Thursday, May 10, 2007

My spanish vacation - Part 2

After our little detour to all things Power Girl we will now come back to the topic of my first visit to the spanish comic convention in Barcelona. Sorry, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. But now we´re back on rack.....I mean track.

But before I jump back to the happenings I think I have to explain my normal modus operandi whenever I go to Spain. You see, because my mother´s house in Spain is in a very desolate place where you need a car to go....anywhere I usually make a stop to go shopping before going there. The place is ideal if you are on the run from the mob, suffer from total sensory overload or just want to vanish from the face of the earth. Not so good if you want to do anything like read or watch a movie. Since the plane lands at the airport in Barcelona and I have to go to Torredembarra by train I usually take the opportunity to go shopping in Barcelona. This means going to NORMA for comics, to EL CORTE INGLES for comics, CDs and DVDs and to FNAC for comics, CDs and DVDs. I tend to buy most of my DVDs in Spain since they are uncut ( unlike the DVDs you buy in Germany ) and I look for CDs of spanish artists. I can buy CDs of BEYONCE or SHAKIRA in Germany since they are generally cheaper but you only find artists like JARABE DE PALO or ROCER in Spain.

This time my budget was very small so I couldn´t afford any CDs or DVDs and went straight to NORMA COMICS. I also like to go to FNAC because I just like the fact that a big shopping mall has it´s own comic section. The comics are not as expensive as in other comicshops but they tend to be in worse shape - ranging from looking like they have been used to battered and bruised.

There was another comic shop i used to frequent called FREAKS who specialized in independent comics and comic magazines. I don´t know how it is for other comic readers but with the exception of WIZARD I never buy comic magazines without having looked through them. So I usually don´t order them from the catalogue and the last time I was at FREAKS I left with 3 or 4 comic magazines. This time I didn´t go there because I had not much time left ( although shops in Spain are open longer they close at some time at Saturday ) and I think they moved or closed shop. Not sure which one. By the way, this time it was like the bad weather was following me. While the temperature was 30 degrees Celsius in Germany it was raining when I arrived in Spain. Of course because of that I had a cold during my stay. Well, because of that and the tons of ice I had with my first drink at Montornes. As usual I was at first overwhelmed by the amount of available comics ( which is not only much more than in Germany but also at a much lower price ) but I had to think of the comic convention. So I only bought two volumes of YAIBA, two BIBLIOTEKA MARVEL HULK, one issue of KISS COMICS and the newest edition of DOLMEN.

Nowadays I don´t buy many issues of KISS COMICS because I have quite a collection but a few years ago I bought a whole ton of them. I think my cousin must have thought I was some kind of pervert. But erotic comics ( or porn comics ) are much more expensive in Germany. Here they only come out as hardcovers and the prices are between 12 and thirty bucks. In Spain they come out as softcovers, the prices are between 5 and 6 bucks and there are a lot of anthology style magazines like KISS COMICS. I´ll try to include some covers from KISS COMICS if I can find some that are okay to post and don´t have too much nudity.

Now DOLMEN is obligatory. If you want to know what transpires in the spanish comic market that is all the reswources you need. Especially the letters section is very helpful because they tend to tell it like it is. If they have beef with some comic editorials because they don´t translate the comics very good or the product quality sucks they have no problem tearing them a new one.

And they also don´t sugarcoat their reviews of comics, no matter if they talk about the work of a local artist or Howard Chaykin´s art on Hawkgirl. So I had some stuff to read till the beginnig of the Salon del Comic.

  • website of DOLMEN

  • Like I said in my first post the first day was rather quiet ( although I didn´t know that at the time ) and I went throught the whole convention area. It always takes a few hours for me till I achieve " working temperature " and can start buying my first comic. I´m not sure, but I think the first comic I bought was FIZ by Kiko Da Silva.

    Mostly because I found it funny and because the artist was at the booth so I asked him to sign the comic. In hindsight that was not such a great idea because while I did get a nice sketch in my little book the little picture in the comic took very long to dry because the paper was a very glossy paper and he had done the picture with ink.

    So for most of the first day I walked aroung with an open comic book in one hand which led to a few dirty looks on some of the stands. Later on I put a paper above it with a sketch from a german comic artist he had done for me in Essen. If he reads this : Sorry, Sasha, it was the only one I had. And don´t worry, I used the back side.

    Now FIZ is a comic about a child called Fiz with a lot of stories about.....well, poo. And urinating. And boogers. And farting. The things that kids are obsessed with. I guess it´s not for everyone but I think it´s hilarious.

