From Our Continental Correspondent – Union Der Helden

Published On June 2, 2009 | By Joe Gordon | Comics, Continental Correspondent, General

OK – this is going to sound like the generalisation to end all generalisations: I can’t think of two words that, when combined with “comics” make me cringe more than “German” and “Photo”.  There, I said it. German comics typically reminds me of Fix Und Foxy or Ralf König, whereas “Photocomics” makes me think back to the women’s magazines of thirty years ago, which would typically feature a saccharine soap opera in comic form. With photographs, of course: drawings are for children (although in the UK photo romance strips were also common for young teenage schoolgirls mags too and I’m sure several of our readers will cringe remembering them – Joe).

But lo and behold, here comes the Union Der Helden!  Helped with Photoshop and other contemporary editing technology, a rather edgy sense of humour and lots and lots of panache, this is an actual photo comic, about superheroes, in current day Germany (the Ruhr area, to be exact).  It tells the story of a cool, rather cynical social sciences student who, when visited by The One In White (who wears black, incidentally), turns into the Archangel and has to battle Manero, the king of the Bochum underworld and his cronies.  The comic was created by Arne Schulenberg and Eric Wünsche, with photography by Jens Sundheim, and illustrative work by Patrick Soeder.

Union Der Helden.jpg

(an early page from Union Der Helden by Schulenberg, Wünsche, Sundheim and Soeder)

So far there have been three episodes and as many asides (in which the characters or the creators address the readers about how the comic is created, and how they can use FaceBook to promote it), generally boiling down to fairly static storylines, with a lot of asides and talking head shots.  Special effects are used sparingly, and generally the action is kept relatively believable.  Still, it shows potential, not in the least by trying (and managing) to combine a fairly unexotic setting with something quite outrageous as super-heroes.

Union Der Helden using the web to promote comics.jpg

(discussing how to use the web and social sites to promote your comics in Union Der Helden)

I hope the creators find the inspiration to keep this up until it reaches its second wind, and we may see this evolving into something beautiful – a photocomic to pay attention to.

Wim Lockefeer lives in Belgium and is available to star in a photostrip comics about a comics reader who develops superpowers which allow him to save Brussels from an alien menace. You can read more on his Ephemerist blog.

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About The Author

Joe Gordon
Joe Gordon is ForbiddenPlanet.co.uk's chief blogger, which he set up in 2005. Previously, he was professional bookseller for over 12 years as well as a lifelong reader and reviewer, especially of comics and science fiction works.

One Response to From Our Continental Correspondent – Union Der Helden

  1. Thank you very much for this encouraging review, Wim! I am currently working on Episode 4 and just wanted to add a few basic facts:
    • Union der Helden is also published in English: Union of Heroes, http://www.unionofheroes.com
    • Updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
    • You can befriend us on myspace, join our group on facebook, follow us on twitter or watch our trailers on youtube (social site promotion rules! ;-)

    Heroic regards from Germany!
    Arne / thirtyseven / ancire