Comic Strip: Nick Knatterton

"I conclude: I am a classic!"

Nick Knatterton is a German Newspaper Comic by a Manfred Schmidt that ran from 1950 to 1959 in the weekly illustrated magazine Quick. It was adapted as a live-action movie in 1959 and a 15 part animated television show that came out in 1977.

The comic was meant to be a parody of American comics of that era, with lots of text in screens and the main hero making nearly impossible deductions combined with wordplay. Since American comics were not easily available most people didn't know it was meant to be a parody.


Provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Trudchen Taste, Bruno Bluff, Barbara Beerbottle, Felix Finster...
  • Arm Cannon: Schie▀finger-Joe has a flesh-colored gun barrel for an artificial index finger. The gun is semi-automatic, it is explained to always be loaded, and it is never explained how he can reload it or discard the spent shells.
  • Badass Normal: Nick.
  • Bald of Awesome: Nick.
  • Bar Brawl: Nick against everyone else.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: And real ghosts who look like this exist too!
  • Bleached Underpants: In a different way. During the war, the author drew propaganda for The Nazis.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Pryscilla Cornflake's Christmas present for Nick. Although so primitive that she could solder all holes in it, it eliminates all kinetic energy of any projectile that hits it.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Mi-Tse Meyer, recurring half-Chinese, half-German female villain.
  • Catch Phrase: "Kombiniere..." ([I] conclude...)
  • Celibate Hero: Nick used to say: "My bride is justice." Later, he marries though.
  • Chekhov's Gun
  • Clothing Damage: Happens to Nick more often than anyone else, mostly to his pants which then need stitching or replacing.
  • Cool Guns
  • Crazy-Prepared: Nick wears an artificial back-head in case someone wants to shoot him there, and has a fake beard which also contains a parachute, just in case of.
    • He has red lights in his heels to stop oncoming trains in the rare case of being tied to rails.
  • Dating Catwoman: With Virginia Peng (German for bangnote ). Although rather one-sided.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nick. In fact, also Manfred Schmidt as the narrator.
  • Disguised in Drag: Nick did this more than once.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Nick once, by a movie poster.
  • E = MC Hammer: Happens whenever Nick is calculating trajectories etc. in his Thought Bubbles.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: One story is about two chimps who were taught to steal. One of them ends up as Nick's housemaid, having learned to do that job.
  • Fanservice: The comic has many buxom women. In some countries, their breasts were removed by the censors. In Turkey however, they were enlarged because they weren't fanservicey enough.
  • The Fifties: Obviously.
  • Film Felons
  • Gentleman Detective
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Nick smokes pipe.
  • Gratuitous English: The first story drops "Damned" into the dialogs every now and then. In a comic in otherwise German that takes place in Germany. Not to mention that most characters in that story have English names.
  • Great Detective: Guess who.
  • Hartman Hips: Well, the Quick editor wanted female characters with remarkable proportions. In fact, the Turkish Milliyet editor wanted even more extreme proportions.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: So the residents of Killville can shoot out each other's Christmas tree candles. Well, Nick can do this Firing One-Handed, over his shoulder, while aiming through a mirror.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Mi-Tse's name is not pronounced "Mieze" (typical name for cats in Germany).
  • Kid Sidekick: 14-year-old Toni Knatter, in one story. The Meaningful Name is lampdshaded by our hero.
  • Knockout Ambush: At least Once an Episode.
  • Lingerie Scene: Evelyn Nylon wears only underwear and stockings when Nick rescues her from Nackie Nutt for the first time.
  • Love Triangle: Standard occurrence before Nick's wedding.
  • Mad Scientist: Prof. Bartap invents a shaving foam which is also a very effective explosive. Unintentionally.
  • Meaningful Name: Starting with Nick's surname Knatterton ("rattling sound"). Other examples include Professor Bartap, which is pronounced exactly like Bart ab "beard off". In an Italian adventure, Nick encounters gangster Macco Maffiano, movie starlet Silvana Busonia (a play on Busen "bosom") and fisher and amateur singer Camillo Tenorani.
