Sunday, June 29, 2014

Erlangen - getting there and back again

It´s been a week since I came back from the Comic Salon in Erlangen and it feels kind of surreal. Looking back now I could almost think it didn´t happen if it wasn´t for the huge pile of ( new ) comics I have to read.


And I´m saying " a huge pile of new comics " because there´s another pile on my desk with old comics that I have to put somewhere pretty soon.

Because just Yesterday I got two packages : one with my latest order from amazon and another from my online comic shop. Normally this is a good thing and I spend most of the weekend reading new comics and bagging and boarding my comic collection but right now I just don´t know where to begin with. On one side it´s great to have that many comics to read but one of the downsides of finding all those comics you had missing in your comic collection at conventions is that you have to put them in the collection and I haven´t the foggiest idea where to find my issues of SHAMAN´S TEARS or how to fit all the WEISSBLECH comics into the box.


( HORROR SCHOCKER just celebrated it´s 10th anniversary, congrats ! )

Thank the comic gods above that I still have the FLASH longbox under my desk and I found the place where I previously put my old VALIANT trades but I already had to take out some stuff from my comic shelf to put in the Legion Archives and the second ALRAUNE hardcover. I´ll either need a new box ( probably more than one ) for my trades and comics or I will definitely have to get rid of the computer desk to put in another shelf.

Which would probably be the better solution because I need a place to put my album sized comics like HORROR SCHOCKER and Black Tower comics.

But I really don´t want to complain because it´s always good to have a lot of comics to read. Yes, at the moment my desk looks like it was hit by a comic bomb but eventually I will get it all cleaned up once I have read all the stuff I got at Erlangen - and written about it on my blog. So right now you are probably wondering why it took me one week to start the post about my latest trip to the 16th Comic Salon in Erlangen. And you are without any doubt expecting to hear some wild adventures with me rescuing some damsels in distress and pulling off some daring escapes.


Well, the truth is much more mundane. I just was tired. I´m not as fit as I used to be and my knee injury especially made Erlangen less exciting.

THE HOPPLING - AN EXPECTED JOURNEY TO COMIC SALON ERLANGEN

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Okay, that sounds a bit melodramatic but if you have read this blog for a while you know that I like to exaggerate. A bit. On occasion. But I´m not kidding in this case.

Erlangen is not as much fun if you can´t walk at least 12 hours straight. Because not only do you have to keep walking when you are at the con since there are not that many sitting accommodations available. The general idea is to get the people moving from table to table so they can browse - and hopefully buy - more comics after all. But if you want to attend the discussions or visit one of the many comic expositions that means more walking. And there never is somewhere to sit down at an exposition. You know, I only organized one art expo in my life ( although I helped prepare at least a dozen when I was working at the art museum in Kornwestheim ) but I did make sure there was a chair and some food and drinks so that the visitors could sit down and take time to study the art.

But that´s not the topic of this post. Maybe I will chronicle my adventures into the world of art if there are enough readers interested in that. Okay, back to Erlangen. Yes, you can take a break in between and go to your hotel ( which I did often since my hotel room was not that far away from the convention ) or get something to eat ( which in my case mostly were restaurants along the way to the hotel because of my bad knee ) but I didn´t have the stamina to go out afterwards - I was just wiped out after six or seven hours of walking. So I missed out on all that excitement.


And that IS a big part of the Erlangen experience. Not only seeing all the latest comics in Germany in one place but to go to the comic exhibitions.

To partake in the panel discussions, spend some time drinking with old buddies and hopefully rub shoulders with comic pros, see some cool cosplayers and talk with other comic fans while standing in line to get comics signed and hopefully some sketches from your favorite artists.

SKETCH AS SKETCH CAN

This is one of the reasons why I also said this was the best of times. Because I managed to get a lot of sketches for my bigger sketchbook.

Oddly enough this was the first time I went to Erlangen without having any particular artist that I absolutely wanted to get a sketch from. And of course I ended up with more sketches than last time. Because there was nobody announced that garnered my special sketch attention ( with a few exceptions but most of them were signing at the PANINI booth and trying to get a sketch there is mostly a waste of time since comic fans have to participate in the PANINI version of The Hunger Games to get lucky ) I decided to leave my little sketchbook at home. There are only a few blank pages left so I only take it with me for special artists and I get the better ones with the big sketchbook anyway. I also thought that I would probably only loose it somewhere so it stayed in the drawer. But I managed to get some really cool sketches including one from Toni Greis which is like the Holy Grail for german convention goers because Toni only manages to do a few sketches each day. Not because he´s lazy or slow but because he puts so much work into it. So the wait to get a sketch is totally worth it.


( Cosplay goddess Yaya Han by Toni Greis, sadly not the sketch I got )

Another reason why my trip to the Comic Salon Erlangen wasn´t a total bust is that it is still Erlangen, the biggest comic convention in Germany.

