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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Comics In Germany -A Bit Of A Pipe-dream?







D-GRUPPE THE ZEIT GEIST SAGA 



Going by a few Face Book comments it seems that some people have the idea that I think I can just turn up at a European comic convention and the sales and money will flow.

Obviously, these people have NOT read the CBO posts that elicited these 'responses'.

Back in the 1990s I tried to chat to German comic fans on various forums.  I think I had a couple positive experiences -darkjedi and, unless my memory has really gotten so bad that I've got it wrong -Subzero and his brother, Enrique.  I even contributed to various groups -scans of 1960s/1970s comics from Germany that most had heard of (or not) but never seen.  Sadly, that group (basically) took away my membership after earning that I was opposed to illegal scanning of new comics.

The other forums got me these responses:




1.  "Who do you think you are?  English and you think you know German comics!"
2.  "We have seen your work* and it does not fit in Germany!"
3.  "It seems you like the low-brow, childish comics of Bastei and those others.  Comics have to be
     taken as a serious medium not frivolous!"

meh. Arschlochs everywhere.

All I can say regarding (1) above is that I was able to provide cover scans of old German comics back to the 1950s as well as covers and art of Hansrudi Wascher and provide background information most of the members had never heard of.  However, when two very "vocal" members took over they all faded away and, obviously, weren't going to support the foreigner out loud!

(2) well, I had contributed to German zines and was a very active correspondent with many of the Small Pressers of the 1980s/early 1990s and some of my work had been translated into German -including "Revenge of the Ice Queen", the first published D-Gruppe story.  So it was odd that after so much positive feedback, the internet (shock!) produced very negative idiots.

(3) It's true that this type exists everywhere.  They feel that comics cannot be anything other than intellectual or very arty.  These people considered 99% of comics published in Germany as "purile".

 Where are they now?

I partly grew up on a farm in a German village -Dalborn- along with other kids and we read and talked comics and played. At that time (1960s/1970s) there was, amongst some young people, the need for everything "to be German" and not in a bad way. 

My cousins decided that they could no longer understand English -"Auf Deutsch! Ich kann dir nicht verstehen!" It's not as though I was talking English all the time but if you've not spoken a language in a while and go back to it you need a couple weeks to get in the stride again so if I could not remember certain words such as, say, Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz, I said it in English to get a prompt to the German word.  My cousins carried on this "Ich kann dir nicht verstehen" ever since.
THE IRON WARRIOR COLLECTION
In a way it's a bit like the British, in general terms, and "I cannot understand you so I'll shout!"


But I do know that there are a lot of German comic fans who do speak and read English -buy Marvel and DC comics and a lot are into Independent comics. People seems to misunderstand things and think "But they speak German -they won't understand an English comic" which is a bit insulting to be honest.  Germans like comics as much as anyone else.  My uncle used to read Micky Maus or Donald Duck, Lupo and so on. This was back in the 1960s/early 1970s when it was looked down on to be an adult reading a comic -they were for kids!  And, yes, I came across that attitude.

German comickers, publishers and comic history are not exactly unknown to me!  That gives a clittle bit of an edge.

The thing is to make sure that German comic fans know about Black Tower Comics but forums I would never like to try again.  So what is the alternative?  That is something I am looking into. It is also why the idea of spending a fortune going to a big German convention is out.  Maybe smaller events but then mainly to let people know what Black Tower is and see what is available.

After all, there is no reason why a German comic fan who reads English should not enjoy The Iron Warrior or Phantom Detective or even Chung Ling soo or Dene Vernon.  It is making them aware of these books and making it very clear the idea is to exist alongside existing German publishers not push them out of the way (not very likely to happen!).

So all of this needs to be assessed and mainly because to translate books into German will take a long time and if the interest is not there...

It is a necessary move, though as today I am told I have "been unlucky this time" in getting a table at another event.  Very depressing when you have the books but no direct customer contact.  Of course, if an entrepreneur backer for comics comes forward (UK or Germany) it makes it easier.

I've not given up.  And I've no fantasies about the "big time" in Germany.  But we all need to eat, right?
THE CASE BOOK OF CHUNG LING SOO

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