Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A New Blog

My Ambrosia DigiComics Blog

On the strength of perhaps my Elmer work, Wesley Craig Green, the head cheese of Elmer's distributor in North America, Independent Propaganda, offered me a blog on his new Ambrosia Publishing/Digicomics site. I already have a regularly updated blog right here, so I was a bit hesitant to take it at first.

But I figured that the added web presence can't really be all that bad, since it would allow me the opportunity to share and promote my comics more widely. It's always conceivable that people may get to visit that site and not this one.

I would hate to duplicate posts between blogs, and I'll try very hard not to do that. Sometimes I expect it would be unavoidable. But I think I'll try to concentrate more on ELMER on that blog, because I see it as a place where I might have more of a readership abroad and ELMER is something I'm agressively promoting outside the country.

Rest assured though, that any significant thing I post about Elmer over there, I will give a link from here so all you who read Elmer and would like to be kept up to date won't miss a thing.

Right now, I'm just feeling it out and see where it goes. I'm having fun with it, because it's on Wordpress and I'm quickly finding out how cool it is.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Elmer! Philippine Idol! Etc!

Huge Elmer News!

A lot of updates this time around! I woke up today with some great news about ELMER. Apparently, it made the Honorable Mention list of Publishers' Weekly's First Comics Week Annual Critic's Poll.

Check out the Publishers' Weekly site for more info:

Thanks to Chris Arrant for helping make this possible.


And speaking of Elmer, here's more artwork sent to me, one is from a comics pal Romi Lizada:

Here's another one from David Jerickson Serador, which I found really interesting and freaky:

David Jerickson Serador Elmer Art

Thanks Romi and David! Ang gagaling nyo!


Somebody over the Philippine Komiks Message Board had some fun and turned me into a computer game character. I think it's great! Not to mention truly flattering that people would actually make something out of my hideous visage.

Somebody named "GodKnowsHudasNotPay" came up with this. Ha! ha! You're NUTs, man! But thanks!!


I have an interview up over at New Worlds Alliance (NWA), a group that "was founded in 2003 by seven local science fiction and fantasy fan groups: Via Astris - The Star Trek Club of the Philippines, Star Wars Philippines, The Philippine Tolkien Society, Pinoy Harry Potter, Pinoy X-Philes, Pinoy Slayers, and The Alliance of Eclectic Gamers and Interactive Storytellers (AEGIS). Its aim was to provide a venue for Filipino science fiction and fantasy fans to interact, hold activities, and express themselves and their love for their respective fandoms." (More about their group here)

Their group is responsible for organizing an annual Sci-fi and Fantasy Con in various places around Metro Manila. I had attended the first two cons in Mile Long in 2003 and then at Rockwell in 2004, both in Makati.

Graphic Artists #6: Gerry Alanguilan

Thanks to Meann Ortiz for the Interview!


An adventure I went through recently was attend the Grand Finals of the first Philippine Idol competition live at Araneta Coliseum. I'm a casual fan of American Idol, and so naturally, I was drawn to watch the Philippine equivalent. One of my favorites even early on were Mau Marcelo and Pow Chavez. It turns out Mau is a friend of one of my good friends, Arlan Esmeña. Arlan, his wife May and their family are naturally huge supporters of Mau, and they even accompany her to each stage of the competition to cheer her on and support her.

I thought wow, that sounds like fun. I had asked Arlan maybe one of these days, we can tag along as well. We all got pretty excited when Mau became one of the final three, and Arlan invited me and my wife Ilyn to watch the Grand Finals live. I thought wow, I've never been to a show like this, attended by thousands of people, telecast live on TV. It would be quite an experience.

And being the video freak I currently am, I naturally made a video blog out of it.

My Philippine Idol Experience

It turns out I had the right instinct because Mau eventually won the competion. Congrats Mau!

Banner Design by Arlan Esmeña


My good pal and former collaborator Leinil Francis Yu finally has an official website! Well, at the moment it points to his Deviant Art account, but it's all good!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

HIDE: A Christmas Shocker Short Film

Ever since getting hooked on making video blogs, I've always wanted to use moving picturess as a way to tell stories in a different way. Having been so used to telling stories in comics, I wanted to explore other ways of telling stories, and video seems like a fun alternative. I think I can learn something from this kind of exercise, which I can then use to benefit my comic book work.

"HIDE" is something I came up with as I was doing it. I had no idea how I was going to finish it as I was putting together the first part. I had a laugh when I thought of how to end it. It may put some people off, but I personally think it's kind of funny.

I tried to do this as a straight suspense, but really, I'm at that point in my life where I really just can't get away from the humor that seems to creep in with anything I do.

Thursday, December 14, 2006



I found the page of this Brazilian artist and saw this illustration:

Based on what he's saying in this post, and in replies to comments, and running it through the translators, he seems to be claiming that this was created by him.

In truth, this was created by WHILCE PORTACIO.

It is an illustration given to me by Whilce as a pinup for WASTED for it's Final Edition. Here is a link:

This is a color version, colored by Whilce himself:

Nowhere in this post or in the comments will you find Whilce's name. And he conveniently removes Whilce's signature, clearly seen in the original.


Now I've been advised by some DA posters more knowledgable than me in the ways of DA that I should have reported it to DA Admin because posting it on my DA journal could get me banned as well. Well, I did report it. But should I shut up about it in my DA journal?

Well FUCK THAT. Go ahead and fucking ban me for doing the right fucking thing. If there's one thing I can't stand is people stealing the work of other people, and I'm expected to just stand meekly aside and let the "authorities" do their job.

And what exactly are they going to do? BAN him from DA? What the fuck is THAT going to do? I want to the world to know exactly what a stealing son of a bitch he is, and banning him will just prevent people from finding this out for themselves.

And if you find me gone from DA, then it's not MY doing. If they ban me from DA, well, like I CARE. Do they expect me to shake in my boots, be repentant, and erase my "offending" post? I've left DA twice before. It's so easy for me to leave again. I don't CARE. .

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

ELMER, ZsaZsa, Post Office Frustrations

Elmer Art "Headless Chicken"
by Robert Magnuson

Robert turned in this really cool and disturbing image. If my back covers (only 2 remaining) weren't all spoken for, I would certainly use this for a back cover. I'll definitely make sure this appears in the interiors somewhere and in color in the compilation.

Robert is the creator of "Shirley's Pets" for Junior Inquirer, as well as the writer and artist for several successful children's books including "Mr. Beetle's Many Rooms" and "Diego and Marie Presents: A Secret Sense of Home, An Early Science Adventure" published by Adarna House.

Robert is an amazingly talented and I have to say, marvelously devious guy. I mean that as a compliment. As to exacty what I mean by "devious", I'll write about it in a future entry. Let me just leave you with the idea that Robert has been doing something unexpected and good for the Philippine comics industry. You the man, Robert!

Elmer Art "Mananabas"
by Ner Pedrina

Ner is a quiet player in Philippine comics, proving artwork for several comics, and helping put together a few projects. Check out his Wikipedia page for links to his artworks, blog and various projects.

If all goes well, I'll be at the baptism of Ner's baby this Saturday. Congrats pare!


ZSAZSA The Movie!

Here's the trailer to Carlo Veragara's ZsaZsa Zaturnnah: The Movie! Starring Zsa Zsa Padilla, Pops Fernandez and Rustom Padilla. What I find nice about this motion picture version of Carlo's comic book is that they used music from the wonderful musical. Let's see how the movie does. At any rate, HUGE congrats to Carlo!