    • Nick's eventual bride is photographer Linda Knips; Knips is German for "click", and knipsen a slang word for "to take a photograph". Before that his secretary Trudchen Taste (Taste is the German word for "key" - as in "(piano or typewriter) keyboard") was infatuated with him.
    • A self-referencing example: One of Nick's clients is businessman Egon Knicker (Knicker is an old-fashioned German idiom for "miser"), who named his daughter Rabattina (from Rabatt "rebate"). She prefers to be called Tina.
    • The town of Killville. Full stop.
  • More Dakka: Killville's air is so oversaturated with lead that Virginia Peng mounted an MG42 on her bed to be on the safe side (since Nick Knatterton was set in the present, using a WW2 machine gun in a Western setting is not as crazy as you might think).
  • The Movie: Der Raub der Gloria Nylon.
  • Named After Someone Famous: Sheriff Peter P. Rubens of Killville. Business tycoon Karl Murx (who changed his name from Marx) in "The Million in the Bucket".
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: "The ladies accuse each other of having un-ladylike jobs." (during a Cat Fight)
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Nick's skills are revealed this way.
  • No Knees: In an interesting subversion, not only do the characters have knees, but their knees are always bent, no matter whether they're standing, lying, sitting, walking or whatever.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Prof. Bartap, to fool the gangsters.
  • Police Are Useless: Sheriff Peter P. Rubens of Killville.
    "I'm the sheriff and keeper of order here, but those in there don't let me!"
  • Private Detective
  • Prophetic Name: For instance the male main villain of the first story, Nacky Nutt. In German Nutte is a slang word for "prostitute", so the name is appropriate for Nacky, who among other things is a pimp. In another story there is Max Klaut ("Max Steals").
  • Punny Name: One story features businessman Otto Heitz, of the firm Sicher & Heitz, which produces the famous Sicher-Heitz-Schl÷sser, i. e. "Secure-Itty locks".
  • Satire: Originally, Manfred Schmidt wanted to mock the comic genre as a whole and ridicule it in a way that the Quick readers will learn to despise it as much as he did. Didn't work.
  • Shed the Family Name: Outside the stories itself, first in a promotional article in Quick, it was revealed that Nick Knatterton is really Nikolaus Freiherr (baron) von der Knatter. His aristocratic family insisted that he used a pseudonym lest the fact that he works in such an unsavoury business like criminal investigation besmirch the family name.
  • Sherlock Scan
  • Shout-Out: Nick Knatterton's first name probably references Nick Carter. In the story where he ends up getting married, a female antagonist is called Rita Heuwurz, which translates into English as "Rita Haywort" (no "h").
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The brawl scene in The Movie is accompanied by Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" after Nick sent a baddie against a jukebox. Subverted in that the brawl choreography follows the music perfectly.
  • Special Attack: Nick's one is his four-fold K.O. He jumps up and knocks out two opponents with his fists and another two with his heels.
  • Speech Bubbles: Schmidt commented that they were a primitive tool in his POV - "bubbles coming from the heads, eyes, ears, noses or mouths of characters to indicate what they think, see, hear, smell or say".
    • So he ended up using one and the same bubble type for everything except for the first story in which thought bubbles (and only they) have a shape of their own.
  • Stocking Filler: Evelyn Nylon.
  • Take That: Several to German politics.
  • Theme Naming: Occurs in a few stories. For instance in "The Secret of the Super-Bee", three characters are Waltraud Will ("Waltraud Wants"), Kasimir ("Casimir Can"), and Sieglinde Soll ("Sieglinde Shall").
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: In an adventure set in Italy, Our Hero uses the alter ego Nico Knattertonio.
  • Unfortunate Name: Actress Hori Zontal changed her given name to Lori.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Nick Knatterton's suit and hat.
  • The Wild West: One story takes place there. It's The Fifties, but the West is still Wild.
    • It's obvious that Manfred Schmidt despised Westerns as much as comics, not only by the way he takes this trope to the extreme, but also by Billy Rillkratz, Jr.'s bookshelf which contains 279 different Western novels of the same content.
  • Written Sound Effect: Nick Knatterton is among the comics which don't have any. Probably the only exception is Virginia Peng.