Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Herbert Chavez cover for his HORSALINDA komiks. Colors by me. I'll post my variant when I'm done :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012


 I am surprised that some people think that Spandex and super hero costumes are just for the Western types of comics. What, really? If that is true then fashion are for specific nations only? What, does that mean I can't wear Levi's jeans or something? So they can't wear barong as well when they visit our country?

 Have you been in an event with cosplay? Do you really think those fashion are just for a few nations to use? I think Superhero fashion is almost Alien in origin. You can't wear those everyday. It's what separates superheroes from all of us ordinary types.

 So even here in the Philippines, whatever some people might say or think. My superheroes can dress up in spandex. What makes them superheroes are not the clothing, it's all about who they are. To those who think that my characters aren't suppose to wear the costumes they are in, you better look at what you are wearing.

Friday, November 09, 2012

How Philippine Komiks failed us part 3

 Okay, here is part 3. Again I'd like to remind you again before reading this.

  This is ONLY about the Philippine komiks scene, if you are thinking of any titles, situations and successes outside the country, you are reading everything inside this article wrong.

 The middle half of the 90's will prove to be a crucial time for Komiks in the Philippines. The prices of komiks had gone up from 2.50 pesos to 5.00, then 7.50. The masses are now thinking, these komiks are now taking a lot from our grecery money. Before, people would go down there way to the sidewalk vendors and get as many as they can get per week. Ten to fifteen or more titles at a time. Komiks was so cheap, they won't mind what will happen to it after they have read it. " Pambalot na ng tinapa or paper wrappings for fish." they would say this as a

fact and a statement on just how much they think that komiks is the lowest form of entertainment. They got what they wished for, the industry slumped. More people in the country have TV and it is cheaper to just watch daily soaps than to wait for a weekly komiks novel. Do you still remember when you can rent komiks for just 25 centavos per title? It was nice alright. But it also silently hurts the sales of komiks. People believe that it was part of our culture and that it is fun and promotes komiks. Think deep this time. This does not help sales and considering the state of komiks and how much returns they need just to pay for the machines, wirters, artists down the editorials and security guards... well you get the picture.  A single title now have a number of readers but with but a single sale value of 7.50. the renters will get like ten times of that just for doing this rent a komiks thing.

 Low sales, low returns. One by one titles goes down that 30 thousand sales line, the one that indicates if a title should stop. 2 weeks later, that title is done for. We see this month after month. Not much work, writers and artists scatter. They turn to other options. I myself have tried to enter animation, I backed down because I don't think I like the politics there and I don't actually like the idea that I have to work like I don't have my own style. It is a personal style killer. It will be hard to get back on track once you've been doing a something that is not your own. This is just my opinion and the main reason I did not pursue the application.

 There's also the pocket books that are booming. People likes stories that are no longer serialized. No more waiting, they want finished one sitting stories. Life in the country just got so busy now, waiting patiently is a thing of the past.

 I remembered trying out for Funny komiks, I think they liked my entry but they still have 3 months of ready to print unpublished issues during the time. I couldn't return after 3 months.

 So there, the end of Komiks as we know is finally dawning. People are moving in and out. Some are going to the artist area, worried and some are recruiting. It was an uneasy time for us all.


 I have to step back a bit here. It was like a year before we felt that komiks was in trouble. Me and some of my closest co-leagues still loves the American comics and would frequent Ali Mall in cubao to look for some. Making comics to buy comics, sounds strange huh?  Anyways, we then saw FLASHPOINT, a local indie title produced by school kids, at the time we think they were. Full-color and printed in glossy paper. That was the time we said, if they can do this. I think we can do this as well. We were disappointed that GASI would never ever publish a thing like that. It was like an imported book and of course we got jealous. 

 We banded together to produce our indie title, Exodus. Like saying we want to go to a different place. We don't know where to start. Then, we were in Megamall, we stumbled into this guy and he was trying to sell us his photocopied works folded like a comic book. It was "SIGAW SAKLOLO." it was Dino Ignacio who actually I think he just gave us some copies and it was the first time I saw and heard the term ashcan.

 An idea came and we did some pages and compiled them as a preview ashcan of Exodus. The other guys knows a store owner and we sold 300 copies of those ashcans and another few hundreds with the second. We decided to self-publish and found out that it would cost us a lot of money. We were single and the gig with GASI was still strong so we pitched in. We did not sell as much as we'd hoped but the thing opened new doors for us. We were able to publish the second book after 3 years. Just to close the story. Like I said, it needed money to produce.

 Whilce Portacio came to town and eventually lead indie groups into forming ALAMAT comics group, that is how Indie Komiks in the Philippines started.

 It had nothing to do with the old KOMIKS. In fact, most of them are imported comics readers, does not know an Aliwan or a Wakasan. Not all but most. We on the other hand, came from the komiks of old. Saving it was never the focus, we wanted change. 

 So, Indie komiks did not happen because komiks was in trouble. Indie titles happened because Indie happened.

