Sunday, August 4, 2013

Guest Post - Norm Breyfogle!

Batman Zsasz: fan commission
1) What was your first published work?
That's a little tricky, depending on what you define as "published". Would a mimeographed high school project be considered "publishing"?

In Batman Family #13, 1977, my design for a new Robin costume was published. It was redrawn by DC's production department (probably re-inked on overlay after photographic reduction in size; my original was 18" x 24"and in full color): Click here  (Mine is the lower left one.)

Alonzo as Mad Prof: Cover for the European magazine "The Red Bulletin"
The first *definite and substantial* of my published works would be a one-shot comic book I co-plotted, wrote, and illustrated when I was 17 for our local college (Michigan Technological University) titled "Tech Team", which was a used as an advertisement of MTU to high schools across the nation. 10,000 copies were printed.

Life with Archie: cover #1
2) Who or what inspires you?
I'm inspired by the perennial philosophy, high concept science fiction, heroic and thoughtful writing, art, music, and comedy. Lots of things.

Basically, I'm inspired by reason, virtue, compassion, and beauty in all its forms. In short: transcendence. Also, good health helps!

Self portrait aged 13

Self portrait aged 43
3) What would be your dream job to illustrate?
A collection of my short stories and poetry, and my novel.

Bat Gargoyle: fan commission
Life with Archie: cover #4
4) Tell us a bit about the illustration(s) you've sent?
Archie #1 and #4 covers: My time (two-three years) drawing the Archie universe was one of the less predictable things I've done in my career. Being a fan of Archie at a young age, I never thought I'd draw the character for publication because I very early formed the desire to draw more dramatic adventure strips à la Superheroes, sword and sorcery, etc. But, when I found myself in between jobs in 2008 and was offered Archie work, I took it on as a challenge and ended up really enjoying it!

Bats vs Hulk: fan commission
All my Batman art in general: Batman was the second superhero I remember discovering at a very young age (the very first was Superman) and by the time I was nine I knew I wanted to draw the character, at least as a hobby. When I decided years later that I wanted to become a professional comics artist, Batman was the big goal for me, and I'm very grateful that I got the chance to draw him for publication so early in my career.

Here's an essay I wrote years ago about this iconic character and what he means to me:

Batman and Me As a child of ten, long before I realized the pen is mightier than the fist, I was so entranced with the Dark Knight that I seriously considered engineering a similar costume and going downtown at night looking for injustices to fight.

Instead, I put it all on paper.

As a fan I saw him as a master of reason, as the ultimate example of a sound mind in a sound body, as a perfected version of what I could become with enough training, as the man most capable of forcing justice and meaning into a resistant world, and as the coolest looking dude to ever dive off a roof.

As an artist I know him intimately as an ironic subversion of fascism, as a symbolic metaphor for authentic being-in-the-world, as my longest source yet of bread and butter, as my greatest professional old flame, as my astral alter ego, as an ancient dark hero archetype, as pure escapism, and as the Zorro we must all become to save the planet.

He exists only in our imaginations, but the imagination is the lever by which we can move the world, and he’s still the coolest looking dude who ever dove off a roof.

Tech Team:
This is the cover to the "Tech Team" comic book I wrote and illustrated when I was 17.

Scoofie Illustrations: These illustrations were painted for the Society of St. John, a monastery located in my State (Michigan), with the hopes of it becoming a children's book project featuring mythical six-inch tall monks.

Self Portraits: Both in pastel, one was drawn when I was 13 and the other when I was 43.

"Apeman" and "Shrink": These illustrations I drew as portfolio pieces in the summer after my college years, before I turned pro and while I was working as a drafter and technical illustrator.

Prime Tug of war: My time drawing the title "Prime" of Malibu's "Ultraverse" was one of the most fun jobs of my career. This illustration was used as the cover of the Wizard-like magazine "Hero" (issue #9) and also printed inside the magazine as a fold-out poster.

Metaphysique: Cover to the first issue of my creator-owned, -written, and -drawn 6-issue miniseries "Metaphysique"

Chakra: printed in each issue of Metaphysique

Zombie: illustration drawn for a book I can't remember
War in Heaven: fan commission
5) What can we expect to see from you next (what are you working on)?
At present I'm on vacation; I'm taking the entire summer off, basically for intense exercise, diet, and sunshine.  I'd let myself go for too long, and I need this.

Oops; I forgot that I do have 48 pages of layouts to do this summer for the Bermuda-located comics company "A First Salvo"!

Not sure what I'll be doing after that, work-wise. Got some irons in the fire, but I'm not aggressively looking at the moment. In other words, I'm open to considering offers!

Batman vs Everyone: fan commission
Cover to the prestige format book "Holy Terror"
"Back to the Batman Beyond Future"
(drawn for Mexico's La Mole comic con's convention book)
Rogue Prime: fan commission depicting one of the
variations of Prime's body/look
6) If you hadn't become an artist what do you think you'd have ended up doing?
As young teen I thought I was going to be an astronomer or cosmologist or some other kind of scientist, so maybe that. But more likely, I'd have become a philosophical and science fiction writer.

Drawn for a "Club Batman" exhibit in Spain
Cover to the prestige format book "Batman: the Abduction"
Cover to "Batman: Dreamland" (sequel to "Batman: the Abduction")
7) Where can we see more of your work (web links)?
I'm on Facebook, where I've posted a good potpourri of my art (and some of my poetry and other writings, in my Facebook "Notes").

My website is:

My portfolio page on my agent's (Debut Art) website:

One can also always Google my name and find a lot of stuff, too.

Crying over Robin: fan commission

Cover to Batman: Birth of a Demon #1
Urban Nightmare
Cosmic Egg
Interrupted Sacrifice

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