Friday, November 22, 2013

Enter : Die erstaunliche Spinne !

It´s been two weeks since my last post and as usual I have been more than busy. I thought about doing the big announcement for the Christmas contest that I decided to do, despite all the trouble it takes, but let´s continue with where we left things off : namely the german comics with Spider - Man. Or like he was called in Germany DIE SPINNE ( the Spider ).


Now I´m sure I have mentioned it before but - as some readers may know - there is  a british comic character called The Spider, who was published in the british comic magazine Vulcan and in Germany in KOBRA comics.

I´m no comic historian but there must have been a lot of confusion because of translations where both characters were called Spinnenmann. What I DO know is that in the end The Spider ( who began his career as a supervillain and became a superhero later on ) was called Spiderman in Germany and Spider - Man ( who was a superhero of whom the general public thought he was a supervillain thanks to The Daily Bugle ) was called Die Spinne. Much later, when KOBRA wasn´t published in Germany anymore Spidey was called Spider - Man but mostly inside of the comic or somewhere below the title. They put things like " New York´s big superhero Spider - Man called DIE SPINNE " on the cover where the last two words were the big logo since that was the " brand " if you will that people were familiar with. So, yes, there were two different Spidermen published in Germany and eventually both of them dressed in black.

Which brings us back to the original Spider - Man Peter Parker and his black costume during SECRET WARS II. Because, like I said, I mentioned the whole Spider - Man / Spider / Kobra thing already a few times.


I only threw it in here on the slim chance somebody might mention it in the comments or hasn´t read any of my previous posts where I touched on that subject. Okay, back to my last post on SECRET WARS II where I talked about Spider - Man´s new black costume. I said that this was the look of " my Spider - Man " which - as you might guess - lead to some comments so I wanted to clear that up. When I wrote " my Spider - Man " I didn´t mean the first Spider - Man I read as a kid or the Spider - Man I grew up with but I meant the one that was around when I started reading US comics in the original format. I finally was not only able to read them but I also had found a place to buy them and because they were many years ahead of the german publications a lot of things were different. Like the new black costume. Which Spider - Man wore in the first american Spider - Man issue I ever bought, AMAZING SPIDER - MAN 292.

Not that you see much of it on the cover since Spidey is squished by another Spider - Slayer in a long line of unsuccessful Spider - Slayers.

So when I started reading the real, un - translated wallcrawler he had this cool new costume and being the unexperienced comic reader I was back then I thought this costume was around to stay, this was the new look.

I know, this sounds naiive from Todays perspective but back then things like this DID happen. Superman wore a different costume than when he first appeared, Iron Man had gone from a garish grey to a golden and then golden and red armor and Daredevil had changed his first yellow and black costume to a new, all red costume. So things like a superhero changing his threads were not that uncommon. And I really liked the new costume. I thought it was a great look as far as a redefinition of an old costume goes and I was in for the whole ride, I ate the whole saga with the black costume up. It didn´t last forever and eventually they went back to the classic red and blue costume ( although they alternated between the new costume and the classic one for a while ) but I was okay with either one.

Of course when I think of Spider - Man ( and I´m not talking about the train wreck that the current series is ) I DO think back to those first german comics I read and it´s the classic costume. And - as you can see from the first picture on this post - it´s John Romita´s Spider - Man.

Sure, I eventually read all of Steve Ditko´s Spider - Man and I don´t want to take anything away from that. It´s a great period of the title and absolutely mindblowing. But the part I really enjoyed was when John Romita took over the book, the whole thing with Mary Jane´s first appearance, Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy´s rivalry about Peter but most of all Silvermane, Man Mountain Marko and the Stone Tablet Saga.

I always felt that Spider - Man was at his best when he was fighting street level criminals and you just can´t get better street level criminals than in the various GANG WAR storylines involving such classic antagonists like Kingpin, Hammerhead, Silvermane, Man Mountain Marko and Intrigo.

Who the what now ? Yeah, I guess readers outside of Germany are not familiar with that particular villain from the GANG WAR stories since that was the name he had over here. Probably to make him more intriguing ?

INTRIGO was of course Kingpin´s son and in the original version he was called The Schemer which I have to admit does not have the same ring as Intrigo. I´m not saying that´s a good thing or that´s a bad thing.

