Wednesday, September 27, 2006

15 min CATWOMAN for a JAM

Here is a simple 15 minutes Catwoman for a friend's Blog JAM! Hoping this is okay DADICUS! :)

Monday, September 18, 2006


Been busy lately. Finishing our first book is both exciting and exhausting. Especially if your publisher is your wife. "Yes Dear!" is all can say to that. It is done and the next step is the printing process. I am now working on the second title. We decided to try and finish the book for it to also make its initial debut at this year's Komikon. The book is a Half/Half in nature ( no, not in terms of Gender), because half of it will be Manga influenced and the other half is Global ( western/europe/komiks or all of the above classification of style). Whadayouknow, manga is the only category divided from the rest. Anyway, I do not believe in all that what style should be used. I believe however that comics should be one thing. A good product! Whatever style we like to do, that is our option in life. It is like religion. We respect the person no matter what religion he/she is in. Anyway, hope to see you at the Komikon 2006, we'll be at table E22, right next to Gerry Alanguilan, as I've been told.

I'll post in images soon. Promise! The title of the book by the way is TROPA. The book is all about friendship and the adventures that take us in by the power of brotherhood and all that stuff that shapes us into who we are, individuals one and all.

I am not alone in this, Jim Jimenez, Kriss Sison, Lui Antonio and newcomer Marvin Maglaque joined us to bring you the 1st ever issue under Sacred Mountain Publications. Although I have to color the whole 52 pages of it, with my wife Glenda. My friend, Reginald Ting helped me with the letters. Whew!

Oh I am going to start selecting an email sender for the "I am a komik reader" and should be able to show you what the lucky sender will be getting in the mail :)

Until the next update! :)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Komiks should be made cheaper?

Another topic about komiks, this one from John Becaro:

For what I have observed nowadays, people really miss reading affordable comics...So it is advisable if we could lay affordable comics yet very high in quality.Yes, if we will try to check the demographics, ages like 20 up really seem to miss reading comics(because they belong to the generation of reading comics between 1990's-when the comic industry is still up).20 below, teenagers tend to buy comics if they have an extra allowance on them.So if we will check below puberty line class, they prefer to buy food than reading comics.But they also wanted to buy if it is afforadable due to their limited access on entertainment and internet.Middle Class will have a probability on buying a comic book but will just check it as an option on their shopping list.So they still prefer buying their "needs" and not the "wants". Upper Class will highly buy a comics if their attention are captured.As of this moment we still have the chance to make the industry became more bigger by considering the demographics.If we wanted to achieve potential marketing we have to make sure it is accesible to all market ages and demographics. Who will read the comics,?How much is the price?Is it worth reading ?And how can we relate it to them?And is it entertaining?This are the probable questions that would help us achieving our marketing strategy.

My answer:

I think we have a dilemma, it is easy to say that we should print komiks using cheaper materials akin to what Atlas/GASI used before. We can say that it will be better since the art will also be better. We can do that yes, but remember the komiks of yesterdays are refered to as "Pambalot ng tinapa." What are the odds that they won't do that again today? I think image and materials are big factors to show the new readers/consumers of todays komiks to give the proper message that THIS product needs care and IS worthy to be called collectable buy. The old komiks that survived in my "baul" are all so muddy and full of creases, not because of mishandling but because of poor choice of material. I think our komiks should shout out to potential buyers " INVEST IN US." That includes the product's overall look from the writing to the art and most especially in the paper used. These little things give komiks its' soul.
Have you ever wondered why people rented their local komiks for 50 cents while people would not just hand out their imported comics to friends? When I was in high school I would trade my issue of fantastic four with my classmate's X-men title for what? collateral. Yes, we value our comic books that much. Why? Because it is so expensive. Simple logic to me that only those who value a comic book of komiks should buy komiks. Only with respect to this medium one should open and read through these pages to be rewarded with months of preperations that the creative team placed into it so that at one special time will be given to a reader.
The old ways is dead to me. Since I came from an era where komiks are made cheap and talents are paid measly amounts, just to make sure that the publishers are assured that their talents are made to grab anything that is offered to them. The real reasons why we were called contributors states the obvious. We are not employed, we are contractuals. We don't have nothing but the hope that we'll still be needed by editors for as long as we can last. If we asked for more than what they give? it is so easy to replace us. There is no royalties in the Philippines, well not in komiks magazines. The logic behind this is simple, a lot of people working on one title. It's almost an impossible feat just to give a certain amount to the whole hungry mouths and divide them evenly. But I am convinced that this is not so. Imagine a book with 20 creators, every issue sold 30-100,000 copies. If the publisher really wanted to give royalties, they can. I believe in the US, they would give like 5% or less to every issue sold to the creative team. It can now be divided to each of the talent. It is being done by the music industry here in the Philippines, i think it is best to do the same thing with comics as well.
So many things to point out but I still think that komiks should be given the quality treatment it deserves and should not just be bought because it is cheap to begin with.

Friday, September 01, 2006

About a letter.

I just received this letter from a former student of mine, I must admit it really is quite depressing. The more I believe it should be addressed.

The letter is written in tagalog so pardon for those english reading peeps out there.

Heto pa po ang ilan sa Drowing ko...
Sabihin ko lang po ang mga nangyari sa akin upang maibsan ang hinanakit ng damdamin ko...

