Book look: Kraus & Kottan

A controversial wartime play has been turned into a graphic novel as the world commemorates the outbreak of World War One. Karl Kraus’ “Die letzten Tage der Menschheit” is a well-known element of Austrian literature. However, reactions to theatre projects based on the texts written by Kraus between 1915 and 1922 have always been mixed. This year, directors active in Salzburg and Vienna brought Kraus’ complex masterpiece to the stage – despite concerns coming up already ahead of the first nights. While audiences welcomed the actors’ efforts, most critics branded the projects as not successful. The graphic novel by Reinhard Pietsch and David Boller has been met with significantly more acclaim. The creative duo’s 200-page release – now out by publishing house Herbert Utz – is a successful attempt to link a timeless kottanstory with the technical possibilities of a graphic novel. Pietsch reshaped the text appropriately while Boller – who worked for Marvel, DC Comics and other powerhouses before founding Virtual Graphics – created lively and compelling illustrations.

Die letzten Tage der Menschheit. Eine Graphic Novel nach Karl Kraus
By Reinhard Pietsch and David Boller
Published by Herbert Utz Verlag (

“Kottan ermittelt” is one of the most popular Austrian TV series. Directed by Peter Patzak, the comedy / crime production caused anger among conservative viewers several times. The series written by Helmut Zenker mocked authorities such as politicians and police. Increasingly satirical over the years, “Kottan ermittelt” developed into a cult series which still finds new fans. Now a book offers comprehensive summaries of all episodes as well as funny anecdotes, many photographs and more. “Inspektor gibt’s kan” by Jan and Tibor Zenker also includes interviews with Patzak and leading role star and Kabarett legend Lukas Resetarits. Fans of the series also find information about the 2010 movie based on the TV production. “Rien ne va plus” drew the masses as Resetarits agreed to take the leading role once again. Despite a brilliant cast – Burgtheater star Johannes Krisch and Robert Stadlober (“Sonnenallee”) – most critics expressed their dislike. However, these reactions failed to tarnish the legacy of the series. “Inspektor gibt’s kan” looks back on the excitement in the 1970s and 1980s when Austrians gathered in their living rooms for first class television entertainment.

Inspektor gibt’s kan
By Jan and Tibor Zenker
Published by Ueberreuter (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

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