Monday, February 26, 2001


I went to Manila last Saturday for the launch/signing of Carlo Vergara's new Alamat book "One Night In Purgatory". I saw a CRISIS on Infinite Earths TPB and bought a copy. When I started reading more regularly back in 1985, Crisis was already almost finished, and I wasn't able to buy previous issues. So I thought, well, I'd just buy the compilation afterwards. Guess what? DC didn't come up with a compilation for more than 12 years!! Jeez! When it first came out as a hardcover, it was too expensive for me. Sure, I could have afforded it, but I think it was STILL too much for me to pay for a single book. So I waited for another 2 years for the softcover and now I've got it!!

I went to the signing, met Carlo and many other Alamat guys there. Budjette, Mark Gatela, Marco Dimaano, David Hontiveros, Jason Banico, Oliver Pulumbarit, Ryan Orosco, Gilbert Monsanto, Arnold Arre, Russel Tomas, and Karen Kunawicz.

Because it was the anniversary of Edsa 1, the traffic was horrendous. Many people didn't make it, or were really late. Knowing that the traffic won't go away soon enough, I decided to spend the night in Manila in some corner somewhere and just hang out with the guys all night.

In the middle of this all, a friend of mine Angela, lent me a copy of Pedro and Me, by Judd Winick. I put it in my bag and thought nothing much of it. At the end of the day I went to my corner, plopped down on the bed and started to read. I read Carlo's book first and I thought that yow! This is bound to be one controversial book. I liked it when I read it. If I had read this ten years ago, my sensibilities would have been terribly tested, but now I think it's OK. I then went excitedly to look at my new CRISIS book and started reading. I had read it before when I borrowed a friend's book bound copy, but it was great just reading it again. Definitely brought back memories.

The following day I was stuck in traffic once again. And well, I just HATE traffic. And this one was a KILLER. Definitely much worse than the one I had been in last Saturday. My mind suddenly remembered the book Angela had lent me the day before. I took it out and I began to read. And for the next hour, the world around me melted away and I was absorbed into this world that Judd Winick had created. Pedro and Me is a 200 page comic book which tells the true story of the friendship between Judd Winick, a struggling cartoonist, and Pedro Zamora, and AIDS educator who had AIDS himself. They both met and both were participants on the MTV show Real World 3: San Francisco.

At the end of the hour, I was crying in my seat. That was probably one of the most moving comic books I've ever read. I can only recall two other stories that had the power to reduce me to tears. One had been written by Chris Claremont, and the other by Alan Moore. But this one was probably more powerful than those two stories combined.

The story haunts me and my thoughts a lot, and since reading it yesterday, it's still floats around in my mind. I had forgotten everything else that I had read the day before including Carlo's book (which dealt in similar themes) and CRISIS. Upon reaching home yesterday, I immediately wrote Judd a "fan" letter, telling him how much his book has affected me. I'm not expecting anything by way of a reply, but I hope at least he reads it, and knows that in a country far away, in a small town like this that no one has probably heard of, his story has affected someone tremendously.

Thanks Judd, for writing it, and thanks Angela for introducing me to it.

Visit the official Pedro and Me Site.