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Norm Breyfogle

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Norm Breyfogle
Norm Breyfogle by Michael Netzer
BornNorman Keith Breyfogle
(1960-02-27)February 27, 1960
Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.[1]
DiedSeptember 24, 2018(2018-09-24) (aged 58)
Houghton, Michigan, U.S.
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Inker
Notable works
Detective Comics

Norman Keith Breyfogle (/ˈbrfɡəl/; February 27, 1960 – September 24, 2018)[1][2] was an American artist, best known for his comic book art on DC Comics' Batman franchise from 1987 to 1995. During this time, he co-created the villains Ventriloquist and Ratcatcher with writers Alan Grant and John Wagner, and the characters Anarky, Jeremiah Arkham, Victor Zsasz, and Amygdala with Grant alone. He co-created with writers Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski the Malibu Comics Ultraverse flagship hero Prime, and both wrote and drew the Malibu-published series featuring his original character Metaphysique.

Early life[edit]

Norman Keith Breyfogle[3] was born on February 27, 1960, in Iowa City, Iowa[1] to parents Lois (née Roberts) and Gerald Breyfogle.[4] He had a brother Kevin and a sister Penny Duncan.[5]

Breyfogle began taking private art lessons at the age of twelve, and won an award at a local art show. His family subsequently moved to Houghton, Michigan, and the local newspaper The Daily Mining Gazette profiled him in 1976 as "Norm Breyfogle: Near Master Cartoonist at 16". While in high school, he produced Tech-Team,[6] a comic commissioned by local Michigan Technological University.[6] In 1977, he submitted a design for Robin's costume, which was published in Batman Family #13.[7]

Breyfogle attended Northern Michigan University, studying painting and illustration while working as an illustrator for a local magazine and a graphics company. In 1980, he illustrated a book titled Bunyan: Lore's Loggin' Hero, published by Book Concern. He moved to California in 1982. He worked as a draftsman and later as a technical illustrator designing a Space Shuttle training manual for the United Space Boosters.[8]


Early comics work[edit]

In 1984, Breyfogle penciled a six–page story for DC Comics' New Talent Showcase. Mike Friedrich (President of Star Reach, a talent representative agency) saw Breyfogle's work hanging at the 1985 San Diego Comic-Con Art Show and began representing him.[9] This was followed by several issues of First Comics' American Flagg, penciling a back-up story titled "Bob Violence" in 1985. During this time he drew for Tales of Terror, a horror anthology published by Eclipse Comics.[10] Following that, Breyfogle wrote, illustrated, and lettered a Captain America story in Marvel Fanfare #29 (Nov. 1986).[11] He then drew Whisper for First Comics in 1986–1987, his first monthly book,[12] before landing on Detective Comics starring Batman published by DC Comics.[2]


Batman and Robin as drawn by Breyfogle. The cover is a modernization of Batman #9 (Feb.–March 1942), drawn by Fred Ray and Jerry Robinson.

Teamed with writer Alan Grant, Breyfogle worked on Detective Comics. They introduced the Ventriloquist in their first Batman story together[13] and the Ratcatcher in their third.[14] He drew the Batman for six years (1987–1993), penciling Detective Comics from 1987 to 1990, then moving to Batman to introduce the character Tim Drake as the new Robin[15] from 1990 to 1992, and finally starting a new Batman series for DC titled Batman: Shadow of the Bat from 1992 to 1993[16] which saw the Grant/Breyfogle team create three new characters, Jeremiah Arkham, Mr. Zsasz,[17] and Amygdala. During his six-year run on the Batman character, he drew a few one-shots, two of them being Batman: Holy Terror, the first DC comic book to feature the Elseworlds logo,[18] and Batman: Birth of the Demon,[19] which he hand painted. He provided pencils to a 10-page short story in Superman 80-Page Giant #1 (Feb. 1999).[20]

Later work[edit]

In 2000, Breyfogle drew the Elseworlds three-issue mini-series Flashpoint. In 2001, DC offered him the job of penciling The Spectre monthly, which he drew for one year.[21]

He spent 2003 penciling and inking the title Black Tide, published by Angel Gate Press.[10]

In 2004, Breyfogle began work on an illustrated children's book for the Society of St. John Monastery,[4] finished many commissions for fans, put together a couple printed sketchbooks showcasing his work, and continued writing his novel, getting halfway done, finishing through chapter six. He wrote over forty poems and over 1,300 haikus in a five-month marathon,[21] and a number of short stories.[22]

In February 2005 he accepted an offer to pencil and ink the interiors and covers of the new ongoing monthly title Of Bitter Souls from studio Relative Comics, originally published by Speakeasy Comics.[10] It was written by Chuck Satterlee. Shortly before Speakeasy Comics went out of business, Relative Comics joined with Chimaera Studios and moved to publisher Markosia Comics. Breyfogle produced illustrations for a wide variety of clients outside of the comics industry including Nike, Inc., Mojo, The Red Bulletin, Time Out, Company, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, and various bands such as 12 Stone Toddler, among many others.

