and author Walter Moers (b. May 24, 1957; Möchengladbach, Germany) makes a point of not disclosing private information or giving interviews. Accordingly, little can and arguably should be said about him as a person.

First cartoons signed by Moers appeared from 1984 on, often playing with political correctness, including regular contributions to the well-known satirical monthly Titanic starting in 1987.Simple big-nosed characters, with little hatching or shading and often colored panels dominate his style until today. Well-known characters emerged with kleines Arschloch (“little asshole”), a precocious, annoying teenager often paired with his nemes is alter Sack (“old fart”). Adolf, die Nazi-Sau (“Adolf, the nazi pig”), is an almost likeable, pitiful parody of Adolf Hitler who survived World War II and now finds his anachronistic ideologies clashing with everyday life problems. Moers rationale is the motto for this subject, especially touchy for a German author: “Is one allowed to make fun of nazis? No, one is OBLIGATED!” Both of these characters saw several cartoon books centered on them with single-page and multi-page narratives and sustained storylines, 7 for Kleines Arschloch and 3 for Adolf, some translated in other languages including English. Both also featured in animated movies, two for Kleines Arschloch (1997 and 2006), and a crowd-founded one for Adolf currently in production.

Initially not a cartoon character, Käp’n Blaubär (“Captain Bluebear”) started as a puppet on German children’s show Die Sendung mit der Maus (“The Show with the Mouse”), which also featured embedded narratives about the Captain executed as cartoons. The semi-retired captain and his cast present parodies of existing fairy-tale motifs, cooking shows, health information, and other themes intended for a child audience. The success of this character lead to its own children’s shows in the 1990s and 2000s, to an animated movie, and several musicals. It could be considered a bridge to Moers’ novels for young or infantilized adults that are the focus of his work since the late 1990s in the form of the illustrated novel Die 13 ½ Leben des Käpt’n Blaubär (2002, English edition “The 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear”, 2006).

Moers’ diverse prose works, rich in wordplay, are generally of the fantasy genre and commercially highly successful.From literary and historical references in these works, by now six volumes in the widely translated Zamonia series named after its setting on a world of that name, one can tell an author widely exposed to the genre of the grotesque, as well as the gothic and romantic novel. They are richly illustrated in a much more detailed and hatched style than Moers’ earlier cartoon works.

— Christian F. Hempelmann

Further Reading

  • http://www.adolfonline.com/
  • Moers, Walter, Christine Vogt, Christiane Brox, and Apostolos Tsalastras. Die 7 1/2 Leben des Walter Moers: vom Kleinen Arschloch über Käpt’n Blaubär bis Zamonien [The 7 ½ Lives of Walter Moers: From the Little Asshole via Captain Bluebear to Zamonia]: Ludwiggalerie Schloss Oberhausen, 25. September 2011-15. Januar 2012. Kerber, 2011.
  • Spreckels, Philipp, and Florian Biege. 2014. “Die Kolorierung von Käpt’n Blaubär [Coloring Captain Bluebear].” Comic Kladde. available at: https://comickladde.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/die-kolorierung-von-die-13-1-2-leben-des-kaeptn-blaubaer/
  • Tacke,Alexandra. 2008.”De/Festing Hitler. Das Spiel mit den Masken des Bösen [De-“Fest”-ing Hitler. Play with the Masks of Evil].” In: Erhard Schütz, Wolfgang Hardtwig (Hrsg.): Keiner kommt davon. Zeitgeschichte in der Literatur nach 1945[Noone gets away. Contemporary literary history ofter 1945]. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen. 266–285.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-3fieKaXws