As I already mention in this post why I couldn´t prepare I´ve decided to write how I usually prepare :
step 1 - stop buying comics at least three months before. This goes strictly for german comics. When I´m in Erlangen I usually try to get a lot of sketches, which means going to all the signings I can. Sometimes you have to buy the newest comic to get a sketch so it´s better not to have bought the comic in advance. And there is of course the fact that you get comics cheaper at the con than in the shop.
step 2 - make a battleplan for the sketches. This usually means finding out who will attend, who I´m interested in and deciding on the order in which I´m trying to get sketches. This is always subject to change. In some cases I even bring some special issues to sign but that´s an exception. Normally I get the comics I get signed there.
step 3 - trying to get as much money together as I can. Comics can be cheap at Erlangen but food and lodging isn´t. And to top it all off you can spend a year´s salary in Erlangen. So you have to be a little conscious of your spendings.
Step 1 was not that much of a problem. Since my budget is always tight as it is there wasn´t many german comics I did buy aside from the occasional WEISSBLECH production like HORRORSCHOCKER. And the last time I was there was 2006 so there were a lot of comics I still didn´t have.
Step 2 was a complete no - go because I opted for finishing the HORST story instead of getting information about the signing schedule. And as for step 3 - I had to make do with the budget I had. Which was becoming shorter at the first gas station when I paid my half of the gas money.
Initially I had planned to go by train but thanks to my brother we took the car. And I really have to say thankfully because without it I have no idea how we would have reached my hotel that was 10 kilometers outside of Erlangen. No wonder nobody from the Comicforum had ever heard of it. I had managed to get all my stuff in one big suitcase which I picked because it´s the only one where the camping chair fits. At my age it´s impossible to stand in line for hours so I have to bring the chair with me. Too bad I didn´t need it. Okay, when I was waiting at the busstation at the second hotel where I stayed it came in pretty handy.
Looking out the window I´m reminded that initially the weather forecast prophecied good weather from Thursday to Sunday and the sun didn´t come out till Saturday. I didn´t pack much stuff : my small sketchbook, my new big sketchbook, showering gel, toothbrush, towel, underwear and t - shirts to change, a few more t - shirts ( just in case ) and the usual assortment of stuff like gloves, a scarf, pencils, other stuff to draw, the mp3 player etc, etc.
This time we took a different route that was much faster that my brother had found through the internet. But this wasn´t the only surprise for me : besides doing the navigation I was also promoted to chronicle of the journey which in this case meant recording the trip with the camera. Now that in itself is no big deal IF you know it before or get a bit of training. All I got was a ten second crash course how to turn the camera on and I have to say if you keep that in mind I wasn´t so bad. I don´t know if my footage is usable at all but hey, you want quality you gotta be a bit more patient.
All in all the trip wasn´t that bad and we soon arrived in Erlangen. Somehow it was all still familiar but also different. We went to get the tickets ( we always get tickets for the whole four days ) and then decided to eat because we still had some time till they opened the doors. My brother thought that we would be late because he thought they would start at ten but since they started at noon we still had some time. Now we have had bad experiences with going out to eat during conventions but this time I have to say we really lucked out.
In retrospect I have to say that we might have spent too much money on food but that´s something I have to watch the next time around. We went looking for a restaurant in the sidestreets because you find better ones away from where all the tourists go. Most of them were closed at the time, like a restaurant that had albondigas but we found the MIKE`S EKU STEAKHOUSE where the prices were in the middle range but the food was excellent and the helping more than sufficent. The waitress was a nice girl and the service was excellent. I tried to find the website but it seems there is only one for the main restaurant in Fürth.
So we started the convention with a good experience and a full belly. Usually it takes me a bit of time till I´m at operating temperature which usually happens after I have bought my first comics. This time I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size of it and because it was pretty packed for the first day.