To be honest, I preferred they stuck with Eula Valdez and Ricci Chan for the roles of ZsaZsa and Didi respectively, who did a wonderful job in the musical. I think they were just amused by the novelty of having ZsaZsa play ZsaZsa, never mind if she's suitable or not. Honestly guys, she's OLD, and it shows. I never liked Choklit, or whatever the name of this actor they got to play Didi. Every single time I've seen him I get this really overpowering negative vibe. His comedy is angry and cynical, and I've never found him funny ever. I like the idea of Pops Fernadez as Queen Femina though. She's totally gonna rock.


Post Office Frustrations

Oh man, I'm starting to get really dubious about our local Philippine Post Office. I've been sending LOTs of letters and packages abroad and I'm not sure if all of them are getting to where they're supposed to. It's getting really frustrating, specially if you're running a publishing business and you're distributing abroad.

The Post Office does have an Express Mail service that guarantees delivery within a week, but they're almost as expensive as FEDEX! Just sending 40 copies to North America I've had to spend almost 2,000 pesos on shipping. Sending 120 copies abroad would have cost 6,000 pesos (that's around 120 US Dollars).

I can send that by Standard Mail, but then I'm not sure if they will reach their destination at all, like I'm discovering now.

I'm really at a loss as to how to proceed, to be honest. Does anyone have any suggestion of a courier that's reliable and not as expensive? I wouldn't mind if the shipping was a bit slow... as long as it gets to where it's supposed to. Thanks in advance!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jose Rizal Post #2, Elmer, Humanis Rex, Babies

What's with all the babies in December?

I thought I'd write about the things that's been keeping me busy recently. Surprisingly, December is turning out to be quite a busy month with many activities. My weekends are all booked up with trips outside of San Pablo. I just came from my nephew Robin's Fist Communion yesterday at La Consolacion in Mendiola (video forthcoming). Last week I went to the baptism party for the baby of an old college friend of mine. This Sunday, another baptism, and then another baptism the weekend after that. What's with all these babies in December? Our friend and Komikero Edgee just gave birth herself (right on her birthday) yesterday. I expect I'll be going to that baptism very soon as well. It's become so that I simply won't be able to attend them all, as much as I want to.

Elmer and Humanis Rex!

The most active projects on my roster right at the moment are ELMER (I'm currently writing the 3rd issue), and HUMANIS REX!, which is now on the homestretch! Only 4 or 5 installments remain until the finish, and I'm already planning the compilation that comes after. I won't be able to just simply compile them into one book. Humanis Rex, as it is currently done, is meant to be read 2 pages a month at a time. To read them in one quick go would make the story read very strange. I will be adding pages to further expound the story and make the pages flow smoothly from one page to the other. Naturally, I would have to re-letter everything, and this would give me perfect opportunity to rewrite dialogue that would work better in a compiled work.

Jose Rizal Post #2

My research continues for my Jose Rizal project. The more I read, the more I find out things I never knew about our National Hero. The most telling revelation for me is how much of our grade school and high school textbooks on Rizal are quite simply CRAP. A lot of Rizal's history was written by people with superhero blinders on, exalting him as some infalliable near-deity, remote and unattainable. It does give you, as a Filipino, an icon to look up to, but personally, I would prefer an icon that's uplifted by truth.

As far as Jose Rizal is concerned, what is the truth?

There are many books and pamphlets, as well as articles online about Rizal. When I first wrote about this project, a couple of people sent me links to articles that have been quite enlightening. But what I have noticed is that given the same basic sets of facts, different writers and historians interpret such facts differently. Their interpretation of history is affected a little too much by their own personal perspective and world view. Their "history" then becomes more of an opinion piece rather than a clear and concise telling of what really happened.

It's hard to find a book/article/publication that's more objective than most. One such book I found, and indeed one of the most interesting, is "Letters Between Rizal and Family Members: 1876-1896" published the National Historical Institute. It reproduces personal letters between Rizal and his mother, his brother, his girlfriend, and friends.

It's like reading a blog, to tell you the truth. It allows you to get into the head of Rizal because you are witness to his actual words and thoughts. These letters are enlightening in that they paint a portrait of Rizal as completely human, equally susceptible to the same weaknesses and flaws such as any man would be. He cries, like everyone else. He needs money, like everyone else. He sometimes forgets himself when he's with women, just like any other man.

I have recently acquired a couple of books courtesy of my dad, collecting Rizal's personal reminisces, and other correspondences, which promise the same kind of clear window into who he really is.

One fascinating book I found is Ambeth Ocampo's Rizal: Without the Overcoat. Not really a biography but a collection of lectures on Jose Rizal. What I like about Ambeth is that he does not write pretentiously. He writes with a familiarity to the reader, and demonstrates the demeanor of a person completely enthusiastic about his subject and just can't wait to share every bit of info with you. It kind of reminds me of Dennis Villegas, and how he talks about Philippine comics. Ambeth doesn't pound you over the head with opinions, but rather offers supportable evidence and proof of his historical claims.

That his historical claims punch a clear wide hole into the infalliable Rizal we have grown to know clearly demonstrates how much we have been misinformed.

Although Ambeth by no means disrespects Rizal or denigrates his legacy, he does successfully demystifies Rizal and gives us the truth, or at least part of it. And informed of the truth, Jose Rizal is still unquestionably an icon and a hero to me. In fact, he is even more so.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Nestor Redondo Komiks Covers

Nestor Redondo Komiks Cover Gallery
Here are a few komiks covers of Redondo's I don't think I've featured yet. Most of them are from 1954-1958, published by ACE Publications.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tony DeZuniga Interview, Dave Cockrum Tribute Exclusive!
Tony DeZuniga Interview

November 27, 2006
San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines

It was a great honor for me to welcome to my home veteran Filipino comics illustrator Tony DeZuniga. He is best known to comics fans as the co-creator of Black Orchid and Jonah Hex.

I did a short video interview with him for this site. I asked him about why he chose comics for a career, how he approaches his work, and his thoughts on Jonah Hex. Tony leaves for the US again tomorrow, but he will be back for an exhibit of his work at Megamall in February 2007.

Thanks to Tony and Tina DeZuniga! More on Tony in future posts.


I just wanted to talk about the passing of one of my comics heroes, DAVE COCKRUM. I was saddened to hear of his death. He was the very first Marvel artist whose work I really liked, having seen his art on early issues of the new X-men back in the late 70's.

Reading his X-men was a mind blowing experience. It was artwork the likes of which I've never seen before. Each panel of each page was exploding with action and dynamism. Check out the fight at JFK airport between Erik the Red and the X-men in issue #97 and you'll see what I mean. Seeing Havok and Storm cutting loose like they never have before or since was one of the most exciting things I've seen as a kid, and to tell you the truth, I still get a thrill looking at it now.

Dave Cockrum remains as one of my biggest inspirations. My prayers go Dave and his family.

You were, and still are one of the best!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Komikero Press

I got some press lately from some really unexpected places. This first one came from a local showbiz magazine THE BUZZ, published by ABS-CBN. Here's a scan of the page, but if you would like to see it in print, it came out in their December 2006 issue, Volume 3, Issue #12. The article is written by Liza P. Endaya.

