October 2009 will a be an exciting month for comics enthusiasts because of a lot of things. Almost two months after the Metro Comic Con, another comics-related event will be happening at the Megamall – The First Philippine International Cartoons, Comics and Animation Festival. PICCA will be held from October 15 to 19 all around Megamall, Poveda, Powerbooks, Megatrade Hall, Makati and Tagaytay. Visit PICCA’s Official Site to learn more about the schedules, contests and more.
Interestingly, KOMIKON 2009 will also be held at the last day of the PICCA Festival. This year marks the second KOMIKON Awards that aims to give recognition to Filipino creators who continually give it their all to a young and promising comics industry. Visit Komikon’s Official Deviantart to learn more about the nominees and their creations.
Among the numerous titles that are to be released this October, the following will probably burn the brightest:
First off is Francisco V. Coching’s El Indio. Published by the Vibal Foundation, this is the first ever collected edition of any serialized komiks title. El Indio was first serialized in the pages of Pilipino Komiks in 1953; a time when collecting serialized komiks was still out of the norm. Pain-stakingly restored by Gerry Alanguilan and Zara Macandili with the help of the Coching family, this 177 page graphic novel is a must-buy for komiks enthusiasts young and old. I already have a copy of the book bought from the Manila International Book Fair in SMX SM Mall of Asia and it is just stunning.
The second is The Life and Art of Francisco V. Coching also published by the Vibal Foundation. It is a coffee-table book about Francisco V. Coching, a biographical recollection of the Dean of Komiks Illustrators by numerous writers. It is edited by art critic Patrick D. Flores and will be launched at the National Museum. I’m also planning to buy this book, a healthy addition to my knowledge on the history of Philippine Comics.
Another book about Filipino Komiks entitled The First One Hundred Years Of Philippine Komiks and Cartoons will be launched at the PICCA Festival on October 16, 2009. Published by Boboy Yonzon, it is written by comics historian Dr. John A. Lent and contributions by Beth Chionglo, Aileen Casis, Glady Gimena, Orvy Jundis, Joy Del Mundo and Boboy Yonzon. I’m very excited for this book too but the retail price really cringes my teeth. I don’t know if I will be able to purchase it. But I am very happy to know that finally, there is a movement to promote our rich komiks history that does not limit itself to online discussion.
The long-awaited TRESE Book 3: Mass Murders is finally coming to haunt us. Written by Budjette Tan and drawn by Kajo Baldisimo, this new volume will continue the midnight adventures of Alexandra Trese and the Kambal. It will also introduce new characters, one of which definitely shake the mythos – the entry of Anton Trese. If you want to receive a copy one week before the launch of the book, just go to the MIBF and proceed to the VisPrint booth.
All infos were collected from:
The world is continually turning and changing that I really don’t want to get left behind! My thesis is slowly shaping into its form and am excited to finish it. Knowing that there are a lot of komiks titles out there finally reaching readers hands, I’m so stoked to write and illustrate my own.
Another week has just flown by and I still have much work to do. The days are either awfully stormy or infernally hot. Podcasts have been keeping me company while working on pages and inks – yes Sidebar, it’s you. I am getting comfy with my new drawing table and am still clamouring for a computer table to go along with it. I’ve read Scott Mccloud’s Making Comics and Understanding Comics two times already and I still want to read about it more. Everyone in the house has been busy, with Mom and Dad travelling for work related issues. In a few days, a close family relative will be leaving for the US and she will be missed. Attending Pixel Pintura Workshop has been a blast and I still want to learn more from Joel Chua. Color is just more than a rainbow! Life has been hectic, like this drawing I did for an Esthetics class last year. Winding down the path, you never know where you’re going. And finding out who you are is just part of the puzzle. But heck, bring it on! I like a challenge!
It’s finally come, my final week here in the US. Sunday, Tito Hip came over to the house and had a quick snack with us. Manang Jaz wanted to take me to the casino. Normally, you should be at least 21 years old to enter one. But, they took me to Casino Pauma where the age allowed was at least 18 years old. I’ve always wondered how it felt to be in a casino, after watching too much Ocean’s Eleven and 21. Disappointingly, I couldn’t bring my camera inside. The place was bustling with old people and slot machines, the sound of crackling coins all over. Every aisle and row had its own brand of slot machines. I was a little bit dazed because of the lights and sounds circling around me. It took some getting used to the idea of losing money to gain more money. Before I knew it, I was stuck to 1 cent slots for an hour or so.
