Sunday, July 06, 2014

Comics for free ( or at least pretty cheap )

After one whole week you probably expected the next part of my Erlangen Diary but Today I wanted to write about my latest trip to my comic shop because I finally got some free comics from GRATIS COMIC TAG 2014.

I know that my Erlangen Diary will not be as interesting the longer it takes me to get to it but that also goes for the comics of GRATIS COMIC TAG.

Like always when the Comic Salon Erlangen looms on the horizon I stop buying comics because that money will be needed in Erlangen. And it´s easier to get issues you missed from your pull list then to have to miss a good opportunity to get a comic because you didn´t have the money. So Today will be about free comics and comics that were not free but cheap. Not cheap as in " not worth it because the comic is bad or the production is of a low standard " but cheap as in " bought at a very reasonable price ". I have mentioned it before but for all that don´t know : the comic shop that I frequent is the Sammlerecke in Esslingen and they sell comics by the pound. Or more accurate : by the kilo. It´s 10 EUROs per kilo and if you think that is too much you obviously never bought a kilo of comics.

Now the Sammlerecke had their usual table in Erlangen ( and when I say table I mean at least a handful of tables and as many comic shelves ) so if you were there this year you have probably bought some of their comics as they also had their comics per kilo offer there. I got there some new issues myself because whenever those guys go on convention they only take new inventory with them. That way even the regular customers get comics they haven´t seen in the shop. But that´s not what I want to write about Today since we will hopefully cover this in our next Erlangen post.

Okay, I know what you are thinking. Yes, this sounds like a lot of blatant promotion for my comic shop but I don´t get any money for this and it´s not like I haven´t done this before. While I post a lot of really good offers from amazon  - because I know money is always tight for comic readers nowadays - I also believe in supporting your local comic book store.

The second thing you are probably thinking is that who would buy comics per kilo since they are obviously not the best comics or in bad condition.

And while that is true for a lot of them it´s not the rule. Now I won´t lie, there are a lot of comics that are in bad shape or at least banged up a little so that they can´t be sold at the regular price. Most of these come from buying up collections or bundles of comics from comic collectors so they are not in pristine condition. But a lot of them are either brand new comics that were damaged during shipment or comics that are in very good shape but are not that high in demand. Because there are always hot books that have a very short half life period and what are you supposed to do with dozens of issues of the same comic nobody wants anymore ? And there is also the fact that there are comics in collections where it doesn´t pay to cataloguize them so you just throw them on the per kilo pile.

So you can find some really good comics there although there are some things you must keep in mind when you buy your books by the kilo. First off is that thicker books are not as cheap as thin books. Sounds weird but while finding one of these thin, overpriced books there is cool it can be deceiving to have one of those heavy books you always wanted to get only to find out that the per kilo price is almost as high ( if not higher ) then the regular price. So you have to weigh every comics as soon as you get it and not wait until you have a whole stack of them. And you will have a huge stack of them by the end of your visit of this section. I know that I do and I had to leave a lot of them there. Which for me is one of the signs of a good comic shop. In a good comic shop you will always have to leave some comics there because there are more good comics to buy than you have money for. I always have to leave some comics there and in most cases I haven´t the time to look in all the sections because the shop is just so huge. The Sammlerecke is most definitely bigger on the inside.

And the catacombs where they keep hundreds of back issues are also so dissolute that you better know what you want before going down there.

The guys from Splashpages made two short videos about the shop when they moved to their new premises in 2011 but sadly there is no embed code included. You can share the videos via facebook but I would have liked to embed them in this post. Nevertheless here are the links to the video about the shop where you get a good impression about how big the store is and the interview with Frieder Maier , owner of the comic shop.

And for those interested here´s a link to the history of the Sammlerecke which has become one of the biggest comic shop franchises in Germany and the comic shop with the highest sales in Europe with shops in Esslingen, Koblenz and Nürtingen ( where I first became a customer ). They have many artists from Germany, Europe and the United States signing at numerous dates throughout the year and a special highlight for german comic fans was Don Rosa who did signings in all three shops and who was very impressed with the Sammlerecke : " But I´ll never forget your shop ! That was the biggest comic store I visited on the tour.....and the second biggest warehouse of comic books I´ve ever seen in my life ! "

Coming back to the kilo comics, another thing you must keep in mind is if the comics are for your permanent collection or just something you want to read. If it´s just something that you want to check out because it has created some buzz and you are curious you will probably have no problem if the cover is wrinkled or there are some printing errors or some pages are damaged. You just want to read it cheap and you will probably get rid of it very soon afterwards. If it´s something you want to keep in your collection and read over and over again it´s probably better to not buy it cheap but in pristine condition. Which may not be a point because - as I have said - you might find something that you have been searching for a long time and it´s near mint. But let´s get to the comics per kilo I got.

