And now I proudly present: this!
I believe I spent 1 1/2 months just on this single picture, which of course related to my general problem of squeezing in any drawing time at all. It was a challenge that brought me to my limits, but I feel it was worth doing it.
I'd wanted for a long time to draw Gundi, Tiger & Co. in front of this special backdrop.
The Bremen Town Hall and the Roland have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, and even if they weren't, they've always been Bremen's pride and joy, called one of Europe's most beautiful buildings by the local tourist information. (Well, they would, wouldn't they? But they've got a point.) Long story short, it's just impossible to draw a Bremen-based comic and not include this site, and you can surely tell that doing just that very thing for 5 years and 200 pages irked me no end. I'd always delayed this task because I knew what dimensions it'd take, and it was clear that if I had gone on like that, I might never have done it. It was a situation I couldn't bear any longer, and when the comic had to be on hiatus anyway I vowed, I wouldn't continue it before having settled this bill.
One special problem was its sheer size. The original is as large as a poster and covers two sheets that I fused together on the computer afterwards. If only that had been as easy as it sounds! When it all was doen I actually ordered a poster print of it for my own walls, just for kicks, and it turned out pretty good if I may say so. However, I will not put this up as a poster for sale, at least not this version. The reason will become clear below..
The Roland, the large statue of a knight on the left, dates from the Middle Ages and has been a traditional meeting-point ever since. According to legend, Bremen will always retain its freedom, prosperity, and relative independence as long as the Roland stands. This was also the place where trials were held in the very distant past, and traders found guilty of fraud were put in a small cage opposite, where the Roland's imposing presence helped the lesson sink in. To the good and honest citizens however the Roland is the town's faithful guardian, which made it a subject a Plattdütsch nursery rhyme I grew up with.
The Old Town Hall, which fills most of the background, is a medieval gothic brick building, but the façade was added in 1612 in the style of the so-called Weser renaissance, of which it is a prime example. It was built specifically to impress, and that it does to this day. A newer part was added in the nineteenth century, but as it's in the back, it can't be seen from this viewpoint.
The hundreds of sandstone reliefs display allegorical battles between naked ladies and sea monsters (at least we say they're battling), and if they weren't by necessity as tiny on this picture as they are, they might be considered a slight breach in my usual safe-for-work policy that I'd have gladly committed. You see, the good people of Bremen have always been cautious about artistic fashions, but they do know what they like.
However, as it is said around here, they're all just decoration anyway, because the one important relief is that of the hen (referring to Bremen's founding myth, which I shall perhaps come back to one day). Of course, you can't see it here, as even in real life it's very small, but it does appear above the third column from the left as a small greyish dot, you can trust me on that.
The inside is full of its own wonders, like e.g. my personal favourite, the giant ship models hanging from the ceiling of the upper hall, which date roughly from the same period as the façade and whose canons can actually be fired. There's loads more, but I'm already writing far too much here.
By the way, just before I left for England I read in the newspaper that the roof of the town hall is leaking a bit and will be restored soon. If they decide to replace not just a few but all of the copper shingles it won't be green anymore for some time. Guess I'll have to do an updated version of this picture then...
The church behind the town hall is called "Unser Lieben Frauen" (old German for "Our Dear Lady's"), and it's special to me, because I was baptized there long ago. The spire may look a bit tilted, and so it does in real life as well; we affectionally call it "the Leaning Tower of Bremen". In fact it doesn't really lean at all, but because it is seven-sided and therefore asymmetrical it looks as if it was from most angles. As another oddity it is the one church I know that features a snack bar (in its old vicarage, the seemingly small house behind the coffee van on the far left).
I could tell a bookshelf's worth of stories and other stuff about the place you see here, and seeing that this rant is already way beyond any tolerable length, I'll better leave it at that. But feel free to ask me about anything you want.
The buildings are just one part of what you can see here. As befits a proper marketplace, there are always a lot of people on the scene, and as a way of saying thank you to you readers of Master the Tiger for your continued support, I included a few hidden surprise cameos of characters by those long-term readers who have comics of their own. This picture is for you!
(Please note, that, if any of you objects, please just tell me, and I'll try and find a way to censor out the character in question. It's meant to be a gesture of friendship, and I was quite convinced you'll see it the same way, else I wouldn't have done it.)
Incidentally, the cameos are one of the main reasons why I won't offer this as a poster for sale. I'd consider it exceedingly bad form, to say the least.
However I may yet make a second, cameo-free version when I'm back in Germany and put that one up.
The cameos are (you'll have to find them yourself, but they're in there somewhere, scout's honour
):Danielle and Talia
from Danielle Dark
by Jay Bradley
(in her human guise) from Just Another Day
from The Godstrain
by Kim Luster
)Connie and the Gang
from The Compozerz
I enjoy reading these comics a great deal, and you should definitely check them out if you haven't done so already.
Well, I think that's more than enough for now. Hope you enjoy the picture!