So you might ask yourself where the hell are the german comics ? Isn´t this guy in Germany reading any german comics ? Aren´t there any german comics to write about ?
There are not a lot of german comics I read and only a few that I follow in the german translation. That´s on one side because a lot of series that interest me are not translated to german but on the other side because some of the translations are not so good. And I have always said : never pay for something you could have done better. If you are a german comic reader you probably know whose name to look for. I have to say I never looked who made the translation but after the awful translations of Brian Azzarello´s BANNER and CAGE there was a name that came up more often. Since it was the same name in the Avengers issue where Cap got censored and the mutilation of the ULTIMATES I started to keep an eye out for it. Even if it meant to get many series in the original when I learned that most of the Avenger and Thor comics were translated by him ( no, I won´t mention the name, if you read comics in Germany you know who it is......if you don´t read comics in Germany you don´t have to know ). So one of the reason why I don´t read much comics in the german translation is the bad translation. But don´t get me wrong, not all german translations are bad - I would even say most are really good. If you can avoid this one guy you are with a 90 % certainity good.
The other problem with buying the translated comics in Germany is that they are usually more expensive than the original. What in my opinion is mainly because the german comic market is a collectors market and not a readers market. I know what you are saying : that´s just my opinion. But I have made the observation that in Spain where it´s a readers market and not a collector market they have lower prices than here in Germany. Now that PANINI is publishing a lot of comics there the prices are sure to rise but for the moment they are lower than in Germany. And in some cases lower than in the USA. Concerning some comics the spanish version is better than the original and especially hardcovers have a really low price. No, the german comic market is clearly a collectors market which you can easily see by the fact that there are no comics along MARVEL´S ESSENTIALS, DC´S SHOWCASE or Panini´s BIBLIOTHECA MARVEL published in Germany. A cheap black and white comic with lots of pages and poor paper quality just has no chance on the german comic market. Here we need the glossy paper and the hard cardboard cover. The only thing that was like this more readerfriendly comics were the comic library editions of BILD and the FAZ , two big german newspapers ( the comics were in color instead of black and white but in a poket book format ) but so far no publisher in Germany has tried to follow the success. Maybe I´m wrong and germans just don´t like to buy their comics at the newsstand because every time I´m in Spain there are at least three special series of cheap comics ( sometimes even in hardcover ) to buy at the newsstand like UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN, the best Batman Stories with Ra´s al Ghul or the best Batman stories of all times. So some books are published in Spain sooner then in Germany and since they are usually also cheaper I don´t have to wait for the german version.
So comics in Germany are more expensive. And sometimes that is because they pack too much content into one book. Somebody on the internet coined the phrase of the satisfying chunk which means that readers like to buy big trades if they get a nice chunk of comic to read all at once. It is sometimes not as cheap but well worth the price. So I would say what german comic readers get is the overload chunk. The argument is that when those so-called MONSTERS are published it is cheaper and the readers only pays 2 EURO per issue or less. That´s all good and fine but if the comic costs 20 bucks or more that is just too much for most comic readers even if they get 10 or 14 issues. They only have a limited amount of money and they are not going to save their money for three months to buy one book. If they have 5 bucks to spend they only have 5 bucks and when in doubt they will spend it on a manga. I don´t know if it would not cost more money to print comics with less pages but I know that more comics would be sold if it was possible to sell half the comic for half the price. At 10 bucks per comic it would sell far better.
Anyway, the other problem with comics in Germany ( still speaking about the translated versions ) there are almost no single issues sold. You can count the series that are sold in the one issue format with the fingers of one hand. So no matter what comic you want to buy you have to - at least - buy another comic with it. Sometimes one, sometimes two, three or four issues. Sometimes from the same series and sometimes from other series. And that is a problem especially if you want to read the X-Men for instance because all X-Men series are published in the same series ( with a few exceptions in the last months which hopefully is a new trend ) and not all series have the same quality level. If you only want to read Joss Whedon´s Astonishing X-Men you also have to pay for Peter Milligan´s mutant stories or those of Chris Claremont. Although they have now begun to publish trades that only include the Astonishing issues. But you have to wait very long and it´s not as cheap as the original trade. So in Germany you can´t always choose between single issues or the trade. For the most part you have comics that are neither fish nor flesh.
