Tuesday, March 27, 2012

While I´m preparing my next Moebius post

It has been a while since my last post so before we get right into the next phase of my adventures with Moebius I decided to take a break and not talk about Moebius. Well, not really since I will mention him nonetheless.

My next post will cover one of the earliest phases of my reading evolution, the part when I was just beginning and had no idea how lucky I was to start with such great publications like MV Comix and ZACK.

I have already written a bit about all the western comics you could find in those pages in my WILD WILD WEST GERMANY post so I don´t want to repeat all that. There is however another western comic that I didn´t mention and which was one of my favorites. PETER O´PENCIL was a comic about a reporter travelling the Wild West, having funny adventures and writing reports on that. I really liked the art and if some german publisher would reprint it I would buy it in a second.

It seems there were much more anthology comics around back then and german readers were used to get their monthlies in parts through comic magazines like KOBRA, MV Comix or ZACK. In ZACK they really covered all the genres and they had a lot of funny comics in there, like PITTJE PIT which was funny pirates. Yes, I was young and naiive and I really thought there was something funny about plundering, pillaging, murder and rape. Ho ho ho, the fun life of pirates.

Another great funny comic was CUBITUS by Dupa and I don´t know why but I somehow identified with the intelligent, lazy lead character who was constantly plagued by that stupid cat. Coincidence, fate, chance ? Be that as it may I was never a cat person and although I was rather skinny as a kid I now have the same physical appearance as Cubitus.

There were also crime comics, in fact a whole lot of crime comics like RICK MASTER or BOB MORANE and also GENTLEMEN GMBH which I think was kind of a villain / espionage book since I remember that they had sting - like operations and were persecuted by the law or something. Kind of the fathers of LEVERAGE but cooler. And although they were called the Gentlemen GmbH there was at least one gentlewoman in the bunch.

They also had the adventures of this fellow whose name sounds really familiar. Now either these are the stories before he donned his Iron Man armour and colored his hair black or this is just one of these weird coincidences.

And speaking about familiar things, maybe this cover looks like you´ve seen it before. Many of the ZACK covers were collages to slap as much of the content on the front page as possible. Yes, it was all about selling the comics in those days. And while there is a little BLUEBERRY blurb on the top most of the cover is from the LUCKY LUKE album THE STAGECOACH or DIE POSTKUTSCHE how it is called in Germany.

They kept most of the cover intact but apparently Lucky Luke needed to be on the cover so they just put him in. Which is why he looks a bit weird.


One of the things I did since my last post was to pay my comicshop DIE SAMMLERECKE a visit to look for that missing Moebius comic in my collection. Because there´s always one you are missing, the one you always meant to buy but kept putting off for some reason. Now when I wrote my first post about Moebius I pulled out all the INCAL comics I had and remembered that there was one part I was missing which was part 6, IN NÄCHSTER NÄHE.

Either someone borrowed it and never gave it back ( which is why it´s always better to give comics away than to let someone borrow them ) or I just read it when it was published in SCHWERMETALL and only thought I had bought the collected edition.

But this was not the comic I was looking for. Through my research for the Moebius posts I stumbled on another comic I was missing and didn´t even know. Apparently FEEST which published the JOHN DIFOOL - BEFORE THE INCAL series by Jodorowsky and Janetov also published a 13th album called JOHN DIFOOL AFTER THE INCAL - KHARTHASIS which was once again drawn by Moebius.

Now I have said that if you can´t find a comic at the Sammlerecke you will probably not find it at all but I hope I´m wrong in this instance. Because try as I might I couldn´t find it. What I did find is another spin - off from the INCAL series, THE LAST INCAL by Jodorowsky and fellow paisano Jose Ladronn. Yes, I know. Somehow this whole Incal stuff is worse then Pokemon. Just when you think you have collected them all you stumble over another edition. So even if I didn´t find what I was originally looking for there is a new item on my " need to read " list. Although it´s not urgent right now.

Erlangen is in a few months and you should never buy any german comics right before Erlangen. Unless it´s absolutely necessary.


Okay, so I went to my comicshop on a Saturday which is not how I usually do things. Because it´s quite a trip to go all the way to Esslingen - even if I take the subway instead of the car - so I don´t do it on the weekend. Now that I´m working on most Saturdays the best day to do it is Wednesday so I can go there after work and I can enjoy my comics till Saturday.

