A Brief American Comic Fan’s Guide to Weird Stuff in Germany

I personally hate travelogues, so I’ll stick to the weird or funny stuff. Standard disclaimers apply about all this being just one guy’s experience, which may or not apply to other people, or in fact, the rest of Germany.

Germans Conserve Like Crazy. Their gas is something like $10/gallon at the current exchange rate, so it’s no surprise that they drive small cars and take the train a lot. They’re also really serious about recycling bottles, adding on a deposit (Pfand) of what amounts to 40 cents per bottle to something as small as the Diet Coke (a.k.a Cola Light) you buy at the train station. They’re also hugely proud of new (and very impressive) skyscraper projects they’ve got which boast solar power, 98% recycling, and more.

Cold drinks cost a ton. Go to a supermarket and you can pick up liters and liters of beverages for a couple of euros. Buy a beer at a liquor store and it can cost as little as 80 Euro-cents/bottle. But want that Coke or beer cold? Prepare for a hurting like you’ve rarely seen outside of a comic convention. Think: $3.50 for a typical bottle of Coke. Oh, and there’s that 40 cent deposit thing as well. Since the beverages themselves are cheap, I can only conclude that the expensive thing is the coldness itself. Maybe it goes on sale in winter…

Beer costs the same as Coke. The news is not all bad on the beverage front.

They don’t “bag and board”. Maybe it’s the variety of comic sizes they deal with in the German market. Maybe bags and boards also have a 40 cent deposit on them. But for whatever reason, it seems like almost every comic on display at the comic convention came either not bagged at all, or bagged in a makeshift, 20-year old open-top bag. Boarding was near-nonexistent. It really was like going back in time to the 1970s when kids like me who’d never seen a comic shop would use any bag we could find to try to preserve our comics. Still, despite some price tags that ranged over a hundred dollars for some comics, few seemed to think that bagging and boarding was important–and it certainly wasn’t standard. Anyone know why?

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