Tuesday, October 11, 2005


In 2000 the Animation studio TFC in Hamburg, which had been incredibly successfull with the "Werner"-Films, was thinking about making a movie starring one of Germany's first Comicstrip-Characters "Nick Knatteron", a spoof on superdetektiv-comicbook-heros like Sherlock Holmes or Dick Tracy .Very funny, but incredibly outdated.

I was talking to Michael Schaak on a planeride and he casually asked me, what I would do with the subject and how I would give it a makeover: At that time "Austin Powers" was very big and the studio was thinking about a similar approach, timewarping Knatterton from the 50's into the present. I strongly objected, because I felt that especially the 50's, particularly the 50's in Germany, would make a great backdrop for he story visually and storywise. I was fantazising about using the designlanguage of that time, long thin lines and kidneyformed shapes, as a blueprint for the whole movie including it's characters. Also the color-palette of that time, lots of pastelle, seemed promising to me.

I must have made an impression, because next day, Schaak called, offering me the VisDev, Story and even the director's chair. I asked , if I remember correctly , for half a year of development- time for the movie, something that had never been done at the TFC before.

I worked with MANU ARENAS and JOSE MARTINEZ , two incredibly giftet artists from Belgium, on the design and with CHRISTIAN SCHNALKE on the story.

With all modesty, we put together some amazing stuff and had lots of fun, until finally the project was cancelled. Nevertheless, I will post lots of our artwork here in the coming months for you to enjoy.


Boris Hiestand said...

The guy looks like Milt Kahl!
Sounds like it could have been a great film. Can't wait to see more!

UM said...

Same here! I remember you showing me bits and pieces at the time. Looked so promising, shame it got canned.

Atlantean said...

Manu, a really great artist and much better person. Did´n know U knew each other. He´ll come by soon.

Yaxin said...

"With all modesty, we put together some amazing stuff and had lots of fun"....hi, Harald :)))
that's true, we put some amazing artwork and we had a lot, lot of fun...and we 're still very modests :)
It was a very promissing film, a great moment for me and Jose.
from time to time I still hope a tiny sparkle from the producers and the project will be back on the desks.

Yaxin said...

...and still, to design germany in the 50s was and is a great idea.

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

Being Belgian myself, it's always cool to hear from our people in the industry. Just googled them, and found that Manu has just created "Laura's Ster"? Heard of it, but unfortunately haven't seen it yet. Couldn't find anything about Jose, though. What has he worked on?

- Benjamin

hans said...

I remember, still have the big folder!
beautyful artwork. the problem would
have been - too german, nothing for an
international market. but so was WERNER.
and it paid off.

Sandra Khoo said...

Dang! I would've made one really great show...Oooo,thank you so much for sharing all these great drawings here. They're all brilliant! ^^

Mark McDonnell said...


Your work is INCREDIBLE. I am new at this blog stuff but was directed by John Nevarez to your blog. I look forward to seeing what you have created everyday! Thanks for the coffee breaks in the morning, REALLY fun stuff. You are a wonderful draftsman with great designs skills and . . . vision.

If you get time, please check out my blog and let me know what you think. Thanks!



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