We went to a Japanese restaurant and ordered sushi to-go. I was craving for another round of sashimi and wasabi. At Tito Hip’s house, we feasted sushi along with homemade adobo. As usual, they were all speaking in Ilocano. I enjoyed the Red Dragon Sushi I ordered but found myself full in no time. We discussed whether to watch Wolverine or Star Trek. I was in favour of Star Trek, having no idea what to expect of the space adventure.
That night, we split into two groups. Tito Hip’s family was going to watch Wolverine while we were definitely going Trekkie. It was the day of the premiere so there were a lot of people lined up to see the movie. The clocked ticked away and pretty soon, we were entering the cinema. This time around, the theatre was packed and it was a good thing we found available seats. Lights dimmed. And the film began.
What can I say? The movie was kinetic and action-packed! Not one moment was wasted to ensure total involvement of the audience. For a casual movie-goer like me who has no idea of any Star Trek know-how, the film was in every way understandable and easy to swallow. The characters were lively and deserved every moment they had onscreen. On a particular note, some scenes depicting light flare effects reminded me of Michael Bay’s style of cinematography. The occasional humorous moments effectively balances the drama and struggle of the plot. Overall, this film deserves my praise and hopes for a sequel. May the movie live long and prosper.
One idea that made me excited was to wear the Navy uniforms my cousin had. One afternoon, Manung Totit ironed all his uniforms for me to wear. Although turning out to be too large for my size, it was fun having a feel to be part of the navy. I also wore his bike driving attire and rode his bike. Well, not to the point of driving it but that idea was very much open to me too.
Wednesday, Manung Totit invited some of his friends over for BBQ and beer. I was already imagining the juicy steaks at the table. At the garage, Tito Hip was busy tattooing his American friend. Just by looking at it, I knew it was very painful and agonizing. Maybe someday I’ll try tattooing as a hobby.
As luck would have it, another day at the Book-Off churned out a great find. I was spending my time at the illustration section, making up my mind to what books to buy. Running out of options, I took the first volumes of Akira and Nausicaa The Valley of Wind. As soon as we were already leaving the store, I noticed that there was an English comic book section right near the entrance. Silly me! All this time, I was looking at the wrong places. It was there that I found volumes 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the Dark Horse release of Akira. Each of them only cost a buck each and I just had to buy them. It was a great find indeed.
I remember watching the movie Big Daddy starring Adam Sandler and wondering what it felt like to be in a Hooters Restaurant. Thursday, they took me to eat dinner at Hooters. Yes, I was very excited – no doubts there. The restaurant was very lively and the food was great. I had the Texas BBQ Burger and swirly fries. With all the sexual innuendos around me, nothing could really go wrong that day.
And it came to pass, the day of my flight came and had to say goodbye. Friday, we left the house just around lunch time. We ate at Denny’s, a restaurant with breakfast as its specialty. I ordered the T-bone steak, medium well with a side order of onion rings and mashed potatoes. I was definitely stuffed and enjoyed every single bite.
Arriving at LA, we were very early so Manung Totit detoured over at Del Amo Motorsports. His love for bikes really showed when we were there. Time does fly when you’re having fun and a little while later, we were already at the airport. After a little snack at the lounge, gobbling sundaes and apple pies, I was ready to get into the plane. I said my farewells to my cousin and his family and to America. It was now time to come back to reality and face my priorities again.
What a trip it was to the land of the free.
The Sunday of week six began with extensive browsing of the Shonen Jump issues I bought yesterday. I still am amazed by the use of recycled paper and the thickness of one single issue had. I’ve always dreamed of using the same process if I ever publish an anthology of my own. Sometimes I question the way Culture Crash Comics or Mangaholix printed their anthologies in full colour. But that’s just me!
That evening, we went to watch Wolverine Origins at the Krikorian Theatre. Compared to the last time we were, there were many more people that night. I decided to eat hotdogs instead of nachos. I started to like relish because it had that certain sour taste and crunchy texture. This time, Joshua was a little less frightened, partly because his mom and dad were there to comfort him. Another thing was the theatre was almost packed. Good thing we found available seats just in time. After the long line of teasers, I sat back as the movie began.
I thought Wolverine Origins was enjoyable but it had some boring parts. It did make up with some comedy from Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson and antics by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. The movie was a little too over-hyped and in so doing, was disappointing as the plot rolled on. One scene notable and obviously wasn’t given enough time was when Emma Frost and other imprisoned mutants manage to escape. It is revealed that Prof. Xavier helps Scott Summers find a way out and they all meet outside the island. The meeting scene was so fake and probably made over green screen. I do hope when they make a sequel that it’ll be better.
