Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Erlangen Diary Part 5

We´re having a heat wave......a tropical heat wave.....Like Fred Astaire used to sing, a heat wave seeems to sweep over all of us. Germany seems to be melting due to the state the ozone layer is in. The greenhouse effect is in " full effect " like we always said in the 80s.

This kind of reminds me of the Comic Salon in Erlangen which also was very hot. I guess I have already told you about the first three days which leaves only the big finale.


Today, like the two days before, I was awake at six o´clock in the morning. As this was the last day I wanted to take the opportunity for one last dip in the pool. Yesterday the visit to the pool had been very spontaneous but this time I took a towel, fresh clothes, a bag and showering gel with me. After a relaxing bath in the pool I showered ( the shower cabin by the pool were bigger than the ones in our room ), put on some fresh clothes and went up to my room. The day before I had to rush up the stairs in my wet swimming trunks because I had nothing to change and no towel. Ah, the entusiasm of youth ! After a quiet breakfast I packed my suitcase and waited for my brother to finish his morning routine. Then we went to the receptionist´s desk and paid. The hotel we stayed in had not been the one we originally wanted but I have to say that we could have picked a worse one.

We packed all our stuff into the car and drove to the convention center. If you have been to a convention for the entire duration you know that the last day is always special. You have already been basically everywhere and you try to go to the places which you may have overlooked. The dealers are a little tired and make a last effort to sell their stuff because they don´t want to carry everything back home. As the last day in Erlangen is a Sunday there are less visitors, only the hardcore comic fans who have come for the full four days and the wimps who couldn´t get here during workdays or even on the holiday and for whom this is the last chance.

Like the previous days me and my brother went seperate ways, he with his camera equipment and me with my suitcase. I already had my sketch by Humberto Ramos and since there were no other artists signing on the last day who I had any interest in I decided to just wander through the convention center. Strangely I saw Mr.Ramos on a few occasions during the last day but I didn´t want to leave the impression of a stalker. So I went up to him the first time, thanked him again for the sketch and whished him a pleasant stay in Germany since he said he had to do a few signings the next few days. I only passed the table of the SCHWARZER TURM quickly because I saw that Robi was engaged in a conversation with one of his artists, writers or future collaborators. So I forgot to get an issue of KATZE which had gotten an award the day before and which was a really funny and really small comic. Maybe I can get a copy at the COMIC ACTION in Essen but somehow I doubt that I can make the trip with my current financial situation.

I went to all the guys you only meet at conventions to say goodbye and till next time. Since I had already bought more comics than I initially had planned I took my time going through the comic boxes. I had already filled some gaps in my collection and I had tons of comics to read. The one thing I was still looking for where the german trades of the BENDIS DAREDEVIL run but I couldn´t find the ones I was still missing. At least not with a discount. Because I am curious if the storyline is any good but without a big discount it is just no within my price range. So right now the three trades I DO have are still on my desk, unread and unloved. I´m still not sure if I should wait till I get the other trades or just read them already. But that´s not a decision I have to male right away. There are still between 60 and 70 issues I have not read, 4 Naruto books, 2 DOLMEN and 4 trades. Plenty of time to find the missing trades.

But I did buy some comics. I found two issues of SHAMAN´S TEARS, a few issues of Sleepwalker and some issues of SOLAR and ETERNAL WARRIOR from VALIANT. Then I found the latest book by DANY which is a pin up / comic strip book. I hadn´t even known he had done a new one. After a few hours of looking for comics I sat down at the stairs and began to make the last notes of the comic convention. There were only 30 minutes left so I only managed to write one page. When the final announcement was made that the Comic Salon Erlangen was now officially over I went outside where my brother arrived a few minutes later. Then we put our stuff into the car and started to look for a restaurant where we could celebrate the final day.

We had been to a few places in Erlangen before so we decided to go to a restaurant where we haven´t been before. Two days earlier we had passed a greek restaurant called MYTHOS and because we wanted to try something different we said : let´s check it out. We like to eat fish and you always get good fish in greek restaurants. After a quick look at the menu we both ordered some calamares which was the best decision we could have made. I have eaten my share of calamares in my 39 years. I have eaten calamares like my mother makes them, I have eaten calamares in restaurants, I have eaten calamares on street stand, I have eaten calamares in diners and I have even eaten calamares in fast food restaurants. I have eaten calamares in Spain, in France, in Italy and in Germany.

But this were the best calamares. Ever. Period.

Now I hope my mother never finds out about this and me and my brother have already taken a vow never to speak of this in the presence of my mother. But these calamares were even better than the ones my mother makes. Which up to this point were the be-all end-all for me concerning calamares. Naturally we found it at the last day. The last day. So we finished our stay in Erlangen on this high note and made a mental note that next time the MYTHOS would be our first station in Erlangen.

On the way back we took a slight detour which cost us about half an hour and there was a little traffic jam but nothing too serious. We arrived at home without any problems - at least no problems till getting to the door. Now I had to wait for the right moment to get my suitcase full of comics into the house. In my mind the theme song of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ( the original version by Lalo Schiffrin not the techno version ) was playing while every fiber of my body was vibrating with anticipation. Now all the years reading LONE WOLF AND CUB and NARUTO finally paid off. Like a ghost I slipped undetected into my room where I buried my suitcase deep into the wardrobe. I waited a few hours before I started unpacking the comics and placing them in a new box on top of my secretary and in huge piles on the other table.

I took a shower and was just glad that I could sleep in my own bed again. It´s nice to come home !

So that was the last part of my Erlangen diary. Nothing too exciting happened but all in all it was a good convention. I got the sketches I wanted although there were not so many artists signing like the years before. And I should have shown a little more restraint buying comics but since 90 % of the comics I bought were from the 1 EURO / 50 cent boxes it wasn´t that big of a deal. Aside from the GREEN ARROW issues I collected quite a swag and I was able to close some gaps in my collection.

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