But this was my comfort zone in regards to Spider - Man if you want to call it that. I loved the whole soap opera schtick of the series. And when I say series I´m refering to the german editions by the Williams Verlag.


Now the Williams Verlag was not the first publisher to publish Spider - Man in Germany. There was another one, the Bildschriftenverlag who published Marvel Comics including Spider - Man under the label of HIT COMICS. A period which I was lucky enough to miss almost completely.

When they did the whole Stone Tablet / Gang War saga in DIE SPINNE the Schemer / Intrigo was called Der Tüftler ( which means the tinkerer a name that was already taken in the proper Marvel universe ) in issue 225

which was changed to Der Täuscher ( the deceiver ) in issue 227.

The initiated german comic reader naturally knows all about this dark period of german comic publishing history but I guess you have to explain this to newer comic readers in Germany as well as to readers outside of Germany. To say that the art in which the Bildschriftenverlag published Marvel Comics in Germany was problematic may be the understanding of the century. From jumping over issues to printing issues out of order to missing pages, rearranged pages, really appalling redrawn covers,

horrible translations of the character´s names like HALK for the Hulk,

Die X - Männer or X - Menschen for the Uncanny X - Men

or Teufelskerl Devil - Man for Daredevil ( what a stroke of genius )

this company did the whole nine yards of publishing horrors possible.

So I was really glad that I came in long after that when the Williams Verlag started publishing the Marvel Comics and you could actually read books in the right order. Which is not to say that everything was perfect and there weren´t some strange translations of names like Doctor Doom who was called Doktor Untergang or Doctor Strange whose name in the german comics was Doktor Seltsam. There were some weird things like covers that were changed or the whole Namor / Submariner / Aquarius thing.


It´s been a while since I read my issues of DAS SAGTE NUFF ( the best german publication about all the minutia detail of the chaos that was the publishing history of the Bildschriften Verlag ) so I´m not sure who came up with the whole thing. Fact is that Namor´s name always changed.

On the cover. Back then comics had back up features but unlike some comics that had special back up series produced for them in the german comics they just took regular series - mostly series that could not sustain their own title - as back ups. And since those series were never intended as back ups they didn´t have the required length which meant either dividing the issues into various parts or just cutting stuff. When the sales on THOR became unprofitable it became the back up in DIE SPINNE but when the series started it was Prinz Namor who filled up the issues.

Or Aquarius. Depending on which day of the week is was apparently. Because there is no discernible method to this. No recognizable pattern.

It may be Prinz Namor on one cover and Aquarius on the next without any rhyme nor reason and I really don´t want to speculate on that.


Now as some of my more regular readers know this is the part where I usually post homages to classic comic covers but in this post I´m posting something a little bit different. Does this cover look familiar to you ?

Now, as you can see this is the cover for DIE SPINNE 1 by the Williams Verlag, which did not include the first issue of the AMAZING SPIDER - MAN but instead contained issue 15 of AMAZING FANTASY, the first appearance of Spider - Man. They continued with the regular series from the second issue onwards which is the reason why the german numbering is not the same as the american numbering unless they had to split an issue.

I´m not sure why they didn´t go with the original cover ( especially since they went with all the following covers ) but maybe they didn´t find it exciting enough to lure in new readers. The left part with Spider - Man is from issue 98 of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN ( minus the Green Goblin )

which finally did appear in its original version more than 8 years later when it was published as issue 99 of the german title DIE SPINNE.

And this brings us once again to the end of Today´s post. There were a few things I wanted to add before putting a bow on it and which will have to wait until I do my next post on DIE SPINNE but all things considered I think this one went really well without going into too many tangents.


I didn´t get to do a lot of posts the last two weeks because I was busy with the classic episodes of DOCTOR WHO. The plan was to finish up with the episodes I´m missing until the big 50th anniversary episode but since that will air Tomorrow ( simultaneously around the world ) I won´t.

Here in Germany FOX is airing the last episodes from the current series followed by THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR which I probably have to suffer in the german dubbing. So I will have to wait some time until I can watch it in the original version by which time I will hopefully have finished with the classic episodes. For those of you who want to bridge the time until the special airs who haven´t already seen it here´s THE NIGHT OF THE DOCTOR, a little mini episode starring Paul McGann. Possible spoilers.

As for my own watching of classic Doctor Who right now I´m finishing with season nine which is in the middle of the Jon Pertwee episodes.