I'll continue this with how I was broke again....

To be concluded  I hope :).....

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Darna book plan that may never see the day.

DARNA 50th anniversary 
(story by Gilbert Monsanto)
50-page book that I planned to do. 
6- 10- pager stories in one book.

 1st Story “KAIBIGAN”

Sa isang madilim at delikadong parte ng siyudad, sa isang abandunadong kubo, isang sigaw ng saklolo ang  pumutok sa gitna ng gabi. Tinig ng isang babaeng nasa panganib. Ngunit ilang saglit lang ay napalitan iyon ng mga tinig ng ilang lalaking tila isa-isang nagagapi.

Isang barangay tanod ang nagusyoso sa kaguluhang nangyayari. Nagulat ito sa nakita, halos kalahating dosenang kalalakihan ang isa isang pinababagsak ng isang babae, ang babaeng nakilala ng lahat bilang si Darna. At sa isang tabi ay isang babaeng halos hubo’t hubad, halatang pinagtangkaang gahasain ng mga ulupong.

Isa na lang ang natitirang nakatayo, at handa na itong patikimin ni Darna ng kamao subalit saglit itong natigilan… “ Bong?”

Baliktanaw, Nakikita natin si Narda sa isang iskwelahan, High school siya, sophomore. Makikitang kasama niya ang isang kaibigang lalaki, ito si Bong noon.  Tahimik, simple lang at malungkutin. Naguusap sila  at napagalaman niya na mula ang binata sa hiwalay na pamilya. Parating may nagiimbita sa binata na sumama sa isang Fraternity. Noon, di niya pinapatulan, hanggang sa isang araw siya ay nakitang bugbog sarado sa labas mismo ng paaralan. Kaya sa muling paghikayat sa kanya ay sumama na ito, proteksiyon daw.

Ilang linggo lang ay agad nagbago si Bong. Hanggang sa di na ito pumapasok  at naiwanan na lang si Narda na nanghihinayang sa kaibigan. Isang gabi handa na sila ni Ding na magtinda ng sampaguita. Nakakakita sila ng kislap mula sa langit, maliit ngunit napakaliwanag na ilaw ang bumagsak sa kanilang harapan. At sa kanilang pagkamangha ay isa pala itong napakakinis na bato na may nakaukit na mga titik na tanging si Narda lang ang nakabasa. “Sa pagsubo ng Kapangyarihan, Katarungan sa lahat ng naaapi, DARNA!” Pinilit ni Ding na isubo ng ate ang bato at sa pagsambit ng Darna ay nagbago na ito ng anyo. Simula noon ay sikreto na silang tumutulong sa mga naaapi.

At narito na siya sa pagkakataong ito, di siya makapaniwala na magkakaganito si Bong, lango sa pinagbabawal na gamot at tila nagsa-asal hayop. “ Sige,… ani ni Bong. Tapusin mo na ang paghihirap ko, ayoko na ng buhay ko kaya dapat lang na tapusin mo na ako.” “Makinig ka Bong, ilalagay kita sa Rehabilitation Center, at doon  ay magsisimula ka ulit para maituwid mo ang iyong pagkakamali.” Bulong ni Darna. “ Ako? Sino naman ang magbibigay halaga sa isang tulad ko? Wala akong maisip man lang ni isa, na magbibigay halaga sa akin, wala.” Nakatitig lang si Bong, at di mawaring naluluha. “ May isa akong kilala Bong… Ang kaibigan mo, si Narda. “ natigilan si Bong. “ nilayuan ko siya, hindi ako karapatdapat na maging kaibigan niya. Nahihiya ako sa kanya.” Tila natauhan at tumahimik na lamang parang naintindihan nito na mali ang iniisip niya sa kanyang sarili, meron pala siyang halaga  kahit sa iisang kaibigan, si Narda.

Lumilipad si Darna, tila nagiisip. Ngayon niya lubos na naintindihan na nasa pagpili ng tao ang daan tungo sa tamang landas o sa isang madilim at kawalang pangasa na buhay na puno ng kasamaan at paghihirap. Sana ay muli niyang matutulungan si Bong upang makabangon.  At lalo pa niyang ipagpapatuloy ang pagtulong sa kapwa at pag pigil sa mga elemento ng kasamaan, bilang si Darna.

End of Chapter 1

2nd Story

            Bali-balita sa buong bayan ang gabi-gabing pamamaslang ng isang di nakikilalang nilalang. Ayon sa iba, isa daw itong higanteng lawin. Dahil dito ay nagibestiga si Darna sa lalawigan. Napansin niyang marami ngang Lawin sa bulubundukin nito subalit walang higante. Hanggang sa matunton nito ang isang malaking bahay sa tutok ng isang burol. Doon, nakausap nito ang isang siyentipiko.

