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.

Friday, June 22, 2001

I just learned today that the offices of PULP Magazine, along with the publisher's house, burned down last June 10. Practically all the office equipment and all material currently being collected, developed and laid out for upcoming publications are now lost. I feel bad for Vernon Go, the publisher, because it's his house, and his equipment. I also feel bad for all the friends I have over there who lost their jobs.

Unfortunately all the originals of Wasted save for 1 page from issue 4 burned down as well. When I learned about it, I wasn't particularly devastated. Well, OK, I learned about it only a half hour ago so maybe it hasn't sunk in yet. But still I do get a sure feeling that while I may feel bad about it, it won't bother me too much in the long run.

Wasted has had a GREAT run. It was a project that I never expected would go where it eventually went. It's as if I created this little thing that grew into a monster (a good monster) that I could not control. Long after I thought I had put it behind me, it always came back, brought to me by people who liked it, who said that it had helped them in some way. Here in my computer are dozens and dozens of emails from people who had written to me about Wasted, all of them connected with the story or the characters. I started writing that book in a particularly BAD time of my life. I was ready to cash it in, give up. But the response to the book really encouraged me. It put me in touch with people who felt the same way, people who were going through the same crisis that I was. It made me feel good. Wasted, and the people who supported it, really saved my life. And I'm truly grateful for that.

Thanks to Budjette Tan and to Vernon Go, who both gave the chance for Wasted to be read by more people than I ever imagined.

Wasted had indeed got a great run. But I guess it's time to put it to rest and move on. Thanks to everyone who helped make the book possible, and thanks to everyone who wrote! I really appreciated reading all your letters.

Thursday, June 14, 2001

Yeah, yeah, I know I'd stay off the Internet for a while, but a lot of things went on that I just HAD to write down. I'm still currently doing the Xmen thing. I'm just a little over halfway through and the pressure is starting to mount. That's the way I like it! he.he.

Well today I was set on finishing a page before noon. That's what I was planning on doing. I'd wake up, eat my breakfast, hunker down to my desk and work all morning with coffee and iced tea. All right then. Then what the heck happened that less than 2 hours later I'm at a meeting at San Pablo City hall with the incoming Mayor Boy Aquino? I didn't even vote for the guy. This is what happened.

As I was having breakfast, my friend Cesar Esguerra called me up to say that we are going to have a meeting. As in within the hour. You see, Cesar and I are both architects, and we belong to the San Pablo Chapter of a Nationwide architect's organization called the UAP (United Architects of the Philippines). I told him I had a deadline and I can't go, but he said he too had work to do but we had to go because it was important. I still didn't know what was up, but since he said we will be meeting at the City Hall, then that probably meant talking with someone in authority about the organization and numbers were needed to convincingly make our case. So I agreed. I went there and when I met up with the other guys (and girl), we learned that we would be meeting no less than the upcoming Mayor himself. At the meeting he had a lot of plans that really sounded good and would bode well for San Pablo. I didn't vote for the guy, but it seems that I no longer feel bad that my candidate didn't win because this new guy seems to have the balls to make really good changes. Well let's see. But I didn't hang around long because I really had to go and work. And so here I am.

Saturday, June 09, 2001

Guys...I gotta get out of the Internet for a while. I need to buckle down and chain myself to my desk until I finish this Xmen thing. I'll only be checking my mail for work and that's it. If you need to contact me, I'll still be able to receive mails, but I'm afraid I won't be able to answer them for the time being.

If you visit my message board regularly, I'm sorry, but it seems the entire site, and not only my message board, are down. Oh well. Perfect timing I guess. See you guys. I'll be back in maybe a month.

Wednesday, June 06, 2001

A couple of people have been asking me to update my diary more often. I would, but most of the time I really don't have much to talk about. Nowadays my life is simply an endless routine of work, sleep, eat, girlfriend, and go to Nil's once a week. Nil has lent me his DVD of Fight Club a couple of weeks ago and I STILL haven't been able to watch it. Angela has also lent me a Wonder Woman TPB last week and I still haven't been able to read that.

I do check mail every once in a while through the course of the day. I still get interesting mail once in a while. I got a letter from a female artist from Ireland today which was really nice. Talked art and stuff. Some guy wrote asking me to manage his acting and singing career because he saw one of my stories in PULP. What's the connect?? Oh man, I'm not a manager, dude! But good luck! I got an email with an attached virus. It's an email that was sent to many subscribers of my MSC account. With a cursory trace, the email came from someone using another MSC account. Armed with an IP address, I approached MSC Support and told them about it. Strangely, they told me that the one logged in during that date and time using that particular IP address was none other then MY account. Holy CRAP! I wasn't using my MSC account during the time the email was sent. In fact, I haven't been using MSC for a bit and I've never sent emails to people with any other MSC accounts. Someone has been hacking my account and has been sending viruses with it! God DAMN! I changed passwords real quick.

I still get replies and sometimes violent reactions to my Filipino Comic Art article. I don't answer some of them anymore because they just talk about the same things over and over. Dudes, I'm not attacking your precious Manga. You're free to enjoy it as much as you can. The only think I've been saying is to BE ORIGINAL. How hard can that be to understand?

Monday, June 04, 2001

Gad, 2 days, very little sleep. Who says comics was an easy job? Certainly not me. You gotta love it to stand it, to continue doing it. And so I keep on doing it because I don't see myself doing anything else. More crap mail. More morons from some country asking me to invest in some stupid scheme. More spam, this time I don't even understand the language. Nearly half my mail everyday is spam? What the hell is going on?