Back in the Summer of 1994, I was visiting my relatives in Germany.

I had heard of the Erlangen Comics Salon, a comics festival being held in the Bavarian city of Erlangen.  So I rented a room in a student apartment building and spent the weekend at what was my first comics convention.  Fortunately for me, an American fan with rudimentary German language skills, the German publishers had flown in British and American superstars from their backlist, and while attendance was busy, only Don Rosa required a ticket.  Otherwise the lines were orderly and moved quickly, and to my surprise and naiveté, discovered that artists were producing free sketches!  I quickly bought a sketch pad from the local bookshop, and began to collect self portraits from the cartoonists.

I excavated these drawings last Christmas, and posted them to my website.  I’ll be posting them one-by-one here during the holiday season, and hope you enjoy them! 

Here’s the rock star of comics, who wasn’t yet a comics colossus in 1994.  Ehapa was publishing the German editions of Sandman and Death in 1994, and in addition to this sketch, I had him sign his early work for 2000 AD.  (I had found the comics earlier when I was in New Zealand, courtesy of a bibliography posted on the Magian Line.)  During the Max-und-Moritz Preis reception, I evesdropped on a true story he told about an artist he knew.  I’ve filed it away, but will not repeat it, since it’s not my story to tell.

I continue to collect self-portraits from comics creators at shows, and if interest is sufficient, I’ll post more here.


  1. The duck drawing of the artist who’s name escapes you (posted on your Blog) is Benoit Sokal. I believe he’s French and he did a great comic (European “albums”, actually)series starring Inspector Canardo, of whose drawing you posted. There’s at least one american version of one of the issues, that I know of, translated by Leia Jacobowitz and Kim Thompson.

  2. Actually, I’m from Omaha. I had just graduated from UNO, and was flying around the world. I would have stayed in New Zealand, but the immigration criteria was against a young graduate from the USA (not a refugee, no money to transfer, no experience). However, I did discover Footrot Flats and Pickle, so it wasn’t a total loss.

    Thanks for solving the mystery I posted (and thanks for visiting my blog!) After Erlangen, I took an overnight train to Brussels, spending a strange four hours in Aachen waiting for the connecting train. My only reason for going to Brussels was because of the excellent comics museum.

    My mother’s hometown is Hanover, Germany, home to Wilhelm Busch, creator of Max und Moritz, Fipps der Affe, and Hans Huckebein. The Herrenhausen Gardens contains a comics museum in his name.