A COMICBOOK ORANGE RELOADED - SEASON FOUR
Yes, after the seemingly endless hiatus A COMICBOOK ORANGE is back better than ever. Aside from offering the usual greatness there are some lightning quick reviews added. So I´m tempted to say : more bang for your buck...if it wasn´t for free. That´s right : FOR FREE !!! So what are you waiting for ? There are tv stations that would kill for that kind of content. Or was it there are tv stations that I would kill to get this content instead of the crap they are actually showing ?
In any case make sure to check out the new episodes if you are a regular viewer. And if you are new to the site - boy, are you in for a rollercoaster ride. What do you mean where can I find it ? It´s right there on the left, fourth link from the top.
TOP TEN THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU´RE DEAD IN LEONBERG
Okay, my weekend was not that dramatic but when I finally arrived at the town hall in Leonberg I felt more dead than alive. I hadn´t slept very much the night before but because I wanted to meet someone there I wanted to arrive early. Also I have to add that I´m still recovering from my shoulder injury and even short walks wear me out a bit. So doing a marathon from the subway station all over the town of Leonberg ? Not a good idea.
Now I´m not sure if I have ever been to the Comicbörse ( comic fair ) in Leonberg before. Back in the day when we were publishing POWER FREAKS we went to all comic conventions or comic fairs we could find. No matter if it was in Erlangen, Essen ( hmm, both begin with an e ) Stuttgart or near Stuttgart we were there. No comic event was too small because the thing is that we sold almost as many issues of POWER FREAKS at a small comic fair like Stuttgart as in Erlangen which is the biggest comic convention in Germany.
That´s of course not counting the copies we gave dealers to sell on a commission basis. So we went to a lot of those small comic shingdings and Leonberg might have been one of them. If it was it has been so long ago that I totally forgot how to get there. But if there is one thing that distinguishes men from women it´s the adamant believe that we will always find our way no matter how unfamiliar the territory. We think we are like bats only we emit some kind of macho waves that pull us in the exact direction we want to go.
Okay, I´m not as convinced of my abilities in that departement that I won´t ask directions. The only problem was that either the people I asked where not from Leonberg or they had never heard of the comic fair. Because as usual I had left all information like the direction at home. So I went up and down all over Leonberg till finally deciding to head in the general direction of town hall to see if I could find any information about the comic fair.
It was pure luck that it took place right in town hall.
Now the comic fair in Stuttgart is not a very big comic event. It has a big room full of lots of tables with comics in all shapes, sizes and forms as well as everything you could imagine connected to pop culture. It´s not a big comic fair. But compared to Leonberg it´s huge.
You don´t go to the comic fair in Leonberg to buy a lot of comics. No, you go there to meet people, chat a bit about comics and get a few comics at bargain prices. I was there to talk about the next step of HORST´s quest for world domination about which I will give further notice when we have reached step two. We had our conversation cleared everything up and I already got the necessary program for the translations. It took me two days to finally get everything in working order but I have already finished the first draft for the first story. But like I said : more about that when we´re taking the next step.
For the translations for THEM OR US ! I have finished the first two stories and sent them in. Now all I have to wait for is a printed version for proof reading before going online. But back to the comic fair.
I wanted to go to the bank on Friday but I was ten minutes late so I had to get some money on Saturday before going to Leonberg. Not that I was planning on buying a lot of comics but I was totally broke and needed money for the subway and to buy something to eat so I got some money from the cash machine and my budget to spend on comics was 50 bucks max.
When I arrived at the comic fair the first thing I did was checking out the dealers tables. There were a handful of tables at the foyer and a seperate room that had about ten or twelve more tables. First I checked out the tables in the foyer than I went into the seperate room to look for the person I was supposed to meet. Naturally the first table I went to was the one of GRINGO COMICS our former partners in crime with the always indispensable Holger Bommer present. If you ever go to a Gringo Comics table at a convention or another comic event in 90 percent of the cases you will meet Holger there.
THAT´S MY STORY AND I STICK FIGURE TO IT
Back before we did POWER FREAKS my brother did an album together with the Gringo Comics guys called EINSAME SEELEN ( lonely souls ) who released it under the special label AMIGO COMICS that was solely created for that release and hasn´t been resurrected since. It was supposed to be released in standard comic book size but they somehow convinced my brother to do it as an album. It would have worked better as a regular sized comic but my brother found it really flattering and - well, now it´s water under the bridge. We wanted to do other projects with them but somehow that never came to pass, then we did POWER FREAKS which was pretty much the end of my active comic career but we have stayed in contact.