  Lasing ang may-ari ng bahay at dahil sa kalasingan ay nasabi nito ang isang nakakagilas na kwento. Siya pala ang nabalitaan noong baliw na Doktor Lucio, ang taong bumubuhay ng bangkay. Dahil sa takot ng baryo sa kanyang ginagawa, sinunod nila ang tahanan nito subalit di alam ng lahat na sa loob niyon ay ang nagiisang nitong anak na si Armida, pinakamamahal niyang si Armida. Lumayo si Lucio at napapadpad sa burol na ito na pinamumugaran ng mga Lawin.

            Isang araw nagising na lamang siyang may Malaking Lawin sa kanyang harapan at sa paanan nito ay isang sanggol, tila inaalay sa kanya. Doon naisip ng Doktor na bumalik sa kanya ang kanyang Armida bilang isang Lawin upang sa takdang panahon ay isa-isang nitong dadagitin at papatayin ang mga taong umapi sa kaniya. Sa karunungan nito sa siyensiya , Nilagyan niya ng katangiang mala- lawin ang bata, Matalas na mata, magaang na buto at mga kuko sa paang pandagit sa mga kaaway nila at artipisyal na mga papak upang makalipad.

            Hinanap ni Darna ang kanyang anak subalit bago pa man nakapagsalita ang Doktor, nandoon na ang babaeng Lawin, si Armida. Pilit ipinaliwanag ni Darna na mali ang kanyang ginagawa at wala sa sariling ulirat ang naturingan nitong magulang. Subalit lalo lang nagalit si Armida at sinugod si Darna, sa himpapawid sila nagbuno.

            Sa ibabaw ng baryo napagpatuloy ang laban, sinabi ni Darna na kung totoo lahat ang kwento ng amain nito ay kilala niya ang  tunay nitong magulang , ang nagmamayari ng kwintas na suot-suot niya mula pa ng pagkabata. Pinagamit niya ang matalas nitong mata upang tignan ang isang babae sa ibaba at naroon nga ang isang ina na may kwintas na tulad ng suot ni Armida.

            Natigilan si Armida, pagkuwa'y sumigaw ng napakalakas at lumipad ng matulin tungo sa bahay ni Doktor Lucio. Sinundan ito ni Darna at nagulat siya sa kasunod na nakita. Ang gutay-gutay na katawan ni Lucio. Hindi matanggap ni Armida na ang lahat ng paghihirap niya sa mga experimento ng naturing ama at ang ang paghihiganti nito ay pawang kasinungalingan ang buhay niya ay isang malaking kasinungalingan. Lumingon ito kay Darna, " Gusto kong makilala ang tunay kong Magulang. Susuko na ako."

            Minsan gaano man sikaping baguhin ang kaanyuan at bihisan ang isang nilalang, isa lang di tuluyang mabubura sa kanyang kabuoan, ang katotohanan.

End of chapter 2


            Sa isang kasalan maguumpisa ang ating kwento, Ipinagsabay ito ni Lucifera sa kanyang 18th kaarawan. Hindi lamang iisang kamalian ang matutunghayan nating sa pagtitipong ito. Umiiyak at takot na takot ang ina nitong si Martha, parating nakatingin sa orasan. Ang malungkot na mukha ng kapatid nitong si Angela, sa dahilang ikakasal ang kanyang ate sa lalaking pinakamamal niya. Si Rodrigo ang groom ay blangko ang pagmumukha, di makapaniwalang ikakasal siya sa babaeng napilitan lamang siyang panagutan dahil sa isang aksidente. At si Lucy? Kahit na nakangiti ay di kailanman nabensiyunan sa simbahan dahil sa isang kasunduan ng kanyang ina upang sagipin ang kanyang buhay. Kasunduang sa araw na ito ay magiginga kampon na siya ng kausap ng kanyang ina, isang kasunduan kay SATANAS!

            Bigla na lamangdumilim ang paligid, kumulog, kumidlat at sa pagdating ng isang napakalakas na hangin ay isang nakakakilabot na halakhak. Doon nagsimulang magbago aanyo ni Lucifera. Tila ang mala-manikin nitong kutis naging isang tuyot at magaspang na Tuod. Nanlisik ang mga mata nito at tila wala sa sarili ay inihagis ang pari sa isang pader. Subalit nang makita nito si Rodrigo, parang natunaw ang puso nito at tila napahiya sa kanyang kaanyuan, mabilis nitong nilisan ang simbahan.

            Ilang araw na ang kararaan at laganap na sa balita ang mga biktima n Lucifera. Ang bawat biktima ay namamataang nakatirik sa lupa tila isang halamang natuyo sa init ng araw. Kailangan kunin ni Lucy ang katas ng bawat biktima nito upang manatiling buhay.

            Isang bata ang namataan ni Lucy na nakikipaglaro sa kanyang mga kaibigan. Hide and seek ang laro at siya ang taya. Habang nagbibilang ito, di niya namalayan ang paglapit ng babaeng tuod. Sa paglingon ng bata natakot ito sa nakita. Subalit nagkamali ang babaeng tuod sa bibiktimahin, sapagkat ang batang ito ay si Ding at pag nandiyan si Ding di malayong nandito rin si Darna! Bigla ang dating ni Darna, pinigilan ang pagdampot sa bata.

