Comic-Salon Erlangen, May 22.-25.2008

As promised I´m going to write a bit about the Erlangen Comic-Salon. It´s been a while since I went there and I do not remember the exact happenings any more but the most memorable thing for me was meeting with a lot of young cartoonists that are into Rock`n`Roll. They would probably not call themselves that ( except for Tristan, he`s a Garagehead) but they are definitely into all sorts of cool Underground-Music.

As you can see on the photos we had a lot of fun dancing and partying together but I also took some of their new books home.

Carolin Walch presented a new anthology of music related comics called BALLROOM BLITZ published by Schwarzer Turm (b/w, offset, 128 pages, full colour cover, A4, 5 Euros). Not only does she and her sister Romina manage to bridge the gap between Japanese Manga and modern Independent-Comics, their love for all kinds of Indie-Music also shows in their stories. While equally talented graphically, Romina seems to be the better writer and Carolin mostly relies on her sisters story-telling skills. Really great stuff from Germany!

Another pair of cartoonists are sisters Lilli and Ulla Loge from Dresden. They have a bunch of self-published mini-comics out. Both of them seem to be inspired by American Underground-Comics of the 70s and 80s, especially Womens-Comics. Great stuff and funny too!.

Ulla Loge now lives in Berlin. Lilli Loge`s latest book is called Masturbation (b/w, copied, silk-screen cover, 26 pages, A4, 6 Euros). Lilli also plays in a cool all-girl band called TITTENBONUS.

With her were two other girls from the Dresden University, Kalli and Evelyn. They both play in a crazy all-girl punk band called Sugarcrash and they draw comics. Their university had sponsored their table and their trip. While the university books didn`t have much to offer, I think that these two busy girls were the best business card the university could have sent. I bet they made a lot of contacts and new friends. Plus they were super dancers! And they could sing too!

On Thursday our little gang went to the shadiest bar of Erlangen, the legendary Schwarzer Ritter. At all previous Comic-Salons it had been the bar to go to when any other bar had closed. If you had been to Erlangen and didn`t make it to the Schwarzer Ritter you hadn`t been there.

But of course it depends a lot on the people and over the years they get older. So I was curious if the spirit was to be re-vitalized. When we arrived, Kalli and Evelyn immediately put money in the juke-box and started singing-along to everything from Deep Purple to Madonna. They knew every song by heart. Amazing! We danced till 5 in the morning, went to bed at 6, had breakfast at 9 and came to the convention at 10. Mission accomplished.

On Friday I took Tristan, who I had met last year at the Munich Comic-Convention, to the booth of the Dresden girls. One minute into the introduction he and Evelyn called each other with some nicknames. They had communicated on the Internet for years but never met each other. It`s a small nerd-world.

Tristan Wilder just has a new little split-book out called PARANOID ROCK`N`ROLL together with Ralph Niese`s DONALD & SIMON (b/w, copied, colour cover, 48 pages, A4, 3,50 Euros). Their book is filled with Rock`n`Roll spirited comics and I´m happy that some people carry the torch of this bastard into the future.

The German Independent Comic-Scene has made a huge step in the last 15 years or so. This year long-time Independent Comic-Artist and professor

at the University of Graphic-Arts in Hamburg, Anke Feuchtenberger won the award for “Best Cartoonist” at the Erlangen Comic-Awards. Reprodukt, the publisher I`m with, sold really well and had very good turnouts at the signings.

The so-called Comic-Mainstream, though not to be beaten in sales and public attention is not nearly getting as much media attention and no prestigious awards at all. While that has a lot to do with the quality of their work there is also a lot of ignorance towards “real comics” on the part of the indie-people.

At least at night most of that snobbishness was gone and we had a wonderful nerd-fest in Erlangen. I´m already looking forward to the next Comic-Salon in two years.


Ha-Ga Exhibition in Warsaw, May 12th 2008


On Sunday afternoon my girlfriend Julia and I went to Warsaw to see the first retrospective exhibition of polish cartoonist Ha-Ga . For the full story on Ha-Ga see my first post from February.

After a six and a half hour trip Szmon from Kultura Gniewu picked us up from Warszawa Centralna and took us to his nice new apartment. When I visited him last year with fellow Berlin cartoonist Mawil he was living together with his girlfriend in a crammed but incredibly organized 30 square meter apartment. Now they have a much bigger beautifully renovated and neatly decorated place in a old building from the 1930s overlooking the city.

