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

10 comments:

ARTLINK STUDIOS said...

Sir Gilbert,

I really like your answer here...

the letter really touch my inner feelings about comics...It saddens me that many stupid brat nowadays downgraded this medium called comics...

But this will serve as a challenge to all of us who loves comics.That we must act together and show to the entire nation what comics is capable of.

If you would mind, I will post this to my Deviant Art Journal in order to relay this and challenge all the comics enthusiasts to stand out and be not afraid nor be intimidated by new generations of mockers.And I'll also try to generate an article about this soon as I got the proper researches.:)

Good Day Sir Gilbert!

monsanto said...

Sure if feel it is safe hehe :)

Thanks!

Reno said...

I remember back when I was in high school. Word got out in school that I was writing/drawing komiks at a very young age, and bam!... instant celebrity. Medyo nakakainis din kasi lahat ng tao gustong magpadrowing sa akin. pero hindi pa nakakahiya noong panahon na iyon na maging komiks creator. At hindi dapat maging kahiya-hiya iyon kahit ngayon.

monsanto said...

Pareho pala tayo hehe, 2nd year High School ako nag start. Lahat sila proud sa akin noon :)

Hay, ganyan lang talaga ngayon siguro.

Ed said...

When I was in highschool, I didn't know I will be making comics...until I stepped into college. I just told the whole class that I will be recognized, not just locally but to the whole world.

But to be recognized globally isn't impossible anymore...we have INTERNET! But name being printed on a print media has a big difference. :D

Kung naroon ako sa pinangyarihan, tatanungin ko sila kung ano gusto nila maging. And I'll tell them what I get doing comics.

-ed :)

Anonymous said...

sad naman..may mga tao tlagang ganyan noh..mga wlang magawa kundi manlait or couldn't even appreciate..bakit ba, marunong ba sila? hmp!wla silang talent kamo..di sila marunong magdrawing..hahaha..

Seriuosly, i'm not really an avid fan of comics..hmm..i remembered reading Archie comics before and i enjoyed it..i did not know about Filipino-made comics not until i knew Gilbert and his works impressed me so much..they were so beautiful!..made me proud to be a Filipino..galing tlaga ng Pinoy noh?

I'm not addicted to comics to the point that i collect (no budget!..but if i have, y not?..ehehe)but in my opinion, comics are great forms of entertainment for aside from the dialogues in balloons may drawing..its like watching a movie or reading a book..may be lesser and better than the two in some aspects..need not elaborate..

Ganda mo tlaga mag.advice sir Gilbert! your reply to the letter was very well done..nemiss ko po kayo..

Sa gumawa nman ng letter na yun, gawin mo lng what you feel like doing..and your reward is happiness nman, di nman nabibili ng money yun noh kaya for me its more than enough..and another thing, the only person you can control is youself kya wag mo na problemahin yung mga bagay na u don't have control upon..you cannot always be responsible on how people see the things that you do and the things that you like kasi iba iba nman tayo..the most important thing is that you love and enjoy what you do and you are proud of it..we just can't please evrybody lng kasi..i guess di lng nman sa comics eh..i guess to almost everything nman or any profession whatsoever..kaya you lighten up and keep practicing..malay natin maging isang Gilbert kna rin balang araw, o Gerry o kung sino pman na gusto mong comic artist, dba?..

ehehe, haba noh?

byers..

mangguhit said...

...nasa national bookstore ako
nung isang araw nagba-brouse
ng “how to draw Manga”.
narinig ko dalawa teenager nag-uusap,
sabi nung isa, “Manga? (pronounced as prutas na mangga), ano ba yan tara na... dun tayo...” sabay alis.

Napatawa ako, sasabihan ko sana, “kagatin mo matamis yan”.

monsanto said...

Sana pala sinabi mo na ang spelling ng mangga ay iba sa manga :)

Randy P. Valiente said...

tol, puwede ko ba ito isama sa book na ginagawa namin ni Fermin Salvador? Compli lang ang kaya kong ibigay ha :) Ila-launch ko sa Komikon 2007

monsanto said...

Oks lang Randy :) Komikomikon na!!! :)