Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Comicbörse Stuttgart 2011

Last Saturday it was once again time to saddle up, grit your teeth and jump headlong into the maelstroem we call Comicbörse Stuttgart. Just like last time I needed a few days to get around to do a post on it.

I already said that it would be a few days before my next post which is kind of a self - fulfilling prophecy on this blog because it always takes me a long time to do posts. Yes, I´m still a bit bummed out about having to do the post about JUSTICE LEAGUE - GENERATION LOST again but my problem has never be what I could write about. It was always more a problem of choosing about which one of a dozen subjects I´m going to write TODAY. I got a huge pile of comics at the comic fair in Stuttgart and since it´s starting to erode I wanna comment a bit on the swag I got before it vanishes forever on the desks of my brothers.

Or in the hidden passageways of my own comic collection.

The GRATIS COMIC TAG 2011 was a fiasko this year as I had decided to go out and live the experience that many found so invigorating last year. Well, I should have stayed in bed and that´s all I have to say about it. I´m going to do a longer post on the comics I managed to get from the 44 that were offered this year. And I will tell all about my long descent into hell on that occassion but now I´m focussing on the Comicbörse Stuttgart.

One of the things that still baffle me is that regardless of how many times you tell yourself that THIS time you are going to start with the table where you bought so many cheap comics the last time you NEVER find that table. Or if you find that table it´s once again the last table you check out.

Happened last time, happened this time.

What also seems to happen each time is that I mention the same things every time I write about the Comicboerse Stuttgart. I just hope I can keep from putting too much redundant stuff into this one.

After my bad experience at the GRATIS COMIC TAG I decided to sleep as long as I could and make my treck to Stuttgart whenever I am rested. As usual things didn´t go as planned and I woke up pretty early. So I took a shower, finished packing my stuff and took some public transportation to find some german comics.

When I go to my regular comicshop I mostly just get the books I have on my pull list and since I don´t go to as much comic conventions as I used to events like the comic fair in Stuttgart are my only way to get up to date on german comics and also to get easy access to them. Starting out is always a bit difficult for me and I always need a few tables till I have reached full " comic buying mode " and the old engine has reached it´s working temperature. Which in most cases means that the first table I check out is the one from GRINGO COMICS.

They always have new stuff and they usually have more new titles then I alone can get. This is one of the few occassions where brothers come in handy since you can split up the series. There was no new KOMMISSAR EISELE comic out but there were 2 new books from KOMMISSAR FRÖHLICH. Since that´s my brothers series I got the new TUMBA comic DIE FRATZE DES TODES ( The ugly face of Death ) which is a spin - off of KOMMISSAR FRÖHLICH since Tumba is part of the supporting cast.

KOMMISSAR FRÖHLICH is a black and white crime series written and drawn by Stephan Hagenow in the vein of the german crime series you see on german tv. Like in most german tv series the main character is a commissioner ( which may have something to do with the fact that Germany´s two state - controlled tv stations have a tendency to glorify bureaucrats ) but unlike most german crime series I have seen the main character is a sarcastic, chain smoking and disillusioned hardcase. You get the impression that he´s pretty much seen too much in his job and that´s why he´s so bitter about humans in general.

I have read the first 3 stories of KOMMISSAR FRÖHLICH ( who of course is anything but ) and all of them deal with pretty heavy stuff and it´s really not for the faint of heart. TUMBA is inked by Geier who transforms Stefan Hagenow usually pretty expressionistic pencils into a more realistic looking artwork akin to Michael Lark. Which adds extremely to grounding the horror of the story in reality.

The cover by Geier is another masterpiece and although I haven´t read it yet what I have seen so far looks pretty solid. It´s one of the comics I bought without thinking twice about it.

  • preview tumba die fratze des todes

  • Geier also handed me the fourth and final collection of HORST and I have to say I feel a bit guilty that I haven´t managed to continue with the translations. There´s just too much stuff that always gets in the way.

    The other comic I bought at the GRINGO table was DER HARTMUT HAT EUCH ALLE LIHB ( Hartmut loves you all ) by Haggi and I didn´t even have to look inside.

    At this point HARTMUT has become a german comic mainstay and I have to buy 2 copies of every new issue anyway since one of them always ends up as a gift to my brother in law. He doesn´t read a lot of comics but HARTMUT always cracks him up. I have already written a few times about the series so I won´t do it again now but this is one comic that gets my unconditional recommendation for - basically everyone. I don´t think that there is any gender, age group or social class that wouldn´t enjoy the book.