            Pinulupitan ng mga tuod si Darna, pilit pinipisa ang buhay ni Darna pero ang katangiang lakas ni darna ay sadyang di mapantayan. Bumuhos ang malakas na ulan. At habang nagsasagupaan ang dalawa dumating si angela na may kasamang pari. Habang pinipigilan ni Darna ang babaeng tuod ay binendisyunan ng pari ang mismong ulan na bumubuhos sa kabuoan ni Lucifera. Biglang natunaw ang tuod nitong kaanyuan at nagbalik siya sa pagiging tao. Pinagsisihan ni Lucy at pinatawad na siya ni Angela sa anumang pagkakamali nito. Subalit sa galit ni Satanas tinudla nito ang dalaga ng isang kidlat, kidlat na hinarangan ni Darna. Ilang beses pa at hinarang ni Darna lahat ng ibinigay ni Satanas sa kanya. Hanggang sa mabuo ng pari ang orasyon upang mapaalis ang masamang sumapi sa dalaga.

            Natapos na ang unos, kapalit nuo'y katahimikan at isang hudyat ng pagpapala, ang bahag-hari. Isang bagong simula para kay Lucy. Buhat buhat ni Darna si Lucy sa himpapawid, inilalapit sa grasya at liwanag ng panginoon, nakangiti ang dalaga. Nabunutan ng tinik sa kanyang dib-dib.

End of 3rd chapter
Pag-Ibig at Tungkulin
4th story

            Sa Himpapawid, dalawang pambihirang nilalang ang naglalaban. Lingid sa kaalaman ng marami, kailan lamang ay naging magkasintahan ang dalawa. Si XART, dayuhang mula sa malayong planeta. Nagpanggap na tao bilang si Raul,.  Si Darna naman, dahil sa kalungkutan ay nagbago ng anyo bilang si Daria. Hindi makapaniwala ang dalawa sa nagyayari sa kanila, at kahit na ayaw nilang magkasakitan ay patuloy silang tumutupad sa kanilang tungkulin.

            Isang linggo and nakalipas nang maramdaman ni Darna ang pangaasam ng isang pagibig na kailanman di niya nararanasan, dahil sa pambihirang kakayahan ng tagapagtanggol ay wala itong makitang lalaki na may lakas-loob na lumigaw sa kanya. Dahil dito, naisipan nitong gamitin ang isa pang kakayahan na ngayon lamang niya sinubukan ang pagpapalit-anyo. At siya ay naging si Daria, kagandahan ni Darna sa isang katawang taglay ni Narda , ang isang pangkaraniwang tao.

            Dahil sa katauhan niyang ito ay marami ang lumigaw sa dalaga, subalit iisa lamang ang nagustuhan ni Daria, at iyon ay si Raul. Subalit si Raul ay may isang sekreto, ang tunay nitong misyon bilang isang dayuhan na bumibihag ng mga tao upang eksperimentuhan at palitan. Si Daria ang bago nitong biktima.

            Subalit may isang di inaasahang kaganapan ang tumumbad sa dalawa, sila ay umibig. Walang magawa si Raul kundi sundin ang kanyang tungkulin at dinala nga niya ang dalaga sa kanilang sasakyan, naroon natangpuan ni Daria ang iba pang bihag kasama na doon ang tunay na Raul. Iyon ang pagkakamali ni XART. Nagsaanyong Darna si Daria at nagsimula na ang pagliligtas sa mga bihag. Isa-isang nalipol ang mga dayuhan at si Xart na lamang ang naiwan, nakasalalay sa kanya ang pagpapasabog sa buong planeta, kapag ang plano ng pagdarakip ay di maging tagumpay, balik tayo sa unang eksena.

            Ilang beses nang tinudla ni Xart si Darna, subalit di pa rin nito tuluyang magapi ang dalaga. Sa totoo lang ay hindi magawa ng dayuhan ang ilagay sa pinakamalakas na antas ang kanyang sandata, dahil umiibig pa rin ito kay darna. Gayun din si Darna sa isip ni Darna ay kaya nitong patumabahin ang kaaway sa isang suntok, nagpipigil ang dalawa. Sinubukang kausapin ni darna upang sumuko ang planetman subalit tapat ito sa tungkulin, at iyon ang di mapapahintulutan ni Darna.

            Dahil sa paglalaban, nasira ang isang aparato ni Xart, ito ay sasambulat at sa lakas ng pagsabog ay kayang gunawin ang daigdig. Sa paglapit ni Darna kay Xart ay si Daria ang kaniyang naaninag, pinagtapat nito ang tunay niyang damdamin at ang paparating nilang wakas. Inutos nitong ihagis siya ni Daria sa kalawakan kung saan magigng ligtas ang pinakamamahal nitong si Daria. Mabilis na dinala ni Darna si xart sa laba ng daigdig at inihagis ng pagkalakas tungo sa kawalan. Sa pagsambulat ng Planetman ay tumilapon si darna pababa sa planeta.

