Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why most independent komiks in the Philippines only sell their stuff during local conventions?

Why most independent komiks in the Philippines only sell their stuff during local conventions?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 8:05:40 AM | Gilbert Monsanto
This question was raise as a reaction to the recently concluded KOMIKON 2010 event.

(originally posted as a note on my facebook.)


Having your title available to bookstores and other retail store is not an easy task :)


1.) Setting up legal stuffs (dti, issn,business permit and some more.) - needs money to spend.

2.) consignment fees- it varies but the the highest still is from NBS(40-50%) half of all your hard work essentially.

3.) footwork- good luck sending them to all the branches. Fare alone getting there will cost you a fortune. And because it is consignment, you have to return and get all the unsold copies.

I am doing this believe me, up to now. I still can't solve the distribution problem.

The real dilemma is that after all these things considered,I think the price tag on our comics should be 4 to 5 times more than we offer at the conventions. Who would buy comics if we do that? That is mainly the reason we need these events

If anyone can help us, Please do.

How about editors for independent komiks in the Philippines?

How about editors for independent komiks in the Philippines?
Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 3:21:18 PM | Gilbert Monsanto

(originally posted on my note on my facebook.)

Okay this might be a sensitive topic. This is another question raised at the local conventions here in the Philippines.

What are the roles of an editor in komiks?

-If working for a publisher, an editor does a lot of essencial tasks to finish a book including:

a.) concept of a title or what should be inside a title. The decide what is allowed to print or not to print.

b.) follow ups the creative crew, timing is very important. They usual talk to all the people involved in a project.

c.) proofreading. Corrections corrections, corrections before going to print.

There are more but let's just minimize all these shall we? In short he is the manager and boss to most comic titles. A lot of responsibilities but someone has to do it.

There was a time, when I was working as a contributor for GASI,Sonic Triangle and Infinity Inc. A fellow contrbutor had a fight with an editor and decided to talk to publisher about it. The publisher just said. " you know? the reason I have editors is to avoid having talks with you guys. I trust them, so just deal with it."

Artists can learn alot from them, they might not be artists, some are writers and they have a lot of practice looking at details and basically see things creators tends to ignore. I personally learned alot from my editors, I thank them now for giving me the opportunity to work with them.

Now, editors for independent komiks? This might not work the same. Since the owner/publisher of a title is the creators. The roles are somewhat reversed. The last say will be the creator's. Who would want to be an editor with this kind of set up?

I often heard stories of people offering to edit works to some indie creators. " what the f--! he wanted me to change this and that and that, I created this! I know better!." Not a good scene huh? I think that having editors is still a must in order for us to minimize mistakes. The problem was that the creator I mentioned earlier came to another creator with another title of his own. Thus, ineffective.

This is now being avoided by selecting carefully new breeds of editors, collaborators. People who are willing to help and in exchange be helped as well. There are no bosses, just friendly advises.

I am very much in need of these new heroes, I usually have difficulty seeing my mistakes, especially since I am so focused on other details. My editors are there to tell me exactly what I needed to hear and saves the day. The last say is usually mine as a creator but because they are there, mistakes I'd say has been to a minimal.

I am thankful for them.

-Gilbert Monsanto


Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 3:15:01 PM | Gilbert Monsanto

(originally posted on my note on facebook.)

People have always asked me different questions regarding comic schools. Do you still teach? Can you teach me? Where did you learn how to do comics? Nagfine arts ka ba? and sometimes it gets silly, but this questions are serious ones.

I had the privilege to be Whilce's chief instructor for his school a few years ago. For three years I have encountered very talented people through this experience, some of them are now well respected names in the business. When Whilce moved out of the country, the school stopped. PWU-LEARN offered me to continue the school but without Whilce, it won't be a Whilce Portacio's comic course. I had to turn them down.

What is it like to teach comics? It was different in all aspect of the word. I'll try to explain why I feel it would be hard for regular schools to actually turn this and turn it into a complete course.

When I started creating comics for a living. I've always wondered why there was no comic making classes in school. I think I know the answer now and this is just one point of the why? This profession was not viewed as a well paying job. There in an industry at the time but it aint high profile. Komiks was known to be the lowest form of entertainment at the time. Unlike top career choices like architectures and such. Anyone can just come in and try komiks, we don't need a degree, just great drawing skills. They called us contributors, we get paid by the piece without royalties and everything else. We are by the way respected by our readers. That was our happiness. That is one reason, there was no need for such classes in school.

