Cartoon by Manfred Deix
Manfred Deix cartoon from the 1980s

Manfred Deix was an Austrian cartoonist, graphic artist and illustrator. He was born in the lower Austrian town of St. Pölten in 1949, as the second child of Johanna and Franz Deix. It was initially his destiny to become the host of the Deix family's inn in Böhemkirchen, Zur blauen Weintraube, but Manfred eventually chose an artistic profession. In 1965, he enrolled at the Graphic Education and Research Institute in Vienna, together with his friends Bernhard Paul, Josef Bramer and Gottfried Helnwein. He was kicked out after two and a half years. He continued his studies at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, which he also left after 14 semesters.

comic art by Manfred Deix

Deix had shown an early interest to cartooning. At age 9, he had already painted an erotic flipbook with 100 drawings of a woman undressing. He also sold nude drawings to his schoolmates. Ironically, it was his Religion teacher who gave him the opportunity to publish his first cartoons in the weekly Niederösterreichischen Kirchenzeitung.

Cartoon by Manfred Deix

By 1972, he was publishing his first professional work in magazines like Profil, Trend and Economy. He was later also making cover drawings for Stern, Der Spiegel, Pardon, Titanic and Playboy, and advertising posters for Casablanca cigarettes. From 1992 until March 2015 Deix had a weekly cartoon in the news magazine News. In 1980, his first book 'Cartoons von Manfred Deix' was published. Several collections followed, such as 'Cartoons de Luxe' (1983), 'Satiren aus Wien' ( 1985), 'Mein Tagebuch' (1986), 'Der dicke Deix' (2004) and 'Der heilige Deix' (2013). 

Although his work was made in friendly-looking watercolours, Deix's cartoons often broke taboos, and gave ironic and sarcastic social criticism. Institutional and personal misconducts were his favorite themes, and his main targets were politicians (especially right-wing populist Jörg Haider), the common people, porn consumers and sex offending men of the church. Several of his cartoons were accompanied by written texts in a witty or childlike tone, often in the form of poems. A person with typical behavior and an appearance resembling his cartoon characters, is called a "Deixfigur". The word even made it into the Austrian Dictionary.

Cartoon by Manfred Deix
Grazer Bürgerwehr, 2002

Manfred Deix was also active as a musician. He made a CD with cover versions of Beach Boys songs in Viennese dialect in 1995. A documentary called 'Küß die Hand, Österreich – Manfred Deix und seine Bilder' was made by Peter Hajek for ORF and ZDF in 1987. Prominent fans of his work were U2 singer Bono and director Billy Wilder. The Karikaturmuseums Krems celebrated his 60th birthday with a large exhibition, and the publication of the book 'Der goldene Deix', in 2009. Manfred Deix has won several cultural prizes throughout his career.

He lived near Vienna with his wife, whom he had married in Las Vegas, and about 80 pets. An escessive way life, according to the artist himself consisting of "working, drawing, smoking and boozing", caused him to suffer from Pulmonary emoblism from 1987. He died after a long illness on 25 June 2016.

Cartoon by Manfred Deix

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