Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gratis Comic Tag 2011 and other stuff

Initially I just wanted to do a quick post to announce the upcoming GRATIS COMIC TAG in 2011 but as usual it has become longer due to some other news I didn´t get to post because of the flu. But I´ve kept the GRATIS COMIC TAG at the top. Sorry, once again.


It seems despite all the scepticism before the first ever GERMAN FREE COMICBOOK DAY that the event was a big success. I have read a few articles on the subject and a lot of dealers were surprised how much comics they sold by giving away free comics.

Well, maybe those americans DO know a thing or two about selling comics with their FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. Since I haven´t seen any online announcements yet, I want to remind readers that the 2nd GRATIS COMIC TAG is taking place on the 14th of May, 2011. Another sign that the first GRATIS COMIC TAG was successfull is the fact that the numbers have increased from 17 publishers offering 30 free comic books to 28 publishers offering 44 ( ! ) different free comic books.

Last year there were the usual problems for regular customers - some shops took no reservations - while a few of the dealers had a problem with the whole concept of " free comics ". My advice : ask your local comicshop how they are going to handle it in advance and don´t get mad if you don´t get all your favorites. The event is designed to get you to read new stuff anyway.

I don´t know if there are still a lot of last year´s free comics around, but I know that they probably still have a few left at my regular comicshop. If you remember I gave some of them away for the big christmas contest so no, I´m not hording them.

  • official gratis comic tag website

  • checklist of the 44 comics

  • list of participating comicshops

  • feedback from last year

  • Another novelty from last year is the KIDS LOGO which doesn´t mean that there´s a kids motto at this year´s GRATIS COMIC TAG. But it seems last year there was a bit of confusion about which comics were suitable for children ( not HORST or HORRORSCHOCKER ) so this should make it easier. And now dealers can be sure when handing out copies of POLLY AND THE PIRATES, one of the highlights of this year´s happening.

    To the list of this year´s most wanted freebies I would also add THE MUPPET SHOW, THE GOON, PERRY UNSER MANN IM ALL, TALES FROM THE VAULT OF THE GRINGO, DIE TOTEN SPECIAL, DER TOD UND DAS MÄDCHEN and WEISSBLECH´S GRATIS GRUSELSTUNDE. After last year´s excellent HORRORSCHOCKER comic they are now also presenting stories from WELTEN DES SCHRECKENS, their newest anthology title.

    So contact your local comic dealer about which events they have planned ( I heard there were quite a number of signings tied to the GRATIS COMIC TAG 2010 ) or pick a shop from the list and have fun ! If this keeps on being such a great day for comicshops it may even become an institution.

    By the way, if you´re wondering why there hasn´t been any report about the last FREE COMIC BOOK DAY on this blog : so far I only got 4 comics of the ones I ordered. I´m not complaining, but that´s really meager to do a qualified overview. Maybe this year my chances are better as I have put more possible candidates on the list.


    Women and comics are a constant topic on this blog and here are a few more links about this " strange idea " I have - according to some people - that women don´t find access to comics as easy as men. And that they might read comics for different reasons. In HOW I BECAME A COMIC BOOK CONSUMER the talented Faith Erin Hicks tells about her own troubled road to comics while Jill Thompson has started phase II of her LADIES COMIC PROJECT.

    Which would have been really news if I had gotten to post it when I first got the link. As it is the series - in which women who usually don´t read comics pick a graphic novel and later share thier thoughts about it - is already in it´s fourth installment. As it´s really interesting reading material here are the links : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

    In THE VALUE OF ONE Carla Hoffmann writes about FANTASTIC FOUR 587, the now - famous DEATH issue in which one of Marvel´s firast family kicks the bucket that comes polybagged. I haven´t read it yet so I can´t say if it´s a good issue or not. I DO know who is the FF´s newest ex - member thanks to Marvel itself spoiling the hell out of it. Although if you read my last post on the subject - especially the Suzanne Vega quote " if heroes go down they go down in flames " - you might have thought I already knew who was going to die.

