Thursday, January 27, 1994

Calvin at his best


Bill Watterson is such a unique cartoonist. Take a look his  Calvin and Hobbes strip published today in the newspapers all over US. All his strips have been collected in many different books throughout the years, and later in The Complete Calvin & Hobbes.

Thursday, January 20, 1994

First DRAGON BALL comic I bought

It was a long time ago even if it feels as it was yesterday but, I know certainly the dates those events took place because I still keep the comic books I'm just about to write about, and of course, they have the publishing date printed on them. Here our school photographs of this year, left mine , 4º grade class (9-10 years old)  and right my brother's 2º grade (7-8 years old).


Those days were wonderful school days. I was 9 at the time and my friends and I were drawing Dragon Ball related images all the time. Dragoi Bola as we knew it, was airing in ETB, Basque TV, every weekday and there was all kind of merchandise around: cards, toys, posters... even yogurts came with figures and chewing gums came with stickers, it was a madness. But what I will never imagine was that there was a manga behind the anime TV series. Oñati is a pretty small isolated town, we were small kids and there was no internet back in those days, but a friend of mine whose older brother had a huge collection of Dragon Ball comics, showed them to us and left us stunned. 

Thta is how we discovered that Planeta de Agostini was publishing two Dragon Ball collections these days. First there was Serie Blanca, published since February 1992, a weekly serialization of Dragon Ball, starting from the beginning of the series till Goku is about to kill Freezer. The stapled comic books cost 175pts (aprox. 1€) and featured 32 pages. This collection ran until April 1995. But lets stay on this day, today January 1994, they were publishing the Serie Blanca #88 containing the episodes 187 and 188 originally published in Japan in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine on August 22, 1988 and August 29, 1988 respectively. This one number 88 was the first ever Dragon Ball comic I bought. Today I keep this old comic book with huge nostalgia, it's so fun to read the fan comments of the time, re-seeing some special inserts and re-reading the Manga Manía section, an extensive column in which Alfons Moliné delighted the readers with his Japanese manga culture knowledge.

 

It was a huge discovery realizing there was a manga work behind our beloved Dragoi Bola. But that was just the start. The stories that were published in Serie Blanca already were aired as animated episodes on TV, so we all knew what was going to happen. What really shocked us was discovering  that Planeta de Agostini was also publishing in parallel, since November 1992, another collection every fifteen days, under the title: Serie Roja continuing with the adventures of Goku just when he was about to kill Freezer. So Serie Roja was the continuity in time of Serie Blanca, but the publisher decided not to wait to finishing the first part and release the coninuity at the same time. Dragon Ball was being published in Japan since 1984 with a weekly periodicity, so there was a lot of material waiting on line to be translated. 

That was mind blowing, every week, we had a 32 pages of something we already knew and every half a month, Serie Roja for just 275pts (1,65€), was giving us a 48pages of of never before seen content, this time in a much nicer glue bounded booklets, that showed much better in the shelves as you could see which number was printed in their spine. The problem was that there were already lot of issues published by the time I realized about this comics, so I decided to buy just the Serie Roja. I didn't like the staples of the Serie Blanca anyway, and I already knew the stories featured on it's pages. After a while they turned Serie Roja into monthly because they were catching the Japanese publisher. So I, as everyone else, was anxiously waiting every month to the day Serie Roja would come out. We use to ran out of school to the local book stores to ask for it, day in and day out. I remember vividly that I even had to wait for a couple of  months before I was able to buy one. They came in small amounts and they use to sold-out quickly. Certainly, it was so much fun following Goku's adventures back in those happy school days.