Monday, 20 February 2012
'King of Comics' Berlinale (Panorama) review:
The name of documentary 'König des Comics' loses something in translation to the more prosaic English handle 'King of Comics'. The German title is a pun on the name of the film's charismatic subject: comic book artist Ralf König, whose defiantly graphic and frank homosexual comedy books of the 80s and 90s remain a source of reassurance, comfort and great pleasure for many in the gay community throughout Europe.
The film goes through König's life and comics chronologically, providing insight into the gay scene in Germany from the 70s to the present day, as much as giving a "for dummies" course on a (to UK audiences) obscure, but influential, comic book artist and wit. König comes across very well, especially when performing his work to audiences, doing the voices as he goes. He is full of life and his political activism and no-nonsense attitude are infectious.
Ultimately the books themselves aren't my cup of tea, but König and his story are good value regardless even if the doc itself is unpolished and without a clear focus. It lacks any great feeling of narrative climax, meaning that enjoyment of the cartoonist's company, if not the wider world of gay comic books, is paramount to the film's appeal.