Friday, June 14, 2013

Recommendations - horror and underground

 After a few days rest - and some trouble with the internet connection - it´s time for a new post. Since it´s officially spring now Germany is drowning under a tidal wave caused by constant rain ( news links ).

Thankfully I´m not in the parts of Germany that are affected because only thinking about all my comics in the cellar getting wet gives me the shivers. So since the weather is just an open invitation to stay indoors and read some comics here are some recommendations from me.

I was a bit hesitant to do this post since it means that the Spider - Man post on which I toiled so long won´t be on the front page anymore but there are some things I urgently have to post. And the Spider - Man post has to disappear from the front sometime, whether I like it or not. 


Yes, another recommendation for one of Dark Horse´s Eerie collections, this time for EERIE ARCHIVES VOLUME 12. Man, I´m really assembling some serious shelf porn in my room with these hardcovers.  

I probably shouldn´t order this since I just got the NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volumes 2 and 3 but these opportunities don´t come around that often and so far I have never regretted taking the chance. Plus, lately I have noticed that I like it more to read my favorite comics again and again in the collected edition format.

Now I probably will have to delay my regular visit to the comicshop a bit longer and I can´t write my post about the GRATIS COMIC TAG 2013 for a few more weeks ( since I still haven´t gotten many of the issues ) but it´s totally worth it. This pretty much blows my budget for this month but since I´m not going to Spain this year anyway - again - what better to spend the money on than comics ? I mean, I still have one season of BONES and THE MENTALIST to watch and around two seasons of ANGEL and DALLAS as well as two thirds of the second season of THE WALKING DEAD. My biggest problem right now is finding the time to read all the comics I buy, do new posts here and getting enough sleep.

But back to EERIE ARCHIVES VOLUME 12, like with the other two volumes before the creators list reads like a Who´s Who of comics with such names like Steve Skeates, Doug Moench, Wally Wood, Bernie Wrightson, Richard Corben, Paul Neary as well as spanish paisanos Isidoro Mones, Martin Salvador, Leopoldo Sanchez, Esteban Maroto and Jaime Brocal who have become mainstays of the book.

Once again it´s now offered for a real bargain price at which is 22.14 EUROS ( 23,64 with package and handling ) and I don´t expect it will stay at this price very long so you might not want to wait too much. Contained are issues 56 to 60 of the legendary horror anthology series, or more accurately issues 56 to 58 and issue 60 since 59 is another reprint issue and the stories have already been included in previous volumes.

If you have already ordered volumes 10 and 11 you are probably anxious to read the further adventures of Hunter and to find out how Dr. Archeus´ quest - to kill the 12 jurors who sentenced him to death - continues. And you will probably be delighted to start the new series THE SPOOK.  And if you still haven´t gotten one here´s another chance to get one of these expensive 50 buck books at half price. But don´t just take my word for it, here are some preview pages from Bernie Wrightson´s part of the book, courtesy of Dark Horse and of course you can take a look inside on the amazon page. Man, I really should get some dough for all this pimping.


Speaking about pimping I wanted to pimp a new german underground comic - which regrettably is not the new U - COMIX from Underground Comix. Longtime readers may recalled that I mentioned german cult comic U - COMIX on this blog once or twice before.

Back when I started reading comics for adults U - COMIX was the funny pendant to SCHWERMETALL, the german version of HEAVY METAL, and it had all the great american underground creators in it like Robert Crumb, Bill Griffith or Gilbert Shelton as well as french artists like Maester, Edika, Margerin, Gotlieb or Francois Thomas. With time most greats from the german independent scene contributed and many comic artists who are big stars now made their first steps in this book.

Now there is a new version of it on german newsstands and comicshops from german publisher Underground Comix and with such a name you know they must be fans of the original. Sadly, that´s not enough.

So far Underground Comix has online comics as well print comics like the Christmas Horror Comic anthology and the KAKERLAK COMIC ( about which I already wrote in this post ) and now they make a foray to the newsstands with the new U - COMIX. The first issue was a free comic for the GRATIS COMIC TAG 2013 and the second issue is available right now.  My brother brought both issues back from the Comicfest in Munich and he was very disappointed with the new version. As I have heard the entire Comicfest was a bit disappointing this year but that´s what happens when you ignore the old saying to never do a comic convention in Bavaria when Bayern Munich wins any kind of championship. I mean, the regular bavarian probably doesn´t care very much about comics and it really doesn´t help when the city is full of hundreds of drunk soccer fans.

I´m just glad I didn´t take my brother´s invitation to join him that weekend and stayed at home instead. I think it would have been a big waste of time and money.

Now I´m really afraid to make a segueway so let´s stick with the usual BUT BACK TO U - COMIX instead. I really would like to say that this is a worthy continuation of the classic cult comic but I really can´t do that with a clear conscience.