In 2007, he provided art for the main story interiors and the covers for the comic book title The Danger's Dozen. He began a professional relationship with the London-based art agency Debut Art.[22]

Starting in 2006, he began a working relationship with Mazz Press, contributing stand-alone illustrations to two novels by Stephen Pytak, The .40 Caliber Mousehunt and The Wild Damned.[23]

In 2008, Breyfogle began drawing Archie's New Look, for Archie's Double Digest, published by Archie Publications. Breyfogle drew two titles for Archie Comics: Archie Loves Betty and Archie Loves Veronica.[10]

He returned to DC to draw DC Retroactive: Batman – The '90s, written by his former Batman collaborator Alan Grant, in October 2011. Breyfogle contributed art to DC's Batman Beyond Unlimited digital comic series from 2012 to 2013; later reprinted as an 18 issue series.[24]

In 2015, DC published Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle Vol. 1, a hardcover collection of Breyfogle's early Batman stories.[25] A second volume was released in late 2018.[26]

Retirement and death[edit]

On December 18, 2014, Breyfogle suffered a stroke that cut off blood flow to part of his brain,[3] causing paralysis on his left side. He was left-handed, and although he regained some use of his left side, he was no longer able to draw professionally.[3][27]

In July 2015 writer/novelist Glenn Hauman and writer/editor Bob Greenberger set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise $10,000 to defray the cost of Breyfogle's therapy, which involved producing a 280-page trade paperback reprinting issues #3–11 of Whisper, a 1986 First Comics series created by Steven Grant, which Breyfogle illustrated. The book also featured original contributions by participating creators, and was issued in hardcover to those donating at least $100.[28][29][30]

Breyfogle died of heart failure on September 24, 2018, in Houghton, Michigan.[3][4][31][32][33]


DC Comics[edit]

Eclipse Comics[edit]

First Comics[edit]

Malibu Comics[edit]

  • Firearm #5 (1994)
  • Hardcase #1 (1993)
  • Prime #1–12 (1993–1994)
  • Prime: Gross and Disgusting #1 (1994)

Marvel Comics[edit]