    Well, as usual I´ll wait with my verdict till I have the actual issue....although the way the issue keeps selling out it also might be....if I can get my hands on it.


    One of the best - written, best - drawn superhero comics out there that still fails to get the recognition it deserves is Erik Larsen´s SAVAGE DRAGON. This title is more shocking, has more gore and more unexpected plot twists than any other comic on the racks today. Really, I can´t understand why it doesn´t sell better. At 3.50 it´s still cheaper than most Marvel comics and offers more entertainment.

    You might think that there would be thousand of comic fans clamoring for a title that doesn´t have constant crossover or big meaningless events that never change a thing. This is a title which 170th issue is written, drawn and inked by the same man that did issue 1. And he did all the issues in - between.

    Now people tell me that reading SAVAGE DRAGON can be complicated but I have to say it´s not as complicated as most mainstream superhero comics that are read by thousands. If somebody asks me, the only difficult thing concerning SAVAGE DRAGON is that it´s read something else after it. I really tried but after the edge - of - your - seat - action of it things like BATMAN ODYSSEY, USAGI YOJIMBO or even JOHN BYRNE´S NEXT MEN seem rather dull and uninspired.

    Because really, nothing else comes close to the excellence that is SAVAGE DRAGON. The last storyline began with Dragon coming back to the police force, going up against an evil duplicate from a prallel world ( come to think of it Dragon´s living on a parallel world himself since his world got destroyed ), getting half his brain eaten by an imperfect duplicate and being presumed dead.

    Which happens a lot since he got better self - healing powers than Wolverine. But what began like business as usual turned into Erik´s best storyline so far ( which is saying a lot with the brilliant stories he has come up so far ) with more blood, more non - stop action, more Dragon duplicates you can shake a stick at ( stolen identity times 100 ! ) and the return of the most unexpected villain of all. This is Erik´s big opus in which he answers questions that came up 17 years ago ( longtime readers will remember the pages ) that ends.....well, that would be telling.

    Let me just say that the end of last issue surpassed all expectations and now the question is not only " What comes next ? " but also " Is there a NEXT ? "

    Here´s a review of issue 169 aptly named AFTERMATH and you shouldn´t read it if you don´t want any spoilers on one of 2011 best stories.


    We´re still not finished : MULTIVERSITY COMICS has an interview with Image Comics' Publisher Eric Stephenson about Image's success from 2010, where it´s headed in 2011, and the overall health of the medium. The WALL STREET JOURNAL has an interesting article about Mr. Taschen the founder of the famous TASCHEN BOOKS ( you may remember their newest Superman book that in itself could be declared a deadly weapon - from the weigth alone. Chris Arrant over at ROBOT 6 ponders the question ARE TEASERS BIG PLEASERS IN COMIC MARKETING ?

    Mtv has an interview with J. Michael Straczynski at GEEK NEWS where he talks about EVERYTHING and waay to late for BLACK HISTORY MONTH here is the comicbook that changed a nation.

    Not as significant but ARCHIE is in the headlines again, this time with Kevin Keller , their newest character who happens to be gay. Can´t wait till the Archie collections are available from amazon.


    I know, after all the articles about comics, do you really need one more reading tip from me ?

    The answer is yes, if it´s the brilliant WORMWORLD SAGA - and you don´t already know it. WORMWORLD SAGA is a german webcomic ( don´t worry, there´s an english version available ) that tells a fantasy saga in lavishly illustrated, painted pictures. Now the really innovative part here is that the story is not cut up into various pages but it´s one giant page that reads from top to bottom.

    And you as the reader decide where to stop on your screen and when you read it. A really brilliant idea. So far there is an english version, a spanish version, a french version, a portugese version, a russian version and even a turkish version available through the main page. Right now the creator of the comic, Daniel Lieske is trying to get WORMWORLD SAGA apped - if that´s the right word. So if you like the comic feel free to donate something.

    As a lot of the links are a bit old here´s something old that MIGHT be new to a few of my german readers : the 1960 classic Superman cartoon THE FORCE PHANTOM.

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

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