DAREDEVIL 238 - by Ann Nocenti, Sal Buscema and Steve Leiola. At around 40 grams ( if I can believe my scales ) this comic costs 40 cents.

As you can see by the cover - by Arthur Adams and Klaus Janson to boot - it´s a MUTANT MASSACRE tie in and it´s in no worse shape than my other Daredevil comics. Sal Buscema has always been one of my favorite artists and Steve Leiola is just one of those inkers that were in all the books back in those days. I really have to do a spotlight on those comic book heroes of my youth. Speaking of which another reason I got this book is that it´s written by Ann Nocenti who did my favorite run on the book. I know it´s considered sacrilege by the comicdom at large not to list Frank Miller as your favorite Daredevil writer but this is when I came in as a regular reader and she wrote all those issues. She also was part of the Ann Nocenti / John Romita Jr combo that made the title so magical.

The comic also predates the oldest Daredevil issue I owned ( up to this point ) and which has a beautifully rendered cover by Mike Zeck.

Next up is the NEW YEAR´S EVIL - GOG issue that spun out of the KINGDOM COME storyline ( one of the best DC Elseworlds EVER ).

It has a big sticker on the cover, apart from that it´s in good condition.

I remember these were kind of annuals and there was a whole bunch of them coming out. It´s a tie - in to one of my favorite stories and since it is written by Mark Waid, drawn by Jerry Ordway and has a Jason Pearson cover this was a no brainer ( 40 cts ). The comic should already be mine.

Which I hope is not the case with the next comic I bought ( 1 EURO ).

My visit to Erlangen has rekindled my love for the Legion so I hope I don´t already have the 1990 Legion of Super - Heroes annual. It is written by the well known Legion fanboy - par - excellence tandem of the Bierbaums with art by Dough Braithwaite which is about the time where I came back into reading the Legion so it may be in my longbox. Nevertheless I just couldn´t pass up on this opportunity to get more Legion comics cheap.

Okay, I just bought this one on a whim and because I really liked the art.

It´s by Eddy Paape, who did the art on the sci fi comic series LUC ORIENT

well known to my generation for it´s installments in ZACK comics.

Sadly he passed away on the 12th of March in 2012 but he lived long enough to see his series make a comeback as a collected edition.

Now DER KLEINE GLÜCKSBRINGER ( Le porte - bonheur in french ) is a 36 page comic and slightly smaller than the regular US format. It is from the german comic company SALLECK PUBLICATIONS who also did the french version and there is a limited hardcover edition available. At 60 cents for the 60 grams this wasn´t very expensive. The story is a bit kitschy at times but I think it´s just the right comic for a Christmas present.

I couldn´t find a picture for the next one but I think I got tricked because while the DRAWN & QUARTERLY SPRING 2003 catalogue has some comic pages it´s not a real comic but a catalogue - D´uh ! Not that big of a loss money wise since it´s somewhere between 60 and 80 grams. But there´re some nice preview pages in it and what I found especially interesting is that it includes information for comic dealers like the key selling points, where to market it, who the target audience is and how to sell them.

I don´t know if the company still puts out these things but more comic companies should get these kind of information to comic book stores and not only a lot of hype for the latest mega crossover Scheißdreck. Really !

I already have the first album - I think I bought that one also for a bargain price - and apart from some cover indentations it´s in good condition.

With a weight of just a bit over 200 grams the 2 EURO something price is significantly lower than the original 15 bucks price tag. As most of the longtime readers of my blog already know I´m not the snow board / skate board or any kind of sports guy like the main character but I really like the art and Buche really has a knack for rendering the female form.

Now the comics get better as we go along and the next one is a real doozy : it´s U - COMIX PRÄSENTIERT STAN CAIMAN BAND 2 ( 2.20 EUROS ).

As a certified perv and lover of comics with big breasted women I should have this one in my porn collection but it may surprise you that I don´t.

U - COMIX was one of the few german comics I read on a regular basis while it was being published so I never felt the need to get the collected editions since I already had most of the stories. However now that I have most comics stashed somewhere where they are not that easily accessible it´s nice to have one of those handy. I didn´t find the first volume of this series though. For the price it´s a good deal and it´s fun to re - read the exploits of an oversexed, chauvinistic, perverted caiman with some style.

I did find both volumes of FRED & BOB ( multiple copies indeed ) but I was pretty sure that I already have those. They are just wonderful.

The next one is a comic I probably shouldn´t have bought but I couldn´t resist the gorgeous Mike Grell artwork in the big format ( 2.80 EUROS ).

When you are collecting comics for a long period of time there are periods where you kind of rediscover certain artists. I was always a big fan of his work ( I even got all the issues of his much underrated iMAGE series SHAMAN´S TEARS - I found the missing number 1 in Erlangen ) through his work on LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES, WARLORD, GREEN LANTERN or GREEN ARROW but SABLE is one of the books I still haven´t delved into.