Monday, I began searching for new TV shows to watch. My former classmate Justine suggested I watch Gundam 00 and Avatar. I also found the series Planetes and Ghost in the Shell: SAC. I already finished the fourth volume of Heroes and am looking forward to the next season. Lost is a show I’ve always wanted to watch but never had the luck to find a complete season.
That afternoon, Manung Totit accompanied me to the hardware store. We were looking for a portable airbrush compressor. A week ago, he gave me his airbrush kit for me to mess around with. I’ve always wondered how airbrush painting works and finally I’ll be able to do it myself. Manung suggested that I buy the oilless version so that I wouldn’t have to maintain it. Luckily, we found a small 30PSI Central Pneumatic Airbrush Compressor Kit. I opted to buy another more professional airbrush kit too but it was too expensive. Manung told me he’d buy me one if was good enough to have it.
When we got home, Manung showed me how to operate the compressor and the airbrush. What I liked about it was that the compressor was small and portable. He also taught me how to maintain the airbrush and how to change colours. The only catch is that it is a 110V machine so I have to buy a transformer to operate it at our 220V outlets at home.
Tuesday, Manung Totit was done packing our two balikbayan boxes. I accompanied him to the Filipino store that’ll be sending our balikbayan box. Once there, we left the boxes in a room with other balikbayan boxes. They will be sent on Saturday and will arrive in about a month.
I read an interesting article on Gerry Alanguilan’s blog about the Great Philippine Book Blockade of 2009. As I read it, it made my blood boil to know that the Philippine government again is showing no signs of improvement. I just hope that this a case of “everything has to get worse before it gets better.” Question is, how worse can it get.
Here is an excerpt from Robin Hemley’s article, which you can read in full here.
“Over coffee one afternoon, a book-industry professional (whom I can’t identify) told me that for the past two months virtually no imported books had entered the country, in part because of the success of one book, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. The book, an international best seller, had apparently attracted the attention of customs officials. When an examiner named Rene Agulan opened a shipment of books, he demanded that duty be paid on it.
“Ah, you can’t be too successful in this country,” I said. “If you are, then people start demanding a cut.”
“Even before you are successful,” she said. “But, yes, I’m a Filipino, but I have to admit this is true. Have you heard of ‘crab mentality’?”
I’d been hearing of this so-called crab mentality since I first arrived in the country 10 years earlier. It’s the notion that crabs will climb on top of one another to escape the pot in which they are to be cooked, but, instead of letting one crab escape, the remaining crabs pull the other one back.
But most crabs I’ve encountered in the Philippines are small-time little hermit crabs or dashing sand crabs. The crabs in government are the kind you’d find in an old Japanese horror film, with an entire city’s population running in fear as the crabs snip away public works, entire highway projects, intangibles, such as hope and justice, and, now, books.
“Yes,” I told her. “I’ve heard of crab mentality.”
The importer of Twilight made a mistake and paid the duty requested. A mistake because such duty flies in the face of the Florence Agreement, a U.N. treaty that was signed by the Philippines in 1952, guaranteeing the free flow of “educational, scientific, and cultural materials” between countries and declaring that imported books should be duty-free. Mr. Agulan told the importer that because the books were not educational (i.e., textbooks) they were subject to duty. Perhaps they aren’t educational, I might have argued, but aren’t they “cultural”?
No matter. With this one success under their belt, customs curtailed all air shipments of books \entering the country. Weeks went by as booksellers tried to get their books out of storage and started intense negotiations with various government officials.
What doubly frustrated booksellers and importers was that the explanations they received from various officials made no sense. It was clear that, for whatever reason—perhaps the 30-billion-peso ($625 million) shortfall in projected customs revenue—customs would go through the motions of having a reasonable argument while in fact having none at all.
Customs Undersecretary Espele Sales explained the government’s position to a group of frustrated booksellers and importers in an Orwellian PowerPoint presentation, at which she reinterpreted the Florence Agreement as well as Philippine law RA 8047, providing for “the tax and duty-free importation of books or raw materials to be used in book publishing.” For lack of a comma after the word “books,” the undersecretary argued that only books “used in book publishing” (her underlining) were tax-exempt.
“What kind of book is that?” one publisher asked me afterward. “A book used in book publishing.” And she laughed ruefully.
I thought about it. Maybe I should start writing a few. Harry the Cultural and Educational Potter and His Fondness for Baskerville Type.
Likewise, with the Florence Agreement, she argued that only educational books could be considered protected by the U.N. treaty. Customs would henceforth be the arbiter of what was and wasn’t educational.
“For 50 years, everyone has misinterpreted the treaty and now you alone have interpreted it correctly?” she was asked.
“Yes,” she told the stunned booksellers.”