I find it really amusing to find myself in a magazine liek this. In it there's people like Katrina Halili, Kristine Hermosa, Sandara Park, Claudine Barretto, Rosanna Roces, Alessandra de Rossi and Regine Velasquez. And then there' he.he. In the page across me is Manila Mayor's son "Kuya" Kim Atienza. I see him on TV a lot. I think he's funny looking. And I mean that as a compliment.

This next one is from, wow! Liwayway Magazine! It's written by my pal Randy Valiente.

It's an article about the recent Komikon held at UP Diliman. I'm not sure if you can still buy it since it's from a week ago, dated November 20, 2006. I think it's really cool to find myself on the pages of Liwayway Magazine at last! I still plan on contributing something to them really soon.

This last one is from, curiously enough, Batangas Post, dated November 6-12, 2006.

It's written by KC Cordero, the same guy who gave us Filipino Komiks #1, and is Associate Editor of The Buzz Magazine. KC has been doing a lot to help the komiks industry, and I find it really admirable.

One of these days I'll upload large and readable versions of these articles. I just wanted to post them to say thanks to KC, Randy, and Liza. Thanks guys! Mabuhay kayo!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Humanis Rex! Shirts! And Then Some

YES! Humanis Rex! T-Shirts! Not only shirts, but mugs, caps, bags and mousepads. Plus, Legend of Sampalok Lake Posters. HUGE ones. Check it out!

Komikero Cash Cow Cafe

Among all the stuff I did on Humanis Rex!, I really like this particular panel. I find it hilarious. It's the design that you will see mostly in the stuff being sold at the store. Let me explain a little bit about my decision to do this.

Basically, it costs me nothing. All I do is provide the artwork. The shirts and other stuff are only put together when someone puts an order for it. The store gets its cut, and I get my cut.

It's something I just wanted to try out. It's a service that's not based in the Philippines though. I don't think there's any online company based in the Philippines doing the same thing. Cafepress is based in California. This means a couple of things.

It might be a bit expensive for those buying from the Philippines, including ME. That's right. I don't get any of these free. If I want to have them, I'm going to have to buy them like everyone else.

But for someone based in the US, these things would be easily accessible.

I plan on using Humanis Rex! Wasted, Dead Heart, Crest Hut Butt Shop, and the Lake Legends for this venture. Don't look for ELMER stuff because I won't be doing them. Don't ask.

It's also possible to do books and comic books with them. It's something I will definitely look into in the future.

Message Board Closed

Message Board Closed

My old message board that used to be hosted at Delphi is now closed. Regular visitors to the message board looking to discuss komiks can do so at the new message board linked below:

The Philippine Komiks Message Board

If you have any questions with regards to Komikero Publishing and to my other work, please email me, and I'll do my best to answer you directly and if you would allow it, I'll post your question and my answers right here as well.

I had not intended to close the Delphi Forum completely. I just wanted to close it, but leave it archived and viewable, as some forums have done. But as it went, I must have pushed the wrong button and there you go, the forum is completely closed. I wish to thank all those who have visited and shared their thoughts.

Jose Rizal Post #1

I'm depressed.

I'm doing research for a possible project for next year which requires a lot of information on Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. I've been buying books on his life and reading them during the past few days I get sadder with each passing day. What a sad and tragic life!

It's become almost unbearable that at times I couldn't continue reading. Depressing as I find it, the near undendurable sacrifices he made all for the love of country is something I find deeply deeply inspiring.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Elmer and Other News

The Good News: ELMER #2 is now available at Comicquest Megamall, Basement Bldg A, Mandaluyong Metro Manila. Just ask a copy from Raquel. Thanks Mike!

In North America, ELMER #1 and #2 are both available for purchase online at Independent Propaganda. It's not yet listed in their online catalogue though, but they do have the stock as I write this. If you want to order now, please email them. Thanks to Wesley!

Once a direct link is available, I'll post it here.


More Good News: WASTED is shortlisted for the 2007 Pinoy Reader's Choice Awards for Comics at February 2007's READ or DIE Convention in Makati. One of the goals of the convention is to profile contemporary Philippine fiction to the reading public, to broaden the market through awareness, and it is hoped that such awareness can be achieved through the awards.

Thanks to the RODCon! As far as I understand it, I will also be participating in a forum about comics. I've already committed to participate in the convention by providing prints of old Komiks covers and artwork.

The shortlisted comics include:

* "After Eden" by Arnold Arre
* "Pugad Baboy" (Volume 1) by Pol Medina
* "Wasted" by Gerry Alanguilan
* "ZsaZsa Zaturnah" by Carlo Vergara

Ha! ha! Any one of those will (and should) beat me so easily. I'm just glad that due recognition is being given to comics as a viable art form that is worth of attention and honor. And I really have the RODCon to thank for that.


Thanks to Azrael Coladilla for uploading the 22-minute Komikon 2007 and Philippine Komiks program by HERO TV. It includes interviews with many Filipino komiks creators old and new including yours truly.


And now for the BAD News. The situation that resulted in my writing THIS article, is far from dead.

Yes, exploitation is alive and well in the Philippines.

To summarize briefly, I was contacted by an American company looking to hire me to do illustrations adapting classic stories. I was stunned at the terms given to me because they were shockingly exploitative. The terms are as follows:

1. I will get 10 US dollars per illustration.
2. According to them, based on the "work for hire" contract, they will own all original art.
3. I will not get to use my real name. I have to "Americanize" my name because as they claimed, they don't want people who read their books to know a Filipino had drawn them.

Point 1: For an American company to pay a Filipino 10 US dollars for a page of art is a crime. They even have the GALL to try to impress upon me that it's a generous amount, specifying a Filipino artist already on their payroll who is getting far less than I would.

Point 2: I have worked for many companies under the "work for hire" contract. DC Comics. Marvel Comics. Avalon Studios. Top Cow Productions. Wildstorm. Eureka. Cross Plains. They have ALL returned original art. So what are they talking about?

Point 3: Now this is just RACIST. This is simply unacceptable.

I'm bringing all this up now because I have learned that the company has managed to hire a lot of artists locally, and although I'm disappointed at the situation, I cannot blame the artists involved. 10 dollars is still 500 pesos, and for a struggling artist, specially if you're old and you have fewer and fewer options, one has to take what he can get.

What infuriates me is the blatant and unrepentant exploitation. These artists should be getting MORE. They should be treated BETTER. They should be RESPECTED and RECOGNIZED for their work.

What I found even more unbelievable is that this company has actually sought and GOT the cooperation of the Philippine government in their search for talents, even holding seminars under the auspices of a particular government agency.

I emailed the contact person for the government agency three weeks ago, but I have yet to receive a reply. Somehow, I'm NOT surprised. I'm willing to give this government agency the benefit of the doubt. They may not have realized that this company's activities are exploitative of Filipinos. But their unresponsiveness to my inquiry is indeed very telling.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More Teny Henson Artwork

More Teny Henson Artwork

I added two more pages of art to Teny Henson's Profile and Art Gallery at the online museum. The above artwork appeared on the inside back cover of Pilipino Komiks #393, cover dated June 23, 1962. It really was printed in dark blue tint. The strip, "Tiririt", seemed to have been appeared semi-regularly in the comic book as one-page stories.

This one comes from Tagalog Klasiks #255, cover dated April 11, 1959. It's one of those one-page stories that I was sorely tempted to color, but I really didn't have the time to.

