Comic Salon Welcome

I more or less spontaneously decided to pay the Comic Salon 2008 a visit on Saturday. I never had a better chance to go to a comic convention, as Erlangen is just approximately 30 minutes away by train and my student ID works as a ticket for half the way, therefore the train ride is very cheap, too. The reason why I had a hard time choosing was because the NPD was having their party congress in Bamberg at the same time and most of my friends went there to demonstrate against them and I wanted to join in. In the end I settled with going to the Comic Salon on Saturday, while I went to demonstrate against the NPD on Sunday.

Comic Salon Entrance
(Entrance to the Comic Salon 2008)

I took the train around 11 o’clock, arrived at the city hall at about 11:45, got my ticket, and went straight to the Tokyopop booth, where Benjamin was signing his manhua Remember. About twenty people were already waiting in the line for a signature and a personalized piece of art (f.e. see bottom of the page). After 2 hours of waiting, time was up and I without any signatures, neither for me nor for a Canadian friend. To ensure that the people who had waited two hours for their signature would get one later, Tokyopop then handed out numbers to the people still waiting in the line. We were told that those with numbers will be prioritized when Benjamin starts signing his books over at the Xiao Pan panel later.

Comic Salon Cosplay Stage

(Cosplay Stage in front of the city hall)

I took my leave and explored the whole place: the Zen Garden, where the exhibition of Chinese comic art was located (for more & better pictures check the links at the bottom), the different booths by the other publishers Carlsen, Panini and Egmont, and the Southern German Cosplay Championships. I have to admit the cosplay event was kinda scary: 20+ year old women dressed up as 14 year old characters and then smoking one cigarette after another; young girls wearing very… let’s settle with unique…outfits. They certainly don’t mind showing skin. The costumes often looked nice though.

I personally wonder what motivates them to do cosplay and why they like to go on the stage and make a fool out of themselves. Just to have fun? Psychological reasons? Sociological reasons? It reminded me of a discussion that was going on in Germany for a while. Some sociologist and educationalists accused DSDS (the German equivalent to Pop/American Idol) of endangering the development of young individuals. The critique was triggered by a boy collapsing during a live show. I’m not saying that this applies to cosplaying! But I can see a few parallels between the two “shows”.

Enough of this short intermezzo; back to the con report. By now it was four o’clock and I went to the Xiao Pan booth, a French publisher of Chinese manhua.

Xiao Pan and Ji Di signing

I joined others, whom I had met before at Tokyopop’s booth and were already waiting. More and more people came and it was getting pretty crowded. The Xiao Pan people did accept our numbers, but the other people in line did not, so after an agitated discussion a satisfying solution for both parties was found. It only took another hour and a half and I happily left with my two signatures and the personalized piece of art. The personalized piece was the actual reason why Benjamin took so long for every person. If one didn’t stop him immediately, he would draw it! I also bought two posters at Xiao Pan, one being the cover of Remember and another one from Vampire by Deo.R. All the posters are available here, and they also ship internationally. Check them out!

After that I walked around again checking out a few booths here and there, took a glimpse at Eiki Eiki. I wanted to take a picture of her, but many fan girls had swarmed her, so there was no place for me to take a decent photo. Therefore I bought something to eat and, already tired and exhausted, went home at only six o’clock. I had planned to listen to some discussions, but all the waiting foiled my plans. And it’s actually not that bad, as splashcomics uploaded their videos of the discussions, as well as more photos.

(What I bought at the Comic Salon: 2x Poster, 2x Benjamin [1 for a friend], 1x Butterfly in the Air)

Overall it was a very fun experience. I realized that one day is not enough at all. The amount of things to look at is just so huge. So many comics, so many manga, so many colors and I mean MANY COLORS, YES! Your eyes just get struck by so many bright colors everywhere. It’s like visiting some of these horrible Japanese web pages, just that you can’t quit them. It’s probably much more fun to go there with a group of and not stand in a line for four hours. If I have the opportunity again, I’ll definitely go to another convention like this.

(A closer look at the custom art, first by Benjamin and the other being by Pocket Chocolate aka Yijian Gong)

Links for more pictures:
My Pictures not too many as I just uploaded the ones not being blurry, DAMN IT!
Xiao Pan Blog in French, click through the side bar; 25 Mai and 23 Mai)
Splash Comics many pictures, videos and more, alas in German.