Comics

COVERS DAILY STRIP WEEKLY STRIP

ALLAN KÄMPE

It was in the early 1940’s. Eugen Semitjov had taken the first steps towards a planned engineering career and worked at a drawing office in Sundbyberg. It was not a job he found to be inspiring, sitting at large drawing tables with rulers and millimeter scales. On the edges of the canvas he scribbled aircrafts – his great passion at the time – and funny cartoons.

One of the managers discovered that Eugen was great at perspective drawings. As a result, Eugen was commissioned to do illustrations of machines that had yet to be built and could not be photographed: new construction of rock drills, pumps and more that was under production. For the company’s catalog, captivating depictions were needed for future products. Eugen’s work was considered very useful, and the manager advised him to take a drawing course – and aim to be a catalog designer.

Eugen started taking an evening class at Bergh’s Advertising School. After a couple of basic lessons, he received his first assignment: to make an advertisement for a nutritious school breakfast, something that Eugen thought was in direct contrast to his cartoon dreams. That is what he told his teacher. The school’s chief, Gösta Bergh, decided to test Eugen’s potential talents in another area.

Eugen was tasked to read a novel in the science fiction magazine, Jules Verne’s magazine, where the illustrations had been removed. The novel was called “Mystery in Space”. Bergh also picked up a few pages of the Flash Gordon series by the American, Alex Raymond, from his collections and showed Eugen how a felt pen could be used to give boost to a spacecraft. It was so much more inspiring than the school breakfast assignment. Bergh had brought Eugen on the right track. Eugen had not given up the engineering profession, he continued working at the drawing office in the daytime and was taking courses at the advertising school three nights a week.

The desire arose up to create a comic of his own, based on his ideas. In addition to the drawing office job, he believed that moonlighting would improve his finances. Eugens first comic was a terrible space melodrama. He named it Rolf Stål (Rolf Steel). The heroine, a princess from Venus, was named Mayna after his contemporary love, a pretty blonde student at school. Eugen drew Rolf Steel in weekly magazine format and when twenty pages were ready, he began his search to get it published. One of the publishers he contacted was Bulls Press Service that was making money selling American series to Scandinavian press.

The boss, Bjarne Steinsvik, looked at Rolf Stål and said he did not want it. But he also told Eugen that he showed talent and suggested he drew a new comic. The family Eugen belonged to was imaginative. Eugen went home and met with his big brother to come up with a suitable theme for a comic. They recalled one of the countless short stories their father had written. It was about a group of researchers who retired to the polar area and established a scientific center aiming to save the world from its own evil. It was an inspiring background. So the “Brain Trust” was born, located at the North Pole.

Eugen’s new comic book hero was named Allan Kämpe (Allan Fighter) and was initially a pilot at the Swedish Air Force. Allan was forced to do an emergency landing at the North Pole and wrecked his plane, but was rescued by a patrol from the Brain Trust. He is taken in the service of the Brain Trust together with his eternal companion Eva. He is equipped with humane weapons (which only paralyze enemies) and an aircraft that outperforms all other.

Allan Fighter becomes a kind of technical “Superman” but is also an ordinary person when he has no technical means within reach. With a new set of pages of his new comic, Eugen returned to Bulls Press. This time, Steinsvik looked more closely at Eugen’s production and offered him employment with twice as much salary as he had earned at the drawing office. The company in Sundbyberg had to find its intended catalog designer elsewhere. Eugen stepped into a new world – with a wonderful scent of ink, pressurized paper and heat, with traces of comic sheets that could be read well before they were published in the newspapers. And Eugen was finally a cartoonist! He thought – but there was a lot left to learn. . .

Allan Kämpe made its entrance at the right time. There was war in the world. German submarines blocked the Atlantic and prevented delivery of American comics to Europe, material shortages were difficult. Allan Kämpe was easy to sell, and became popular before peace returned with new avalanches of American material. The weekly comic became daily and work grew on Eugen’s drawing board.