You can see higher versions of the artwork in Teny Henson's Art Gallery.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Teny Henson Art Gallery

Teny Henson Art Gallery
Click Here

I just love coloring Teny Henson's work. The panels above come from his story "Kahapon at Ngayon sa Antipolo" from Pilipino Komiks #259, cover dated May 4, 1957. The simplicity and economy of Teny's line made it most suitable and most enjoyable to color. Click Here to see the full page.

The first thing I did was to scan the page at a very high resolution, then clean off all the dirt and paper discoloration. Next was fixing printing errors by erasing them and/or rebuilding lines. With clean black and white art, I proceeded to color the page in Photoshop. All in all, the entire process took around a day, which is probably one of the most enjoyable things I've done.

I've also uploaded Teny's profile and art gallery at the online museum. It's about time I think. Click Here for Teny's Gallery.

I'm appaled that it took me so long to get to it. Teny is one of my favorite artists. He is prominenty featured in my early pathetic attempt at a Filipino comic book art gallery.

Teny's art is unique among his contemporaries in that he never adopted the profuse shading and brushwork that characterized the comics art of the time, opting instead to use a clean line style of drawing, putting more more thought in designing each panel and each page to be aestheically pleasing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

ELMER News/CSB Comics Illustration Update


A North American publisher has expressed interest in publishing Elmer. It's something I do feel very happy about because distributing abroad has always been one of my goals with regards to Elmer. But it would have to wait until I finish all four issues. I made a personal committment to publish all four issues through my own Komikero Publishing, as well as a compilation for distribution here in the Philippines when the time comes. I went through all that trouble legalizing my publishing company, so I just might as well take it as far as it can.

Distributing abroad, however, has been rather difficult. The challenge does come from shipping huge amounts of copies to other countries, and although sending to countries such as the UK has been no problem, shipping to Canada has been something else altogether. A whole shipment to a Canadian online retailer simply disappeared. Probably it was confiscated by Canadian Customs which I hear are very strict about these kinds of things. US based online retailers who have publicly advertised their search for independently published comic books to carry have not returned my emails.

However, I am grateful to people like Sandy Sansolis, whose assistance in getting ELMER into a couple of branches of Comic Odyssey in California has just been terrific. Thanks also to Kenny Penman of Forbidden Planet for his support. Thanks also to Ernie Agtarap of who will soon be making Elmer available in the New York/New Jersey area.

As challenging as I find it, I feel that I would need someone else to handle the publishing and distribution of Elmer abroad, just so I would be free to do what I'm really in comics for... and it's to create them.

For those looking for copies here in the Philippines, check out my distribution network at the official elmer site here.

I was asked just now why Elmer #2 isn't available yet at Comicquest. I know Comicquest is one of my biggest supporters and it's responsible for selling a great bulk of my stock. I will be making Elmer #2 available there very soon, probably sometime next week. Apologies to everyone for this delay. Right now I'm preoccupied with writing and drawing new installments of HUMANIS REX! Once I get some of that done, I will continue to distribute Elmer #2 more widely.

DLS College of St. Benilde Comics Illustration Course Update

Professor Benjie M. Marasigan Jr. of the College of St. Benilde emailed me about the entry I made earlier about the comics course I had announced. He clarified that it's still in the planning process as they wait for the CHED's (Commission on Higher Education) approval for the Bachelor of Science in Animation course for 2007. Once that is approved, they will go through the same process for the Illustration Course.

It will be a one-year course which will cover not only comics illustration, but also children's book illustration, newspaper and comic strips, editorial cartooning, caricaturing, greeting card illustration, fantasy art, etc.

Hopefully, this one-year diploma course will become a full blown 3-year degree course in illustration, an AB in Illustration.

Thanks Mr. Marasigan! Best of luck to you!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Philippine Comics School/Pedro Penduko

A Philippine School for Comics?

I have heard word about the establishment of an actual course in comics illustration, being proposed at De La Salle College Of Saint Benilde along Taft Avenue in Manila.

I first heard of it from Azrael Coladilla, who reports in his blog of his communication with Benjie Marasigan, a professor of animation at DLS-CSB. As far as I can tell, the proposal has been submitted, and they are currently awaiting approval. If all goes well, the course will be offered at the beginning of the next school year in June of 2007.

The comics industry is a pretty strange thing. It is one of those kinds of jobs that you don't need a diploma, or any formal education, or highest marks in your transcript to get in. A dilploma in this course by no means gives you an edge over those who don't have it. It's all about the work. It's all about your art. Is it good enough? Can you turn it in on time? At the end of the day, your art is all that editors will look at. It doesn't matter if you graduate summa cum laude... if your art is not good enough, you won't get in.

HOWEVER, I still welcome a school like this because people who are interested in becoming comic book artists will now have a school in which to learn the craft and the profession. Whilce Portacio was one of the first to offer such an officially recognized course, in association with the Philippine Women's Universtiy (enrollment doesn't disqualify men). Although short lived, the school did produce a lot of good artists who have been able to work in the industry eventually. Nestor Malgapo also had a correspondence course, but I'm not sure if it's still operating.

Additionally, I can now have something I can refer to those who have been emailing me about learning how to do comics. It's something that can't be taught in one or two emails, but it's definitely something that can be taught at a comics illustration course such as this.

It's also a step towards legitimizing comics as a true profession in the eyes of the general Filipino public, and a definite step towards the recognition of comics as art.

So yeah, I hope they do approve it, and I thank them in advance for doing so!


Pedro Penduko
by Francisco V. Coching
Liwayway Magazine, April 5, 1954

"The Adventures of Pedro Penduko" is currently being serialized on TV by ABS-CBN, the story by Coching that is probably his most popular, having been translated into movies several times in the past.

To be honest, I know very little of Pedro Penduko. The installment above of the story from a 1954 issue of Liwayway Magazine is my only exposure to the original story. I actually have confused the character as being part of Philippine mythology along with Bernardio Carpio. That it has penetrated so deeply in Philippine culture only speaks of it's popularity and enduring quality.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Elmer Correspondence/ Elmer in the US!

Elmer Official Site
Lesley Lim

Update on the Availability of Elmer in the US!

Those in the US, specifically California, can get their copies from the following locations. Thanks to Sandy, who dropped off 25 copies of Elmer #2 for each location.

Comic Odyssey
3400 E. 8th St., Suite #106
National City, CA
owner: Gerry Sansolis

Comic Odyssey
319 S. Arroyo Parkway, Suite #3
Pasadena, CA
owner: Kenny So

Thanks to Lesley Lim (Antart on DeviantArt) for this painting. It's only a spot detail of a much larger painting which I will expect to use on a back cover, probably on #3. My payment for this painting will come by way of a talk I'll be giving at UST for an org Lesley is a member of. Oh maaaaan. I really don't like giving talks because I suck BIG TIME at it. It was like... it's either I talk or I don't get the painting. Ha! ha! Oh well, I might as well do it, and hope that they don't kick me out of the building.

Looks like I will also be giving another talk, this time in Bicol sometime early next year. What is *wrong* with me? It's like I got this big stone and dropped it on my head. But it did seem interesting to me and to travel to Bicol is something I haven't done since 1983.

I may have found a solution to this talk business though... I wonder why I didn't think of it before. More on this later.


This is an interesting email from Jim Arroyo of Quezon City, and his analysis of Elmer #1 and #2. I put it here unedited. I had already replied to Jim directly. What follows after the letter is a reworded and expanded reply I had sent to him.

Dear Gerry,

One of my biggest regrets as a comic book collector is that I didn't get to pick up Wasted when it first came out. When I saw "Elmer" at one of my regular comic haunts a few years ago, I seized the chance to get what is some of your most beautiful artwork so far.