I used to make the trip at least once a month but there are not as many books on my pull list as there used to be - caused on one side by higher prices and on the other side by DC sabotaging most of the books I used to read - so lately I´m going every two months.

But last week a friend wanted to go to the comicshop with me and my brother and he could only go on Saturday so I switched my working day from Saturday to Friday. And yes, I know you should say " he wanted to go with my brother and me " but while that may be grammatically correct it´s absolutely wrong in a logical sense. Since I´m the only one who has been at the comicshop before and knows the way my friend can´t go with my brother - and me. My brother didn´t know the way. If he wanted to go to the comicshop he would have to go with me. And my brother would also have to go with me. So, it´s " with me - - - and my brother ".

Which is totally hypothetical since the friend I mentioned didn´t show up. Either something happened or the number he gave us was wrong in any case we couldn´t contact him.

But because I had already switched the workdays so I could go to the comicshop I decided to do it even if I had to go alone. It´s been over four weeks since I went the last time and I always have enough comics left in my bag that if I needed to go Tomorrow I could do it and there would be enough comics waiting for me so it wouldn´t be a wasted trip.

I had already made up my mind to take a quiet ride on the subway to Esslingen, maybe get some food at SUBWAY, check out the new magazines at the subway station Stuttgart and maybe take a stroll on the Königstrasse when my brother decided to accompany me. Or rather I would accompany him since he can´t take the subway like normal people. He has to go everywhere with the car. Which means no breaks to get food or check out magazines and no relaxing on the way. I also didn´t exactly understand what his motives were for us doing the trip together since I don´t know the way if you don´t take the subway. We have to take the navi to direct us there and he even ignores that.

Because the navi wanted to lead us to the Autobahn Stuttgart and my brother didn´t want to take the Autobahn. To Stuttgart. On a Saturday. Which is a good idea but because of that we went in the opposite direction the navi wanted us to go and for most of the way it was like " Please turn around at the next street on the left. " , " Please, take the next street on the right and turn around. " or " Please, turn around at the next possibility. "

So I didn´t find the Moebius comic I was looking for but I got something else. I don´t know if I have mentioned this before but at my comicshop there is a second hand section where they charge the comics by the kilo. Yes, you heard right. Instead of the usual 50 percent there´s a weighing machine and you pay 10 EUROS per kilo. Which is really cheap with hardcovers but still okay with regular comics. Because, you see, usually the difference in price between the softcover and the hardcover is 40 percent. Softcovers 15 bucks, hardcovers 25 bucks, difference 10 bucks which is around 40 percent of 25. But the difference in weight is much less. So while you - for example - would get one of those heavy hardcovers by CrossCult for 9 bucks at 50 percent off you get them at 6 bucks if they are paid by weigth.

To make a long explanation short ( although I think that particular train has already left the station ) after I had shown my brother the various sections and given him instructions where to get what I just took a short look at my comicbag before heading to the second hand comic section. On a few occasions I had missed to go there on my comic visits and most often I would later find comics there that I had bought for more money somewhere else. The second hand section is really huge and some of the shelves are so stuffed with comics that they are coming apart.

So I found a few interesting things, in fact as usual way too many comics I would have liked to buy but after some hard thinking I thinned it down to 4 comics which cost me 20 bucks. So what did I get in my 2 kilos of comics ?

The first thing was the KLASSIKER DER COMICLITERATUR - BLUEBERRY pocketbook, especially selected stories by the FAZ feuilleton.

If you don´t know what " feuilleton " means, don´t worry, most germans who use the word don´t know it either. In Germany it´s used for the literary and arts section, originally it was a gossip section attached to the political part of french newspapers and in contemporary french it´s used for soap operas.

What all this means for the german readers is that it´s usually best to skip the introduction since it´s either written by somebody who has absolutely no idea what the comic is all about ( like the guy who proclaimed Batman has finally gotten over the murder of his parents ) or someone who tries to excuse his enjoyment of pop culture trash by fabricating some hidden higher intellectual and sociocultural / cosmopolitical / cultural meaning. With Blueberry the intro was kind of readable and quite informative even if the autor gave a few random happenings more importance than warranted. But it wasn´t so bad. I picked this one because it was still missing in my collection of the FAZ classics and to refresh my memory with Jean Giraud´s western comic. It´s been at least 35 years since I read those issues of ZACK and it is kind of difficult to recall much of it.