I know that I bought an issue at a comic convention once and I have no frikkin idea where it is right now. I have the second omnibus on my comic pile but I will wait with reading that until I have the first part. The thing is that when I ordered the second omnibus I didn´t know it would be in the smaller pocket format. So seeing the art in this size is a real treat.

And speaking about treats the last comic I picked up was the hardcover edition of ATALANTE - DIE LEGENDE, BAND 5 : KALAIS UND ZETES.

The corners are a bit banged up on this one but the rest is just fine. And with something between 5 and 6 EUROS this was the most expensive one of the bunch but you can´t argue with that price for a 15 EURO hardback.

The series is done by Crisse who became best known to german comic fans with his series DAS KRISTALLSCHWERT ( The Cristal Sword ).

This is the first hardcover of the series. I have the first three volumes that CARLSEN COMICS published but those were in softcover format.

When SPLITTER re - started the series in hardcover format they added some new pages with additional drawings and sketches as an incentive for readers who already bought the first three books. And instead of the old covers they used some motifs from Crisse´s Atalante portfolio.

Didier Crisse is famous for his renditions of beautiful women so the fact that the main character of this series is also a hot girl is a plus.

What I didn´t like about the series is that he shoehorned this person into the exsisting lore of greek mythology in a way I found very unconvincing.

Let´s call a spade a spade : it´s a retcon. Now I´m not against retcons when they are used appropriately. But let´s face it, here it´s just a case of being overly political correct in that a woman has to come in and save all the male heroes from Jason´s crew of argonauts and the fact that she doesn´t appear in any of the stories is that she´s a woman and that the others are jealous. Now this is possible but there are a lot of women in greek mythology and some of them are fierce female warriors like the amazons. They weren´t edited from mythology. So the shoe doesn´t fit.

Aside from that the series is very entertaining and you can´t say anything bad about Crisse´s artwork. Just look at these pages from book three :

I´m not sure if the series has been translated in America, the UK or the rest of Europe but it´s available in french and german so my german readers should definitely check this out if they are not familiar with it.

So all things considered I got more than 70 EUROS worth of comics ( although used comics ) for 13 bucks. Not a bad haul for a day.

I was hoping we could also get to the comics of GRATIS COMIC TAG but it´s already time to wrap things up for Today and check if all the windows are properly closed as a storm warning has been issued for my area.

So this is the first post of this month and like always it´s not what I expected. You know, I keep forgetting the 4th of July even though I made a special folder for patriotic pictures ( mostly with hot women ) just for this occassion. The only important dates for July I CAN remember is the birthday of my brother, my own birthday and the day of my patron saint.

And I´m having problems with those because it still hasn´t registered properly in my brain that we now have July. It seems to me we just were in April and suddenly it´s three months later. The only good thing that comes with this is that if we continue at this rate the new episodes of Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi will be upon us before I can compute it.

Now one of the perks of this blog is that I find out a lot of things through doing the research. One of these things is that apparently there was a short lived tv series in 1987 about Mike Grell´s comic character SABLE.

It only lasted six episodes and one of the reasons why this failed - at least according to Mike Grell - was that the producers of the tv show wanted to be creative. In the comic Jon Sable is not your typical grim and gritty mercenary and he is really a nice guy who likes to write children´s books.

Mike did that because he wanted to make him different from all the other comic anti heroes. So in come the producers and say : " We got a great idea. Why don´t we make him different from the comic ? Let´s make him grim and gritty. That´s what all the kids love. This is our big meal ticket. " And with that they killed it. Anyway, here´s the first part of the pilot.

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

We´ll draw lots for the job....excluding Saturn Girl, because it´s too risky a mission for a girl !


Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

no Erlangen???????

Dang. Whatever that means.

Interesting -comics by the kilo! Love the idea

You know,I just cannot understand one thing about German comic dealers or dealers selling via ebay from Germany:they make it very clear they will NOT sell comics outside Germany and some say they will not sell to the UK?? Now, as they get paid postage for books I cannot understand that -UK dealers sell all over the world (as do dealers in a lot of European countries). Odd.
And Luc Orient...yes, I remember those serials in Zack. Wonderful books, too (I've looked through a couple online but....)
Anyway, interesting posting!

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

YES! Sable. With his blind black side-kick (who was also gay so you got everything catered for!) Cheese-Cake!!! And I did wonder wtf he was writing cuty kids books -though that might be an avenue for Wolverine to take when he's resurrected ("NO! He's dead for good!" yeah)or maybe the Punisher writes kids books!
Nice coming back to this post to find even more art and text!!

SUBZERO said...

Well, I have not bought comics via ebay since I´m not so sure if what I consider mint condition is also what the buyers consider mint condition.

I got some books from amazon that were labeled as used but in good shape and they were definitely candidates for the comics per kilo section.

I do know that my comic shop the Sammlerecke mails comics to Europe since they sent me my comics when I was in Spain. And they also send comics to the UK.