Thursday, I spent most of the day watching CSI New York. I’m starting to love the series. It’s probably because it is set in New York and the characters are a respectable bunch of investigators. Out of all of them, Mac Taylor and Lindsay Monroe are my favourite characters. Mac, played by Gary Sinise, has this charisma and leadership that reminds me of my dad. Lindsay, played by Anna Belknap, is a rookie with a charm and the looks of an innocent girl. It’s just sad to know that I’ll be missing it when I get home because we don’t have cable.
On another note, the SciFi Channel was having a Star Trek Marathon in preparation for the new Star Trek movie that was showing in theatres the next day. At the time we were at home, I was able to watch Star Trek First Contact. For as long as I can remember, this is the first Star Trek movie that I have ever seen. For a non-Trekkie like me, I didn’t have to know any backstory to appreciate the film. Being a sci-fi fan, I was very satisfied with the plot and the scientific concepts proposed by the movie.
For the most part of week five, staying in the house and messing around with my laptop or TV was the usual call of the day. I don’t remember much of what happened, maybe because of the tequila or just plain memory loss. What I do remember though are little snippets of a movie, a bookstore, a camera accessory, a nail-biting basketball game and a Filipino icon.
I experienced my first 3D movie with the DreamWorks Animation feature film Monsters vs. Aliens. Manung Totit had gone off early from work one afternoon. He had wanted to take Joshua to watch the movie, knowing that he’ll like it very much. Manang Jaz didn’t want to come with us so you can say it’s a night for two and a half men.
The Krikorian theatre was fairly typical with only the catchy name setting it apart – it’s called the Krikorian theatre. We each got 3D glasses along with the tickets manung bought. The last time I saw 3D glasses was when I was a kid, and it was still red and blue. Some of the coming soon movies really caught my eye. On the top of my must-watch list are Terminator Salvation, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek, Land of the Lost, Wolverine Origins and Year One. For snacks, we had cheesy nachos, buttered popcorn and sodas. I was excited to devour the nachos although I was disappointed because there wasn’t any sour cream.
So we entered the theatre which was surprisingly still empty. Joshua was acting up again because he was frightened of the dark and the loud audio. Once we found some seats, we waited for the movie to begin. Unlike pre-entertainment from back home where music is played, this theatre plays movie trivia and a lot of ads. A little more waiting and the film finally started. The movie was above par with a strong and potential premise. Overall, I enjoyed it very much. But I still think Kung Fu Panda is better.
Manang Jaz was telling me about this bookstore where everything was almost a dollar each. I just had to go there to believe this. On the weekend, we went off to Book-Off, Japan’s largest chain of used bookstore. True enough, almost everything in the bookstore are cheap. He first thing that I saw upon entering was this shelf full of English translated manga. All around the store, there are lots of books from every topic you could probably think about – politics, science, computers, crafts, art, design and etc. But the aisle where I hanged out more than any other place was the anime and illustration aisle. There were a lot of artbooks, magazines and manga anthologies that were almost 90% off the original price. After a lot of browsing, I took 2009 issues 8-13 of Shonen Jump, just so I could know how it feels to read Jump first hand.
Next, we visited Ate Riza and her family, Manang Jaz’s best friend when she was in college. They live in a little pad in San Diego. Joshua had a chance to play with Ate Riza’s son Patrick. I was particularly excited because I was going to purchase a polarizing filter and remote trigger for my DLSR camera today. So while waiting for lunch, Manung Totit accompanied me to the Henry’s Camera, photography supplies shop nearby. The trip was relatively quick as we passed by what my manung describes as Ghetto land. A little later, I finally got what I wanted – a Promaster 6 ft. remote trigger , a Hoya 58mm Polarizing filter and Tamrac filter pocket.
After San Diego, we went to the baby shower of Manung Totit’s friend. They had a feast set in the living room with a variety of Filipino and American foods. I enjoyed the pork ribs, chomping every meat on the bone. Aside from that, they also had a little sushi tray which completed my meal. It wasn’t only the baby shower that was important that day. The long-awaited match between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton was about to start that very afternoon. Amazingly, it only lasted two rounds. All of us and probably all pinoys from around the world were celebrating.
And a little earlier from the fight, the instant classic Celtics vs. Bulls 1st round playoffs was about to end. I was definitely happy that the Celtics won and are moving on to the next round.
One thing I missed this week was the Free Comic Book Day in Comic Odyssey Robinson’s Galleria. The last time I attended a FCBD was when Planet X was opening a branch in Glorietta.
