Comic Book Biography: NORM BREYFOGLE

norm-breyfogleNorm Breyfogle, has done everything. From penciling, inking and lettering the Whisper, to Drawing Batman, Detective and Shadow of the Bat. His current series from Speakeasy Comics, Of Bitter Souls has sold out! Norm took some time away from the drawing board to talk to First Comics News about his career.

Rik Offenberger: Your first work was in New Talent Showcase#11, how did you get involved with that project?

Norm Breyfogle: I exhibited my work and the San Diego Con in 1984 and won some awards, and the editor of New Talent Showcase, Sal Amendola, saw my stuff and then asked me to draw some of the stories in that book.

1st: Why did you leave DC for First Comics?

Norm: I had no on-going contract with DC, or anyone else, at the time, so I didn’t “leave” them. First Comics simply hired me on a monthly title before anyone else did.

1st: You were just starting out and you were working on both American Flagg and Whisper at the same time, what was that like?

Norm: No, I did them in succession. Bob Violence inAmerican Flagg came first, then Whisper. Whisper was great training because I was penciling and inking and lettering the series, and painting the covers … all on a deadline. It was tough, but purifying. After a year of that I was ready for anything and loaded for bear!

1st: How did you end up working on Batman?

Norm: My agent at the time, Mike Friedrich, head of Star Reach, let DC know I was interested in doing aBatman title. Mike set up a meeting for me with the Editor-in-Chief of DC at the time, Dick Giordano, who I suppose showed my stuff to Denny O’Neil, who then invited me to do a trial issue of Detective Comics “the Crime Doctor” issue. They must’ve liked that work, so they hired me for the monthly.

1st: Why did you leave the main Batman title to do Shadow of the Bat?

Norm: I was encouraged to do so at a Batmansummit conference wherein the Batman creative and editorial folk got together yearly to discuss the next year’s plans.

1st: Was Shadow of the Bat considered more prestigious then Batman at the time?

Norm: I thought so, but in hindsight I see that if I’d stayed on Batman I’d’ve drawn the 500th issue, and that one issue really ended up paying off much, much better than Shadow of the Bat ever did for those that worked on it.

Dang it.

1st: You worked on Batman and bat-related titles for about seven years, why did you leave DC to doPrime for Malibu?

Norm: In short, Malibu was willing to publish my writing on my own title Metaphysique. That’s what truly tipped the scales.

1st: There have been a lot of rumors lately that Marvel doesn’t publish the Ultraverse because the creators own a piece of the characters. Do you own a percentage ofPrime?

Norm: I get paid a small fee when the character is used.

1st: Marvel approached you to do a Hellcatminiseries. It was well written with really strong artwork, why was there no follow up with another miniseries or an on going series?

Norm: That’s a mystery to me and to Steve Englehart, the writer of Hellcat. Ask Marvel.

1st: With Metaphysique, you were the writer and artist. Do you prefer writing your own stories?

Norm: When I’m doing it, sure, but I have no interest in writing a monthly comic book; I’m too slow a writer. I am writing a novel, however, and I love to write poetry.

1st: You also worked on the Hal Jordan Spectre, what were your feelings about the series and Hal Jordan as the Spectre?

Norm: Like many, I felt that making Hal into theSpectre was a cheap sales tactic … and yet, J.M. DeMatteis is such a great writer that I think he made it work well. I enjoyed that series a lot, and I met one of my best pen pals there: Dennis Janke, my inker on that title.

1st: You have worked for every major publisher, is there any difference between working for one over another?

Norm: Not really, from my pov and experience. They’ve all been very professional with me.

1st: Currently you are working on Of Bitter Souls, how did you meet Charles Satterlee?

Norm: Ten years ago, when he was self-publishingAgony Acres, Chuck interviewed me for some trade magazine and asked me to do a pin-up for his book. We’ve wanted to work together on a monthly title ever since.

1st: What attracted you to Of Bitter Souls?

Norm: The chance to work with Chuck, the opportunity for a monthly comics income again, and the chance to be able to draw monsters and other horrific stuff.

And I get to pencil and ink the interiors and the covers.

1st: You did all the character designs for the series, what is involved in designing a super hero team?

Norm: Chuck had a pretty clear picture in mind already for the basic look of the main characters; I just had to pin down the details.

1st: There is a definite Matrix trench coat look to the team, was The Matrix an influence?

Norm: Not really, no more than Blade was an influence: not much at all. Chuck did mention the Matrixlook, but that just means dark clothes and shades, really.

I happened at the time to have just dressed up as a modern urban vampire for Halloween and I’d bought this “Nightwalker” costume, and it was as big an influence in designing the main character’s costumes as was anything else.

1st: Of Bitter Souls has some very flawed heroes, what are your feelings about sins and their redemption?

Norm: I’d like to believe that in eternity it’s all gonna work out for the best.

1st: The first issue sold out, that must have been uplifting.

Norm: Sure! But Chuck was certain all along that it would.

1st: What can we expect to see in the next few issues?

Norm: Stories concentrating on main character development and many monsters, ghosts, and other ghoulies! The third issue features my personal version of the Bogeyman! He looks like he crawled out of a sewer … and Chuck and I both die as the Bogeyman’s victims, I drew in our likenesses!

1st: Sounds like fun. I hope Of Bitter Soulscontinues to sell out.

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