Tuesday, June 20, 2006

TWO years later

Today it finally rained ! I can´t believe that I´m really happy that it rains in Germany. That´s kind of like being happy it´s cold at the north pole. But the last four days it has been unbearably hot. Two years have gone by since the last time I was in Erlangen. And as always it has been both...too long and too short at the same time. On one side I´m glad that it is over because it can really tax the limits of your physical endurance. On the other side you want to spend more time with all the friends you only get to see every two years. This time the weather was really hot and there was no rain during the entire convention. I was sweating like a pig and I spent too much money on comics. But let´s start at the beginning before I forget everything that happened.It is just incredible how quick the mind forgets.


I awoke at six o clock in the morning and went straight to the shower. Of course we had no shower gel so I washed myself with hair shampoo and almost forgot my bermuda shorts for the hotel pool. I kept walking and circles and was really tempted to take the JSA / JLA hardcover by Carlos Pacheco with me. But I resisted since there are enough comics in Erlangen.

I had already packed all my stuff the day before and was ready to go at seven o clock but of course my brother had not packed his clothes and had to carry all the stuff for the camera. He has this crazy idea that he´s the next Stephen Spielberg and wants to shoot some reports from the convention. At least I could convince him to call one of the organisators so he could get a press card. I called the hotel to ask from which time on it is possible to check in and remembered that we had had to book single rooms instead of a double room.

So while I had planned to leave at eight o clock ( at the latest ) my brother was still busy printing out a manual for the camera. I was listening to the traffic news on the radio because there had beeen an accident on our route but so far no mention of it. Normally I don´t eat breakfast but since I had no idea when we would have time for the next meal I eat some sandwiches with jamon. One of the things I learned at the military is to get your meals when you can. Which was a good thing since I didn´t have a chance to eat till the end of the first convention day.

At five minutes past eight I began to take my luggage to the car while my brother ( who for a short moment had the frightening idea to take his whole computer with him ) still hadn´t gotten one piece of camera equipment or his luggage packed. When we finally started it was already half past nine and we had to fill up the tank, check the oil and the tire pressure. Which means I had to do it while my brother limited himself to arguing about the tire pressure. I assured him that on a hot day like today 2.0 bar was really enough but he insisted on putting 2.2 bar into the tires. Luckily none of the tires exploded during our drive to the convention.

At the gas station I bought some ice cream but because of all the hassle with the tires and trying to find the right way on the map I forgot all about it. When I took it out at the end of the ride in Erlangen it had melted. We arrived at one o clock in the afternoon in Erlangen and although my brother was heavily protesting we drove to the hotel before we did anything else. I don´t know what his reasoning was for doing something else before but when you arrive at your appointed location tha first thing you do is check out your hotel. You have to know where your home base is and where your exit lies.

At the hotel we had a pleasant surprise because a guest had arrived without his travelling companion and wanted to trade his double room for a single room so that we got our double room in the end ( which is not as expensive as two single rooms ). Then we had to take the entire camera equipment to the convention. Somehow my brother had the idea that it would start at two o clock in the faternoon instead of twelve and although I was not the one who had wasted two hours because I didn´t pack the day before I was the one to blame. In hindsight it was a blessing that we arrived later since I have heard from other visitors that they had to wait a long time to get in. But as soon as we had entered the convention my brother pulled a Kaiser Sosei on me and I didn´t see him till many hours later when he was inteviewing the Zwerchfell crew.

Now I know you might say that you don´t know what I´m complaining about since I had feared to have to follow him with a microphone the whole time. It´s not that I have to have him always around me or that I don´t cherish every second I have for myself. But with my brother it is a bit like with Booster Gold : you don´t want to be near him all the time because of the catastrophes he keeps unleashing. But on the other hand you can´t leave him to his own devices for too long. So I spend a lot of time looking for him but we only met after the convention had closed it´s doors.

I know I wanted to keep a detailed diary of my whole time in Erlangen but i only got to make some quick notes when I was sitting on the stairs somewhere at the brink of exhaustion or standing in line to get a sketch. On the first two days I managed to write something down but by the third day I had thrown all my resolve out the window.

Now the first thing I did ( after walking around for half an hour just trying to get my bearings and totally under shock ) was to visit the booth of WEISSBLECH COMICS and buy HORRORSCHOCKER 10 and the HORRORSCHOCKER EXTRA-ALBUM. HORRORSCHOCKER is at the moment the best german horror anthology comic published in Germany. Like the famous EC comics HAUNT OF FEAR, VAULT OF HORROR and TALES FROM THE CRYPT ( the mag that is partially responsible for the title of this blog ) it has short stories with changing artists. The series has a strong trash factor....meaning it sets good stories and entertaining the reader at it´s highest priority. The art has clear influences from Jack Kirby but without copying. The very first issue was published two years ago also at the comic convention in Erlangen.

Normally I´m a bit cautious with german comic book series but the publisher of HORRORSCHOCKER ( and the mastermind behind all comics from Weissblech ) Levin Kurio had released an ashcan edition of the number one that included the best preview I had ever read in my whole live. It was not colored like the actual issue but it had a part of the first story and it ended just when things were really heating up in the story. So I had to know how the story ended. I bought the first issue and I have been buying it since. Every issue is better than the one before, the list of guest artist reads like a who´s who of german indie comic stars, and one of my favorite characters is the host CHARON ( the ferryman from greek mythology who carries the dead over the river styx into the land of the dead ) and his TALES FROM THE DARK RIVER. So I went right to their booth to get the newset issues and even got a Charon sketch by Levin Kurio himself. If you have never heard of HORRORSCHOCKER you should definitely check it out. Here are some preview pages :

Nur ein Obulus / El Dorado / Im Tal des Drachen / Niniwes Fluch

See, I told you I would have more to say about german comics at Erlangen. Sadly, that´s all I have time for today so the second booth I visited ( which was Zwerchfell ) has to wait till tomorrow. We will then continue with the newset adventures of DIE KLEINEN MUTTERFICKER ( the little motherfuckers ) and everything else that happened.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN :

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