Valiant Comics[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Breyfogle, Norm (n.d.). "Biography". Normbreyfogle.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2010. Norm Breyfogle was born on February 27, 1960 in Iowa City, Iowa.
  2. ^ a b Betancourt, David (September 27, 2018). "Norm Breyfogle, one of DC Comics' most beloved Batman artists, dies at 58". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on November 20, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Hauman, Glenn (September 26, 2018). ComicMix 1960–2018 https://www.comicmix.com/2018/09/26/norm-breyfogle-1950-2018/: 1960–2018. Archived from the original on May 17, 2019. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b c "In Memory of Norman Keith Breyfogle: 1960–2018". Erickson-Crowley-Peterson Funeral Home. Archived from the original on October 8, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018. (Linked from the cited article)
  5. ^ Ruch, John (February 2, 2015). "Batman Artist Norm Breyfogle Recovers From a Stroke With a Little Help From His Fans". Paste. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Irving, Christopher (June 2007). "PRO2PRO: Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle". Back Issue! (22). Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing: 18–20.
  7. ^ Greenfield, Dan (October 3, 2013). "Batman's Hot-Line: Norm Breyfogle". 13th Dimension. Archived from the original on August 11, 2018. One of the sketches was by a guy named Norm Breyfogle of Houghton, Michigan, printed in #13 of the late, lamented Batman Family title.
  8. ^ Garza, Matt (September 27, 2018). "Norm Breyfogle, "Batman" Artist, Dead at 58". Multiversity Comics. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  9. ^ Greenberger, Robert (April 2014). "New Talent and Bonus Babies". Back Issue! (71). Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing: 65–71.
  10. ^ a b c d Norm Breyfogle at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ Eury, Michael (June 2017). "Norm Breyfogle's Batman/Captain America Makeover". Back Issue! (96). Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing: 51.
  12. ^ Friedt, Stephan (February 2017). "The Whisper Interview: Whisper in the Hands of Steven Grant and Norm Breyfogle". Back Issue! (94). Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing: 74–78.
  13. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. In February [1988], the Batman crossed paths with Scarface and the Ventriloquist in Detective Comics #583 by writer John Wagner and Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dougall, Alastair, ed. (2014). "1980s". Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-4654-2456-3. Writers John Wagner and Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle introduced the Ratcatcher in this two-part story. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 247: Batman #457 (Dec. 1990) "In this tale by writer Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle, Robin finally got a new uniform...When DC editorial made the decision to modify the classic costume of the iconic Boy Wonder, they called upon several artists to put their own spin on it. It was legendary artist Neal Adams who delivered the winning concept."
  16. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 253: "Shadow of the Bat lasted ninety-four issues. Handled by the former team on Detective Comics – writer Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle – the first issue was released in both a newsstand and deluxe polybagged format."
  17. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dougall, p. 194: "Shadow of the Bat was writer Alan Grant's newest forum to tell Batman stories on a monthly basis, along with his partner, artists Norm Breyfogle. The pair introduced the new head of Arkham, Jeremiah Arkham, as well as the new villain Mr. Zsasz."
  18. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dougall, p. 193: Batman: Holy Terror became the first Elseworlds special. This tale by writer Alan Brennert and artist Norm Breyfogle featured a Gotham City ruled by the church and Batman as a vigilante man of the cloth."
  19. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dougall, p. 198: "The third and final installment of the Ra's al Ghul hardcover trilogy arrived in this origin volume by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Norm Breyfogle."
  20. ^ Gonzalez, Umberto (September 26, 2018). "Norm Breyfogle, Renowned 'Batman' Comic Book Artist, Dies at 58". Yahoo!. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Staley, Brandon (September 26, 2018). "Artist Norm Breyfogle Passes Away at Age 58". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Carey, Edward (October 10, 2006). "Catching up with Norm Breyfogle and Chuck Satterlee". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  23. ^ "NOVELS". Mazz Press. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  24. ^ Manning "2010s" in Dougall, p. 326: "This new digital-first ongoing series featured a Batman tale by writer Adam Beechen and artist Norm Breyfogle."
  25. ^ Breyfogle, Norm (2015). Tales of the Batman: Norm Breyfogle Vol.1. DC Comics. p. 520. ISBN 978-1-4012-5898-6.
  26. ^ Breyfogle, Norm (2018). Tales of the Batman: Norm Breyfogle Vol.2. DC Comics. p. 456. ISBN 978-1-4012-8512-8.
  27. ^ Melrose, Kevin (December 23, 2014). "Fundraiser launches to help Norm Breyfogle following stroke". CBR.com. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. A fundraiser has been established online to help cover the medical expenses of veteran Batman artist Norm Breyfogle, who suffered a stroke last week, leaving the left-handed illustrator paralyzed on his left side.
  28. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (July 29, 2015). "The Norm Breyfogle Whisper campaign is a can't miss deal". Comics Beat. Archived from the original on March 28, 2019.
  29. ^ Johnston, Rich (July 17, 2015). "Will You Give $50 For Norm Breyfogle's Whisper Collection?". Bleeding Cool. Archived from the original on October 9, 2018.
  30. ^ Greenberger, Bob (July 2015). "Help artist Norm Breyfogle recover from a stroke!". Indiegogo. Archived from the original on February 22, 2017.
  31. ^ Johnston, Rich (September 26, 2018). "Batman Artist Norm Breyfogle Died on Monday, Aged 58". Bleeding Cool. Archived from the original on April 16, 2019.
  32. ^ Best, Daniel (October 2, 2018). "Norm Breyfogle: 1960–2018". The Comics Journal. Seattle, Washington: Fantagraphics Books. Archived from the original on May 23, 2019.
  33. ^ "Obituary: Norman Breyfogle". Keweenaw Report. September 26, 2018. Archived from the original on May 23, 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Detective Comics artist
Succeeded by
Flint Henry and
Mike McKone
Preceded by Batman artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Batman: Shadow of the Bat artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Prime artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Craig Hamilton
The Spectre vol. 4 artist
Succeeded by