    Since I already mentioned the GRATIS COMIC TAG 2011 I wanted to say that I managed to get 7 new comics which are THE GOON ( which includes a preview of STEAM NOIR of which the artist was present ), MOSAIK, UNGEBREMSTER SPASS VOM BSE VERLAG, COMIC FESTIVAL MÜNCHEN, ICOM, CANARDO and GREEN MANOR. Together with the 5 I already got ( POLLY & DIE PIRATEN, TALES FROM THE VAULT OF THE GRINGO, DIE TOTEN SPECIAL, DIE MUPPET SHOW and WEISSBLECHS GRATIS GRUSEL GEISTERSTUNDE ) that´s enough to do a post about the GRATIS COMIC TAG issues this year although I hope to get my hands on a few more before that.

    Which I have to admit sounds quite greedy but while I try to get as many GRATIS COMIC TAG comics I can it´s mostly to be able to write about it. And I´m giving most of them away anyway. From last year I have given away at least 5 and I´m planning to do another free giveaway when I´m done with the posts. I think I have a few left from last year that were prizes for the big anniversary contest and all of them are going out.

    As is the idea of the GRATIS COMIC TAG I picked some series I normally don´t read like MOSAIK, or CANARDO. The CANARDO comic contains the full story WEISSE VÖGEL STERBEN LEISE ( White birds die silently ) and it´s a good example of the gritty stories the Canardo series tells. It´s like Kommissar Fröhlich with animals.

    At the moment I´m reading the GREEN MANOR comic which includes the first volume.

    GREEN MANOR is a collection of short stories about bored, rich members of a Gentlemen Club in London whose main ocupation seems to be to plan ( and sometimes implement ) the perfect murder. Not a series I would have picked up normally but so far it seems to be exactly the kind of series I love. I´m definitely going to keep it in mind once the RUSE series ends.

    Back to the Comicbörse Stuttgart, the next comic I bought was MECHANIKO WIRD ERSCHAFFEN ! ( Mechaniko gets created ! ) by Yves Ker Ambrun with dialogues by Antonia Pont.

    Yves Ker Ambrun also has the album ES DARF NICHT WAHR SEIN ( It cannot be true ) out but since I´m more a superhero guy I bought the MECHANIKO comic.

    The retro art alone was enough to get me to buy the comic although 6.95 EUROS for a 24 page comic ( no ads ) seems a bit much. Even if it´s full colour. But that´s one of the reasons to go to such events, to eliminate the middle man and buy directly from the creator. I also got a pin and some free postcards and Yves really is a swell guy. We talked a bit about drawing tools while he was doing a sketch for me and I even could give him some tips where to get a pentel brush which for me is the best inkpen brush I have used so far. Which means that after a few years I still haven´t managed to ruin it.

    Yves art on MECHANIKO reminds me a bit of James Fry, who once was at the top of my artists list and although the whole comic has an enticing retro Flash Gordon charme I think that nostalgia is not it´s only merit. The classic look and storytelling are very appealing even to casual comic readers and I really hope it can reach a broad audience.

    You can read the first 21 pages in english here and you can get the german comics here

    Up to here all comics I got were at normal price but I got all the following with the usual discount. It´s the only way I can afford some of the more expensive hardcovers as the prices for comics in Germany are pretty high. And I´m always looking for possible Christmas gifts since I like to do the shopping when there´s an opportunity instead of the last minute. Really, Christmas and birthdays are not enough. We really need something like El dia del libro so I can give away more comics.

    For my own collection I got GREEN LANTERN SONDERBAND 23 : AUFSTAND DER ALPHA LANTERNS which collects the complete five - issue storyline Revolt of the Alpha - Lanterns that ran from issue 48 till 52 of GREEN LANTERN CORPS.

    I´m still behind on my GREEN LANTERN CORPS issues so this was a welcome chance to close a big chunk of that particular gap. I´m not an ardent fan of Ardian Syaf but here his art looks better than usual thanks to inker Vincente Cifuentes. And of course you can´t go wrong with evil Cyborg Superman as the villain. That´s what comics need : more evil robot twins. Tony Bedard has been one of my favorite writers since he started on NEGATION and here he delivers his usual level of quality.

