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This translation is unedited!

 

Barry Blair

 

was born in 1954 in Ottawa, Canada and was adopted by a Taiwanese family when he was nine years old. When the family moved back to Asia and he moved between Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, Blair felt the impact of a cultural shock, as the constant change of location had an immense impact on his further artistic career. This even went so far as to publish drawings under the pseudonym Bao Lin Hum.

 

Some of his first works were animations for the children's series "You Can?t Do That on Television" and the scientific programme "Let Me Prove it".

 

Around 1980 he began to publish his created series Elflord on his own initiative. The comic series shows clear parallels to the successful fantasy series "ElfQuest" by Richard and Wendy Pini.

 

After the bankruptcy of his former employer in the mid-1980s, Blair persuaded him to re-establish the company as Aircel Comics (Aircel Publishing) and to appoint him himself as the publishing director. The math worked out. Aircel developed into a very successful indie publisher with titles such as "Dragonring" (1986), "Elflord" (1986), "Kikusan", "Samurai" (1985) and "Warlock 5" (with Denis Beauvais).

 

Other titles by Aircel (selection):"Adventurers", "Arthur Sex", "Blood N Guts", "Body Guard", "Chaser Platoon", "Darkewood", "Debbie Does Dallas", "Demon Hunter", "Dirty Pictures", "Dragonforce", "Erotic Tales", "Flesh Gordon", "Hardball", "Jungle Love", "Mara", "Rated X".

One of Aircel's greatest successes was probably the comic series "Men in Black", which formed the basis for the even more successful films.

 

But the publisher overcame itself with some projects and in 1988 asked the Malibu Comic Publisher (or Eternity Comics) for financial support. The condition was that the current Aircel titles would not be discontinued. Malibu, however, suggested switching to the lucrative track of erotic comics. Titles such as Leather & Lace (1989), Sapphire, Vampyres Kiss (1990) and Climaxxx (1991) were created, which sold extremely well and forced Blair into this sub-genre unintentionally. "Leather & Lace, Sapphire and Vampyres Kiss were sexualized versions of his actual series Elflord and Samurai. These titles were a certain success, but also some problems. At that time, the Far Eastern manga and its sub-genre Hentai (H) with their unusual pictorial language were not yet widespread in the West. Readers found some of the protagonists of the Aircel series simply too young.

 

Blair wanted to quit and Malibu saw his profit zones break away. Continuing to work on the erotic title without any desire, the content of the titles increasingly disappeared. Blair had enough and was quite frustrated about the erotic comic landscape.

 

He left Aircel in 1991 - a publishing house that lasted until 1994 - and one year later began working for the "ElfQuest"series. He also worked for the spin-offs "New Blood" and "Blood of Ten Chiefs" and was part of the expanding "ElfQuest"line at WaRP Graphics. His own series "Elflord" and "Samurai" were revived by the same publisher for a short time.

 

But the erotic comic did not let him go. The American publisher NBM released two new "Sapphire"albums at the beginning of the 2000s and showed some work in its own Sizzle magazine. Together with his partner Colin Chan (= Colin Walbridge) he created the collection Nymphettes: The Erotic Elvish Art of Barry Blair (2005) and a pin-up album with female Elven for SQP.

 

In 2009 he founded the Studio RealmWalkers together with Santos Aleman.

 

Blair died tragically on January 3,2010 of an unrecognized aneurysm in the brain.

 

"… Barry Blair was one of the pioneers of direct-market-era indie comics, turning an insulation company (of all things) into an important publisher, and he introduced a manga influence into western comics long before that was fashionable." (1)

 

"… Blair created the first thriving independent comics group, Aircel, during the eighties boom; and he broke a great deal of new talent, including Dale Keown. … Before Aircel, Blair had been publishing his own comics as a kid of fifteen. Even at that young age, he had a flair for light and shadow and cute ambisexual elves. Those old issues cost a fortune if you can find a devotee willing to part with them. … Blair became more identified with porn work as he went along, which he felt had kind of trapped him. I always thought there was a bizarre synergy between himself and his idol, Wally Wood. …" (2)

 

"Even if Blair wanted to get rid of his erotic works after initial enthusiasm, they are still part of his artistic heritage. Many of these works, however, are rather modest in terms of craftsmanship. Blair has never really grasped the term erotic comic book. Whoever lets his characters walk around naked most of the time and occasionally intersperses a few erotic scenes with low lust into the plot has understood very little about the construction of an erotic story." (3)

Barry Blair

wurde 1954 in Ottawa, Kanada geboren und von einer taiwanesischen Familie adoptiert als er neun Jahre alt war. Als die Familie zurück nach Asien zog und er zwischen Kanada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Kambodscha und Vietnam wechselte, war das für Blair ein prägender Kulturschock, denn die ständigen Ortswechsel beeinflusste seine weitere künstlerische Karriere immens. Das ging sogar soweit, das er unter dem Pseudonym Bao Lin Hum Zeichnungen veröffentlichte.

Einige seiner ersten Arbeiten waren Animationen für die Kinderserie "You Can´t Do That on Television" und der wissenschaftlichen Sendung "Let Me Prove it".

Um 1980 begann er bereits seine erschaffene Serie Elflord in Eigenregie zu publizieren. Die Comicreihe weist eindeutige Parallelen zur erfolgreichen Fantasy Serie "ElfQuest" von Richard und Wendy Pini auf.