I mean, the talent involved in the comic is not unimpressive and there are even some contributions from Gilbert Shelton himself ( who was one of the guests of the Comicfest this year ) but still it isn´t the same. Now part of that is trying to recreate lightning in a bottle, in this case what was one of the big cult comics in Germany. The other part - at least in my humble opinion - comes from trying to do underground comics without really having an idea of what really is underground. And let´s face it, I don´t think there are a lot of comic artists in Germany who really know what underground is. You see, in Germany EVERY comic artist wants to do underground. Nobody wants to do mainstream. So if everybody is doing underground the real underground would be the mainstream which then leads to such strange incidents like POWER FREAKS being totally underground for trying to be mainstream.

But back to U - COMIX, while the comic in and of itself is not bad it has to fail with the goal it set for itself. Some of the art is really great but too many of the stories are just bland, too long or just not funny. I think the comic which sums this up best is the one about the guy who is on the same plane as german Schlager star Michael Wendler ( you´re so much better of not knowing who that is ) and who is offended because one passenger calls him an underground musician. And that´s the problem.

What some people may define as underground may not be what other people think of as underground because it´s very subjective.

Also, there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path as a great man once said. In the comic I mentioned the narrator goes on to describe what underground means to him but in the end he´s only reciting the examples the media propagates as underground which means a certain type of music and of course drug abuse.

Now the question is if in these times drug abuse is really part of the counter culture or if that´s just one of the stereotypes that fall into socially accepted norms. Somehow reading this comic you miss a certain edge but not for a lack of trying - instead it seems to be a lack of understanding where underground comix really came from. But maybe I´m just analyzing this too much. I´m feeling like one of these guys who tries to explain the concept of coolness to somebody who has never watched an episode of PARKER LEWIS. Anyway, I´m probably not the most qualified person to talk about underground as I´m probably the least underground - ish human on the planet. The biggest manifestation of alternative culture on my part is still not owning a cell phone. I think I have said my piece and if anybody out there wants to make up his mind on his own ( which I´m always for ) you can find an interview with the guys behind the comic here and a review from somebody who agrees with me here .


Now you may ask, if there ARE german underground comics ? The answer is YES and one excellent example is Mamei and Leo Kircheis´ ROCKET BLUES - MATIE OR BISMARCK HERRING which won the ICOM Award 2011 .

This comic has everything you expect in an underground comic from weird ideas to over the top characters and an odyssey about the big questions of life that starts with something as simple as a fish sandwich.

Although to clarify things, we are not talking about the kind of fish sandwich you might get at McYouknowwho. No Sir, we are talking about a Fischbrötchen which you get in Dresden - Pieschen at a snack stall where they have 40 different kinds of fish sandwiches. The most common are bismarck herring or maties ( also called soused herring ), which brings us to the main focus of the story : our main character, a plain everyman called Laszlo Lommatzsch, is driving on the Autobahn

when an accident - caused by a fish sandwich - propels him into space where he starts on an adventure right out of the pages of Douglas Adams´ HITCHHIKER´S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. He wakes from a six month coma in a rocketship with amnesia only to find himself face to face with an alien pinguin, a crocodile that is the doctor, a bare breasted dancer, a rocking cleaning woman ( you don´t know how long I have waited to work this Steve Martin reference into my posts ) and the captain Rocket who bears a vague semblance to a german tv show host.

Although I might be wrong about this since it is never really said to whom this Rocket has an uncanny likeness. Anyway, on his quest to regain his memory and find a way home Laszlo comes across teleporting toilets,

a scientist with an exposed brain who looks like Albert Einstein, Nazis in Space and the most important question is if he had bismarck or maties herring before his accident. If only he could remember.

ROCKET BLUES is advertised as an " intergalactic funny sci - fi adventure road movie, in which road means mainly the milky way "  and it really reads like one of the old underground comics with it´s epic scale and all too human longings and you wouldn´t be too surprised to find it next to ZIPPY THE PINHEAD or WONDER WARTHOG. The real surprise is that it´s by a german creator team and a rather new comic The art is rough, edgy, very detailed and outright funny. I can´t stress that enough : this comic is hilarious and like all the great works of art it takes something as simple as a fish sandwich to explores the microcosmos within ourselves. My recommendation as the feelgood comic of the week.

For more about the comic here´s a review of Rocket Blues ( sorry, it´s in german ) or you can go to the Rocket Blues blog .

As you may have noticed, we didn´t get to talk about NEMI - again - but this post got kind of away from me. Which also is nothing new. But I have been working on this post for over 6 hours now so I´ll call it a day since I have to work Tomorrow.

But no post is complete with a video at the end and Today´s feature is once again Doctor Who related. But instead of another trailer for the big anniversary I thought I should post something my readers - at least the german readers - might not have seen before. This is the 2007 Children in Need Special TIME CRASH in which The Doctor meets.....naaah, that would be telling.

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

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