Over time, Allan Kämpe was published in twenty Swedish daily newspapers. After the end of the war, Allan Kämpe came out in Norway, Denmark, Finland – he even reached Argentina and became one of the first comics of post-war Germany. But at the beginning, Eugen could barely find the time to draw the comic. Bulls was an illustrator short, and Steinsvik assigned Eugen tons of work for his two magazines Teknik för Alla (Technology for All) och Veckans Äventyr (Weekly Adventure, the former Jules Verne Magazine). . .

The idea was that Eugen would have stockpiled Allan Kämpe before the comic started selling, but Allan Kämpe had to lay low for several months to accommodate other assignments. Eugen did not have a very good time margin when the publication began in Åhlén & Åkerlund’s Week Series.

In the autumn of 1943 Eugen was summoned to military service as a flight mechanic at F8 in Barkarby. But he managed to keep the comic floating: Between the watch pass during the troubled year 1944 – when he was warming up the hunting plans in the late nights – he produced Allan Kämpe Adventures in the station building next to the hangar. Allan Kämpe lived for over fourteen years. The work creating Allan Kämpe became quite strenuous with time. It’s a nice feeling to deliver a finished job, a drawing, an article – but this job had no end. Eugen could not even take a vacation without packing down a piece of paper, drawing board, pens and brushes.

In 1946, Eugen left the working desk at Bulls Press and became freelance, which he remained since then. But Allan Kämpe lived up to 1957. When Eugen was sometimes asked if it had not been difficult to keep up the comic for fourteen years, he used to answer: “The last thirteen years were the worst.” After seven years with Allan Kämpe, he felt a need to tell more than could be done in comic boxes – to write articles instead. At first, it became quite short ones – the comic form had forced him to work with extremely compressed text and it was difficult to get out of the habit.

In 1949, the Americans had launched a two-stage rocket with a film camera on board. In the popular journalistic shows at the cinemas, visitors could watch our planet filmed from 400 kilometers. There were rickety scenes, but one clearly saw a curved horizon – for the first time it had been photographically proven that the earth was round. The event gave Eugen a renewed interest in space.

© Eugen Semitjov’s Memorial Foundation

WIKIPEDIA

COVERS DAILY STRIP WEEKLY STRIP

ALLAN KÄMPE

It was in the early 1940’s. Eugen Semitjov had taken the first steps towards a planned engineering career and worked at a drawing office in Sundbyberg. It was not a job he found to be inspiring, sitting at large drawing tables with rulers and millimeter scales. On the edges of the canvas he scribbled aircrafts – his great passion at the time – and funny cartoons.

One of the managers discovered that Eugen was great at perspective drawings. As a result, Eugen was commissioned to do illustrations of machines that had yet to be built and could not be photographed: new construction of rock drills, pumps and more that was under production. For the company’s catalog, captivating depictions were needed for future products. Eugen’s work was considered very useful, and the manager advised him to take a drawing course – and aim to be a catalog designer.

Eugen started taking an evening class at Bergh’s Advertising School. After a couple of basic lessons, he received his first assignment: to make an advertisement for a nutritious school breakfast, something that Eugen thought was in direct contrast to his cartoon dreams. That is what he told his teacher. The school’s chief, Gösta Bergh, decided to test Eugen’s potential talents in another area.

Eugen was tasked to read a novel in the science fiction magazine, Jules Verne’s magazine, where the illustrations had been removed. The novel was called “Mystery in Space”. Bergh also picked up a few pages of the Flash Gordon series by the American, Alex Raymond, from his collections and showed Eugen how a felt pen could be used to give boost to a spacecraft. It was so much more inspiring than the school breakfast assignment. Bergh had brought Eugen on the right track. Eugen had not given up the engineering profession, he continued working at the drawing office in the daytime and was taking courses at the advertising school three nights a week.

The desire arose up to create a comic of his own, based on his ideas. In addition to the drawing office job, he believed that moonlighting would improve his finances. Eugens first comic was a terrible space melodrama. He named it Rolf Stål (Rolf Steel). The heroine, a princess from Venus, was named Mayna after his contemporary love, a pretty blonde student at school. Eugen drew Rolf Steel in weekly magazine format and when twenty pages were ready, he began his search to get it published. One of the publishers he contacted was Bulls Press Service that was making money selling American series to Scandinavian press.