Which means it´s a whole season before I can watch Sarah Jane Smith make her entrance in THE TIME WARRIOR of which I found a making of. Now, with the part of finding all the black and white episodes I´m in the middle of the third season which is where a lot of episodes are missing and you have to watch the animated or reconstructed versions. Bummer.

Before coming to the video at the end of the post I just have to mention that Today is the 55th birthday of movie cult siren Jamie Lee Curtis.

At the beginning of her career Jamie was known for her impressive set of lungs as one of the best known Scream Queens and her appearances in various horror movies like PROM NIGHT or HALLOWEEN. Later on she was known for her impressive set of lungs....but in a different context. To be precisely her 34C - 22 - 34 measurements. When she finally did lose her " Scream Queen " title, it was in exchange for the name " The Body " ( which is also Elle MacPherson's nickname ) thanks to her revealing roles in 1985's PERFECT and TRADING PLACES.

When she went topless she cemented herself a fan base that would last for years. Not only because she decided to disrobe, but because she had a fantastic body, that she was often referred to as "Freeze Frame" ( a nod to all the VCR users' use of the pause button on certain Jamie Lee Curtis scenes ). What is really remarkable about Jamie is that she did her best striptease very late in her career in the Schwarzenegger flick TRUE LIES.

In fact it's so popular that it's almost impossible to find pictures of her that are not stills from that scene.

She even won a poll for best striptease in 2007. Being a horror fan and a fan of movies like HALLOWEEN, THE FOG or PROM NIGHT as well as a fan of Jamie's more sexy performances I couldn't let this opportunity pass to whish her many happy returns. Be sure to check out my MOVIE CULT SIREN JAMIE LEE CURTIS post that I did last year at length and where you can find more pictures and stuff.

But nevertheless, before finishing this I wanted to pimp a comic I just ordered from at a real bargain price to my german readers.

It´s IDW´s STAR TREK - THE JOHN BYRNE COLLECTION hardcover, a 480 plus pages book that has a regular price of 50 Dollars and is available from for less than 20 bucks at the moment. When that thing arrived at my home I almost fell over at one side because it´s so heavy. If you are a fan of Star Trek or John Byrne ( which I am both ) or like me you bought the Doctor McCoy miniseries for yourself but ended up giving it away as a Christmas present this is the book for you. It contains all four miniseries John Byrne did for IDW and two of the trades will already cost you more than this book so if you haven´t already gotten three of them this is your chance. There are 6 copies left but don´t wait too long.

Today I´m putting two videos on the end of the post. It´s been longer than usual since my last post and the first one is really short. It´s an animation of various commissions John Byrne did which I´m putting here to show why I still absolutely love John Byrne´s comics. Check this out.

The second video is the continuation of THE TERROR OF THE SUPER FRIENDS I started in my last post. After I survived the horror of THE PIED PIPER FROM SPACE the next episode ATTACK OF THE VAMPIRE serves up a real blood - curling story and once again scared the whatnot out of me.

In the story none other than Dracula himself wants to achieve world domination by turning people into - zombies. Which doesn´t make a lot of sense since it would be easier if he turned people into vampires. I mean, he´s a vampire so wouldn´t he turn people into vampires to take over the world ? You could argue that it´s a kids show so showing Dracula turning people into zombies by blowing a magical powder on them is not as frightening as having him bite people. But then he could also turn them into vampires by blowing some magical powder on them. It´s not like this stuff is scientifically accurate. And it´s scary however you do it - because it´s vampires for God´s sake ! Once you have crossed that line there´s no paddling back.I mean what´s the thought process behind this ? Oh, we´re going to do vampires but we won´t make them scary because it´s a kids show ? Dude, this is WALKER TEXAS RANGER all over again.

Okay, two last things I want to mention before the clip : first up, since the whole Justice League ( and when I say Justice League I mean Super Friends ) get turned into vampires does that make a Bat - Batman out of Batman or a Batman - Bat ? Or maybe just Vampire - Bat - Man.

And is it a strange coincidence that the zombie version of Superman

looks exactly like the pre - Supergirl Matrix character in Action Comics 644 when she goes crazy and ends up thinking she´s Superman ?

As with the previous SUPER FRIENDS episode I couldn´t find the full video but I think these highlights ( and when I say highlights I mean .... well, I´m not sure. Maybe these are the highlights ) give you a good idea.

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

No comments: