Saturday, February 28, 2009

THEM OR US - the big scandal

Finally I can write a new post even if it isn´t my long anticipated big TEEN TITANS post. For a few days I have wanted to post this but other things came up and at least I have a good excuse - or at least an excuse.

First of I was a bit sick the last few days. My unemployment solicitation has been finally approved : that´s the good news. The unemployment office has not accepted the fact that my mother is not part of our household thus reducing my HARTZ IV once again well below the minimum : that´s the bad part. My mother says that the important part is that I´m again on health care but I´m just sick of working my ass off for an alimony. Okay, it´s more than last time...ten bucks more I could spend on comics.

But I mean I´m doing everything that the unemployment office wants from me. Can´t I at least get what the politicians proclaim is the absolute minimum to exist ? Why do I only get a third of that ( or not even that much ) while our government is giving billions to banks who flushed their money down the toilet so they can give their managers who caused our current crisis big paychecks ? From now on it´s quid pro quo with me. Anyway, finally the money for the last three months has arrived.

Yes, it really took the unemployment office three months to ask for some documents I had with me the first day I solicited my HARTZ IV ( or in my case I only get HA I ) and to make up their mind that after asking me the same thing three times deciding that they didn´t believe me and to just ignore everything I told them. Why do they even bother to ask in the first place ? Because the longer it takes for the solicitations the longer it takes for you to get your money. Who knows what they do with our money while we wait.

And of course the longer it takes for jobless people to get approved the longer they can keep them out of the statistics. I mean if they have already given up on getting people a job the least they can do is make the statistics look nice so our puppet governeur Angela Merktnix looks good. This week I watched the speech of the new president elect Barrack Obama and I was almost in tears. It´s like Amerika is the real world and Germany is Bizarroworld.

Man, the way this is going Germany is going to be a third world country in three years tops.

So, I finally got some money and I went to Ludwigsburg to buy some long overdue stuff : a calendar for the studio, an ink cartridge for the printer so I can finally write some job applications and some razors so I could finally shave today. But as always I caught a bit of a cold while being outside - or rather the cold I already had worsened.

I also was staying up till the wee hours in the morning the last few days and sleeping very sporadically. I hope that when my mother is in Spain again ( beginning Monday ) I can return to a regular schedule. Now that the first step with the unemployment office is finished I hope I can sleep better. So in the last days there was always something coming up so I didn´t get to start on the TEEN TITANS post. I´m still re - reading the John Byrne DOOM PATROL issues and I still enjoy them. I know it´s not the most popular take on the team but being unfamiliar with all the previous incarnations I found it very entertaining.

Speaking of John Byrne I forgot to mention that I haven´t had a chance to check out his work on STAR TREK. He´s doing some of the new comics for the franchise and now that I have a bit more comic spending money I could buy some issues. While being in Ludwigsburg I wanted to buy the new volumes of CASE CLOSED but I only found one shop that had the missing numbers and they didn´t have volume 53 which is the one after the last I read 52. Again with the 52. Anyway, I will have to order it through amazon or from a comic shop.

I wanted to buy the volumes to see if there was something new I could write about the book after my first post about it. There is a discussion on a german comic message board right now ( which in light of my next topic is kind of funny because the guy who started it all has been compared to Frederic Wertham )that german comicblogs write waaaay too much about american comics and american superhero comics in general and not enough about french BDs or manga and although I don´t think that is true with my blog I COULD write a bit more about european comics. I mean having more access to that kind of graphic literature I should spotlight it from time to time for all my readers who don´t know the stuff.

What do you think ? Do you want to read more about comics outside of the general mainstream ?

One of the reasons I don´t write that much about BDs is that right now I still have to pay the comics I review or write about myself so I wanted to use the opportunity to remind everybody out there that they can send me review copies. So to MARVEL, DC, Image, Dark Horse and all the other publishers out there : you can send me your stuff. I won´t be offended if you send me the ULTIMATE NEW FRONTIER DELUXE HARDCOVER or something. Promise. Of course this also goes for small publishers. Just send me the stuff you want to pimp.

So, what else was up ? Another big thing was DIE ODER WIR ( Them or Us ) the brainchild of Alligatorfarm mastermind Karl Nagel which is a new newspaper sized comic magazine printed on newspaper for 99 cents. Yes, that´s right. The general idea is that most comics in Germany are too expensive ( true that ), are printed on quality paper you don´t really need ( true that ) and with way too intellectual stuff ( double true ). Comics in Germany are almost exclusively done for collectors which is one of the main reasons why the german comic market is not well.

So Karl Nagel, publisher of the PERRY comics

based on the german science fiction cult pulp magazine PERRY RHODAN

has decided to produce what we really need : cheap comic trash entertainment for the masses. Especially in Germany the cultural aspects of art are taken way too serious even if everybody knows that the really fun things are the trashy things done for satirical or entertainment purposes only. Now four months ago the zero issue of DIE ODER WIR was published as a free comic but issue 1 - which was released just a few days ago - may very well be the end of the new comic magazine.

One of the newsstands distributors was not sure if it was okay to distribute the thing and contacted a lawyer who said that the comic is endangering and corrupting the youth. What people outside Germany don´t know is that there is still a lot of censorship left over from the Third Reich. Back then it was done to eliminate " anti arian culture " now it is done to " protect innocent youths ". Basically it´s still the same thing only now they have an excuse to tell you what to read, listen, watch and even think. But I already wrote about that at length in a few other posts so I won´t go into the details now. Well, the important thing is that many newsstand owners got wind of the whole thing and were afraid to display the comic.

They had ordered it but they didn´t put it on display so the clients couldn´t buy it. Which means that the first issue may well be the last. Since it´s waaay too expensive to start a lawsuit the first idea Karl Nagl had was to destroy the remaining copies of issue one. Which is what the newsstands will do as well - at least officially. I have heard somewhere that because it´s too expensive to have the unsold copies shipped back normally they just get thrown into the trash. Only that there are some newsstands that just say they destroyed them while selling them behind the back of the publishers.

And since the first issue is sure to become a collectors item many newsstand owners are going to make a lot of money with that. Of course there are some newsstands who still sell the issue like any other publication they get. I bought a copy at the newsstand at the train station in Ludwigsburg which usually doesn´t have a big selection of comics. I mean they have the newest issue of HORRORSCHOCKER usually one or two months after the other newsstands. But they had the issue. Maybe because it had the newspaper size. Who knows ?

At the moment the remaining issues haven´t been destroyed and Karl Nagel is trying to find a solution. Maybe some kind of mail order service for a higher price or selling the next issue through other outlets than comic shops or newsstans. What´s so depressing sbout the whole scandal is that for ONCE somebody wants to produce cheap comics for the masses in Germany and it all crashes and burns very quickly. POWER FREAKS all over again. By the way the whole thing started because of the cover that shows a student with a gun about to shoot a teacher. Okay, not the most tame cover image but I have seen worse on some comics or magazines.

It is a current topic and where will this all end when we can´t even treat this subjects ? Ignoring it won´t help to solve the problem. Maybe Germany only wants comics that are afraid to stick the finger where it hurts. On the other side this comic was started to offend by catering to the basest instincts and if starting a scandal was the goal it has suceeded on all levels. Again, I didn´t get to the TEEN TITANS but I think I will now read the first issue of DIE ODER WIR before taking a nap. Here are some related links :

  • issue 1 announcement

  • review of issue 1 from the FAZ

  • latest news about issue 1

  • the message board thread

  • Karl Nagel blog

  • Alligator Farm homepage

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

  • top ten posts

  • more posts of interest


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