            Pagbangon ng dalaga, natanggap na nito ang pagkakamali. Para sa kanya, sa pagkamatay na si Xart, patay na rin si Daria. Napagalaman niya rin na di kailanman niya kailangang limutin na narito pa si Narda, kailangan niyang dumaan sa tamang pamamaraan ng paglaki at pagkakatuklas ng isang tunay at wagas na pag-ibig.

Sumigaw siya ng Narda, at lumabas na muli ang dalagitang si Narda, luhaan at naaawa sa sinapit na hinanakit sa damdamin ni Darna      

5th story: VALENTINA!

            "Ako si Valentina, Diyosa ng mga ulupong sa Daigdig. Bakit ako nagkaganito? Bakit?".Ipakita nating nakabaligtad si Valentina, nahuhulog siya nito sa bangin pero di pa natin ipapaalam ng lubos. "Bakit ninyo ako pinabayaan Ina? Ama?  Pati ang pinakamamahal kong edwardo? Tinawag nila akong babaeng ahas subalit sila ang mga AHAS!"

            "Eeee! Ahas may mga ahas ang iyong Anak!" Baliktanaw nung pinanganak si Valentina at natakot ang Hilot. "Walang makakaalam nito nanang , pakiusap." Ani ng tatay niya. Subal;it di na talaga makakaabot ang balita subalit sa bago pa man makauwi ang hilot ay nilingkis na ito ng isang sawa, tila alam ang balak ng hilot. Dumaang ang panahon at nagawang ilihim ng magasawa ang sikreto ng anak, subalit dahil sa kagandahan ng Mukha ni Valentina, di maiwasang di makilala siya sa buong kabayanan. At di naglao't marami na ang balak lumigaw sa dalaga.

            Subalit sa dinami-daming manliligaw ni Valentina, tanging si edwardo lamang ang napupusuan niya, si edwardo na ang pagtingin sa kanya ay isang malapit na kapatid lamang. Hanggang sa dumating ang malagim na gabi, Isang anak ng alkaldeng makapangyarihan ang pumasok sa bahay nila kasama ang mga armadong tauhan, pinilit maangkin ang dalaga, dahil sa pagpipiglas ng dalaga, natanggal ang panakip nito sa mga ahas niyang buhok, Hintakot naagwala ang lalaki at naglabas ng baril subalit huli na, narinig na ng mga ahas sa gupat ang panaghoy ng dalaga at sinaklolohan siya. Ubos ang mga taong armado, pilit pinasuko ng magulang niya si Valentina dahil nakapatay ito ng tao , doon lumabas si kobra ang matandangsawa na may ulo ng tao, at dahil sa pagkutya nito ay napatay niya ang kanyang magulang.

            Magisang namuhay si Valentina, subalit nalaman din ng baryo ang kanyang kaanyuan dahil sa iisang tauhan na nakatakas nung gabing iyon, tinugis si Valentina at napilitang mamundok, gumanti siya at nilipol ang buong Baryo, at dinala si edwardo sa kanyang tabi. Tumakas ito ngunit madali ding nabawi sa kundisyong hindi papatayin ang tunay na kasintahan, doon na siya nasundan ni DARNA!

            At Nagtagisan na  ng LAKAS dalawang diyosa.(Fight scenes) Subalit sa huli ang katarungang pinanghahawakan ni Darna pa rin ang nanaig. "Ipagpatawad mo ang pagkukulang ng mga tao Valentina, kailanma'y di dapat maging basehan ang pagkakaiba ng itsura ng isa't-isa ang paghusga at pagtrato sa kanya. Mapaputi man ang balat o maitim, kailangan pa rin tayong makipagkapwa-tao. Kaya ibinibigay ko ang aking kamay sa iyo, hayaan mong tulungan kita na maintindihan nila na tao ka pa rin, kaya ka nasaktan ay dahil tulad ng Tao ay may PUSO ka rin. Katunayan nitong tao ka Valentina Tao!" Pakiusap ni Darna. " Salamat Darna at binuksan mo ang aking pagiisip, subalit huli na ang lahat para sa akin, mapatawad man ako ng tao at sana'y pati na ang diyos… Di ko mapapatawad ang aking sarili." Pagkatapos ay lumundag ito sa isang bangin kung saan nakaratay ang bangkay ng kanyang mga magulang.

            "Ito na ang aking katapusan. Valentina ako'y pinangalanan, tama lang na ako'y pumanaw na tumitibok ang puso at hindi baon sa galit. Ngayo'y tunay na akong malaya." Ipakita na nahulog na si Valentina, kahit na bali na ang katawan nito maganda pa rin ang mukha nito, ang kagandahan na walang kupas ang mukhang VALENTINA.

            Sa pagkakataong ito… LUMUHA si DARNA!