We spend the next day in a park and went to the old part of town. It was the only place were we saw a lot of foreigners: tourists. The beautiful old Warsaw from before the war is only to be seen in this small picturesque area and it was sad to see how much damage the war (or rather Nazi-Germany) had brought to the city.

We went to a small restaurant and I had some delicious pirogie ( stuffed dumplings, a traditional polish dish) .

In the same area we found the Muzeum of Caricature and took these photos in the daylight.

In the evening we returned and met Kasia and Szymon who had come there directly from work.

The director of the museum Wojciech Chmurzynski had already started with his opening speech and Szymon explained that standing next to him was Zuzanna Lipinski, the woman who had invited us.

In the garden outside around 200 people had gathered. As was to be expected most of them grey haired. Just like in Germany the “Cartoon Scene” doesn`t seem to mix with the “Comics Scene”. If this had been a Comics exhibition the crowd would have been a lot younger. Ignorance on both parts is separating two genres that are actually so closely tied together.

The older “Cartoon” fans regard comics as too vulgar and the “Comics” fans think old cartoons are boring.

It was very nice outside in the garden and we sat at one of the many tables were Szymon introduced us to cartoonist Tomasz Niewiadomski. He loves cats and draws comics about them.

The exhibition was very well put together with a lot of original Ha-Ga drawings (mostly black and white line drawings but also some coloured with gouache) spanning from the 30s to the late 60s. Also shown were originals of her book illustrations and her posters, book and magazine covers were displayed.

The whole idea of a caricature museum made me wish for something like that in Berlin. Eryk Lipinski who founded the museum started by collecting cartoons from his colleagues.

It seems unlikely that something like that could happen today when most cartoonist care very little for original cartoon artwork let alone that of past decades.

After waiting out the first big rush to the buffet I finally got up the nerve to introduce myself to Zuzanna. She was happy to see me and apologized for being so busy. Her two daughters who grew up in England had met some members of her family for the first time, so it was also a family get together of sorts. I gave her the two German books and one of the 45s with the Ha-Ga cartoons that I had. Zuzanna gave me a catalogue of the exhibition and told us to come to the party afterwards.

Szymon and Kasia were tired from working all day and went home so Tomasz took us the party. It was held at a old actors cafe (decorated with hundreds of photos of actors) were cartoonists also used to meet. After we had a couple of beers Zuzanna introduced me to her brother, famous polish rock musician Tomek Lipinski and to director Chmurzynski who was quite drunk at that point and insisted I give him my private phone number. When the crowd got smaller we said goodbye to Zuzanna and Tomasz took us for a walk and later called us a taxi.

On Tuesday we didn`t feel like doing much so we spent half the day in a park. In the afternoon Szymon and Kasia took us to the university library. A impressive modern building that has a very huge playful and inventive garden on top of it. In the evening Kasia cooked pasta for us and Szymon showed us how to play “Guitar Hero III”on his X-Box. He was very good on that one Santana song.

On wednesday morning Szymon took us to the train station again and we said goodbye to Warsaw.

Thank you so much for your hospitality Kasia and Szymon . We had a great time.

Recent Update: First retrospective exhibition of Ha-Ga’s works in the Museum of Caricature in Warsaw on the 12 th of May 2008

Last Friday I received a very nice mail from Zuzanna Lipinska, daughter of Polish cartoonists Anna Goslawska (Ha-Ga) and Eryk Lipinski. In February I had written about Ha-Ga with what little I could gather from my own small collection of her printed work and the even smaller amount of information from the Internet. Zuzanna pointed out some of the resulting misinformation so that I could add this new information to the post and change the errors.

Zuzanna has worked on a big retrospective exhibition of her mothers work that will take place at the Museum of Caricature in Warsaw starting on the 12th of May 2008. Zuzanna has also designed a new accompanying website to the exhibition.

It`s in Polish and English and it looks really great. It shows a lot of Ha-Ga`s beautiful illustrations for children`s books and her cartoons are collected in different topical sections. There is even a short film from Polish Television in 1957 showing Anna, Eryk and Zuzanna happily drawing cartoons together.

We exchanged some very nice mails and Zuzanna invited me to the opening of the exhibition in Warsaw and I`m looking forward to go now.

Thank you very much Zuzanna!