    There are a lot of strange people in the comic like Cano the guy at the newsstand where you can buy anything. Or Biobardo who is Fiz´imaginary friend and who consists entirely of booger matter. Did I mention that the poo in the comic is sentinent and has the ability to speak ? A comic with a lot of imagination. And it sure as hell is never going to be edited in Germany. I wanted to buy another comic at the booth later on but at the end I had no money left to do it. In any case the FIZ book was expensive enough although it is in hardcover and printed really nicely. I´m glad I bought it. Here are some links. Like most of the links in this post and the following ones they are in spanish. Sorry for that, but this is about spanish comics.

    The first link is about the comic FIZ and the text is in spanish and in catalan ( which is the dialect spoken in if you go to Barcelona you better know a bit of catalan as well ). The second one is the blog of Kiko Da Silva and the third one is about him as well, if you want to know a little bit more about him.

  • about the first chapter of fiz

  • Kiko Da Silva´s blog

  • about Kiko Da Silva

  • Speaking of the last days of a comic convention : if you have ever been to one you know that one thing never changes. You always plan to return to some booth or some area on the last day but when the last day finally comes you realize that you have no money left or you can´t find the booth anymore. In general the last part I visit during comic conventions is the fanzine area but since I was at the spanish convention especially to see the fanzines I went there on the first day. Because these are the comics you can´t buy at most comic shops and you only get them at conventions. And I wanted to see if there were any comic artists who were interesting for the german comic market.

    The next comic I bought was EL SENOR K by Pavel Ortega. I only looked at a few pages ( I just had to find out why a cat is wearing a nazi uniform on the cover ) and was instantly hooked. I don´t know if it is because he emigrated to Spain from Mexico but I instantly knew that this was one crazy comic. And I mean that in a good way like " Morrison - crazy " or " Alan - Moore - crazy ". When Alan Moore was the right kind of crazy like for WATCHMEN and not this really intellectual crazy like in the LEAGUE. You know what I mean.

    Not that you would notice it when you meet him because he was a really nice guy, fun to talk to who even made a nice picture in my copy and my book.

    El senor K is a funny animal comic that shows clear influences of Art Spiegelmann´s MAUS ( one of the characters in the book is a jewish mouse called Spiegelmaus for heaven´s sake ) but also of Robert Crumb´s FRITZ THE CAT where story and art are concerned. Other influences may have been CERBERUS or BONE but that´s mostly speculation on my part. I think the stories first appered in a comic called POLEN ( which is the reason why the blog is called polencomics ) which is the reason why the story is so big in scope like ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA or GONE WITH THE WIND. Mister Katzinger becomes a comic version of Forrest Gump having many lives ( remember that he is a cat ) and a different career like pilot, politician or desk clerk.

    With a loose style that tends more to the tradition of caricature
    ( something that Frank Miller used in THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES BACK ) Pavel Ortega tells the story of Helmut Katzinger and while reading it I really was transported to another world like in the comics of LITTLE NEMO. Helmut Katzinger is the son of a german aristocratic family. His only problem is that he is born as a cat and as such becomes the black sheep of the family. Growing up in Germany during the rise of the third reich he becomes a member of nazi party and joins the Luftwaffe. By the way there is no such thing as an ex - nazi because that is mostly an ideology and a way of thinking. Sometimes Senor K is called an ex -nazi but the right term would be " former member of the nazi party " since he seems to be more of an opportunist and follower than an actual believer in the cause.

    For me it is always interesting to see how fascinated other countries like Spain are with the topic of Germany during the Third Reich. I mean it does have some kind of glamour and excitement but for me it is just business as usual since the topic is not so exotic over here. The whole comic has a surreal side like the movies of Tim Burton but also a very strong political elements like the nazis, jews, and the whole political situation of the 60s and 70s. Add to that alien abductions, political intrigue and a daughter who joined the circus and who is engaged to a lion and you get an idea why this is one of the most original comics I read in a long time. Sadly I didn´t have any extra money on the last days so the only other comic I could buy was the one where he becomes president of the United States of America.

    Now on one side I was glad that the comics were 2 or 3 bucks because otherwise I couldn´t have afforded two of them. But on the other hand I feel this comic deserves to be presented in nice hardcover editions.

    Here are some links, the first one to the official blog of the comic SENOR K and the second one is Pavel Ortega´s blog where you can find many interesting information about him like the fact that he also does kind of the mexican Muppets and also two clips with an interview. I promised to put those into my link section and I hope I remember how to do it.

  • Polen Comics

  • Pavel Ortega´s blog

  • I also wanted to write about the other fanzines like USTED in this post but I don´t want the posts to get too long. And I want to do an extensive review about the magazines that does them justice. With pictures and everything. So I put the links in the next post and will add some text soon. But for today it´s time to wrap things up.

    The clips of today are the bands I mentioned earlier since they may be unknown in Germany and the States. The first one is from ROCER and the song is called FOC or FUEGO in the spanish version.

    The last three clips are from JARABE DE PALO, the titles are LA FLACA ( one of their first smash hits ), DEPENDE and ROMEO AND JULIETTA. Enjoy.

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

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