They publish a comic called DIE ABENTEUER VOM HARTMUT ( Adventures of Hartmut ) which is kind of difficult to explain though the idea is pretty simple.
It´s a funny book for kids and adults in which the whole stories - which are the adventures of a kid called Hartmut - are told as stick figures. Sound like the easy way out but it´s quite difficult to tell everything with stick figures.
Besides the funny art the stories are about different things and the writing is making fun of the german orthographic reform. My brother in law doesn´t read many comics but he always finds this comic hilarious and I have given him quite a few over the years as christmas presents. Which means that I always have to buy two because I need a copy for myself. Anyway, this comic comes with the highest recommendation since I don´t know anybody who doesn´t like it.
LOST IN GERMAN TRANSLATION
After meeting with the person to discuss this project I went to another dealers table and got DAS SAGTE NUFF 2. A few weeks earlier I already got issue 11 at my usual comic shop at half price.
DAS SAGTE NUFF is the labor of love of Jakobkurtzberg a.k.a. Daniel Wamsler and of course the title of the mag is one of the funniest and worst translations of the famous NUFF SAID blurb that was on all the Silver Age Marvels.
And that´s what all the magazine is about. Every issue is full of one man´s love for the Silver Age Marvels and it explores the way in which the issues came out. In each new number you can find fascinating articles about the comic series, how they were published in Germany and more about the background.
Because back then the original issues were often censored, pages were cut, they published the issues in the order they wanted instead of in chronological order and some issues never were published in Germany.
On the other hand there is material that was done exclusively for Germany ( those who read my COVERSTORY posts may recall the extra content for the german issues of SUPERMAN BATMAN ) that was not reprinted in the States or only in such compilations like SUPERMAN FAMILY. The issues were initially a huge success because there is an active collectors community in that segment of the collectors market in Germany but it has died down a little bit.
One of the reasons for that might be the hefty price of 7 EUROS per 48 page black and white issue. It´s surely not because of the content which is always entertaining, funny and educational. It even has exclusive content like pages that were never before printed in Germany or exclusive interviews with comic book creators like Gene Colan. So far I´ve got 4 issues but I want to collect the whole set which will now be easier since the series will end with issue 12. So far it´s scheduled for release in winter 2009 and from the content info that has been leaked on the internet it will be the best issue yet.
I think it´s really sad that such an ambitious project dies but who knows - I´ve been told that printed comics are dead so who knows ? It might go the way of THEM OR US ! and find a new lease on life through the internet. In any case so far there was no issue that disappointed which can´t be said about many german comic publications.
TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE....AND A HALF
After buying this issue there wasn´t much left in my budget. A dealer made me an offer that was very hard to refuse : both german hardcovers of GOTHAM NACH MITTERNACHT that collect the 12 issue series GOTHAM AFTER MIDNIGHT and which are 25 EUROS each together for 35 EUROS. That´s a discount of 15 EUROS which is a pretty good deal.
The only problem was that I already have all the issues and if I wanted to buy them in collected form I would prefer it to be a.) in the original english version and b.) in one tome. To buy both parts in german it would have to be as a christmas present and I really couldn´t see that. Which was a real pity because it was a good price and I probably won´t get an offer like this again.
What I was really looking for was the german version of SUPERMAN AND THE LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES. My sister is a big Legion fan but I think she still hasn´t read the files I gave her last year for christmas of the story. So I wanted to buy the comic but they didn´t have it so I had to buy it this week when I went to my usual comic shop. It was hard for me to buy it because the price is the same as for the english hardcover version via amazon.de ( which is normally priced at 25 US dollars).
But it´s a christmas present and I know if I buy the english version my sister might not read it because it´s too difficult. They had other comics at the table and I wasn´t sure if I should take the JLA story THE SECOND COMING or the Batgirl / Catwoman story from Batman Confidential THE BAT AND THE CAT. I was also undecided because I could probably get the english hardcovers for the same price as the german softcovers but when the dealer made me the offer of getting both for 20 bucks that was just too good to say no.
At least the translation was done by an able person. Now I had already read the JLA story on the internet ( for some strange reason the german THE SECOND COMING collection has the cover of the american SANCTUARY collection )
so I knew it was good. The reason why I was looking for the collected version instead of the issues ( usually I prefer the single issues ) was that there were some guest artists in the storyline and they are easier to suffer ina collection. Don´t aks me why that is. It´s a fact and let´s leave it at that for now.....this post is already starting to grow much longer than it´s supposed anyhow.