End of chapter 5
6th Story:  Kwento ni Ding

            “Gabi muli sa Siyudad, Magkakasama na naman kaming magdadala ng mga Sampaguita sa kalsada.“  “Sabi ni Ate Narda, ito raw ang pambansang bulaklak pero bakit kaya ganun? Pag lumalapit kami sa mga kotse, di man lang kami pinapansin?” Ipakitang may mga bata na naghahati hati ng mga panindang bulaklak kasama na dito si Ding at isang dalagita na si Nena.”Ito namang si Nena ay panay mga lalaki ang bumibili minsan gusto pa siyang isama.” Ipakitang  kinakausap si Nena ng mga mukhang goons na huminto sa stop light. “ Buti na lang, nadirito parati si Ate Narda. “ Nena ani ate, hinahanap ka na ni Nana Seling mo!” “ At Mama! Sabi pa niya, Naka GO signal na po! Baka mahuli kayo ng pulis!” Sabay harurot ng Kotse wari’y galit sa Dalagita.

            “Sari-sari talaga ang kwento dito sa lansangan, Tulad ni Mang Arturo. Parati niyang dala-dala ang isang sapatos na di pa gamit, di naman kasya sa kanya.” Isang lalaki na may nakasukbit sa leeg na rubbershoes na pambata, madungis pero ang sapatos ay alagang-alaga. “ Sabi ni Ate ko, Magaling daw na negosyante si mang arturo, pero minsan paguwi niya sa bahay dala-dala ang ang bagong biling sapatos  ay nakita na lang niya na sunog na ang bahay nila at kasama ang kanyang buong pamilya, lumaking ulila ito ang buong buhay niya ay ang pamilya niya, ‘yan siya ngayon di na pinagpatuloy ang buhay, tanging ang sapatos na lamang ang kanyang inaalagaan.”

            “kami naman, galing pa kami sa probinsya, ulilang lubos na rin. Nakitira lang kami dito sa Lola ko, buti na lang at maraming libro sa kanila, yung mga pinaglumaan na ni Ama. Masipag si Ate at mahilig mag-aral. Sa umaga ay nagaaral si Ate habang sa gabi ay nag-titinda ng Sampaguita at kung anu-ano pang mga paninda, kaya sumasama na rin ako sa kanya.” Ipakita na masipag nga at mahilig magbasa si Narda, edukada ang Dalaga. “ Minsan, nagtataka rin ako, kasi may nakikita akong mga bata sa loob ng magarang sasakyan, pero malungkot siya, iniisip ko bakit kaya? Ang suwerte swerte nga niya eh.” Ipakitang nagaaway ang mga magulang ng bata sa loob ng kotse at nagtititigan sila nung bata at si Ding.

            “Pero may sekreto kami ng ate ko! Isang Tagapagtanggol ang Ate ko! Iyon ang sabi niyang tawag sa kanya eh. Lumalaki siya at nagkakaroon ng powers. Ang galing galing nga niya eh. Minsan sumasama nga ako sa kanya . Matapang yata ako pero minsan ang papangit ng mga kalaban ni Ate. Pero alam mo? Masarap talaga pag nakakatulong sa kapwa, minsan nga ang kalaban mismo ni ate ang tinutulungan niya eh.” Ipakita ang mga adventures nila ni Darna. ”Kaya ako? Malamang pag laki ko magiging Pulis ako, tulad ng tatay ko! Sabi ni Lola, wala daw kinatatakutan ang tatay ko… sayang wala na siya, pero nasa akin pa rin ang Medalya niya sa pagkakapulis, ang ganda nga eh.”

            “ Ikaw taga saan ka?” Isang maliit na fairy na babae ang kausap niya. “DING? DING!” sigaw ng lola. “ Naku tawag na ako ng Lola ko, ikaw uuwi ka na rin ba?” Tumango lang ang fairy na nakangiti  “ O paano? Hanggang sa muli ha? Paalam muna, Paalam!” Makikitang lumilipad na ang fairy, top shot ito at makikitang kumakaway si Ding.

Hanggang sa muling Pagkikita!

End of Last Chapter

Darna Entrada

Just a new art of Darna 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

How Philippine Komiks failed us part 2

 Okay, here is part 2. Again I'd like to remind you again before reading this.

  This is ONLY about the Philippine komiks scene, if you are thinking of any titles, situations and successes outside the country, you are reading everything inside this article wrong.

 Okay, where was I? oh, the destruction of the original pages. One this will bother people about this is that, it could have been the only ticket for the artists to get extra money out of the under-paid superstars. Because if they sell this now? I think they'll get more than the 75 pesos per page deal they got from the companies they help build up all those fun years. Another thing is that it could have generated a whole of collectors. I can only imagine how much it could have help the artists financially if only they get to keep those wonderful pages. That is something that we never had, an extra edge. Something to look forward to after publication. This is something that always made me sad.