Especially now that the Comicbörse in Stuttgart is cancelled until further notice it´s one of the best places to get comics at a bargain price. Plus you can get many comics signed and with a little sketch from the artists.

You can buy stuff directly from the creators so every cent goes directly into their pocket and you can find some very rare comics at the comic flea market which takes place every Saturday morning right outside the convention. Which has the nice side effect that there is no entrance fee to be paid so it´s always full of people, some of them come directly from doing their weekend shopping who want to spend their change on comics.

And that´s what it´s all about. Getting some comics. So I will be talking a lot about the comics I got this year because there is not much else I did. No fancy stories about parking the car somewhere and then walking for hours and getting completely lost because we couldn´t remember where we parked it this time around. There will also be no strange adventures at parties or bars mentioned because after the con I mostly went to my hotel room and watched tv or read some comics. Also since this is not the first Erlangen diary I´m not sure if I should write something about the town itself. Most german comic fans have already been there and if my readers from abroad are interested in it I have to say I didn´t get to see much of it besides the stretch between the hotel and the convention center.


This time I was lucky to get a hotel room that was pretty close because as always I waited much too long for booking. It was a bit expensive but because of my health condition I opted for the closest one I could find.

ONE FOOT IN ERLANGEN AND THE OTHER ONE ON A BANANA PEEL

Over the past years I have stayed at quite a few hotels ( and if you have read my previous Erlangen diaries you already know some of the horror stories involved with that ) but I don´t think I have been at the HOTEL STADTHAUS before - although I can´t be sure since I stayed at two different ones last time. My room cost 245 EUROS for the three days ( 95 EUROS for the holiday and 75 for the following two days ) and the hotel was really nice although I have three complaints. Well, the first one is not really a complaint and it was only bad for me because of my injured knee : naturally I had a room on the second floor so I had to climb the stairs.


My second complaint is also not a real gripe but more something that just irritated me on a personal level. There was no door to the washing room.

Or better the washing compartment of my hotel room. I know, this is just a personal preference but I found it just weird that there was no door at the section of the room that was designed for taking a shower. I mean, not that there was anybody who came into my room during my stay in the hotel but if there had been one he would have gotten a clear view of me being on the crapper or stuff straight from the door. And now comes my third complaint which is the real one. A big problem was that the floor of the shower got very slippery once it was wet. I almost slipped and fell on my first day and I was very careful taking showers for the rest of my stay. But the slippery wet shower floor and glass door is a deadly combination.

Now leaving the shower deathtrap aside the hotel was really nice, there was free internet at the rooms ( not that I took my laptop with me, that was another thing I could loose ) a tv where I could watch wrestling and the bed was really comfortable. In fact, I slept better in that bed than in my own and if I hadn´t been terribly weak and puny I would have nicked the mattress. Hey, everybody takes a souvenir from the hotel room.

Anyway, normally I don´t write that much about my hotel rooms ( at least I don´t think I do since I haven´t re - read previous con diaries ) but this time I spent rather much time in it. Usually you just get up, shower, eat breakfast, then go to the convention to walk around and buy comics until it closes, go back to the hotel room to take another shower, then you go out to party or meet people, go back to the hotel to sleep, rinse, repeat.


The hotel room is just a place where you can crash between convention days and keep your stash of comic books until it´s time to leave again.

Thank goodness Erlangen is only every two years, otherwise it would kill me. Although the first day was very high duty. I still don´t know if it was a blessing or a curse that we arrived late on the first day because while we missed the first three hours I would have probably not made it through the day otherwise. I aimlessly wandered around the con floor a lot since the comic dealer where I bought so many hardcovers the previous time wasn´t there anymore and they also had switched a lot of the tables.

I had planned 200 bucks from my comic budget for that table and now it wasn´t going to happen which threw me off my game. The budget was 245 bucks for the hotel room - which really meant setting aside 300 since there were always some unexpected expenses involved with hotel rooms and it´s not a bad idea to tuck away 50 extra credits for the last day of the con. Then 450 bucks for comics and 400 for everything else and the latter one had already taken a big dive. Before going to Erlangen my brother went to a garage to change from winter tires to normal tires ( normally I would have done that but because of my knee I just couldn´t ) and he had to buy new tires since the old ones were just too used up.

Don´t get me wrong, safety always comes first and I wouldn´t have preferred to make the trip to Erlangen with used up tires but my part of that expense combined with 50 EUROS for gas money took away half the budget for eating, drinking and everything else. Like I said, we arrived in Erlangen late because while I had packed pretty much everything I needed the day before my brother did it that morning and to make matters worse we had to get back home to fetch the paper with the name of his hotel.


Thankfully we had only gotten to the first gas station so it wasn´t that big of a detour. Speaking about detours : what is it with those annoying car navigational systems that they always want to go in opposite direction ?