Now THE SECOND COMING is a story that I can recommend even if some people might not like the aspect that it starts as a regular JLA vs.Amazo storyline and turns into a full blown ELSEWORLDS story. I love parellel world stories ( even if it´s not a parallel world in which everybody dies ) so it was right up my alley.
THE BAT AND THE CAT now that I didn´t enjoy that much.
Firstly I think that Kevin Maguire is often attached to comics that are never as funny as his JUSTICE LEAGUE stuff. There are rare exceptions like the METAL MEN co feature he´s doing in the pages of DOOM PATROL with his old partners in crime Giffen and DeMatteis which really should be the main feature. And there are such total train wrecks like their DEFENDERS mini series.
Anyway, while THE BAT AND THE CAT is not one of the really bad comics by Kevin Maguire there are some aspects in the story by Fabian Nicieza that I didn´t like. The whole hedonist club / naked Batgirl scene seemed very forced to me as I already knew you really weren´t going to see much. The whole thing seemed more aimed to get attention on the internet than to really serve the story.
Maybe that´s just because as someone who comes from Spain and who has seen much more naked women in comics than the general american reader it´s not that shocking or interesting to me. I mean we all know that they won´t show full frontal nudity and I always find it weird if american comic writers insist on including scenes which they know their artists will not be allowed to draw. At least not without covering up all the parts that are the reason to write such a scene in the first place. Which in my opinion makes the whole exercise a waste of time and comic pages.
But to each their own and I bet there are a lot of comic readers who especially liked that part. My second minor problem was that since it´s an untold story ( of which there are quite a few floating around at the moment ) about the one and only true - blue - accept - no - substitutes - golden - oldie Batgirl it didn´t feel like it had any real importance. On the other hand you have to give credit that they stayed true to the characters and didn´t feel the need to re-write continuity like in the BATGIRL : YEAR ONE mini series which really torpedoed the whole book.
So THE BAT AND THE CAT is not an essential Batman story but it is a good read with solid storytelling and great art by Mr. Maguire. Maybe it´s better that I got the german versions since I´m not sure if the hardcovers would be really necessary for my collection.
Now after buying those two collections ( the post was initially supposed to be shorter based on that I hadn´t read the comics when I planned it ) I was almost at the end of my budget but I still wanted to find some american issues at dollar bin price. I wandered through the dealers tables but most of them had german comics so that in the end I returned to the table where I had bought issue 2 of DAS SAGTE NUFF. There were some comics for 1 EURO and I decided to invest my last money in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST 93 to 97 as I was pretty sure I don´t have those particular issues.
POWER MAN Y PUNO DE HIERRO
Now I said that I was pretty sure I don´t have the issues because it´s not that easy to say if the issues are polybagged ( which they were ) and I´m not at home. The first issues I ever read of the series were the spanish versions which always had different painted covers than the US version and I´m not sure they had all the pages. I still have most of those old LINEA 83 issues from ZINCO because they are still in pretty good condition and the art by Kerry Gamill is just fantastic.
It´s a real shame that he´s gone to do film design stuff instead of comics but I guess that there are things that are more important like eating or being able to pay your rent. Especially in times like these. Anyway, I already did a post about the old ZINCO issues of THE DEADLY HANDS OF SHANG CHI MASTER OF KUNG FU and all the others so I won´t delve into that topic again. Till this day I don´t know why Marvel still hasn´t done an IRON FIST or SHANG CHI movie with someone like Toy Yah since that would be one of the easiest movies to make. That´s a total no brainer in my opinion. Now instead I want to say a bit about these new POWER MAN AND IRON FIST issues I bought.
There was one issue that looked interesting but I remembered the cover because it was the same as a french comic I bought while doing my student exchange back when I was at school. The guy I was exchanging with was only interested in football and the only member of his family who connected with me was his grangfather. So I bought all the comics I could get so I had something to read. I still have it in my collection somewhere and I remember that the art was not that great so there was no need to run the risk of buying it again.
Even if it meant being able to finally read and understand the damn thing ( my french is not that good because most french comics are translated to german and most of them are disappointing anyway ).