 There are no royalties, one main reason is that all the published materials are in a Magazine anthology form. It was hard for the accounting to muster a clear and clean computation on how this is going to happen. Plus, it is on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis. A very fast moving in and going out sales of komiks. Plus, they have 80 plus titles a week in a company, meaning the other publications must have another 80plus titles, not including the smaller sister companies having like 5 to 10 titles. it would have been an accounting nightmare.

 Each title has to exceed 30 thousand copies sold each week, sometimes they would show me the list of these titles. If you go under that number it is already up for discussion if they are to cut the title short. They have surveys on which series or novel was a hit among random readers. I can recall getting some incentives every now and then, the voucher reads incentives then the amount. It was not a large amount but an incentive will always be an extra for me.

 Moving on let us re-evaluate the content of some titles. One thing I remember about how they tackle content is with one simple question..." What is IN nowadays? " For short it's a Fad thing. Usually we do come up with really entertaining concepts with fad, but like all fad, they usually fade away.

 They also wants us to use the traditional way of doing things with the pages. The editors doesn't like pen art. They want brush art. Because of this, they don't usually give new artists a shot at those scripts. But things will always boils down to one thing. They have the last say.  I asked someone about the style and why they don't want change. He said that is how they are oriented. I'd say, then RE-orient things. Like that would kill the titles instantly.

 I was about to walk out on my 2nd to the 3rd year because of this. Then when I was walking out, Kick Fighter happened. It was an experiment, a new player was in the house and he wanted something new, finally! The first issue didn't took off quite as well as they'd hoped but then, the second and the 3rd had high buying numbers. It was a hit! This title changed things. It was the age of us new kids. It was action season, and after Kick Fighter's success, new titles sprung out like Kidlat, Terminator, Wrestle Warriors and more. This is the time when new breed of artists came in.

 The normal title line up was like Romance, Horror, Comedy, Fantasy and now Action...Superhero action. Not just on the side but real titles. New readers were coming in. But still these are still Fad.

 During this time, I would usually stay in because of multiple projects that I had to finish and I owe a lot to a company within that complex and our boss. He was tough and people might think of him in a different light, but he is my boss and he did us new comers a favor. Without this opportunity, the likes of me, would have never been.

 Now a few years later. I'd never thought that a thing like the end of komiks as we know it would end. We felt it coming. Slowly but steadily, it was in the atmosphere.

 During this days, work would be slowly dwindled. In fact, an artist once shouted to in coming artist at the artist hallway. " Don't come here anymore! He don't have as much work like before so go some place else!" something like that and in tagalog. It was an indication that business was bad. One by one, titles were being killed off.

 I've heard about some dirty tactics that have been going on against rival publications. the dealers will not get the hot titles if they don't agree to hide the other company's titles. They are to be sold in the afternoon or not at all, only if people would look for them I guess. Distribution was finally collapsing on us. People are not reading komiks as much as before. The price of komiks went up from 2.50 pesos to 5.00 to 7.50 and people just can't afford to buy multiple titles anymore.

to be continued....

Monday, November 05, 2012

How Philippine Komiks failed us

 Before I write this, there are things you have to remember. This is ONLY about the Philippine komiks scene, if you are thinking of any titles, situations and successes outside the country, you are reading everything inside this article wrong.

 I have been making a living out of komiks for more than twenty plus years now. I have to add that most of my work if not all are all comic related. I have been a reader of the medium as a kid up until today. I have stories to tell, as much as possible stories with no names. I will tell you some needed details that I think is enough for you to understand without me telling who done it or said things that might place me in a situation I wouldn't want to be in. All the stories will be true.

 A few years back a friend of mine told me that he saw this guy riding the MRT. He was old and looks like he's very tired. He then took out a drawing board or cartolina and started sketching. It was work and my friend noticed the style, he suddenly realized that this guy used to be one of his komiks hero, a veteran comic illustrator. He said something like, " He still got it." but I wasn't interested in that. I can only picture him as kinda sickly from my friend's story. This is not a surprise, since most us are freelancers. Pay per work people. I can only imagine how many pages he had to draw just to earn for a living. This is the not the first time but right after my friend expressed his concern and said something like. " Poor guy." I said to myself "Komiks had failed him."

 I have heard other incidents like a comic artist who committed suicide, and another one who worked on so many pages trying to meet deadlines and died on his desk. Some stories are a bit lighter but I have heard a lot of sad stories about these artist who are not just the common illustrators but are those who we can consider the greats!

 Okay now, technically speaking some people fail and some succeeds in any field of work. We can never really blame an entire industry for any of these situations but bear with me. I'll present everything on the table and I'll leave the conclusions to you okay?


 Back in the nineties, I went to GASI to try and get work. It took time for me to actually get real work since the editors said I wasn't ready yet, luckily they liked some of my writings so I started as a writer then an artist. The atmosphere was fun and always full of creative energy. Back then, artists still had this room where they have tables to work on and it has air-conditioning. I used to go here and look at the other artists work. Editors would tell us that we can learn from them. The great thing about it was that you'd get to see them all work, talk to them for tips and it was for free.

