Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Norm Breyfogle Medical Stroke Fund

Over the past 75 years many great artists have drawn Batman, but none have been greater (in my opinion) than Norm Breyfogle. Unfortunately Breyfogle has recently suffered a stroke. His family have set up a fundraising page for his medical bills. If you've ever enjoyed his work, please consider donating something.


For those unfamiliar with his work, Breyfogle drew Batman comics from 1987 to 1993. Along with writer Alan Grant he co-created many memorable characters, including The Ventriloquist, Zsasz and Anarky and drew the first in-costume appearance of Tim Drake, the third Robin. As far as I'm concerned he is the best Batman artist ever. Better than Bob Kane, Dick Sprang, Jim Aparo, Neal Adams or Frank Quitely. That's seventy five years of artists and in my opinion he is the best one of the whole damn lot.

Breyfogle has an amazing knack for drawing any kind of Batman the story requires. He can draw a Batman flushed with pride at his new Robin, a Batman reflecting in quiet sadness at the plight of homeless children or a Batman pumped full of Scarecrow fear toxins and crapping his pants, all within pages of each other. One of the things that I feel sums up Breyfogle's versatility as an artist is the way he draws Batman's utility belt. Now this may seem like a minor detail but when I first encountered Breyfogle's work as a child it was the first time I had ever seen Batman's belt drawn as if it could conceivably hold Batman's entire arsenal. It's bright yellow and chunky with capsules and pouches hanging off it, a proper superhero gadget belt. And yet in the very next panel the belt is only barely glimpsed as Batman fades into the shadows and the gadget loving superhero becomes a dark creature of the night. I could write pages and pages of lengthy prose describing Breyfogle's greatness but I'll just let his work speak for itself.

For those who've never known the delights of Breyfogle's Batman see if you can find the following back issues.

John Wagner, Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle’s run on Detective Comics (1988-1990)
(Detective Comics #583-594; 601-621)

The iconic run in which Breyfogle, along with writers Alan Grant and John Wagner created a vast array of villains that straddled the line between the ridiculous and the terrifying, including The Corrosive Man, The Ventriloquist and Scarface, The Ratcatcher, Anarky, The Obeah Man and Cornelius Stirk. They were also equally adept at handling established villains. One memorable story involved a team comprised of every version of Clayface while another involved Batman teaming up with and then battling Jack Kirby’s Demon.

Batman #455-457

Tim Drake saves Batman's ass from the Scarecrow and then debuts his new costume.

Shadow of the Bat #1-4 

Grant and Breyfogle take inspiration from Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum and give us the first appearances of Jeremiah Arkham and Zsasz.

Batman: Holy Terror

A chilling Elseworld tale in which Batman exists in an America governed by an evil theocracy.

I've never met the man, but I'm such a fan of his work I wanted to draw some attention to this cause. I hope he recovers quickly and that he and his family are okay.


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