I love the premise; it has a Kafkaesque appeal to it. What if you woke up one morning as a giant cockroach? What if you woke up one morning and chickens were suddenly as smart as humans? Such hypotheticals are the stuff of great absurdist fiction.

I have a problem, however, with the execution of this premise. It seems that rather than embrace the absurd, you seem unduly preoccupied with trying to achieve some sense of verisimilitude, creating what Warren Ellis would call a "white event" to explain how the chickens populating this world came to be this way, and playing the "racism" angle to the hilt. I mean, maybe you should be a little less like Rising Stars and a little more like The Metamorphosis. Some people say that Stuart Little, as a story, lost a bit of its charm when, in the movie, the writers went to great pains to show that he was adopted by the littles, whereas the book basically just introduced him as, well, a Little, no questions asked. I honestly think you may have been better served by this kind of approach. This notwithstanding, I'm still curious as to how you'll wrap up the talking chickens' origin story.

Another problem I have with this book is how thoroughly unlikable a character I find Jake, your lead, to be. Whether it's his annoyingly adolescent dialogue or his rather irritating self-righteousness, I find myself feeling very little sympathy for him. Your Wasted lead was a lot easier to relate to. THAT guy was like the Michael Douglas character from Falling Down on steroids, and his indignation was palpable, because people could understand where it came from.

The discrimination taking place against chickens is clearly meant as a nod to racial discrimination in one form or another, but the lead character is such a freaking hypocrite that it tends to blunt any real resonance the device is meant to have. I mean, look, Jake has a problem with his sister marrying a human because they used to eat chickens, but he whacks off to the image of a human bold star? What if she ate chickens too? Furthermore, he despises people for once having eaten his species, but reminisces on how much he loves to eat his mother's duck? Shouldn't a member of a formerly oppressed species be a little more sensitive to other species still being gobbled up?

You see, in an absurdist, or maybe even comical milieu, Jake wouldn't come across as such a jerk. It would actually be funny that chickens eat duck. The problem is that this story seems to take itself a little too seriously. Maybe I just don't get what you're trying to say here, but on the other hand maybe you're trying too hard to justify your premise of talking chickens, which is causing you to make all sorts of character inconsistencies.

Storytelling flaws aside, I have to, I meant just HAVE to heap praises on your art. In all honesty, Gerry, I think you are better at rendering than just about anyone else in the comics industry as a whole, even Travis Charest. The quality of your artwork, specifically its consistently original look in an industry where people are either ripping off images from Manga or from Jim Lee comic books, just stands out on each and every page, and Elmer is a visual treat unlike anything else in the market right now. I intend to follow this story until its conclusion, and so I hope you take this as encouragement to finish issues #3 and 4 as soon as humanly possible!

Jim Arroyo
Quezon City

Hello Jim!

Thanks for your reply and the thoughtful analysis of Elmer! I do have to admit, I haven't seen Stuart Little, The Metamorphosis or read Rising Stars, and I don't know what is meant by "Kafkaesque". A friend of mine, Mark Gatela, also made reference to this Kafka fella with regards to Elmer so I'm now officially curious as to what this is all about. Looks like I'll have to Wiki it. I only mention it to let you know that I most likely won't get the reference.

I actually tried to avoid watching talking animal movies, specially those involving chickens so my head will be clear of anything that others have done.

Jake is a pretty complicated character. He's pretty absurd himself, and full of inconsistences. One of the things I tried very hard to do with all aspects of Elmer is to not fall into cliches, tricks that other people have done, and present characters we have seen many times before. As such, I tried to create characters that don't fall easily into categories or labels. To do that wasn't too difficult. All I had to do was look at people. And myself. Many people have tried to pigeonhole me into certain categories and labels, but none of them really applied to me because I'm a huge grey area. And I believe everyone is a huge grey area, full of inconsistencies and yes, I believe we all are hypocrites to varying degrees. Some more than others and some less than others.

Consider foreign dictators saying they hate America and yet they have a library full of Hollywood DVD movies, or priests and preachers teaching the word of God by day and be pedophiles by night. I have no doubt that someone who openly embraces other races would harbor slight but deep seated and deeply buried prejudices of his or her own.

Deep down inside I really think everyone has certain degrees of inconsistency and hypocrisy in themselves that they will be rather caught dead than admit. It really is hard to like and sympathize with someone like Jake because maybe, just maybe, he reflects a truth about ourselves we try to suppress and ignore.

It may be too quick to consider these inconsistencies "flaws", but I do understand your concerns. Whatever flaws that may be seemingly apparent and obvious, it is only a reflection of the flaws I have observed in people, and they are things I fully intend to tackle in future issues.

For instance, chickens and ducks.

Yes indeed, why would chickens eat ducks like there was nothing wrong with it? The first issue contains several references to ducks being eaten, and I intentionally made a point to emphasize it. Rest assured there is an explanation for that, which I would rather say in the telling of the story rather than here.

Taking the story very seriously is actually an objective I'm trying to achieve. I wanted to postulate a truly absurd notion, and yet treat it as realistically and as seriously as I can... and see what happens.

Does it work or not? I really can't say. It really depends on who is reading it and what their opinion about it is. As for me, as seriously as I may be taking it, I'm actually having lots of fun. I really have just begun to tell the story, and I'm just beginning to expound on my ideas about this world. Come back again after it's all done and let me know what you think. Although I know how the story goes, it still surprises me just what happens when I finally draw it. I really can't say how it will ultimately read when it's all done myself.

As for me beating the crap out of Travis Charest in the art department, now that's the one thing completely absurd about your email. Now I'm sure you must be on drugs of some sort. Bonamine perhaps? I jest, and although I don't believe that of myself, I appreciate the compliment. I still have a long way to go as an artist, and I still have lots to learn. I don't think I'll ever be satisfied with my work, and looking at Elmer #1 and #2, although I know I did my best, I know I can do much better. Hopefully, I will always be unsatisfied, because I know it's the only way I'll never be complacent.

Druid's Keep Second Anniversary

Druid's Keep 2nd Anniversary/Trip To Magallanes
Komikero Video Blog #16

Thanks and congrats to Felix Cua on the 2nd Anniversary of his comics store Druid's Keep! I hooked up with Gilbert Monsanto, who was promoting and signing his new comic books TROPA and RAMBOL Komiks. I've had some long meaningful conversations with Gilbert on the state of the comics industry in the Philippines and how to possibly make it better. It is our hope that a profesional comics convention, one that would bring together those currently working in comics today to discuss such matters, would indeed push through for next year. Here's a photo of Gilbert and me outside the store.

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Just got back home and put the video quickly together so I can go to sleep. Tomorrow I continue working on Humanis Rex. I'll be doing three installments one after the other to prevent any more "skips". I'll continue working on Elmer #3 after that. More Elmer news and art tomorrow!

Good night!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Abe Ocampo Art Gallery

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Abe Ocampo

Abe Ocampo's Profile and Art Gallery has just been uploaded at the online museum. Ocampo has worked an incredible 49 years in comics. He started working straight out of high school in 1957, and he is still drawing comics today at Liwayway, lending his pen to draw the adventures of SuperMando, as written by RR Marcelino.


I just finished the thing for Gilbert's TROPA, as well as a short article on inking. It's been almost a year since I inked anything I didn't pencil. It was enjoyable, but that's probably because it was only one page. I would have probably freaked if I were to ink another. It's a pretty nice page and it can be seen in the second issue of TROPA.


