Winnetou, by Walter Neugebauer (1930s)

Walter Neugebauer, or Valter Nojgebauer in Eastern Europe, was born in Tuzla (Bosnia) but shortly afterwards moved to Zagreb with his family. He and his brother Norbert developed an interest in art and at the age of twelve, and Neugebauer had his first cartoons published in a Catholic parish paper. At age 14 he drew the children's page of the newspaper Novosti.

Zabavnik, by Walter Neugebauer

He made his first comics with the foreign characters 'Popaj' (E.C. Segar's 'Popeye') and 'Nasdine Hodja' ('Nasredin Hodze') for Oko, with scripts by his brother Norbert, from 1935 to 1937. He worked with Branko Kovac at Hrvatski Dnevnik and then with Norbert Neugebauer again on comics for Novosti and Veseli Zabavnik. Two years later he was co-founder of Mickeystrip, the first Yugoslav comic magazine, for which he drew 'Jack Jackson' and 'Bimbo Bambus', again with his brother Norbert.

Winnetou, by Walter Neugebauer

He continued to work for Mickeystrip until 1940, and then worked on many stories for his own magazines Veseli Vandrokas and Novi Vandrokas. He made an unfinished adaptation of Karl May's 'Winnetou' in cooperation with his brother Norbert, as well as other stories with writer Branko Kovac. The magazine folded when Yugoslavia entered the war in 1941, and Walter and Norbert Neugebauer then launched the comic magazine Zabavnik in tabloid format. They relaunched 'Bimbo Bambus' and set up new series like 'Patuljak Nosko'.

After the war, Zabavnik also folded and Neugebauer started working as a cartoonist for satirical papers like Kerempuh. He and his brother became very interested in animated cartoons, and began their own animation studio, Duga-Film, in 1951. It was in 1954 when Walter Neugebauer met German comic publisher Rolf Kauka, who asked him to work for him at his studio in Munich.

Winnetou, by Walter Neugebauer

Neugebauer started freelancing for Rolf Kauka's 'Fix und Foxi' shortly afterwards. In the late 1950s, he also finished his old 1930s adaptation of Karl May's 'Winnetou', which is considered a masterpiece in German comics. Also art director, he set up the Kauka series 'Tom und Biberherz' and 'Bussi Bär'. Under Neugebauer's supervision, Kauka's Fix und Foxi became Germany's most successful comic magazine, even surpassing Walt Disney's Micky Maus.

Still in Zagreb and later in Munich, he additionally worked on animation projects for Kauka, such as a 'Munchhausen' film. His team included Branco Karabajic, his brother Norbert, Berislav Fabek, Nikola Mucavac, Vlado Magdic and Turido Pausch, most of whom later also went to work for Kauka in Germany.

bom und Klein Biberherz, by Walter Neugebauer

Neugebauer broke with Kauka in 1972, after quarreling over finances and copyrights. He founded a new studio with Gisela Künstner and Kurt Italiaander, and focused on advertising art, co-creating characters like Haribo's 'Goldbär', 'Hubba Bubba' for Wrighlys as well as 'Sport-Billy'. He did cover illustrations and some 100 animated television ads for Ehapa's Mickey Maus comic book. Walter Neugebauer died May 31, 1992, in Geretsried, Germany.

Fix und Foxi, by Walter Neugebauer

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