"'Geschichtsblätter" depicting a family murder in Bentaroda (1616).

Lukas Schultes, also written as Lucas Schultes or Lukas Praetorius, was an early 17th-century German printer and publisher. In 1616, he made a sequential narrative, depicting a family murder, with text underneath the images. Together with Hans Burgkmair the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Jeremias Gath, Hans Holbein the Elder, Hans Holbein the YoungerBartholomäus Käppeler, Caspar Krebs, Georg Kress, Hans Rogel the Elder, Hans Rogel the YoungerErhard Schön, Johann Schubert, Elias Wellhöfer and his own father, Hans Schultes the Elder, Lukas Schultes is one of the earliest German prototypical comic artists who left us with a signature.

Life and work
Lukas Schultes was born in 1593 in Augsburg, then part of the Holy Roman Empire, but nowadays located in Germany. He was the son of publisher Hans Schultes the Elder. Schultes started his own printing company at age 23. In 1617, he illegally printed his own newspaper, Die Augsburger Zeitung, which got him into legal trouble. When the Thirty Years' War broke out, Schultes moved to Oettingen in 1624, where he published royal books for the local duke Ludwig Eberhard von Oettingen. Under the duke's protection, Schultes was able to continue publishing his own paper. By 1632, the war climate forced him to move to Nördlingen, where he spent the rest of his life and ran a printery for religious scriptures. After his death in 1634, his widow continued running his printing company for several years.

Schultes drew several woodcuts based on recent events, a forerunner of today's newspapers. In the 16th, 17th and 18th century these so-called 'Geschichtsblätter' ("Pages about Events") were very popular. Much like his father, Schultes depicted mysterious natural phenomena, like a comet above Augsburg ('Komet über Augsburg', 1619). But he also had attention for sensational crimes, battles and festivities.

Schultes was just one of several artists who made such drawings. Other creators included Johannes van den AveeleJeremias Gath, Frans Hogenberg, Romeyn de Hooghe, Bartholomäus Käppeler, Caspar Krebs, Georg Kress, Hans Rogel the Elder, Hans Rogel the YoungerDer Prager Meister von 1609, Erhard Schön, Johann Schubert, Hans Schultes the Elder and Elias Wellhöfer. Like most art from that era, the historical accuracy of these graphic "news reports" should be taken with a grain of salt. No eyewitnesses were consulted and all information was based on descriptions from messengers, travelers or hearsay. Unavoidably, anecdotes were sensationalized and used for propaganda purposes. The printers couldn't print opinions that could get them in trouble with the authorities. Audiences wanted to be awed as well. As a result, huge public festivities were made more bombastic, and scenes of death and despair were heavily dramatized. The prints were distributed all over Europe. Once the events became old news, the drawings were bundled and compiled into collectable picture albums.

Prototypical comics
In 1616, Schultes made an engraving depicting a familicide in the village Bentaroda. The prototypical comic is divided in eight clearly separated panels, with a long moralistic text printed underneath. A blacksmith named Michel Mosenheuer murdered his wife, five children and mother-in-law, and then committed suicide. Schultes depicts the murder of Mosenheuer's relatives in five successive panels. In the sixth, we see the gruesome aftermath, where the corpses are gathered together in the same room. Mosenheuer commits suicide in the seventh panel, by aiming a gun at himself and pulling a string attached to the trigger. In the eighth panel, the bodies of the victims are carried to their graves, while Mosenheuer's corpse is bound to a horse's tail, dragged out of town and burned at the stake.

'Komet über Augsburg' (1619).

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