I had no idea who was signing, what the programm was, which discussions were held or which exhibitions were planned, so instead I tried to find some people who I wanted to talk with. Since the lay of the convention is always the same I went to the section of the german indie publishers where I met GRINGO COMICS Girl Friday Holger Bommer.
Of course I had no idea what new comics they had - it´s easy to loose track with the amount of output they have - of which the ones that interested me most where the new HARTMUT issue HARTMUT SUCHT DEN SUPERSTAR and the second book of KOMMISAR EISELE a comic by Martin Frei
( sorry that I forgot that you wrote the stories ) about a swabian police officer. Of course he has a woman as his new partner that just has been transferred to the swabian Kripo and doesn´t know much about the swabian people and their customs, who serves as the identification figure of the reader - at least the ones who are not swabian. It´s full of local colour which is part of it´s charme.
The art is different than in other works by Martin Frei like my favorite SUPERBABE or others but that´s one of the things I like about his art. It´s always adapting and although it is still recognizable as Martin´s individual style it always changes according to the needs of the story. Here´s a preview from the first book.
And I really don´t have to say much about the adventures of HARTMUT, do I ? I already wrote a bit about it here and there´s not much to add. One of THE best german comics even for people who don´t read comics. I promised to buy a copy in the next days since I always have to buy two : one for my own collection and one for my brother - in - law. And if I can buy them in Erlangen or at another convention I can even get it signed.
With the promise of a future purchse ( I bought the new HARTMUT issue on Sunday ) I then went to the WEISSBLECH COMICS booth ( I´m not sure if I gave Geier the new spanish translation of the newest HORST story before that or right after it ) where I made my first purchase of the day and got my first sketch of the convention. The sketch I got was Charon the storyteller from HAMMERHARTE HORRORSCHOCKER by mastermind / publisher / writer / artist Levin Kurio himself and I bought the big " Weissblech year´s worth of comics convention special " which is all the publications of this year which is roughly 32 bucks of comics for meager 25.
Included are HORRORSCHOCKER issues 21 and 22, WELTEN DES SCHRECKENS 2 and 3 and XXX COMICS 10. Since I already had issue 21 of HORRORSCHOCKER Kevin was so nice to switch it for WEISSBLECHS WELTBESTE COMICS - WOLLÜSTIGE VAMPIRE AUS DEM WELTALL and he even threw the new free mini comic ( WEISSBLECH does the best mini comics ever ) and the GRATIS COMIC TAG into the package.
This took out a big chunk of my comic budget but it was totally worth it. For me as a fan of horror comics and comics like TALES FROM THE CRYPT, WEISSBLECH is the leader in the segment of high quality comic trash entertainment in Germany. Good writing, good production value and always with the top german comic artists doing some stories. In this bunch I have to say that Kolja Schäfer was really standing out. He had the stories PAPIERHELDEN ( paper heroes ) - which is reprinted in the GRATIS COMIC TAG issue - and STRAFVERSETZT ( transfered for disciplinary reasons ) in HORRORSCHOCKER 22, he did the Kala lead story DIE MUTTER DER BERGE ( the mother of the mountains ) in WELTEN DES SCHRECKENS 2 and the back up story ICH WAR ZEUGE DER INVASION DER SUPERLADIES ( I was a witness to the invasion of the superladies ) in WEISSBLECHS WELTBESTE COMICS - WOLLÜSTIGE VAMPIRE AUS DEM WELTALL.
So I got the full Kolja Schäfer package and judging from his impressive art and his awesome coloring I can guarantee that we will be seeing more of this talented artist in the pages of WEISSBLECH and maybe in some other projects.
And with this I´m coming to the end of this day´s post since it´s time to go to bed for me. In the next part we will continue with my adventures on the first day of Erlangen like how we didn´t find our car ( always a favorite in Erlangen ) or what happened at the country party.
Of course some other comicfans were faster than me so if you want to read more about Erlangen 2010 here are some links. Sorry, it´s all in german :
New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN :