Monday, May 17, 2004
Wilson Tortosa is probably the nicest comic book professional I know. Scratch that. He's the nicest person that I've ever met. It always surprises me how happy he is to see me...how happy he is to see everyone. He's always willing to help out anyone asking for critiques on their work, and he offers such assistance with enthusiasm and expertise. Yes, Wilson is VERY good. He worked with Alex Ross as he drew Battle of the Planets, and he is currently working on Tomb Raider.
This year he was given the opportunity to attend a comics convention in Detroit, the Motor-City con. He was given a Visa by the US Embassy here in the Philippines and when I last met him he was both very nervous and very excited. He said he would be travelling alone. I told him not to worry. I was travelling alone when I first went to the US and it turned out great! It's very nice there this time of year and the people he will get to meet are generally friendly. Specially when they see how friendly Wilson is. I felt really happy for the guy. I mean, he's the kind of guy that never really leaves home. It was tough trying to convince him to go to the San Pablo Comics Festival. But when he did go and saw that it was great there, he was practically brimming with glee. And that's how I imagined he would be when he finally gets to the US and attends the convention.
He even texted me a message saying he was off to the airport right before he left. The other day I imagined how thrilled Wilson must be to be at the con, and how thrilled he would be at some of the sighseeing that will come after.
Well today, I got a text message from Wilson. I thought it wow, he can text from the US! But no, he was texting from the Philippines. Upon arriving at the US, he was denied entry and was sent back. To tell you the truth, I could feel his disappointment. I could really feel it with him. What must it have been like, making another excruciatingly long plane ride after you just finished one, and all you have is the time to think about what went wrong.
You know, America, I did and still do sympathize with you at what happened in 2001. And it was perfectly understandable that you would increase security. I would too if I ran the Philippines. But it's one thing to be cautious and another thing completely to be paranoid. So paranoid that you would bar this nice kid from entering your country who wants nothing but to attend a comics convention. A COMICS convention for God's sake. He'll be there two weeks. That's all, two weeks. Was it just too much to give?
Posted by Gerry Alanguilan at 5/17/2004 07:50:00 AM