Behind the glass base of the building there is a library and a shop for comics and drawing supplies, on the four floors above there are large exhibition rooms behind the white facades as well as artists’ studios, seminar rooms and reading areas. It looks impressive, the five-story comic museum in Erlangen.
For now, though, it’s nothing more than a fantasy. Architect Denys Kovalenko developed it two years ago as part of his master’s thesis in architecture at HTW Saar. In a video, he presents the project with numerous images and animations so vividly that one could almost think it is already reality.
If Lisa Neun and her fellow riders have their way, the dream should one day become a reality. The computer scientist and comic artist is the first chairwoman of the Erlangen Comic Museum association. “The time for a museum like this is ripe,” she says. The 59-year-old is standing in a former shop in the old town of Erlangen, which has served as the club’s action and showroom for two years.
The approximately 90 square meter area, divided into two rooms, is intended to give a foretaste of what a comic museum could offer in the city that many people consider the capital of German comics thanks to the International Comic Salon that has been taking place since 1984.
Four years ago, Lisa Neun teamed up with other people from Erlangen and the surrounding area who care about comics, including comic artist Michael Jordan, who is part of the Comic Salon team, and Ralf Marczinczik, who during the Comic Salon was a very organizes a popular seminar for drawing young people and is the second chairman of the association.
“We said to ourselves: We have to do something, otherwise nothing will ever happen,” says Lisa Neun at the meeting in the action and showroom. The association has shown a number of exhibitions here in cooperation with partners such as the Comic Salon in recent years, and this week another one will be added: The “Kangaroo Comics” by Marc-Uwe Kling and Bernd Kissel, presented by the Erika-Fuchs-Haus – the 2015 opened Comic Museum in Schwarzenbach an der Saale – and the Carlsen-Verlag. .
“We’ve come a long way for having such a thin staffing base,” she says. They have drawn attention to their project in numerous public campaigns, prominent comic creators such as Flix and Olivia Vieweg have advertised it with drawings, there has been a virtual museum since 2019 in which visitors can walk through digital rooms on the computer, in which works by artists: inside you can see Katja Klengel, Katharina Greve, Tobi Dahmen or the cartoonist Joscha Sauer.
And there is – at least until the end of this year – the showroom in the idyllic old town of Erlangen. The association can bear the rental costs for this thanks to an inheritance that a comic fan donated to the project. There are project grants for individual exhibitions, the city of Erlangen – which is also the sponsor of the International Comic Salon – occasionally supports the association by taking on the work involved in setting up exhibitions.
Everything that Lisa Neun and the other almost 50 members of the association put into the project in terms of time and energy is voluntary. “In the long term, we need a sponsor and the financing of a permanent force for the project,” she says.
What such a museum should look like in practice is left to the imagination at the moment. Maybe like the architect Denys Kovalenko designed in his simulation, but maybe completely different. “There should be space for a large collection of originals, for permanent and special exhibitions, for a library,” says Lisa Neun. The whole range of art forms should be represented, from western comics to manga, as well as cartoons and animation art.
Where in Erlangen could something like this be realized? A few years ago, the city bought the museum square for the city museum and its extension, reports Lisa Neun. The area, which consists of several historic buildings, is to be gradually expanded as a venue for events and exhibitions. “A dream would be to take shelter there.”
Lisa Neun is now looking forward to the comic salon, as in addition to the kangaroo comic exhibition in the club’s showroom, there will also be insights into the museum project and the club’s archive, plus a reading corner with comics, some originals from Marvel and DC Comics as well as a large drawing of beer coasters, in which comic creators turn cardboard coasters into works of art.
“We’re a small club,” says Lisa Neun, “but we go about it with courage – and it’s still fun.”