    I also got the 3rd volume of RED ROBIN which - pretty fitting - features 3 of the 4 Robins running around in the Batuniverse right now. Jason Todd is missing and for my taste he can stay in his own stories for all I care. You know, there was a time when Batman was a loner but now there are 4 Robins, Ex - Robins and whatnot loose in the DC universe.

    I got the first volume of the RED ROBIN series at the last Comicbörse Stuttgart but I couldn´t find the second one. Which I really should get one of those days although having read the big showdown between Tim Drake and Ras Al Ghul in volume 3 ( which collects issues 10 to 12 plus Batgirl 8 ) it takes a way a bit of the suspense. A good read though. The only thing that was a bit irritating - but that´s more a complaint with DC in general - is that Stephanie " let´s kick off the biggest gang war of Gotham´s history to impress Batman " Brown is now the new Batgirl. She tried being Spoiler, she tried being the substitute Robin and now she´s the new Batgirl ?

    Well, it seems that the DC universe is not that different from the real world. Just keep failing in enough cases and somebody will give you a costume just to shut you up.

    And finally I got DAREDEVIL 7 - DIE RÜCKKEHR DES KÖNIGS ( Return of the King ) by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark at the same table.

    I also got volume 5 at the previous event but since volume 6 seems to have sold out at the publisher I will have to order the english version if I can´t find it at the SAMMLERECKE. I have been in a number of comicshops since I got volume 5 but so far all are missing volume 6. I really have to do a long post - or better : a series of posts - about the DAREDEVIL series although I felt the last two storylines were somehow similar. Matt finds a woman ( who is often handicapped like him ), falls for her, she falls for him, he reveals his secret to her, than some of the usual Daredevil s - word happens and in the end the woman leaves him while her life is f - ed up forever.

    In some cases this gets repeated till the woman´s life is even more f - ed up and a wedding is optional.

    Don´t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the stories, especially DEVIL IN CELLBLOCK D, but either Matt is not too bright or the greatest masochist on God´s earth. At this point he should be aware of his track record with women and he should know better than getting involved with any female. On the other hand the heart wants what the heart wants and it seems supermen are not that different from normal men.

    I also bought the hardcover of CAPTAIN AMERICA - WINTER SOLDIER by Ed Brubaker ( again ), Steve Epting and Michael Lark ( also again ) even though I have all the issues.

    But at 12 bucks I couldn´t pass it up and it fits really nicely next to my other CAPTAIN AMERICA hardcover which is THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA - THE BURDEN OF DREAMS. Once I didn´t grab the chance to order the MAN WITHOUT A FACE hardcover when it was available at amazon for 6 bucks because I listened to other people and I have regretted that decision ever since. With my budget I can´t buy a lot of hardcovers and most only when they are at bargain price. So since then I grab all the chances I can get.

    I wanted to come back to the table later for THE ESSENTIAL HOWARD THE DUCK but as usual money got a bit tight at the end and it´s really not that urgent.

    At the next table I got the big trade collections that are possible candidates for Christmas presents. I got volumes 2 and 3 of Stephen King´s THE STAND with a slight discount and it mainly depends if I already got my sister the first volume.

    I think I did but my memory these days is a joke.

    I also got the JUSTICE LEAGUE - RISE AND FALL collection with a 5 bucks discount.

    It contains all issues from RISE OF ARSENAL and FALL OF GREEN ARROW in a nice bound hardcover. Me being a huge fan of JUSTICE LEAGUE - CRY FOR JUSTICE I knew I was going to get the issues sooner or later since this is the resulting fall out from the series.

    Another collection I was itching to get although I got all the individual issues was DAS MARVEL - PROJEKT by Ed Brubaker ( and that´s the third time ) and Steve Epting ( once again ).

    At this rate Ed Brubaker should think about getting a seperate account just for my money. Sorry, old accountant joke.