Anyways, as for training? We are instructed to go to the artist's ummm lobby near the restroom. There we watch the regulars do their magic. We learn doing that, talking to them helps a lot also. That is where the learning starts. Knowing the dos and don'ts, what the publisher's needs and what you need to deliver, handle deadlines and of course if you can't do it the way they like it? You can't get a script, without a script? Nothing to draw, no money to collect. That was school for us.

Now, it is another story too different from the past. Now, more and more people are getting paid better. Pinoy comic creators are now well-known outside the country. With this comes a new level of respect and a new kind of discipline. This is the new image of comic makers, and you don't know how they do things? Well, it gets harder to break into comics. This is why I think, there seems to be a need to have comic book courses in schools.

I still think, that there is no mathematical formula to succeed in comics. Just determination, skills and a little bit of luck. Komiks is not an organized kind of learning. It is not like counting from one to a hundred or a to z. A student can come in gifted and gets side tracked to other stuffs he'd rather do, or another can start only able to daw a simple apple then after a while becomes the best there is. Learning comics is not just a skill, it is about talent. In fact, I'd say I learned a lot from my students before. I had the experience to pick up new tricks. They are usually afraid to make mistakes. I told them that sometimes? The mistakes we make are the styles we invent, styles that can make you famous.

So what do I think of a degree holding comic artists of the future? I bet it still won't matter. Learning is an experience, and for comics? It never ends.

The truth is, I can only offer to show you ways to create comics, I can encourage you to try things that you might feel is right for you. It can not be forced fed. The real teacher in fact, is yourself.

Happy learning guys!


WHY PINOY KOMIKS ARE MUCH CHEAPER THAN WHAT PEOPLE Gilbert Monsanto on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 7:33am (originally from my note on facebook)

A guy asked me how much is a copy of my comicbook. I said, sixty pesos only. He'd go, ang mahal na ng komiks ngayon no? He is not alone in thinking that Pinoy komiks nowadays are expensive. A few months ago I received an email, a guy was insisting that komiks should be priced cheaper, ten pesos even less. He said that's how low he can afford it to be. I told him, we can do that but we have to time travel back to 1996 then. Because today, it is just not possible... at all.

Let me try and explain why this is so. Imagine you are an independent creator. You'll be needing things for you to produce your very own comic book:

Content- This is basically everything you'll be putting inside your title. From cover to back cover.

-Cover art

-articles, editorial page and such.

-interior pages

(around 36 pages standard numbers of pages including cover.)

Printing- reproducing the actual books.

and you are ready.

-photocopy (let's start small)

Okay, so let's start the computations then. If you intend to print just a plain one color book using photocopies. Then That's easy. 1.50 per face. 36 pages divided by 4 (2face) =9 x 3.00= 27.00

If you like the colored cover version. I think the cover is already like 15pesos per face ad that to 24 pesos, equals 39.00

From here you'd think nice, I can sell that for 60 bucks and maybe I can earn a profit.

But wait, we are forgetting something here. Can you guess? Yup. It is the production cost. Yes, the author and the artist is the seller yes. But does it mean, what he wrote and drew is for freeeeee?

Okay, different artists means different rates. So let's start small again. Let's say an amateur's work is at a minimum. Like 100 or 200 per page? 200 x 32= 6,400.00

Writing rates? hmmm let's say 75 -100 per page. 100 x 36 (including editorials and articles) =3,600

6,400.00 + 3,600.00= 10,000.00

Let's say the creator printed 100 copies to be sold at conventions. 100 x 27.00= 2,700.00 + 10,000 =12,700

12,700 divided by a hundred is 127.00 per comic book. He will sell this for 60pesos at the convention. Now tell me is it still expensive for you? You may argue that if he sold a thousand copies of these then he'll be earning more and will cover all the expenses. This is true, but are you seeing young indie titles selling more than a hundred at conventions?

The cost for putting these on bookstore for distribution, (legwork, fare and all) are not yet included.

Still think Komiks are expensive?

Now picture this using my rate :) You'd probably realize what you are buying from us is actually a gift. And if you do? Thanks!

-Gilbert Monsanto