 A few months after, they had to use that room as an editorial room. No more place for the artists, all that was left was this hallway leading to the restrooms. No air-con, just a looong table on a wall and we get to sit and draw there. It was still fun because it was like in a barber shop, artists are great story tellers.  The real reason why we stay there is visibility. Usually when a title is on a deadline. Editor needs trouble shooters to finish some short stories as fill-ins. That is an opportunity for us to be called in and help.  I know a veteran artist who would get sets of scripts a day and he would finish them all before 6pm. He said, that was his secret to get his weekly salary to go up. Another great tip I used later on.

 The stories within this hallway are always a treat but some sad stories about the state of the industry are usually told every now and then. I've always thought when we were still buying tons of komiks from the newstands near the market place in Libertad, Pasay that these artists are hmmmm, let's just say, well paid superstars. Their work are so good and they were famous among the komiks-reading public which was like almost  everyone we know back then. Except for the upper class people who would be clueless of any local titles like Aliwan and the other 80 plus komik titles nation-wide.

 Unfortunately, the hype that was in the pages does not match the living condition of us all in the industry. Now don't ever get us wrong. Everyone were very happy with this kind of work. We LOVE it. The rate per page when I worked there was like 55 philippine pesos per page for new writers and 60-75 pesos per page for artists. Artists would pencil and ink their own work. There was a lettering dept. and a coloring dept. which handles the other stuff. I am such a nosy person that I have manage to go inside these departments and even got to see the color-stripping department where they manually cut plates to be used for the machines. They are great people.

 Things I have learned from these people are quite educational. I have learned that the coloring department used to hire real artists but was reduced when they can't adjust the salary, so now most are slacking of because that is what the company are paying them.  If you compare the colors from the 80's komiks from the 90's issues, I think it is evident that most colors does even connect to the lines of the artworks. Proof of discontent.

 Also learned that the rate for writers and artists had been like that for quite a number of years now. I was surprised to find an artist storming out of the editorials office saying that he doesn't want to get a raise, adding that they will give him less scripts to work on since he'd be too pricey for them. He was only asking for more scripts to work on instead of giving him a higher page rate.

 The great thing about the old printing machines was that it was from the 30's. They said this machine although old, can really capture all the lines from an actual art. Clearer than the new machines these days. I would agree.

 Outside the country, an artist need only to finish 1-2 pages a day to keep deadlines in check, we needed to finish  like 5-10 pages a day just to make sure the salary would be enough to support a family. I was lucky I was single during those days. We work from morning til night to be able to do this. Some complain that some editors have friends thus cutting them off from some scripts. The editors were like kings and queens. I would like to think that they were just doing their jobs, a title reflects their performance so they had to make sure it sells.

 One thing is really terrifying to some of the contributors and that is the dreaded cut-off time for collection. You see we have to fall in line just to get our salary. If the money runs out of gas before you get to the cashier, bad day for you. See you next week. This is sad because you have done your work and expect to pay rent, buy clothes or anything you need like materials. Most of the time, i would lend someone money because of this. It was just seem ungrateful of the company sometimes, but they said it was according to the budget per week. Nothing we could do about that.

 We are not superstars inside those walls. We are called contributors. We are like Peter Parker during his days as a contributing photographer, sometimes he gets paid and sometimes he doesn't get any. This only meant that we don't have benefits and we have to work double time to get above the poverty line. A writer I talked to used to complain how hard it was to write lots of short stories within a week, every week. I asked him, how did he came up with so many stories. he told me, he would sometimes watch old movies and series and just reinvent an idea. Sometimes if he gets desperate he would just change the names and locations and words and that is bad. he said, he's manage to get all his kids to college, some are already working. What he can't get is respect. That gets him down. He is happy and proud that he was able to do his duty as a parent but still, a little respect would have been nice.

 In some ways, it is maybe because of media calling komiks as the lowest form of entertainment in the country. I think they are mistaken. How can you say that when most of the movies back then came from serialized komik series. They were certain that a movie is a hit whenever a komiks that came before the film is a hit with the masses. How disrepectful can that be? Yet, it was something that creators just doesn't seem to mind.

 Since we are on the topic of respect. I was able to find out what they do to the original pages. They rip them to shreds and sell them to the junk shop. Paper scarps is what they were. I think some of them original survived since some editors get to take some home. They reason behind this was piracy. They said a few years ago. some titles would have the same pages because the artist would sell the work to another company after he gets his original. Imagine how this likely this can really happen. The form of komiks here was in a magazine format. A title would have like 4 short stories, a series and a novel in each issue. So those stories can surely be resold. But I still think that this violates the artists' right to get their work back. The copyright said that what ever you do. The original will always be yours, in fact you can sell the originals but still the owner cannot reproduce without your permission.  It was a sad moment for me back then as i looked at stacks and stacks pages gone forever.

 I have to continue this later.............