Aw, man. Today I’m mourning the passage of one of the all-time greats, Norm Breyfogle.
(All my comics are in storage right now, so I’m doing this from memory. But here’s the impression BREYFOGLE made on me.)
This here is the first Batman comic I bought when I got into comix: Detective Comics 607, dated October 1989. It’s the fourth issue of an arc, so I came in at the tail end, but I was still hooked.
My comix habit started with three series: Batman (Aparo), Detective Comics, and the Shadow Strikes! (Eduardo Barretto – also RIP). Barretto struck me as the best artist – Aparo seemed a little square, and I wouldn’t really appreciate him until later. But ‘Tec, with Alan Grant writing and BREYFOGLE on art, was this little pocket of weirdness in the Batverse.
BREYFOGLE’S Batman didn’t have the confident athleticism of Garcia-Lopez, who I always associate with Batman consumer products, and he wasn’t as abstract Image-inspired artists like Jim Lee. He knew his anatomy, but he wasn’t a draftsman quite like Aparo.
BREYFOGLE’S art was fluid. BREYFOGLE’S Batman twisted around gargoyles or stood as imposing as a monolith. Sometimes he was abstract – just the outline of his white eyes, bat-ears and bat-eyebrows, and a scowl.
Other times, BREYFOGLE’S Batman was all too solid, folding over a kick or knocked halfway across the page by some lucky punk with a lead pipe. His Batman was truly grief-stricken whenever an innocent was hurt. BREYFOGLE’S Batman suffered.
I don’t think anyone did body language as well as he did. When I try to draw a dynamic pose, BREYFOGLE is who I try to channel. Here’s Tim Drake in the vest and booties, getting ready to do some business:
And no one, ever, did a better look of shock than BREYFOGLE.