Another reason why I haven´t mentioned german comics in my blog so far is that next month the big german comic convention takes place in Erlangen. Which means for me that two or three months before that I stop buying german comics. Because you usually get the comics there cheaper or you want to have a signature or a sketch in the comic. And who has the money to buy a comic twice ? And some german comics are just too difficult to find and the best place where you can get them is at conventions. So you can read all about the best the german comic market has to offer after ERLANGEN.
Now we come to the german comics I have read, namely ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN and ULTIMATE X-MEN. Normally I don´t buy ultimate Spider-Man because it´s on my brother´s pull list but I just wanted to read the annual and I was sick of waiting till my brother decides if he wants to get the issue or not. With the Ultimate X-Men it was that I didn´t want to read the series to begin with. Then I read the german version of the first issue, got the first US trade paperback and started buying the single issues. But over time I somehow lost interest in the series and stopped buying the issues. Then I went from buying the trades to buying the german issues again. Because I wanted to keep reading the series and with a price of 4,25 EURO per comic which includes two issues I can even save a little money. Even if the cardboard cover is a little too heavy for my tastes. At the moment I´m undecided in which format I will continue reading the book because I just had to get the MAGNETIC NORTH trade after all the recommendations at ComicGeekSpeak and the internet.
Now to the issues themselves. DER ULTIMATIVE SPIDER-MAN 43 contains the ANNUAL 1 ( and also some short stories from WHAT THE HUH...? and a profile about the Kingpin but that´s just filler ) which is not drawn by Mark Bagley. Therefore the art is a little weird but the story was worth it in my opinion. The annual tells the first date of Peter Parker and Kitty Pride, the first step of an interesting relationship that clearly shows that the ultimate line does not simply retell the old 616 universe stories but tries to have it´s own identity.
DIE ULTIMATIVEN X-MEN 32 contains issue 60 which fills the gap I had and is the finale of the big showdown between Storm and Lady Deathstrike who in the ultimate universe share history together ( instead of Logan and Lady Deathstrike ). Like it is often the case when two characters from the 616 universe got melded into one. For this new version the writer used Yukiko and the Lady Deathstrike. Issue 61 which is the first issue of magnetic north and while I already had it I didn´t hestitate for one moment to buy the issue. I may even buy all the issues again in the german translation which mostly depends if my older brother wants to read the storyline. Because his english is not so good. Now MAGNETIC NORTH is the stroyline you have to read. Doesn´t matter if it´s in the original, in german, in spanish or even in suaheli - if you never read ultimate x-men before or never will read them again that´s irrelevant. You just have to read it. This is without a doubt the best Brian K. Vaughn has ever written. If you have only a mild interest in the X-Men you can´t pass up on this comic. Trust me. It all begins at Emma Frost´s academy when Polaris in a freak accident kills two policeman. She get´s arrested and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D.s custody but since her powers are magnetic there is only one holding cell that can hold her and it´s presently occupied - by Magneto. At this point begins one of the most multi-layered plans you have ever seen in a comic. That just shows you what happens when someone with the intellect of Magneto is alone in a prison cell playing chess 24 hours a day.
Now as you may have seen by the last post I have finally been infected by the civil war banner illness and after spending a few hours on the internet last night I´m going to include one in each post for as long as civil war lasts. Which in Germany will be an even longer time than in the states.
Now last but not least I wanted to give a shoutout to my two readers at PHIL & LAMOND´S COMIC - KOLUMNE not only because they keep pimping me and they are so far the only website that has a link to my blog but because I have finally downloaded their cool banner. If you are reading comics you just have to check out their site which has hard hitting reviews that are as good as spoiler free. Check them out in the link section.
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