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 :).....

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