There are a couple of interested parties in the US with regards to publishing ELMER. I'm committed to publish all 4 issues of Elmer as well as a compilation for Philippine release through Komikero Publishing, but I had always hoped to find an interested pubisher for its compilation abroad. The logistics of distributing worldwide on my own is simply quite staggering, not to mention poverty inducing. It's been very challenging so far, distributing Elmer as far as I could, and although it's been hard, it's definitely very rewarding and satisfying.

Here in the Philippines, I now have someone who will distribute in Davao for me. His name is Ruel Sarmiento, and if you are in Davao and you are interested in getting a copy of both Elmer #1 and 2, you can email him at this address: darthleur13(at)yahoo(dot)com. He won't be getting his stocks until Saturday or Monday though.

I'm now currently working out possible distribution in Dagupan City. I'll talk about it here if and when it gets finalized.


HERO TV came to visit me last October 30 for a short interview on Philippine Comics. I took some footage of their visit which you can see below:

They interviewed me for something like 15 minutes, and based on my previous experience on things like this, I think you'll see me in the show for maybe 15 seconds. Which is perfectly OK because I'm sure they interviewed a lot of other people, and I'm sure they really don't have much time, considering they will be showing these interviews along with their Komikon coverage.

You can see the show at Hero TV for four Sundays beginning November 5 at 8:00pm.

Probe Team also interviewed me via email for their November 1 show on myths and legends. I don't know how they incorporated an email interview into the show, and I didn't have the chance to find out because I completely forgot. I must have been completely wiped out after going around several cemeteries, visiting relations that have passed on.

And me with with the now ever present camera, took some footage of that as well...

All this video thing is becoming a bit crazy. I better unplug and hide the damned thing before it takes me completely over!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jun Lofamia, Wasted Writings

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Jun Lofamia

After regularly featuring Jun Lofamia in this blog for the past couple of years, I've finally uploaded his gallery up at the online museum. Click Here.

Next! Abe Ocampo

Also uploaded within the past week includes an updated profile/gallery for Alex Niño as well as Ernie Chan.


I find it surprising that a lot of really well thought out and well researched writings have popped up about Wasted. I was just talking about Wasted in the last post. I just had uploaded it when someone told me about this link:

Wasted Review
by Lyde Gerard Villanueva

I looked around and I found one more...

Wasted Review
by Dirg

There was an other one by "Anrev" (Verna), that I had bookmarked for later reading, but she has since taken it down.

Those three all referenced Ateneo de Manila Professor Soledad Reyes's essay on Komiks, and all three of them seem to know each other (based on their links).

I'm glad they chose to write about Wasted because it helped me look at it from different perspectives, as I myself am trying to understand just what about it that seemed to connect with people. I wish Anrev brings the article back up, just so I can read it more fully.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Druid's Keep, Elmer and Wasted Art

DRUID'S KEEP 2nd Year Anniversary
3rd Floor Gateway Mall
November 4, 2006
2pm to 6pm

I'll be at Druid's Keep this Saturday for Druid's Keep's 2nd Year Anniversay. I'll be around to sign copies of Elmer #2. For those who want to go, Druid's is in the small mall in Magallanes where Rustan's is. Go behind that building and you'll see stairs and an elevator. Druid's is on the 3rd floor. The owner is Mr. Felix Cua. Nice guy! When you visit, he will most likely be the one behind the counter. Very knowledgable abut comics and is willing to order anything you like.


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That's a drawing by Bing Cansino. Thanks pare! The first time I saw his work was on the pages of Hiwaga Komiks in 2004 and I was immediately impressed. I thought he had amazing potential. I wrote him a letter (on paper) and got a reply some time later. We've since exhanged emails, but I've actually yet to meet him. He's currently working on a comic book called "The Innocents" with colorist Edgar Tadeo.

I'm really amazed at how people still write to me about Wasted. Clearly, it has a life far longer than I had thought it would have. I began writing and drawing it in 1994 (12 years ago!) and finished it in 1996. I never imagined I'd still be talking about it, still receiving emails and artwork about it 10-12 years later. Really, sometimes I don't know how to react. So I'll just post them here.

I talked to Ilyn about Wasted, and if things push through, I might have a special Wasted-related project after finishing Elmer. Let's see.

Below is another Wasted artwork this time from Josef from MySpace.

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Thanks Josef!


Here's art for ELMER by my pal and Komikero Henry Anima II. Thanks Henry!

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Komikero Meeting for October

Komikero Meeting for October

Got a bit rained out at the meeting. It wasn't raining too hard, actually it rained only very slightly but it prevented us from bringing out our sketchbooks anyway and just hung around beside the lake taking pics and videos. At least that's my excuse. I'm growing more fascinated with putting together videos in my free time. Here's the one I made for today.

Back at the house by 4 in the afternoon, those in the meeting including me, Raipo, Jonas and Rod came up with a really interesting project for Komikero for December. Unfortunately, there's space for only 3 more Komikeros for the project, so I hope some of them who don't get to participate feels too badly. It's nothing personal, but I hope I can come up with a selection process that would be fair. Drawing straws or names from a box probably. Once the names are selected, I'll talk more about the project here.

I'll have to prepare a little bit for tomorrow. Hero Channel is coming over for to do an interview. There's a typhoon coming, stronger than Milenyo, I hear, but thankfully it wouldn't pass anywhere near us. Still, I hope they don't run into problems getting here. I'm gonna have to do some major cleaning outside so it won't be too embarassing.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

More Elmer News

The response to my "Call for Volunteers" for Elmer's nationwide distribution in the Philippines has been very encouraging. I'm pleasantly surprised that there is even some bit of interest from Filipinos in the US. I really hope that pushes through.

Right now I can confirm that I have a distributor in Bicol, specially if you are in Naga City or Iriga City. If you are in the area, please feel free to get in touch with Rizaldy Manrique at this address: aldyboy21(at)yahoo(dot)com. Aldy is a really nice guy (I would not have dealt with him otherwise) kaya wag kayo mahiya kontakin sya. :)

If you are curious about or interested in what this "Call for Volunteers" thing is, click here.

The Philippine Comics Art Museum Online has once again been updated, this time with the addition of Ernie Chan's profile and gallery page. Click the image above to go to the site.


Let me close this post with a marvelous bit from Neil Gaiman's blog, about his reaction to a non-comics writer's assertion that comic books do not deserve to win or even be nominated for awards meant for "books".

The bold text is from a reader named Shawn and the regular text that follows is Neil's reply.


Neil --
Tony Long of Wired news recently offered an editorial ( which he takes offense at the nomination of Gene Luen Yang for a National Book Award for "American Born Chinese", a graphic novel -- Long argues that no "comic book" (his words) should be nominated for an award intended for a "real novel". What is your opinion about graphic novels being nominated for (and poteintially winning) major literary prizes?


I suppose if he builds a time machine he could do something about Maus's 1992 Pulitzer, or Sandman's 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, or Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan winning the 2001 Guardian First Book Award, or even Watchmen's appearance on Time's Hundred Best Novels of the 20th Century list. Lacking a Time Machine, it seems a rather silly and antiquated argument, like hearing someone complain that women have the vote or that be-bop music and crooners are turning up in the pop charts.

I like the bit where he says that he hasn't read the comic in question, but he just knows what things like that are like. It's always best to be offended by things you haven't read. That way you keep your mind uncluttered by things that might change it.