I swear, I have never heard " Please turn around at the next possibility. " so often in my life. I think the only time the car satnav didn´t say it was when we actually DID turn around to get the paper with the hotel´s name.

And the machine also never wants to take the route you want to take. No matter where you want to go and how you want to get there it finds a different way. Because it went so smooth last time we wanted to go by Würzburg again but it took me five tries until it finally accepted that and plotted our drive to Erlangen. It always wanted us to go via the A 18 from Heilbronn which is the quicker route but also the most frequented one.

So I don´t know if we just picked the better route or if we got lucky since most people had already gotten to their destinations and we were just too late but the drive to Erlangen was really uneventful and besides two short parts with construction areas nothing happened. Even the weather was quite warm. In fact, the weather was all around wonderful the whole four days of the convention. Normally it rains on at least one day of the convention but apart from a really cold wind blowing on Friday ( it really paid off that I insisted to pack the Peter Parker pullover ) it was always warm and nice. Thank god for the small comforts of global warming.


Now getting back from Erlangen, that was quite another story. It was everything the drive to Erlangen hadn´t been. There were constructions almost everywhere, we were constantly in traffic jams and it even rained.

The two biggest industrial locations in Germany are Stuttgart and Munich. And the two towns with the worst streets in most need of repairs are Stuttgart and Munich. Because our clever german government wants to " compensate the other cities " so they can be on the same level because that way they can compete with Stuttgart and Munich and therefore ALL the other cities get money for construction work first. Yeah, it´s your hard earned tax Euros at work right here. Never mind that cities like Berlin don´t compete on the same level as Stuttgart or Munich. Berlin competes with cities like Bremen or Dresden. But Stuttgart competes with Paris, Barcelona, Moscow or New York. So Germany has two cities who can compete with the other global players but instead of helping them german government regulations shoot their kneecaps off. Thank you, Angela.

Okay, after that uncharacteristic political tangent let´s get back to this year´s trip to the International Comic Salon in Erlangen. Was it worth it ?

Yes. I wasn´t a healthy as I would have liked to be and so I missed out on a lot of stuff but all things considered it was a good con. The drive there was pleasant, the hotel was nice and nearby, I didn´t go over budget ( I even had some money left on the last con day ), I met up with all the usual suspects ( and Geier really didn´t bite my head off if you were wondering. He says he would never do that but I suspect he could totally do it without putting too much effort into it if he really wanted ), I got a lot of books at a good price, I closed some gaps in my comic collection while adding a few new ones and I even got a few surprise goodies.


I DO know however that I will probably not go to Erlangen in 2016 if I am not 100 percent fit again but this time around not going wasn´t an option anyway since I had already booked the hotel and asked for a free day.

But we will talk about all of that that in detail in our next Erlangen Diaries installment as I´m afraid it´s once again time to bid my readers farewell.

CLOSING OUT WITH TONI GREIS AND THE MYSTERIOUS COPYCAT

I have to work Tomorrow and I want to be up for that since I already had to stay away from work on Saturday because I wasn´t feeling so good. I did work on Monday and Wednesday which is another reason why I didn´t post earlier. Then I had to rest after work and I was at the doctor´s office on Thursday and Friday so I didn´t get much rest those days which could be the reason I felt sick. I had an MR imagining on Friday but I have to wait until Tuesday when I have an appointment with the orthopedist to find out what the test results mean. Here´s hoping I don´t need surgery.

I also tried to stay away from the internet because the three times I did go on the internet I ended up surfing until five o´clock in the morning.

Even when I tried to do this post it took me too long to find all the pics I needed ( of all the comics I got ) and in the end I decided to postpone it until the next day. Just Yesterday I spend a lot of time looking for pictures of Toni Greis. I wrote about him in the past and you may remember him as the artist of the erotic masterpiece ALRAUNE which was also translated to english and published by Eros Comix in color and the sci fi comic LUNA. The second album of the color version of ALRAUNE is finally available in Germany and the last two chapters of LUNA are still pending publication.


( another Toni Greis masterpiece with his signature ASS - ets )

First I was looking for pictures that looked like the sketch I got or the pencil drawings he sold at the con. Then I had to sort out the ones that were safe to post on the blog - in this case I was even glad that a lot of the pictures are explicit where sex or violence is concerned. But when I was finished I had to power off the laptop because it was too late to start a post and I decided to do it when I could start at ten in the morning. I know I may have gone a bit overboard with the pictures of Toni Greis but I really want to feature more of his art since he´s probably not that well known outside of Germany and I think he deserves the exposure. And if I have learned one thing about pictures on the internet in my nine years writing this blog it´s better to have and not need then need and not have.