Three-hundred and forty six pages and almost a month (excluding Anansi) had passed; here I am staring into the far planes of my window. I bought the book because I wanted to get an idea on how to write a short story, a piece of treatment lingering in my mind. In a self-contained cell, I thought I was better off reading a novel. But practicality beat me to it. So after a time well-spent reading the collection, I must say, it was brilliantly done. The stories, although written in different times and spaces, are beautiful and timeless. Admittedly, I’m more of a sci-fi fan, of science and adventures into the deep unknown. But, this book probably gave me the best taste of fantasy I’ve ever had. All things need not to be explained, principles and laws are left aside. It was just an adventure really. I was just there to enjoy the fun of fantasy.
Looking back at every piece, I sliced some excerpts from the most memorable stories in the book.
Mrs. Whitaker found the Holy Grail; it was under a fur coat.
That cat, my wife had said, when he first arrived, is a person. And there was something person-like in his huge leonine like face: his broad black nose, his greenish-yellow eyes, his fanged but amiable mouth (still leaking amber pus from the right lower lip).
“I’m a troll,: whispered the troll, in a small, scared voice. “ Fol rol de ol rol.”
He was trembling.
I held out my hand and took his huge paw in mine. I smiled at him. “It’s ok,” I told him. “Honesty, it’s okay.”
The troll nodded.
The nurse walks him out into the blazing sun, across the road, and down onto the sand of the Copacabana.
The people on the beach stare at the old man, bald and rotten, in his antique pajamas, gazing about him with colorless once-brown eyes through bottle-thick dark-rimmed spectacles.
He stares back at them.
They are golden and beautiful. Some of them are asleep on the sand. Most of them are naked, or they wear a kind of bathing attire that emphasizes and punctuates their nakedness.
Rajit know them, then.
And he said, What are you?
He said, Ow, no, ow.
He said, Hey, shit, this isn’t fair.
Then he said nothing at all, not words now,
no more words,
because I had ripped off his arm
and left it
fingers spastically clutching nothing,
on the beach.
We Can Get Them For You Wholesale
‘Complete discreet disposal of irksome and unwanted mammals, etc.’ went the entry ‘Ketch, Hare, Burke and Ketch. The Old Firm.’ It went on to give no address, but only a telephone number.
“Look, what I want is a humane trap. It’s like a corridor. The mouse goes in, the door shuts behind it, it can’t get out.”
“So how do you kill it?”
“You don’t kill it. You drive a few miles away and let it go. And it doesn’t come back to bother you.”
Becky was smiling now, examining him as if he were just the most darling thing, just the sweetest, dumbest, cutest little thing. “You stay here,” she said, “I’ll check out back.”
“Sure,” I said to the man. “Sure, tell me a story.”
He coughed, grinned white teeth – a flash in the darkness – and he began,
“First thing I remember was the Word. And the Word was God. Sometimes, when I get really down, I remember the sound of the word in my head, shaping me, forming me, giving me life.
“The Word gave me a body, gave me eyes, And I opened my eyes, and I saw the light of the Silver City.
Where do I go from here? Whispers are telling me many things, to pin everything down before it’s all gone.
“I have always been strongly of the opinion that the writer and artist should be in one person. Failing that, and in the absence of any prior agreement between artist and writer, then I come down in favor of the dominance of the artist. This is not to free him from the obligation to work in service of the story originated by the writer. Rather, I expect him to shoulder this burden with the understanding that the so called ‘freedom’ will come a greater challenge – that of employing or devising a wider range of visual devices and composition innovation. He should contribute to the ‘writing.’”
– Will Eisner, Comics and Sequential Art
I’m definitely on the same wave as Will Eisner on this notion. I have grown to admire artists that are able to write and illustrate at the same time. The ability to draw is already much a burden to some, but writing the story that goes with the illustration is an entirely new world on their shoulders. It is in this idea that I true believe in the ambidextrous ability, in balancing out the weight of justice given to the crime of killing two birds with one stone.
If I were to deconstruct this belief, I think the artist is able to write because he is a visual master. He paints a picture in his mind, trying to see the overall story. The characters, objects, scenes and places may jumble restlessly in his mind. Through insistent molding, he lays out everything, hoping all of them can fall unto the right places, at the right time. As he truly sees the painting from beginning to end, he simply translates it into words, adds illustrations (albeit again) and the rest is history.
I’m simply astounded reading a line which says ‘Story and Art by …’ or ‘Katha’t Guhit ni …’ It is a simple connotation of how personal the comic book is to her creator and vice versa.
Story and Art by Gerry Alanguilan
Story and Art by Katsuhiro Otomo
Story and Art by Takehiko Inoue
Indeed, how many of us can look left and right at the same time?