And this is why Neil Gaiman is such a terrific writer. He knows exactly what to say, and says it cleverly and brilliantly.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Philippine Comics Art Museum Update!

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Philippine Comics Art Musem Online
"Comics Aid Award"
Komikon 2006

I'm happy to announce that the online museum has won the "Comics Aid" Award at the recently held Komikon 2006. Thanks to Komikon and to all those who voted for my site! I definitely will continue doing what I've always done with the site in the couple of years its been online.

Speaking of which, the online museum has finally been transferred, fixed and updated, after moving service providers a few months ago. I'm not sure if everything is completely OK, so I'd really appreciate if anyone could inform me of any broken links. Thanks!

This update comes with a major update of Alex Niño's profile to conform with the online museum's established profile format. Click here to go directly to Alex's profile and gallery page.

From this time on, the Philippine Comics Art Museum online can be found at this address: is still active, and will point to the above address when the musem link is clicked.

You will find though, that the previous address, may still work, but the links there have not been corrected, and I will be taking down its content in a few months.

Now that the site has been fixed, I will continue to update it on a weekly basis. Profiles that will go up in the coming weeks will be those of Ernie Chan, Abe Ocampo and Jun Lofamia.


Filipino Comics In the News!

Heidi MacDonald of The Publisher's Weekly's The Beat has a feature on Philippine Comics, focusing on the recent Komikon, Bemjamin Ong Pang Kean's Newsarama articles, the online museum, as well as ELMER! Yeah! Thanks very much Heidi!

Indicentally, Heidi MacDonald is the co-author of Alfredo Alcala's art book "Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master" and a former DC Comics editor (Vertigo).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Calling for Volunteers!

Calling For Volunteers!

The very first regularly published comic book in the Philippines, HALAKHAK KOMIKS (1946), lasted only 10 issues. The main problem had to do with distribution, about getting comics out there nationwide and then getting paid for it.

The problem is still true today with the many new publishers emerging in the wake of the old industry's demise. For a self publisher based in San Pablo City, Laguna, how in the world am I going to get my comics sold in Zamboanga, or Baguio or Laoag?

And that's where you guys who regularly visit this blog come in. I need volunteers for an experiment in an alternate form of distribution. This is how it works...

If you are based anywhere outside Laguna or Manila (that's because Laguna and Manila are already covered by me), and you agree to be a distributor, just get in touch with me at gerryalanguilan at yahoo dot com.

The deal is basically this... you would buy copies from me outright where I will give you a discount, then I will send the copies to you via Air 21 at my expense. Payment to me is to be deposited at any Metrobank branch. Now it depends on you how much you will ultimately sell it. Sell it for more than retail price if you need to, but hopefully not too much.

I will announce at my message board and at this blog that ELMER is available in your area, be it Baguio, or Davao, or Zambales or Pampanga, through YOU, and I will provide them with your contact information, be it email, landline or cellphone. Indicate to me if you are willing to share your phone numbers publicly, if not, I will only provide your contact number to the specific person who inquires.

It depends on you how you get the copies to your buyers. You can either meet them or mail them. If you have a store you can display it ...whatever you like.

You can order anything from 5 copies and above. An order of 15 copies or more comes comes with 2 free signed copies, and a free ELMER sketch! An order of 5 copies of more comes with 1 free copy and an ELMER sketch!

If you order less than that 5 copies or if you just want to order ELMER from me directly for your own personal use, then you still get the free sketch. Unfortunately, personal orders don't come with a discount.

In this way, an alternate distribution system will be set in place. Who knows, as this industry grows, you could accept more titles from other creators, and maybe this will turn out to be a good business. And you would also be helping not only me and Komikero Publishing, but helping uplift the comics industry as well! Let's all see! There's no harm in trying! :)

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to email me at gerryalanguilan at yahoo dot com

Thanks to Rizaldy Manrique for being the first one to volunteer. Actually, he gave me the idea to do something like this. Aldy is from BICOL, so anyone based in Bicol, specifically NAGA, would soon be able to get copies from him. This is his email: aldyboy21(at)yahoo(dot)com.

ELMER #2 Availability, WHILCE in MANILA!

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Elmer #2 Availability

As of today, Elmer #2 is available here:

Comics Odyssey
3rd Floor Expansion Mall (Near Kenny Rogers)
Robinson's Galleria, Ortigas

Comics Odyssey
3rd Floor, Pedro Gil Wing
Robinson's Place, Pedro Gil

Theater Level, SM Fairview

Druid's Keep
3rd Floor, Gateway Mall (where Rustan's is)

And in a few days, it will be available in the USA at:

Comic Odyssey
319 S Arroyo Pkwy
Ste 3 Pasadena,
CA 91105-2547 (626) 577-6696

Comic Odyssey
34000 E. 8th St.
Suite # 106
National City, CA

Around November (announcement pending), it will be available at branches of Forbidden Planet across the UK, as well as their online shop.

More venues will be announced right here as I confirm them.

Thanks to Sandy, Felix, and Kenny!



Looks like Whilce is coming back to promote his newest projects, his return ot Wetworks and Batman: Confidential. If you're a fan of Whilce and wonder where's gone, I strongly suggest you check out his new Wetworks (out now!) and wow, he's really back. This is the best art I've seen him do so far. And his writer, Mike Carey, is this critically acclaimed writer of Vertigo's LUCIFER.

For more info on Whilce's upcoming visit, check out this site:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Komikero at Nostalgia Manila

A Trip Down Memory Lane

The webmaster of a blog called Nostalgia Manila got in touch with me recently to let me know of his site. When I went there... wow! It's like driving down a huge memory lane, if you grew up in the Philippines, that is. It features bits and pieecs of popular Philippine pop culture and then some, from the 1960's to the 1980's.

As some of you who read my work, you will probably notice I like looking at the past a lot, or at least give importance to past events because it affects us today.

I'm also one of those guys who feel that I was born in the wrong time. I would have probably fit much better had I been born at least 2 decades earlier. There's a lot of stuff in those days that are incredibly cool. Today everything is plastic and electronic and always wanting to do stuff in a hurry.

I don't want to live in the past either so those ruminations I induldge myself only once in a while. I do think there's great importance to our past, and the need to preserve it, so that it would inform our lives and what we do and write and create today and in the future.

The online museum has just been featured in the site. Please feel free to visit, and if you are someone older than maybe 30, you'll get a kick out of a lot of things you'll find there. :)


Tuesday, October 24, 2006



What a pretty nice day it was, the Komikon. It's one of those days you feel truly great about comics and feel great about being involved in it. I think we've all formed a really cool community there and although there are a few times we don't all get along, I think that friction, for whatever reason, can really push us to create more and better things.

But now the Komikon is behind us, it's time to move on and get back to work. For my part, it will be a full two weeks of almost nothing but Humanis Rex! Before that though, I have to write a first draft of Elmer #3, which will probably take around 2 to 3 days. I already know what's going to happen, but ideas came to me while I was washing dishes, ideas that solved a lot of things that was bothering me about the story.

There's an inking thing I'm going to be doing for Gilbert's TROPA. It's only one page, so it's OK. And I'm only doing it because Gilbert's a pal, and I'm really happy and proud of his determination to make comics his career. I've talked to KC Cordero of Rising Star about doing something for Filipino Komiks and I think I may have just the thing. Then there's that short story for Liwayway. I'm really excited about that one!