    I´m thinking about giving this one away as a present but it´s just so nice - looking and shiny. And I got it at a real bargain. The regular book is priced at 30 bucks but I got the limited version ( 333 copies ) that usually sells for around 40 bucks for 20 because it was slightly damaged. Of course I only remembered why I usually don´t buy Captain America comics in german when I flipped through the pages. They have to change all the Swastikas. This time they didn´t change them to squares with a cross in the middle and instead they used this:

    I´ve always found it ridiculous that german legislation has forbidden to show Swastikas in comics while you can still see them in movies. My idea for this would be why not go all the way with this whole political correctness crap ? Next time just change it all for this one :

    I didn´t find the new SOLO album - some dealers didn´t even know it was out - but I found the second album of Eriks Detektiv Deschamps VERLIEREN SIE NICHT DEN KOPF ( Don´t loose your head ). Here in Germany Erik´s mostly known for his neverending DAEA EX MACHINA online comic that also appears in printed form in the pages of COMIX.

    I never got around to read the first album that my brother has hidden somewhere in his room but maybe we can exchange comics. In any case even if I only got a 20 percent discount any comic with Erik´s artwork is worth buying.

  • preview pages detective deschamps 1

  • preview pages detective deschamps 2

  • As I said in the beginning I finally found the table where I got the issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE - GENERATION LOST last time. This time I found the following for 1 EURO each : ZATANNA 6 and 7, GREEN ARROW 5, FLASH 7, GREEN LANTERN LARFLEEZE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, DC UNIVERSE HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2010 and JLA / THE 99 issues 1 - 5 ( of 6 ). Tom Derenik who does the art on JLA / THE 99 is one of my favorite artists but somehow I can´t keep up with his books. I remember putting the book on my mental pull list when I read that Tom was providing the art but as always I later forgot all about it.

    So far I have only flipped through the issues but I´m a bit confused why Wonder Woman is wearing her new costume and the other heroes call her Diana and seem to know who she is. I thought her storyline was supposed to be contained to her own title but now it is leaking through all other titles like SUPERMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE - GENERATION LOST and now JLA / THE 99.

    I also got the first trades of RAI, HARBINGER and SHADOWMAN for 1 EURO. At that price you don´t have to think too much about it and although I already had all the issues of SHADOWMAN I could fill gaps in my HARBINGER and RAI runs. Meaning I only got some numbers around issue 8 from the big UNITY crossover so I´m on the safe side with the first numbers. Not that it was absolutely necessary but at this price you can´t do anything wrong.

    There also was the SUPERMAN / DOOMSDAY : PREY trade for one buck but I already got that one and I really don´t need it twice. DC should have left DOOMSDAY alone instead of doing so many miniseries about him. I swear at some point it seemed like all Dan Jurgens was doing seemed to be coming up with new ways to do another story with Doomsday in it.

    All in all I really got a huge pile of comics at a really good price and I´m probably be reading a few weeks before I have finished them all. With a bit of luck I can do more extensive reviews on some of them.

    As I had already gone way over budget I decided to call it a day and paid SATURN in Ludwigsburg a visit on the way home. The week before I had bought the 8th season of SMALLVILLE ( which oddly enough has Doomsday as the big anthagonist for Clark ) as they are finally starting the 9th season Today. With my memory more resembling a piece of swiss cheese than anything else I had already forgotten the whole 8th season and I missed the first episode and the death of Lex Luthor.

    Since I still had some money left I wanted to buy the 7th season but they were already more expensive. It looks like SATURN doesn´t always think GEIZ IST GEIL and put a higher price tag on all SMALLVILLE seasons in anticipation of season 9. On my way to the Comicbörse Stuttgart I ate at BURGER KING and since I still had a double cheeseburger left and a small bottle of mountain Dew I only stopped at the local ice cream parlor to get some ice and at the Netto for some Mirinda light. After eating I slept till wrestling was on and I also didn´t do much on Sunday.

    In fact Today is the first day that I´m on the internet again. All in all this was a very successful day at the Comicbörse in Stuttgart but although I will go to the next one I´m glad that it´s not before December. Really.

    I´m not sure if I already posted the Muppet´s version of QUEEN´s classic Bohemian Rhapsody but since the Muppet comic was one of GRATIC COMIC TAG comics here´s a little reminder was the show was so popular in it´s day.

    New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

    1 comment:

    Yves Ker Ambrun said...

    Thanks an awful lot for your great review of my, and Antonia's, Mechaniko. It's a thrill. You got it totally right on point!
    And yes, the Pentel Pocket Brush are great. I knew the old big Pentel Brushes. They were not bad, but too volatile for Signature-Sessions... Thanks for this, too.