Thursday, June 28, 2001

All right! I've finally put that X-Men annual to rest. For those just tuning in, I've spent the last month and half inking a 42 page X-Men annual over Leinil Francis Yu and written by Grant Morisson. They're trying out a new format this time around. Can't talk about it yet, but it looks really cool.

For the next month I'll be pencilling and inking Ocholocrat for Comics Conspiracy written by Doug Miers. I'm all stoked about doing it. In the meantime I'll do a quick drawing first for a pal of mine, Cholo Paz, a Filipino-American folk singer who came out with LA 105 hits "Pulut-Pukyutan" and "Anting-Anting" back in the mid 90's. I'm a huge fan of his work. I met him on-line several years ago and we exchanged stuff. I got a couple of his cassettes and I sent him my comics including Wasted. Now he is coming out with a new CD and he's asked me to contribute artwork for it and I agreed right away. I should be finished with that one tonight and I'll continue Ocholocrat starting tomorrow. Once I finish that, I'll begin doing a Timawa story for Alamat Comics.

I did a Galactus drawing for someone in the US a while back and the payment for the artwork arrived a month of so ago. 2 Bruce Springsteen DVDs!! Cool! I think it's about time I wrote an article about Bruce Springsteen. I can put it here but it would be too long. I guess I'll also be needing to update the format of my main site a bit, and collect all the articles I've written in one place.

I was invited to be a speaker at the still ongoing Zine Convention at Surrounded By Water (in front of Robinson's Galleria) last June 15. I was probably invited because of the mini comics I did, and still do which includes Wasted, Dead Heart and Crest Hut. I honestly didn't know what I was going to talk about and I thought the heck with it. I'd go and I guess I'll just feel it out.

When I got there, I hadn't realized how small the venue would be. It's probably a third the size of Comic Quest Megamall and it was hot. But the room practically crackled with the energy of creativitiy. Posted on the walls were drawings, pictures, fanzines and mini comics dating back to the eighties. When I entered, they were showing "Crumb" on the VHS. I was pleasantly surprised. I had always wanted to see this film; the look into the life of legendary underground cartoonist Robert Crumb. I saw bits here and there while I talked to one of the organizers, Lena, and the guy who invited me, Glenn from Bedbugs: Illusions of Snow. Wow, I never realized how much Robert Crumb looks AND talks like David Hontiveros. It was uncanny.

There were only a few people at this point, and pretty soon, the place filled up and I think we fit like nearly 25 people in there. Along with me to give the talk on what became an open forum was Glenn, and a girl whose name I can't recall, and Vic, one of the guys who did Quatro Komiks. Generally, it was really about the history of Pinoy Komiks, from the mainstream, branching to underground. Roxlee was supposed to be there to give a history of underground comics, but he wasn't able to make it, so they looked to me. But what did I know? All I knew of Pinoy underground comics at the time I did Wasted was Dino's Sigaw Saklolo (sikat ka pala dun, Dino). And I talked a bit about that, and how I came to do Wasted.

In the open forum, I realized that there were people who were actually disappointed that I did Wasted with Alamat, and then later on, PULP. The word didn't really came into the picture, but I knew what they were trying to say. Why did I "Sell Out"? To be honest, I didn't know what that was all about. I said that I did Wasted for personal reasons, and was initially intending on just sharing it with friends, but people seemed to like it and I was urged to share it with more people. That was simply what happened. Alamat made it possible for more people to read it, and PULP made it possible for even more people to read it. Not once was the work itself compromised, censored, edited or changed by any editorial interference. Those publishers are very open and supportive, and they are not the kind to tell you what to do, and for that, I think I consider myself fortunate.

Be underground for being underground's sake? I don't believe in that. You want your stuff to be read. You want your stuff to be read by people who will find themselves in. How can that happen if no one sees your stuff?

Moving on, I've had to step in once or twice to inject Alamat into the history of modern Pinoy Komiks because it's being left out by the other speakers. The discussion hovered around the reason for the birth of underground comics, and that was probably because of the declining quality and the restrictive nature of mainstream traditional comics. I responded that that was the reason for the existence of Alamat Comics in the first place. I said that it was a group of writers and artists who were disappointed by the state of local comics so they came together to hopefully create good comics, something that has been scarce of late.

There were many other things talked about because the talk/forum lasted nearly 3 hours. All in all, a very enlightening experience. Hope to be there again at their next con.