Monday, October 16, 2006

TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS 1: Things we recognize, but this time in GERMAN!

This is the first installment of a series of posts about comics and manga in Europe (mainly focusing on time spent in Germany earlier this month). This post is light on thoughts and impressions, and heavy on photographs, focusing on U.S. comics (both indie and mainstream) and Japanese manga in translation!

Being my first time in Europe, the thing that struck me most was that comics were mostly invisible in Dublin, while manga and comics seemed to really pervade German book stores, train stations and corner shops. I did a bit of searching, but I only managed to track down one shop carrying comics in Dublin (Downtown, I spotted the Irish incarnation of the corporate, collector and toy-centric Forbidden Planet -- yuck).

This was simply not the case in Berlin and Frankfurt, and MAN! it really seemed (to my fresh American eyes) that Germany has a scene quite comparable to that of the States. In other words:

I hope to write more about this in the next few posts, but even within a few minutes of checking the manga section at a small Berlin bookstore I saw, "HOLY SHIT-- they've already published NANA up to volume 10? And both MAIL and DRAGON HEAD have already been released in full over here??"

Please conside the following photographic evidence:

This was one of a number of this kind of German magazine, focusing on J-Rock, Visual Kei (it's still around?!) and Gothic Lolita trends, along with street fashion pics a la Fruits.

So recursive! Japanese manga Adolf and Barefoot Gen, regarding the events of WWII... translated into German!!

A Yoshihiro Tatsumi story translated and published in the awesome comics magazine, Strapazin

This was the TokyoPop booth at Frankfurt Book Fair; And look! You can just barely see the German edition of Death Note 1, in the lower right hand corner!

On the indie comics scene, it appears that a few German publishers (mostly dominated by the incredible Reprodukt) are handling the majority of translations and publication of the entire breadth of the Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, Slave Labor Graphics, Pantheon and First Second catalogues.

Caricature by Daniel Clowes, Get A Life by Dupuy & Berberian, etc!

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (just look at that binding and gold inlay!)

More releases on the German indie comics front, but where is Johnny Ryan's stuff?

What an awesome surprise! Our buddy Derek's Same Difference in translation

A tale of Asian-American youth... but, something seems off here!

Our man Derek Kirk Kim, internationally-published playboy extraordinaire!

Not comics, but I was supremely geeked to find Philip K. Dick's Martian Time-Slip...

...and one of my all-time favories Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (In Germany, Dick gets his own shelf!)

Last but not least, the mainstream comics get translated too. All-Star Batman asks, "What was that, JOCKO?"

Why does this look MORE like a pedophilic nightmare scene in German?

Kindly eyes of the √úbermensch, All-Star Superman

LOIS, NEIN!!!!!! (best panel ever?)

Part two of Trans-Euopre Express coming this weekend!


Anonymous said...

Hey, great post! It's true that the German/Spanish/French manga industries blow the American/UK ones out of the water. I'm from Dublin by the way, and I can definitely see where you're coming from. Having said that though, it's come on a huge amount in recent years, for example we now have a total of ... 5 comic shops in the country! It's feeble, I know, and 4 of those are in Dublin. And finally, as sad as it is; I have to do 85% of my manga buying in Forbidden Planet, simply because they're the only store that gets new releases from publishers other than Tokyopop. Series like Love Hina, Sgt. Frog, RuroKen, Dragonball, Fushigi Yugi, yadda yadda, are graudally seeping into mainstream booksops though, which is always encouraging. Uhm, sorry the rambling (and un-proofread) rant. Looking forward to the next installment. :)

Ryan said...

Thanks for the reply! I'm hoping people who know more about the scene over in Europe will help out and give their thoughts as I post more of my impressions and pictures :)

I think, given the short time I was there, I couldn't find much that wasn't readily available, so i'm sure there are a few better places than Forbidden Planet... I was told that while forbidden planet is NOT the kindof place most people would CHOOSE if they had the luxury, it's true that the bigger the place (regardless of the overall quality), the greater the chance of the rare gems making it on the shelves!

Yes, I got a pretty good taste for the German scene from Berlin and Frankfurt, but the french and spanish scenes seem really impressive too! I will post more about some spanish comics I saw while at the book fair in Post 3 of the series :)

Anonymous said...

Re: All Star Superman #3 ... I'm really hoping the translation of "Ultra Sphinx" is "Uber Sphinx" ...

Ryan said...

re: Yeah, word--- UBER SPHINX UBER ALLES!

I wanted to take a picture of the last panel of All-Star Batman 1 (the 'it's a war dooood' comment to Robin) and see how they translated it!!