One last thing I have to mention is that I found another site that copies my blog . Last year I found this blog which copied all my posts up until Friday, November the 4th 2011and the new one has all the posts until March the 4th 2014. Now I don´t know if I should be annoyed or flattered that someone liked my posts so much that he went to all the trouble of copying them. Maybe he thinks my blog gets more traffic than it actually does ( which may be a reason why I get so much spam in the comment section ) but then he´s in for a rude awakening. At the moment I´m not taking any steps because with the way blogger acts sometimes I think it´s a good idea to have a place on the internet with a back up of your blog.


At least the posts in their first draft from since I can´t see the changes I made in the posts after the first versions. Which are really a lot. Pictures of hot babes are added, new text passages too, more links, new sources found and facts verified are just a few cases where I go back and redo posts. It´s just too bad that most readers don´t go back to read old posts so they miss out on the amazing new stuff I added. My only consolation is that some of my readers may not be checking out the blog on a daily basis so their chances to read the posts in the finished form are higher. In any case I just wanted to let you know that if you stumble upon this other blog by chance I didn´t change the layout or the color scheme and your address to get the full TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN experience is still right here.

So next time we will come to more comics, more convention, definitely more Toni Greis butt pictures and maybe even some cover hommages.


Since this is most definitely the last post for this month I think it´s time to take a little summary. With six posts this month it was a regular month even though I didn´t get to post anything last week. With two posts about Doctor Who and one about Black Tower Comics it was a very British month but I also managed to cover cosplayer Yaya Han ( no pun intended ), some classic Bronze Age Kung Fu comics and the biggest german comic con this year. Also the readership seems to be up with two days going over 1.100 clicks per day, one cracking the 1.200 clicks bar and Today´s record of 1.400 hits and rising. What a way to go, my faithful readers, and I hope I can justify the increase in readership with the quality of my future posts. 

Speaking about the Queen of Cosplay, originally I wanted to put a Yaya Han video at the end of the post ( I think she´s so incredibly hot ! )


but then decided not to. I try to mix things up a bit on this blog and keep them fresh and exciting so I don´t like to put two videos about the same subject in consecutive posts. Unless it´s a series. Then that´s completely fine. And I´m still hoping to get around to do My Big Yaya Han Post ( the intro to the big Yaya Han post was so long that I had to give it a post of its own ) and I don´t want to run out of videos with her prematurely.

There are quite a few good Yaya Han videos on YouTube with her sporting different outfits at various conventions although the comments get quite repetitive and boring after a while. It´s just so sad and unimaginative what people come up with on the internet. Anyway, since Today´s topic is Erlangen here is a video for all who couldn´t attend. Dentroo videooooo !



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6 comments:

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Ahhh. I guessed that the event might have tired you. Just going to the Comic Expo left me the same and my legs take a LONG time to recover. Fingers crossed for your scan and doctor appointment.
I cant help but feel disappointed with this post. I am quite sure you promised me tales of wild parties and sexual athletics. I cannot say I'm that excited about a slippery shower floor even if it did present a tinge of danger to your weekend!
Next Erlangen is 2016?? Damn, I wanted to try to get to one in 2015 and visit my aunt in Detmold.
I really enjoy these comic con posts and I think we'll have to form an Comic Con Old Farts Club at some point!
Its a good posting and here's to the, uh, 'real' story being posted.
Take care of yourself, Pal...oh, chuck out the porn and put your comics where that was!!

SUBZERO said...

Sorry,

but there nearest I came to a depravity was getting the latest issues of XXX COMICS at the Weissblech Comics table. Maybe a few pictures with scantily clad women can help to keep up your testosterone levels.

Yes, the next Erlangen is in 2016 but there is a comic convention in Munich in 2015 and probably the Comic Action.

And the Salon del Comic in Barcelona takes place every year if you want to have nicer weather. So keep me informed on your convention plans for Germany.

As for the porn, most of it is on my laptop and I don´t think I can fit any trades in the disc drive. Or do you mean the stuff on CD Roms ? If I could find a new place for those that could generate new space......hmmmm

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Oh well. I seem to recall in an old post you mentioned a shelf with your porn behind the sofa?
That site using your posts. I've checked it out and at first I thought it might be one of those archive things like The Way Back Machine (if that is still going) BUT no credit is given to yourself or a link to the blog. Maybe an email might gets some facts about who is behind this -it would REALLY tick me off if I found someone doing that with my postings!
Now to watch that Erlangen video you posted!

SUBZERO said...

I think I might have mentioned that I got some new shelf porn behind my sofa. I was referring to comic books, not real porn.

Although some comics are porn. And some are even better than porn.

Wait, when did this blog turn into the porn discussion forum ?

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Typical. Here I was thinking you were a shameless printed porn collector and it was all in my dirty old mind!! ;-)

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Okay, be interesting to see what your blog counter does. I've been pushing this post on CBO but, more importantly, on Face Book and my Google+ so let's sit back and watch! ;-)