Fix & Foxi is the most successful, best known German comic series and the most published work of the comic editor Rolf Kauka. The weekly magazine, taking its name from the two fox protagonists, was published for more than 40 years (between 1953 and 1994 as well as shortly in 2000). It was relaunched in 2005 and appears monthly since then.
History of the Comic
In 1951, Rolf Kauka founded Kauka Publishing. In May of 1953 his first comic book, Till Eulenspiegel, appeared. The characters in the comic book were loosely based on German folklore. Besides the eponymous characters, others such as Reinecke Fox and Isegrim Wolf appeared. In issue number 6 the fox characters Fix & Foxi first appeared in a short comic story. They soon became the favorites of the readers and from issue number 29 the comic book was retitled Fix & Foxi.
Apart from Germany, Kauka found experienced illustrators in Yugoslavia, Italy and Spain. Over the years, they created more than 80 different comic characters under his supervision (for the most important ones see list below). Kauka also published series from other countries, mainly France/Belgium, giving them their first big break in Germany and popularizing them. Fix & Foxi was published weekly in Germany with a circulation up to 400,000 per week in the magazine's heyday. Allegedly, a total of over 750 Million comic books were sold. Kaukas foxes also appeared in magazine spin-offs, pocket books and albums.
In the 1970s, Kauka sold his publishing house and Fix & Foxi was published by others, though he retained creative control. Bauer/VPM eventually became the publisher. In 1994 the comic series was retooled by the publishers into an adolescent tabloid magazine and the publication was changed from weekly to monthly. It is at this point that Rolf Kauka withdrew the publishing rights and stopped all publication of the series.
From 1993 to 1998 Norbert Hethke Verlag produced reprints of the first 50 comic books. From 1997 to 1999 seven comic albums of classic comics were produced by Ehapa, the erstwhile Kauka rival. In 2000 there was a short-lived revival of the comic book by Ehapa, but it was discontinued after the third issue due to insufficient sales.On 2005 relaunched the Fix & Foxi Comic Magazin now monthley in the Hamburger Tigerpress Verlag, a part of the Gruner & Jahr Publishing from the Bertelsmann Group.
In the last years of his life, Kauka began planning the Fix & Foxi TV series together with his wife, Alexandra Kauka. He also planned (in collaboration with the Ravensburger Corporation) Fix & Foxi Adventure Land in the Ravensburger Spieleland theme park.
The Fix & Foxi TV series, first broadcast in Germany in March 2000, found its way into 30 countries. A Fix & Foxi feature film, scheduled for 2008, is currently worked on at Bavaria studios.
The two main characters of the comic are the twin fox brothers, Fix and Foxi, who live in Fuxholzen (Foxburg in the TV series). They are open, active and social and, therefore, serve as role models for their young audience.
Important characters in Fuxholzen:
Lupo (wolf) - a bit of a slacker who lives in a tower - a gluttonous ne’er-do-well, who is a true master at the art of enjoying life.
Oma Eusebia (wolf) - an “old maid”, who is also somewhat of a mother-figure for the others. Expert in baking cakes, she's also expert in keeping Lupo away from them.
Lupinchen (wolf) - Eusebia’s granddaughter, cousin to Fix, Foxi and Lupo. She's crazy about pop music, fashion, etc.
Uncle Fax (fox) - Fix and Foxi’s bachelor uncle, with whom they live. The ex-Staff Sergeant (at least that's what he claims) is a passionate stamp collector who also dabbles in second-hand items.
Professor Knox (raven) - the typical absent-minded professor and ingenious inventor.
Hops (rabbit), Stops (hedgehog) and the latter's nephews Stips, Staps und Stups (hedgehogs)
Other Kauka characters:
Pauli (mole), Mausi (mouse), Mimi (Pauli’s girlfriend). Pauli is Kauka's second most successful and durable creation. In the early days, the mole interacted with the Fix & Foxi family, but eventually got his own “universe” from 1958 onwards, when he moved back to his parents in Maulwurfshausen.
Fridolin (cat), Daggi (goose) and Pieps (mouse)
Tom und Klein Biberherz - teenage cowboy and little Indian
Diabolino - little devil
Mischa - spaceman of the future
Die Pichelsteiner - stone age family
The German slang expression „Ich bin Fix und Foxi“ is a joking variation of the phrase “Ich bin fix und fertig” (“I'm exhausted”).
Apart from comics and TV show, the characters are available as audio and video cassettes, games, books, merchandising, etc.
In 1965, Kauka was the first to publish Asterix in Germany. He changed the Gaul to “Siggi, the Teuton”, the Goths to East Germans, the Romans to members of the American occupying forces - and soon lost the publishing rights!
In 1973, Kauka released the animated movie Maria d'Oro und Bello Blue, loosely based on Mother Hulda, to a rather indifferent audience. It was later released on DVD, re-christened Der Zauberstein.
2 DVD volumes of Fix and Foxi's TV series were recently released in the UK with English and the original German dialog.