Nach der Pleite seines damaligen Arbeitgebers Mitte der 1980er Jahre überredete Blair diesen die Firma als Aircel Comics (Aircel Publishing) neu zu gründen und ihn selbst als Verlagsdirektor einzusetzen. Die Rechnung ging auf. Aircel entwickelte sich zu einen überaus erfolgreichen Indie-Verlag mit Titel wie "Dragonring" (1986), "Elflord" (1986), "Kikusan", "Samurai" (1985) und "Warlock 5" (mit Denis Beauvais).

Weitere Titel von Aircel (Auswahl): "Adventurers", "Arthur Sex", "Blood N Guts", "Body Guard", "Chaser Platoon", "Darkewood", "Debbie Does Dallas", "Demon Hunter", "Dirty Pictures", "Dragonforce", "Erotic Tales", "Flesh Gordon", "Hardball", "Jungle Love", "Mara", "Rated X".
Einer der größten Erfolge von Aircel war wohl die Comicreihe "Men in Black", die die Basis für die noch erfolgreicheren Filme bildete.

Doch der Verlag überhob sich mit einigen Projekten und ersuchte 1988 den Malibu Comic Verlag (bzw. Eternity Comics) um finanzielle Unterstützung. Die Bedingung war, das die laufenden Aircel-Titel nicht eingestellt werden. Malibu schlug jedoch vor, auf die lukrative Schiene der erotischen Comics zu wechseln. Es entstanden Titel wie Leather & Lace (1989), Sapphire, Vampyre´s Kiss (1990) sowie Climaxxx (1991), die sich überaus gut verkauften und Blair ungewollt in dieses Sub-Genre drängten. "Leather & Lace", "Sapphire" und Vampyre´s Kiss" waren sexualisierte Fassungen seiner eigentlichen Serien "Elflord" und "Samurai". Mit diesen Titeln kam ein gewisser Erfolg, aber auch einige Probleme. Zu jener Zeit waren die fernöstlichen Manga und ihr Sub-Genre Hentai (H) mit ihrer ungewöhnlichen Bildsprache im Westen noch nicht weit verbreitet. Leser empfanden einige Protagonisten der Aircel-Serien als schlichtweg zu jung.

Blair wollte aussteigen und Malibu sah seine Gewinnzonen wegbrechen. Lustlos an den Erotik-Titel weiterarbeitend, schwand mehr und mehr der inhaltliche Gehalt aus den Titeln. Blair hatte genug und war ziemlich frustriert über die erotische Comic-Landschaft.

Er verließ im Jahr 1991 Aircel - der als Verlag noch bis 1994 durchhielt - und begann ein Jahr später für die "ElfQuest"-Reihe zu arbeiten. Er zeichnete unter anderem für die Ableger "New Blood" und "Blood of Ten Chiefs" und war Teil der expandierenden "ElfQuest"-Linie bei WaRP Graphics. Seine eigenen Serien "Elflord" und "Samurai" wurden beim gleichen Verlag kurzzeitig wiederbelebt.

Doch die erotischen Comic ließen ihn nicht los. Der amerikanische Verleger NBM veröffentlichte Anfang der 2000er Jahre zwei neue "Sapphire"-Alben und zeigte einige Arbeiten im hauseigenen Sizzle Magazin. Mit seinem Partner Colin Chan (= Colin Walbridge) entstand neben den "Sapphire"-Bänden auch die Kollektion Nymphettes: The Erotic Elvish Art of Barry Blair (2005) und ein Pin-up Album mit weiblichen Elven für SQP.

2009 gründete er mit Santos Aleman das Studio RealmWalkers.

Blair verstarb tragisch am 3. Januar 2010 an einem nicht erkannten Aneurysma im Gehirn.

"… Barry Blair was one of the pioneers of direct-market-era indie comics, turning an insulation company (of all things) into an important publisher, and he introduced a manga influence into western comics long before that was fashionable." (1)

"… Blair created the first thriving independent comics group, Aircel, during the eighties boom; and he broke a great deal of new talent, including Dale Keown. … Before Aircel, Blair had been publishing his own comics as a kid of fifteen. Even at that young age, he had a flair for light and shadow and cute ambisexual elves. Those old issues cost a fortune if you can find a devotee willing to part with them. … Blair became more identified with porn work as he went along, which he felt had kind of trapped him. I always thought there was a bizarre synergy between himself and his idol, Wally Wood. …" (2)

"Auch wenn Blair seine erotischen Arbeiten nach anfänglichen Enthusiasmus schnell wieder los werden wollte, sind sie doch Teil seines künstlerischen Erbes. Etliche dieser Arbeiten sind jedoch handwerklich auf einem eher bescheidenen Niveau. Zudem hat Blair den Begriff Erotik Comic nie richtig erfasst. Wer seine Figuren die meiste Zeit nackt herumlaufen lässt und gelegentlich ein paar lustarme erotische Szenen in die Handlung einstreut hat recht wenig über den Aufbau einer erotischen Geschichte verstanden." (3)

Links:
- englische Wikipediaseite
- Aircel Contribution Seite
- Wiki-Seite Aircel
- Blair bei Comicvine

Kommentare/Comments:
(1) Kommentar von Jason A. Quest (Comicbeats)
(2) Kommentar Gil Baker (Danny Dare Comics)
(3) Kommentar Gaijinjoe

(H) eigentlich eine westliche Einordung von ero manga oder 18-kin manga

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