Kahapon po noong nasa national bookstore ako, nabadtrip po ako...Nakapuwesto ako doon sa may Graphic Novels, may dalawang estudyante doon na nag-uusap at tapos bigla na lang sasabihin sa comics na "Kadiri! Uso pa ba iyan?"...Sa totoo lang po, talagang naiinsulto ako sa mga sinasabi nila!!! Hindi ko na pinansin (balak ko sanang lingunin) dahil pananaw nila iyon at wala naman po akong magagawa...Kasi lagi na lang ganito ang pananaw ng marami sa Komiks eh! Ganito ang napapansin ko po ngayon! Nalulungkot nga po ako kung bakit ganito kababaw ang pagtingin ng mga tao sa comics...Minsan naiiyak pa po ako eh!!! Lalu na, pag bumabalik iyong masama kong nakaraan noong hayskul...Kasi mahal na mahal ko po ang comics...Noong sinabi ko na gusto kong maging comic artist balang araw sa harap ng klase noong inenterview kami ng bago naming guro, pinagtatawanan pa ako ng iba (pero di naman lahat!)...Sama ng loob ko noon! Meron pa akong kaklase na pilit akong dinidiskurahe at sasabihin pa po "Alam mo noong bata pa ako, nagdodrowing din ako! Kaya lang, pinipigilan ako ng tatay ko dahil wala namang mapapala diyan kaya hindi na ako nagdodrowing!"...Hindi ko naman po pinapansin at tinitiis na lang ang pang-mamaliit sa akin...Ganun kababaw ang pagtingin nila sa akin dahil lang sa comics...Naalala ko tuloy iyong sabi ng mga kacomic geeks kong friends at iyong nababasa kong kwento ng iba sa forums...Tinutukso pa nga raw silang wirdo, isip-bata at autistic sa iskul pagdating sa komiks...Bakit ba ganun? Parang walang kwenta ang pagdodrowing! Hindi nakikita ng karamihan na magandang talento iyon...Bakit parang grabe ang pang-maliliit ng tao sa atin? Tayo pang mga artist ang lagi na lang napapasama?

Sa ngayon, wala pa talaga akong mapapatunayan sa mga ito pero blang-araw po sana...Kaya heto ako pilit nag-aaral magdrowing...Kaya talagang ang dami ko pang dapat pag-aralan...Pero ayokong mawalan ng pag-asa...Balang araw, mapapatunayan ko rin sa mga iyan...

Ang henerasyon nga po talaga namin ang talagang nakakaranas yata ng ganito...

Kaya noong highschool ako, ugaling-ugali ko talaga magdala ng mga comics noon...Lalu na ang mga gawang-pinoy tulad ng gawa ni Carlo vergara at iyong Lastikman ni gerry...Book month pa nga noon...Laking tuwa ko nga, nung nahilig silang basahin iyong Lastikman komiks kaya ipinagmamalaki ko iyon pati si Gerry..Sorry po talaga ah, nabadtrip lang talaga ako at kayo lang po ang alam kong makakausap dito...

Salamat po!

Here is my reply to that:

Although it is true that comics are being viewed as the lowest form of entertainment here in our country and please take note, only in our country, I think that those people who do put down this medium of entertainment are those who haven't tried and experienced reading comics at all. They could be the die-hard book readers, scholars who think that everything that is not educational is not worth their time. Or the movie/TV people who think that everything now can be learned by watching and not from reading. I remember someone telling me about a story of a guy who tried to impress a girl on a bus. "Ang ganda pala nung Hunchback of Notredame no? Napanood mo na miss?" The girl replied, "No, but I read the book." Then the guy said, "Really? May book pala iyon?" Imagine people talking about the Spider-man movie and asking in the end, "Really? It was a comic book?" Will they then change their mind and say, "Yuck Kadiri! I don't like Spider-man anymore." Do you think they will?

I believe that whatever lured me into reading comics is not because it was hip at the time or uso. It has been there for years. I loved it because of the art and soon after because of the adventures inside each cover, cover after cover. The best part of the deal is, once I buy it, I can read it over and over again and with each read, I get more information that I must have missed when I first read it. Can you say the same with video games after completing the whole sets of stages? If you will compute the number of hours, effort and money after you are done with the game, you would have already spent a fortune, more expensive than a comic book that will be your possession, a treasure to keep, a memory that will last longer than the excitement of a noisy and quickie time playing a game that will go puff like air after. What memories will it leave you? You'll go, I pushed this button and this button the right time, then I pushed this one and this one-- blah blah.

I think the only mistake you really made is expressing it so loudly to people who would not know anything about comics and the stories and art behind it. When I was still in high school, I never told anybody I wanted to be a comicbook artist. No, I'll just sit in a corner and draw with such happiness that my classmates came to see what I was doing. They should ask first before I tell them the stories I am working on. Why? It was exclusively mine, my space and my world. In this world, I am the creator and I loved my creations. When it is time to talk or play with people, I do that. I am normal otherwise. You see comics to me was never an obsession. It was me, there I am untouchable. You'll be called weirdo if you try to mix this comics thing with reality. My advice would be, who cares if they don't like what you do, as long as you do.

I have to admit, the recent years of komiks were not so glamorous like the yesteryears. Artists and writers are not given the right opportunities to live the lives that they should have if we lived in a different country. Absence of royalties and instability are eating them up inside out. But we kept doing it no matter how low we've been paid. Why? Because we loved it. We love creating comics for people who don't even know our faces, but they do know us, for each art is unique. People can identify a Vincent Kua from a Hal Santiago. We tried our best to survive but in the end, one by one, each soldier got burned and wounded and moved on doing new stuff like animation, movies, pocket books and/or paintings. Yes, paintings. Many painters came from comics, even Malang I think, and Toti Cerda. Still, people dare say that we are not artists and our work, not Art.

I think we still need to keep our act together and finally establish a new and better Komiks. As for those who have never tried the comic reading experience? Well, it may not be your thing, but I believe there are still a lot of people who genuinely love reading comics and who would probably say the same thing that I write here today – you don't know what you've been missing. I encourage you to try it. There are no guarantees, but you just might like it.

Everything is nothing without a little Imagination.

-Gilbert Monsanto