While 105,000 people converged upon the New York Comic Con last week, some 150,000 booksellers, publishers, and bibiophiles packed the halls at the Frankfurt Book Fair, held October 12-16.
While Germany’s comics scene is not as robust as that of France or the United States, it is one of the major book shows, and features numerous comics events to entice both rights seekers and fans. Unlike Book Expo America, Frankfurter Buchmesse allows the public to attend on Saturday and Sunday, charging €15.00 for one day, €21.00 for two days, including public transportation! (Two adults and up to three children can get a family pass for €35.00.)
So imagine Book Expo running for three days, and then add NYCC on the weekend, hold it at McCormick Place, and you get an idea of what happens in Frankfurt every October. Need a visual? Here’s the site map. Those aren’t floors or rooms… those are buildings.
Oh, and it’s been running since Gutenberg perfected movable type in nearby Mainz.
So, all the German publishers (including the German graphic giants Ehapa and Carlsen) show up, as well as publishers and professionals from other countries. Iceland was the guest of honor this year, next year is New Zealand. (Hmm… volcanic islands…) The rights center had an influx of attendees, given the new digital space of publishing. There was even a “kids and comics” topic in the digital “Hot Spots” Center!
So, amid all these books, what was there for comics? Well, there was enough to fill a 30-page program book just on comics programming! Charlie Adlard and Craig Thompson represented Team Comics!
Well, if you read my post from last year, you know that comics awards are presented each year, both for new talent and for fan favorites.
Winners of the German Cartoon Prize for New Talent (Deutscher Cartoonpreis für neue Talente) were selected from 435 entrees, and the top 20 were displayed at the Fair.
First prize was awarded to Piero Masztalerz (http://masztalerz.wordpress.com/) of Hamburg.
Second place was awarded to Carol Gillert of Munich, a relative unknown.
Beate Zacharias of Troisdorf was awarded third place.
Previous nominees and winners can be found here (in German).
The prize-winners were selected by a jury of six, consisting of Birgit Fricke (manager of the Frankfurt Book Fair Comics Centre), Klaus Humann (publisher, Carlsen Verlag), Rolf Dieckmann (humour and satire editor with Stern magazine), Ralph Ruthe (cartoonist), Volker Hamann (publisher of Reddition, Hamburg) and Antje Haubner (editor for cartoons with Carlsen Verlag).
The Sondermann Prizes were also awarded on Saturday. From the PR:
The Sondermann is awarded every year by the Frankfurt Book Fair, the website www.comicforum.de and the Frankfurter Rundschau, in cooperation with www.animexx.de, Zack-magazine and www.mycomics.de. The readers’ choice prize is named after the best-known character created by the Frankfurt comic artist and illustrator Bernd Pfarr who died in 2004. Today, the Sondermann is the German comic scene’s most important award for winners chosen by the general public.
So, who won?
- Comic National (own publication) – “Haarmann” by Isabel Kreitz and Peer Meter (Carlsen Comics) [A historical look at a Weimar Era serial killer from Hannover. Fritz Haarmann inspired the movie “M” by Fritz Lang.]
- Comic International – “Das Leben von Anne Frank” by Ernie Colon and Sid Jacobson (Carlsen Comics)
- Manga National (own publication) – “Die Wolke” by Anike Hage (Tokyopop) [Yes, Tokyopop Germany is still in business, and has had some success with ODM.]
- Manga International – “Fairy Tail 4” by Hiro Mashima (Carlsen Manga) [Published in the U.S. by DelRey/Kodansha.]
- Web Sondermann – “Entoman” von David Füleki
The jury members are Rudi Hurzlmeier (cartoonist), Gabi Roth-Pfarr (Bernd Pfarr’s widow), Christian Schlüter (Frankfurter Rundschau), Achim Frenz (Caricatura Museum), Stefan Pannor (Spiegel Online) and Andreas Platthaus (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
Of course, what comic con would be complete without cosplay? Frankfurt hosts the The Germany Cosplay Championship (Deutsche Cosplaymeisterschaft). This year’s German champion, Julia G. (Lan) as Drocell Cainz from Kuroshituj, won a trip for two to Japan! (Click here for a better picture.) 3000 spectators cheered on the finalists, chosen from nine manga festivals throughout Germany.
Will the Con Wars start a new front in Europe? Will Book Expo America be shamed into opening up the show to the hoi polloi? Will we see more comics programming? Or will this comics fan be spending next October practicing his German instead of traipsing around the Javits Center? Perhaps we can do an exchange… Marc-Oliver visits New York City, and I visit Frankfurt…
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!