On 28 and 29 March, the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht will play host to the first ever Dutch Comic Con, which promises to be a proper cheesy nerd fest full of sci-fi, cosplay and meet & greets with famous supporting actors. The big names will be Ernie Hudson who played Winston Zeddemore in the original Ghostbusters film and the Ecto 1 vehicle, as well as a bunch of supporting actors from series and movies that most of us have to look up.
Ivan Lok, owner of Comic Toys, a site that has been pulled offline and associated with theft and bad behaviour by many online, is the organiser of Dutch Comic Con, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying a lot of comics. A weekend admission presale ticket costs 30 euro and if you want to have your picture taken with Ecto 1, it will cost you 40 euro, while an Ernie Hudson signature will cost you 25 euro.
(Links: www.vice.com, www.retecool.com, Photo: Photo of Ecto 1 by Jappalang, some rights reserved)
Tags: Dutch Comic Con, Dutch comics, Ghostbusters, Utrecht
After WWII, Europe was treated to full-colour comic magazines, notably Robbedoes (Spirou) and Kuifje (Tintin), both from Belgium. The Netherlands had Pep en Sjors, which later merged into Eppo, which then became Sjosji, which went tits up in 1999 because kids don’t read comics anymore. A bunch of middle-aged men then got together and declared they refused to live in the present.
Instead, they revived Eppo magazine (Dutch), the first issue of which is now in the stores. A hefty 99 euro will get you 25 issues, a year’s worth. The first issue is surprisingly light on advertisements, 2.3 out of 36 pages. I hope that’s not a bad sign. Eppo is first and foremost an exercise in nostalgia; the editors even brought back De Partners, one of the worst comics ever allowed to roll off a printing press. And the mag opens with space opera Storm, just like it used to. (Now we just have to wait for the letter pages to be filled again with debates between Storm haters and Storm lovers.)
I am not sure whether I should cheer on the re-introduction of a regular, mainstream comics magazine in the Netherlands—not counting Donald Duck magazine which is a phenomenon hors categorie. Reading the mag feels a bit like choosing a coffin—surely I am not yet that old? On the other hand, the big guns of yesteryear have lost nothing of their story telling genius. The new Franka reads like Largo Winch (friendship, betrayal, high finance, Ludlum in comic form really), Martin Lodewijk gets ever better at mixing the old-fashioned and the corny with current events in his hilarious spy parody Agent 327, and there’s even a comic version of Havank’s The Shadow by none other than Daan Jippes.
What the heck: cheer! What magazines like Eppo did was create an advertising platform for comic artists (Dutch), as I am sure this new incarnation will also do. That can only be a good thing.
Illustration: 3 panels from Franka story De witte godin (The White Goddess).
Tags: Agent 327, Dutch comics, Eppo, Franka, magazines, nostalgia, publishing, Sjors, storm
Literature opens doors, and eyes, and windows on the soul, some people say. But who is going to close all these entrances again? For instance, in the new Zone 5300 Maaike Hartjes reports from Japan that one of the most popular forms of manga for women there is gay manga for girls, including gay manga for girls set in Lord of the Ring’s Middle Earth and illustrated with a drawing of a smooching Aragorn as portrayed by Viggo Mortensen. How am I ever going to unknow that?!
Or what about this: the heyday of Holocaust porn? Let me rephrase that. What about this: Holocaust porn? Apparently quite popular in Israel during the Eichmann trial. Zone writes about tall blonde nazi women in tight leather skull adorned uniforms brandishing whips and presumably about to suck the life juices out of camp prisoners. The 2007 documentary Stalag by Ari Libsker explores the phenomenon.
At this point I am too jaded to get worked up over the fate of Virgil Mankiewicz, a man from Nebraska who got sentenced to death because his Siamese twin brother Homer got sentenced to death.
There’s also a short interview with Raoul Deleo, one of the two makers of De eenzame snelweg (The Lonely Motorway), a book describing the trip the authors took along the same route that Jack Kerouac describes in On The Road. Kerouac typed out his book on scrolls, and in true “method drawing” fashion Deleo copied that idea by constructing a case with a built-in scroll to draw on while on the road (see illustration).
Furthermore, there is a look at the fantastic work of Chuck Groenink (for instance: teabags hanging from a ceiling, dripping like corpses in a slaughterhouse), comics by Merel Barends and Jakob Klemencic, an excellent episode of Fool’s Gold (which I reported about earlier), and Wasco’s interpretation of Dick Bruna’s Zwarte Beertjes book covers (see illustration).
Tags: Chuck Groenink, Dutch comics, Fool's Gold, Maaike Hartjes, Zone 5300