I sent one to ahem - “Facebook Friend”/genius Mark Newgarden on his birthday, but the bastard didn’t react at all. Unlike say, S. Clay Wilson who was most gracious. But I liked the idea, and continuing my hommage to his appreciation and reworking of the single panel adult cartoon “laff” I combined a few more. Rules were: Pick 2 Mix Write new caption Create cartoonist name/signature SEE pics
Herr Krumpl is Father Gaunt’s murderous accomplice in my book TALES OF THE VIENNA WOODS, running around 18th century Europe killing monsters. They’re ostensibly working for the Vatican, but they have their own agenda.
When I first started this book, I conceived Krumpl as a dwarf tough guy, like Gimli in LORD OF THE RINGS or (sort of) Monk in the DOC SAVAGE books from the 1930s. At one point the thing was going to be illustrated by artist Brett Waller. Brett suggested making Herr Krumpl black. He didn’t have any really great reason except that the dwarf sidekick idea was tired and it’d be fun to draw a big black guy in 18th century clothes. A suggested physical model for the character was the boxer Jack Johnson.
I liked it, so I wrote a whole version of the book with this Krumpl, then thought better of it and changed him into an Aztec Indian. There’s a tie-in between several characters in TALES and the conquest of Mexico and Aztec civilization by Spain, so it fit. What exactly happened to make Krumpl and Gaunt into what they are is hinted at and will be fully told in a prequel to TALES, set during the fall of Aztec civilization.
The descriptions of Krumpl’s physical appearance are partly inspired by S. Clay Wilson’s Checkered Demon comics, which detail the demented, filthy exploits of the titular character. The Demon looks vaguely Asian/Latin, and is bald, as I conceive Krumpl to be. The Demon’s also somewhat piratical, ditto Krumpl. I looked at a lot of Chinese pirate pictures before describing him.
Another inspiration is the fantastic illustrations of Aztecs by Keith Henderson in THE FALL OF THE AZTEC EMPIRE, first published in 1922. Henderson was an accomplished illustrator, here portraying the characters and incident of that piece of history. Though the drawings were done nearly one hundred years ago, they look as fresh and up to date as any modern work.
Finally, I also remembered, fondly, cartoonist Jack Kirby’s4th World stories and the character Sonny Sumo. Sonny, as seen here on the cover of FOREVER PEOPLE is a typically wildly muscular Kirby character. I see Herr Krumpl as small and lithe, but the bronze skin and facial features are what I had in mind.
I got Krumpl’s name from a teacher at my daughter’s school. Mr. Krumpl is part Mexican and part German, which certainly fits the settings of TALES and its projected sequel. The word crumple also fits Krumpl’s function in the story, which is basically that of a soldier, a thug, a killer.
In real life, Mr. Krumpl from my kid’s school is a sweetheart. And Herr Krumpl, the character, was a lot of fun to write.