I don´t like to buy something without knowing how the art is so I said that I wanted to open the first one and if the art is not too bad I would buy all five issues. Now the artists in the first issue was Denis Cowan which would have meant no deal a few years back. But since reading Mike Grell´s GREEN ARROW series he´s on my list of underrated artist so I bought the issues. It´s strange how your perception of an artist can change based on a few issues. Before reading the GREEN ARROW issues he would have been on my list of artists to avoid.
Anyway, the art in the other issues is done by Ernie Chan ( who is sometimes credited as Ernie Chua - at least in the beginning of his career ) and Mike Mignola on inks in the last wo issues. The stories are typical 80s bromance buddy stories without representing a special highlight of the series. With bromance I mean that POWER MAN AND IRON FIST has always been the big buddy movie turned comic book at Marvel the same way that GREEN ARROW AND GREEN LANTERN was at DC.
There are a lot of superheroes who forge a special kind of bond over the years like Hawkman and the Atom or the Flash and Green Lantern but there is this one connection that is specail. There are soul brothers which go through thick and thin and who lay their live down for another no matter what. That´s one of the things that make these comics stand out and it´s always been an integral part of the POWER MAN / IRON FIST stories. Thankfully it was given new life in the pages of NEW AVENGERS and IMMORTAL IRON FIST. It´s one of the few things Bendis did right along with Spider - Man´s dialogue and the whole Luke Cage / Spider - Man comedy duo.
Now there may be some people who would not like the issues because of their standard run of the mill content but I think it was one of the reasons why I bought the issues. Of course I would have preferred if the issues were the ones that John Byrne based his IRON FIST story for NAMOR on but I´m not sure if you can get those issues from the dollar bin. And in any case these issues contained all the stuff I liked about the series like Luke Cage living above the movie theatre, Coleen Wing and Misty Knight and the crazy villains with fantastic names like Chemistro ( more about that in a moment ) and of course the yellow shirt outfit with the chains and the afro.
Now Ernie Chan - who did the second and third issue all by himself - might be best known for inking John Buscema on the best run of CONAN ever. But he´s a good artist in his own right which he already demonstrated on a few issues of THE INCREDIBLE HULK which I have the fortune to have in my own comic collection thanks to BIBLIOTEKA MARVEL. On the Hulk he did ink Sal Busema and he did a few fill-in stories in-between.
The storiy in the five issues I bought revolve around a villain called CHEMISTRO who apparently is the second one to wear the name and a special weapon that has the power to transform things which means he can turn wood into rubber, people into glass or lead into gold. At first he´s just you basic villain but later on he tries to become the new hero - for - hire for the criminals of Times Square. Now back at that time you didn´t have to scientifically explain how something like Chemistro´s special gun is possible - since it was totally unimportant for the story - but the one thing that kept going through my mind was that if I had a gun that could turn lead into gold I sure as hell would not go fighting superheroes.
I would spend the rest of my days at home watching cartoons on tv, reading comics and turning the trash into gold to pay the rent. I mean isn´t that what everyone would do ? Go up against one of the best martial artists in the world and his pal with unbreakable skin ? When I can buy whatever I want with a simple zap of my gun ? Yeah, right. Don´t count on me fella. Besides that I really like the stories even if the big THIS ISSUE WILL CHANGE LUKE CAGE´S LIFE FOREVER issue doesn´t change anything at all. In fact it dissuades Luke Cage from leaving Times Square to go on without him.
The subplot in the issues is about a pink disco ball that somehow seems to resonate with Iron Fist´s powers but who is stolen by the wolfwoman who killed his mother - no kidding. Now I have to see if I can find the following issues at the Comicbörse in Stuttgart to find out what that was all about.
The creepy thing is that while reading the comics I constantly heard the voice of Green Lantern John Stewart from the JUSTICE LEAGUE animated cartoon in my head doing the part of Luke Cage.
So, money well spent. After I spent the rest of my budget on these issues I went on another long trek back to the subway station and finally went home. I was so tired that I went to sleep and aside from watching wrestling and taping FIREFLY I didn´t do much on Saturday. I was still tired on Sunday which is the main reason I didn´t do this post last week.
Anyway, this is what I did last week. Since it took me a while to write it all down it has gotten longer than expected so I´m ending it now. It´s already 4.15 in the morning so I won´t watch more episodes of DR. WHO. I´m going to post this on my blog and all the corrections, additions and pictures tomorrow because it´s voting day in Germany and I have to do my best to finally send Angela Merkel packing.
New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN :
I scare people, but nothing scares me. Nothing...
Nothing but The Batman.