The collection contains the famous 5 part story that begins with CHIHUHUA PEARL and continues in THE MAN WHO WAS WORTH 50,000 DOLLARS, BALLAD FOR A COFFIN, OUTLAW and ends in ANGEL FACE. A good choice although I have to say that they could have printed the pages bigger ( they waste a lot of page ) or made the pocketbook smaller ( the book has just the right size that you can´t hold it in your hand comfortably ). So far I´m halfway through BALLAD and I will probably be finished just in time for the next Moebius post that will cover that period in his work.

The second comic that was included in my 20 kilos of comics was also from the FAZ classic collection, this time THE SIMPSONS.

And like I said earlier if you read the introduction you get the feeling that a superhero comic has run over the guy´s dog with his car. After over three decades I have gotten used to the fact that most german comic readers ( and probably most people in Germany period ) consider superhero comics the lowest form of trash but come on. To generalize that all readers of such comics are total slaves of continuity and follow it with a religious fervor bordering on insanity ? Dude, I don´t know which caped crusader pinched your girlfriend but you need to take some chill out pills. It´s like I always say : if you can´t deal with continuity there are other comics to read where nothing of importance happens and everything stays the same. For me continuity is the part where a story makes sense, where the character evolves because of what transpired which is the part that interests me. Does he take responsibility for his actions, does he learn something from it or does he choose to ignore it ? Or it sometimes means that if a hero has bested a villain with ease before he can´t suddenly loose completely without any reason or explanation. Continuity is where a fictional world makes sense and Hewey, Dewey and Louie still are Uncle Scrooge´s nephews and not suddenly his kids.

Anyway, sorry for my continuity rant, I picked the SIMPSONS book because you can´t do much wrong with the Simpsons. Most of the issues are pretty funny, the art is always solid and with the low number of issues I have chances are very low that I know any of the stories. Also since it´s pretty popular in Germany you get less stares if you read it on the bus than with X - MEN or SPIDER - MAN.

Now you might say that 2 measly pocketbooks don´t weigh 20 kilos and you would be right. Number 3 of the comics I got is volume 4 of ESSENTIAL DAREDEVIL, 600 pages of collected blind swashbuckling goodness, most of it drawn by the great Gene Colan.

The backcover is a bit damaged but aside from that it´s in good shape. I always wanted to add some Essentials to my Gene Colan collection but usually money´s too tight to mention. If not I would buy at least one of them Essentials or Showcases each month.

So it´s no wonder that the fourth comic that was included in the 20 bucks was volume 1 of ESSENTIAL MARVEL HORROR, a 648 page collection of various titles starring such great characters like Ghost Rider, Satana and Son of Satan.

So two pocketbooks and two Essentials for 20 bucks, not bad if I may say so myself. Of course I had to leave some books there or I wouldn´t have had any money left to get some comics from my comicbag but I hope that some of them are still there on my next visit.

And with that it´s once again time to wrap things up as another post that was supposed to be just a short explanation of what I have been doing since my last post has become longer and longer and longer. As usually I´m posting a video at the end of the post and this time it´s one I wanted to post a long time ago but I´m not quite sure if I didn´t do it already. It´s Jonathan Ross´ great documentary IN SEARCH OF STEVE DITKO guest starring Neil Gaiman.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest


Anonymous said...

First of all I would like to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I'd like to ask if you don't mind.

I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear
your thoughts before writing. I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.

I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?

Appreciate it!

SUBZERO said...

Well, since I don´t get to write as often as I wish I have usually a few ideas in my head about what I want to write and basically three to four post already partially written in my head.

So, my problem is rather that very often I think I already wrote a complete post only to find it was only in my head. And to the problem of clearing one´s head before writing. I´m one of those guys who forgets everything else when I´m concentrating. That´s why I can´t listen to podcasts or music while writing because once I have started my mind just blends it out.

Now I bet this is not very helpful, is it ? Okay, as someone with a lot of life experience I´m going to give you a free tip. If you don´t know how to begin then DON`T. What I mean is you have to flexible so if you know a good subject for your post but don´t have a beginning start somewhere in - between. Start with writing the best part or the part you already have in your head. I write and re - write and re - re - write every post. And the good thing with starting in the middle or with the end is you know where you´re going and can adapt the beginning accordingly.

If experience has taught me one thing about writing than that the best things you write are not always the ones where you know how to start.