Sunday, May 30, 2010

I´m off to see the wizard

Since this is the last day of this month I better post to keep my " at least one post per month " quota up. As pityful as that is.

Last month I cheated a little bit because I wrote the beginning of the post on the last of April while I wrote the rest later - I think a whole week later. I know that´s not fair to my readers. On one side I want to keep the blog going despite it all. I still got so much about comics to say that there´s an infinite numbers of post to come. On the other side life just has this habit of throwing things into my way - good or bad.

I´m still participating in the course from the Unemployment Office which is basically a good thing. At first we were all strangers but once we found out that we are basically in the same position we have started to bond on a number of levels. I even managed to hitch a ride with one of the participants so that the money I get as travel expenses is now money for more comics and other stuff.

Speaking about comics I´m kind of the oddball character with my comic addiction but so far no big fights have erupted. I tried to make it to GRATIS COMIC TAG ( the german version of the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY ) but when I called my comicshop the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY comics hadn´t arrived. And it´s too expensive to drive all the way to Esslingen without knowing if there is something worthwhile in my bag. At least it seems the GRATIS COMIC TAG was a success so I have another chance next year.

Now, I´m still working on the translations for HORST but with all the activities I now have it´s not easy finding the time. This week we started a new project at the course which was the renovation of the firegrill. As I have no experiences in that departement I didn´t volunteer for anything but nevertheless I was drafted.

On Friday we were making a new foundation and I spent most of the day mixing cement - by hand. So the rest of the day I was pretty useless although I did manage to work on the translation for an hour. So this weekend my left shoulder and my right wrist hurt so much that I have been mostly sleeping only interrupted by toilet runs, food runs and some television. I even shouldn´t take time writing this post because I really need to finish the translation for HORST before going to Erlangen.

Oh, right. I still haven´t mentioned that I will be going to Erlangen and - once again - visit the International Comic Salon of Erlangen. Yep, it also came as a surprise to me. I was already convinced that I wouldn´t go after I didn´t make it to Barcelona but somehow the stars realigned. There is a whole week when the course is closing it´s doors but since that is the week after Erlangen I thought I couldn´t go.

Well, as it turns out we are entitled to a few days of vacation and I decided to take one of them the day after Fronleichnam which in english is Corpus Christi I think ( here in Germany we also call it Happy Cadaver Day ). Traditionally Erlangen takes place the weekend of Fronleichnam because that day always falls on a Thursday and that way you just have to take one day of vacation to get four days of comic book madness.

Now on one side I was happy because I could finally go to a convention once again. On the other hand I had to find transportation and lodging for a city that´s always fully booked for months ahead. Finding transportation was easier because I found out that my brother will be driving there with the car. I´m not that happy about the prospect of travelling together but it beats tramping.

Booking a hotel room was harder. It took me a few days but I managed to find a room for all the days. The only problem now is that I will spend the first night in one hotel and the other nights at another hotel, the Hotel Bachwiesen. And apparently it´s a bit outside of Erlangen so that will be an adventure. I already posted a thread in the german comicforum to see if somebody else is staying there but so far that wasn´t much help.

In fact none of the threads I posted in the comicforum was much help but that´s an experience I´ve had before and one of the reasons that led me to start my blog.

So in any case I haven´t prepared much for Erlangen besides the money for the hotel and my sketchbooks. Tomorrow is the first of the month so I´ll have to see if my money for this month is already on my account. And I have to ask if I can get the travel expenses a bit earlier because if I get it on the sixth of the month I´m almost back from Erlangen.

What else happened since my last post ?

So far no money from the translation of VODOO DERIVATE has arrived so I still have time to ponder the question whether to frame it or spend it. I still haven´t finished arranging my new room but I have put all my CDs in order. Now I only have to find time to listen to them. I´m still sleeping on my new bed but so far it´s still pretty uneasy. Maybe I will be accustomed to it next month. I´m really curious how that will work out when I´m sleeping in a hotel bed. Well, I guess I will find out next week.

As far as I could see there will be internet access in the hotels but without a laptop that won´t help me much.

Last time I mentioned that I wanted to write something about OLD MAN LOGAN but now I´m not so sure.

When I started with this blog the reason was to concentrate on the positive things of comics and my review of the storyline will probably be....not so favorable. I don´t know if I´m just a cranky old man or what but while it gets lots of accolades there is one thing I have to critize. And that is it´s cinematic approach.

Don´t get me wrong, I´m all for big in - your - face - action, blockbuster storylines and double page spreads. But you have to remember that a comic is not a movie and when you rely on the strengths of a movie instead of the strengths a comic has you are bound to throw away a lot of potential. In a movie big silent moments can work pretty well or schock sequences. But there are just too many instances in which there are big double page spreads without much words - or with no words at all.

Now a good writer knows how to keep quiet at the right moments. But a great writer uses these double page spreads to bring more background story. We are thrust into this post apocalyptic world without all the details and whenever there is a chance to give more detail - nothing. Yes, the double page spread of Hank Pym´s skeleton is cool but it would be even cooler to read the story of GIANT MAN`S LAST STAND. And for my taste the story just wastes a lot of potential.

the page how it is

the page how it could be

In movies such a scene is very atmospheric but in a movie that sequence is gone very quickly. In a comic such a double page spread slows the reading pace down and the readers spends more time on the page. So it only would make sense to give the reader more to read. That´s one of the things I noticed while reading THE ESSENTIAL TOMB OF DRACULA, how much more literally comics used to be, how much atmosphere writers used to convey with words and how nowadays comic companies rely on artists to do this. Maybe that´s one of the current problems of the comic industry : artists are supposed to do the job of the writers.

Aside from this I really liked the comic about an old Logan who has sworn never to pop his claws again. But how he came to make this oath, what happened to wipe out almost all superheroes, how the villains took over the world or if he really won´t go back to his old self - for this you must read it. I won´t spoil it for you.

Finally I have to say something about Steve McNiven´s art which has come a long way since he first started on CrossGen´s MERIDIAN. After depicting CIVIL WAR he´s doing his big opera or better yet the superhero version of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. Which is only fitting since it openly draws inspiration from Segio Leone´s works. You almost seem to hear Ennio Morricone´s driving harmonica from ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST in the final chapter.

McNiven´s art is one of the reasons why I find Mark Millar´s shortcomings in the story so painful. With a lesser artist this could be a story that you once read and then forget. But with McNiven´s stunning artwork it´s a great atory that failed to become a masterpiece - by a nose´s length. Nevertheless I can recommend it. There are by far worse Logan stories out there you could spend your money on.

A few preview pages :

Speaking about money : I got the hardcover from amazon because it´s still at 21.88 EUROS which is only two bucks more than the german softcover. And it´s oversize which is a plus in this case. Oh....and if you are thinking about buying the english softcover that´s at 25.99 so you won´t save any money that way.

One final piece of advice : the art can get quite graphic in some parts. So if that´s something you don´t like you should pass on this one.

Well, what do you know ? It seems in the end I DID want to talk about OLD MAN LOGAN. Anyway, I have a translation to finish and I will keep you informed about my new adventures in Erlangen - if I have the chance. For Today that´s all.

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