Saturday, November 19, 2005

Silent Dragon, Eugene

I finally wrapped up inking the last issue of Silent Dragon early this morning, the last inking-only job I'll be doing. I don't want to say for good, because who knows what will happen tomorrow? But for now, it will be my last for the forseeable future.

Inking that last page. I can't describe how it feels inking that very last page (page 21 of Silent Dragon #6) of an inking career that began in 1995 with Harriers for Entity Comics. Right now it hasn't really set in.... there's cause to celebrate, not because I'm leaving, but a celebration of a pretty good way to make a living that took me to working on characters like Wolverine, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Superman, Batman.... oh man. Many of the biggest characters in comics, pretty much. I'm not sure if I'll ever officially cross their paths again, but anything can happen.

There's really not too much time to think about it because the next step in my career: more writing and more drawing, is slowly starting to kick in. I'm right in the middle of a Humanis Rex deadline, and after that I'll be wrapping up an adaptation of a Rafael Sabatini short story for Graphic Classics. It's been so busy the past week that I've unfortunately had to beg off doing an installment of Johnny Balbona for Mwahaha's "Sports" issue. I really hated doing that, and I apologize to Zach Yonzon and everyone at Mwahaha, but you can be sure Johnny will be back for Mwahaha's "Superhero!" issue.

Also next for me is something really BIG for local comics (more on this next year), and a possible series for an American company with a hot upcoming British writer. More on that as soon as I can talk about it. Then of course, there's the maintenance of the online museum, and the various projects connected to it.

I may be quitting inking, but I'm far busier than I've ever been. But this time I'll get to work on my own comics, and my own art... and that just feels terrific.

Apologies to those trying to reach my via email or phone. Aside from a problem I'm having with the phone, I just don't have time to deal with anything else except work, and other personal things (more on that later).


Leinil Yu came over the house for the first time last Monday so we can blast through the last few pages of Silent Dragon. He's been meaning to come over for the longest time, but brought on by necessity, he's finally had the chance.

I thought it was great becasue most of the time, it's me that goes to his place in Mandaluyong and spend the night, sometimes with Edgar Tadeo or Ryan Orosco. It's always great having another comics artist working in the same place as you because you connect on a certain level that you don't with someone who doesn't work in comics. And I really don't get a chance to interact personally with someone like that often.

We ended up working while watching BEN HUR and The Final Countdown on DVD. Yeah, Ben Hur! Certainly one of the greatest movies ever made.

It's amazing seeing Leinil work because he's blindingly fast. My camera simply wasn't fast enough to capture him in action. He finished an entire panel in the split second it took to take this picture. Look at that. Amazing!


After Leinil left, our dog Eugene started to feel really bad. He looked weak, he no longer wanted to eat or drink, and it looked as if he's having difficulty urinating. In fact, he tries to urinate many times but nothing, or hardly nothing comes out. A day later, blood tinged urine started leaking out. I started to get worried.

Researching on the net, I realized Eugene might well have stones stuck in his urinary tract, an affliction that is common with dalmatians. It's considered a medical emergency because if left untreated, Eugene's bladder might burst and it will end up poisoning him and then kill him.

So inspite of my numerous deadlines (I haven't finished Silent Dragon yet at this point), I had to take a break and bring Eugene to the vet early last Wednesday. I thought I'd get it taken care of that morning, and go back to work after lunch. Wishful thinking, it turned out. I had to take Eugene to be X-rayed, then the doctor told me that it's looking like Eugene might need to be operated on. And that she can't do it. The more experiened doctor was out of town, and they referred me to another vet in Sta. Rosa, one and half hours away.

I didn't have my own car, I can't drive, and it would be unthinkable to bring Eugene there by jeep. I started to get really distressed, and for a moment I didn't know what to do. But if I didn't do anything, Eugene will die for sure. He looked at me the previous night, unmoving, looking a bit hurt perhaps, that I let him suffer for so long. I had still been thinking of my work, and that I need to do it and all this is really horrendous bad timing. Why now? Why now?

I really could have slapped myself back then for being selfish, and for forgetting why I'm at work in the first place. Why else am I breaking my back doing all this work for? What the fuck is the use of work if I end up ignoring and neglecting those that I care for? How many times have I insisted on me prioritizing the needs of family before anything else? And Eugene, dog or not, is family. And I feel like kicking myself for forgetting that.

The doctor referred another vet, this time in UP Los BaƱos, and I thought that was better becasue it was nearer. I thought about asking my dad to drive us up there. If Eugene will indeed be operated on, I really don't want him going home in a jeep. It will simply be too hard on him. Good thing my dad was home, and he didn't have classes that day. I honestly don't know what I would have done if he wasn't there.

At UP, several doctors worked on Eugene and they were successful in removing his stones. And oh my GOD, I had no idea they were so many! There must have been 30 to 40 small pebbles, the smallest was larger than a grain of sand, the largest the size of a match head. They made a cut at the base of Eugene's penis and they told me that they were going to leave that open so that in case Eugene still had stones, it could pass there along with his urine. In two weeks, the wound will heal by itself and Eugene will be able to piss normally.

They also warned me that there will be profuse bleeding for the first couple of days and that I shouldn't worry about it.

Euene feels better now, but man, all that bleeding makes me really worried, inspite of what the doctors said. I try not to worry because I bow to their expertise. I'm not about to argue with a veterinarian about their job which they had trained for and had experience which I don't have. I'm just going to have to trust that they know what they're doing.

But oh, man, sometimes there's just so much blood. Eugene is almost back to his old active, crazy self so I know at least he's getting better.


Hey check it out! Familiar? When I visited the old house the other day, my mom gave me this box of my old pictures and I found this one. It's my photo reference to my big Timawa 2 page spread. Check out that drawing here.

That's a panorama shot of Blumentritt from the LRT station, and how it looked 10 years ago. I haven't been back there all this time, but I'm sure it still looks more or less the same.

I try as much as I can to use reference on my drawings. Not only for backgrounds, but for pretty much all elements in a page, even people. I want my drawings to be as accurate as I can, in terms of architecture, engineering, entourage, etc, specially when I do realistic stuff. For fantasy and sci fi, I try very hard to infuse as much reality to it as I can inspite of the fantasy environment. A scabbard will still look like a scabbard, fantasy or not. So I better make it look as real as I can make it.

Reference needs to be used as a tool, rather than a crutch, a mistake that a lot of young artists make. The difference is something artists need to learn.


Isn't that cool? This is part of a larger Mama Sita ad that appeared in the newspaper TODAY. It may not seem to be overly significant, but this tells me that the comic book form is still pretty much ingrained in popular culture so much so that a company is willing to risk advertising money on comics to promote their product. Comics is not so passe as people would like to think.

And because Mama Sita thought to use comics to advertise their product, I in turn am advertising it here as a huge THANK YOU.

MAMA SITA! Wala ka nang hahanapin pang iba! O, may hinihintay ka pa ba? KAIN NA!