The boss, Bjarne Steinsvik, looked at Rolf Stål and said he did not want it. But he also told Eugen that he showed talent and suggested he drew a new comic. The family Eugen belonged to was imaginative. Eugen went home and met with his big brother to come up with a suitable theme for a comic. They recalled one of the countless short stories their father had written. It was about a group of researchers who retired to the polar area and established a scientific center aiming to save the world from its own evil. It was an inspiring background. So the “Brain Trust” was born, located at the North Pole.

Eugen’s new comic book hero was named Allan Kämpe (Allan Fighter) and was initially a pilot at the Swedish Air Force. Allan was forced to do an emergency landing at the North Pole and wrecked his plane, but was rescued by a patrol from the Brain Trust. He is taken in the service of the Brain Trust together with his eternal companion Eva. He is equipped with humane weapons (which only paralyze enemies) and an aircraft that outperforms all other.

Allan Fighter becomes a kind of technical “Superman” but is also an ordinary person when he has no technical means within reach. With a new set of pages of his new comic, Eugen returned to Bulls Press. This time, Steinsvik looked more closely at Eugen’s production and offered him employment with twice as much salary as he had earned at the drawing office. The company in Sundbyberg had to find its intended catalog designer elsewhere. Eugen stepped into a new world – with a wonderful scent of ink, pressurized paper and heat, with traces of comic sheets that could be read well before they were published in the newspapers. And Eugen was finally a cartoonist! He thought – but there was a lot left to learn. . .

Allan Kämpe made its entrance at the right time. There was war in the world. German submarines blocked the Atlantic and prevented delivery of American comics to Europe, material shortages were difficult. Allan Kämpe was easy to sell, and became popular before peace returned with new avalanches of American material. The weekly comic became daily and work grew on Eugen’s drawing board.

Over time, Allan Kämpe was published in twenty Swedish daily newspapers. After the end of the war, Allan Kämpe came out in Norway, Denmark, Finland – he even reached Argentina and became one of the first comics of post-war Germany. But at the beginning, Eugen could barely find the time to draw the comic. Bulls was an illustrator short, and Steinsvik assigned Eugen tons of work for his two magazines Teknik för Alla (Technology for All) och Veckans Äventyr (Weekly Adventure, the former Jules Verne Magazine). . .

The idea was that Eugen would have stockpiled Allan Kämpe before the comic started selling, but Allan Kämpe had to lay low for several months to accommodate other assignments. Eugen did not have a very good time margin when the publication began in Åhlén & Åkerlund’s Week Series.

In the autumn of 1943 Eugen was summoned to military service as a flight mechanic at F8 in Barkarby. But he managed to keep the comic floating: Between the watch pass during the troubled year 1944 – when he was warming up the hunting plans in the late nights – he produced Allan Kämpe Adventures in the station building next to the hangar. Allan Kämpe lived for over fourteen years. The work creating Allan Kämpe became quite strenuous with time. It’s a nice feeling to deliver a finished job, a drawing, an article – but this job had no end. Eugen could not even take a vacation without packing down a piece of paper, drawing board, pens and brushes.

In 1946, Eugen left the working desk at Bulls Press and became freelance, which he remained since then. But Allan Kämpe lived up to 1957. When Eugen was sometimes asked if it had not been difficult to keep up the comic for fourteen years, he used to answer: “The last thirteen years were the worst.” After seven years with Allan Kämpe, he felt a need to tell more than could be done in comic boxes – to write articles instead. At first, it became quite short ones – the comic form had forced him to work with extremely compressed text and it was difficult to get out of the habit.

In 1949, the Americans had launched a two-stage rocket with a film camera on board. In the popular journalistic shows at the cinemas, visitors could watch our planet filmed from 400 kilometers. There were rickety scenes, but one clearly saw a curved horizon – for the first time it had been photographically proven that the earth was round. The event gave Eugen a renewed interest in space.

© Eugen Semitjov’s Memorial Foundation

WIKIPEDIA