In mid November, I'll continue working on Elmer #3, fleshing out and polishing the script. Hopefully I'll have begun drawing it towards the end of November. I'm looking at a January release. Maybe.


To all those who met me at the Komikon, please accept my utmost apologies. Why am I apologizing? I'll write a little bit about the Komikon experience from my personal point of view. Please bear in mind I say none of the following as a complaint, as there's nothing about meeting people at the Komikon I can complain about. You were all terrific, and I was well, really just out of my mind. Literally.

I've had little sleep in the last week or so before Komikon, and I was a little dazed but excited to be there. In short, I was sort of... well... high. But not in the medical sense.

In my normal life, there's just me, my wife Ilyn, and our dog Eugene. A couple of times a week I'll probably see my folks. I'd talk to one or two neighbors a couple of times a week, and talk to the old woman at the sari sari store. I get to meet Zara, Jonas, Raipo and the other Komikeros once a month. But for the most part, it's really just me, Ilyn and Eugene. And some chickens roaming outside. You know, such is the life of a comic book artist. It's pretty isolated because there's so much work to be done and it's a job that you can take home so naturally I do it at home.

Once in a while, probably 3 to 4 times a year, there's a big activity where I meet all sorts of people. Other pros, readers, mostly people I'm meeting for the first time or people I've met before at other signings. But those interactions are for the most part brief and there's another face soon after the previous one has moved on. The big trouble with me is that I'm forgetful. A lot of my friends would testify to that. There are some things I can remember clearly, like what I did in the summer of 1983 in Goa, Camarines Sur, but I forget what I did two weeks ago right here in the house.

At signings, I meet a lot, and I mean a LOT of people. And since I'm forgetful, I really have to admit, I won't remember all your names. I'm bound to remember your face if I met you before because I do remember faces a lot more, but I'd probably struggle to remember your name.

This happened to me a lot at Komikon. And I hope that those who had their comics signed didn't get too hurt when I asked them their names when I had already asked them at previous signings. At my worst, there was one guy who had his comics signed earlier in the day, and I forgot his name when he had something else signed later that afternoon. I'm really sorry about that. Is there a pill I can take for this or something?

Another thing I want to apologize for is not being able to talk more to those people who came over to meet me. During events like this, I'm literally pulled into many directions. I'd be talking to one person and there's two others calling me as well. I wish I had three heads, but that probably would have scared the bejeezus out of everybody.

I felt bad that I wasn't able to talk to Karl Comendador a bit more, after he came to meet me at my table. I promise I'd visit him at his table, but I didn't see him any more after that. I also felt bad that I wasn't able to talk to Jun Lofamia more as well. I never had the chance to interview Reno Maniquis for the video coverage, as well a lot more other people I wanted to talk to. I didn't even see people like Joanah Tinio, or Michael David, or Pol Medina? Was he there? I wasn't sure. I heard he was. I guess it only goes to show how crazy it was, and how noisy it was. I really had no idea what was going on in the stage. Syeri had to come up running to tell me I had won the award for Comics Aid for the Comics Museum. WOW! I babbled out a few words and went straight back to signing at my table.

I've had to leave the table once in a while to check out what I could for the Newsarama report, take videos for my video coverage, eat, piss, brush my teeth, and really just take a breather. Even at the CR people would want to talk to me, which was hilarious.

I really must thank Wilmark, Sandy Sansolis, Sir Boboy Yonzon and the other people who bought original art. Leinil was probably shocked when he saw how inexpensively I was selling some of my art, some of them were from Superman: Birthright, Silent Dragon, Batman/Danger Girl, X-Force and Stone. Those were Komikon-only prices of course, and I won't be selling them as inexpensively at any other time. I just wanted to be able to give people the opportunity to own some of these, people who would not have otherwise bought them at Ebay or online agents because they'd be too expensive. I'd probably selling some more pages like this at these prices only to attendees at the next Komikon.

I also must thank all those who dropped by the table and bought Elmers 1 &2. Elmer's my baby and it's such a thrill to see people actually buy it. There are few thrills like it in life. As I've mentioned in the afterword of Elmer #2, even though I never really tailor made Elmer to appeal to a certain audience, never considered any demographic, never censored myself just to make it more accessible, I'm nevertheless glad that people actually buy it and appreciate it.

Thank you very much to everyone who passed by, even to just say hello. Mabuhay kayo lahat!


Like Ariel Atienza wrote in the Artists Den mailing list, don't wait for the next Komikon to release your comic books. Do them now, get them out there as best you can, get your works read. The output of mini comic book creators, independent publishers and mainstream publishers has been promising. I hope to see more of your comic books, and I hope to see all of you and a lot of new creators, at the next Komikon!

Komikon 2006 Report At Newsarama

Komikon 2006 Report At Newsarama

My Komikon Report is finally up at Newsarama and can be accessed at the link below:


I wrote it with an international readership in mind so I spent some time doing a brief background on the organizers and the kind of convention it is in comparison to events from other countries.

Thanks to Matt Brady, Benjamin Ong Pang Kean and Newsarama!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Komikon 2006 Video Coverage

Komikon 2006 Video Coverage

Whew! I spent most of the day putting this together, my longest video so far. Yesterday was incredibly hectic. I swear, this Komikon is far larger than the last one. Estimates (based on ticket sales plus exhibitors) count the crowd at around 900, which is 100 more than last year's. 900? I swear it must have been more than that. More like 10 thousand. Jeez.

I made a much more longer report for Newsarama so I wouldn't want to repeat myself here. I'll just link to the article when it comes out. I'll try to touch on some things I didn't go through much there in a short write up.

In this interview I conducted relatively long interviews with:

Carlo Vergara (Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah) on why he chose comics to express himself as an artist and asked him how he felt about seeing Zsa Zsa in other media. I really love his answers. Carlo also gave me some original art from Zsa Zsa which is... oh man...! just so great of him. I am, without a doubt, a huge fan of his work and to have some of the art is just fantastic. Thanks Carlo!

Gilbert Monsanto on forming his publishing company Sacred Mountain and where the name of it came from. I admire Gilbert's decision to pursue this goal. It's a huge risk, and it seems it's a risk that he faces fearlessly.

Budjette Tan on the genesis of his remarkable comic book Trese. Budje, I apologize if it seemed I was denigrating your past work. I really wasn't. I thought your earlier work was good, but none of them were as remarkable as Trese. This deserves to be compiled and printed into one book, or series of books! If only I had the money!

Jonas Diego on choosing a contest to look for talents for this animation company IAS. It's actually quite a clever solution for a talent search and I was unwittingly shangheid into being a nasty judge ala Simon Cowell after declining for so long.

Karen Kunawicz on being the editor in chief of Mango Jam, an all women comic book from staff to creators. It's something unique in comics, and not surprisingly, it's Mango Comics' best selling title. Congrats to Karen and Mango!

Noel Lim on why he made a comic book called SEX-MEN.

Marius Cornelius on what his bloody comic book is all about.

Co-organizers Syeri Baet and Ariel Atienza on why they and Artists Den decided to do a Komikon. I also asked Syeri about her own comic strip.

I had wanted to interview a lot more people, specially Randy Valiente on his unique graphic novel DIOSA HUBADERA and it's innovative PDF-burned into a CD format, Reno Maniquis and his involvement with the Mars Ravelo characters and his own Maskarado, and many others more, specially the veterans, but I decided it was probably not the right place to conduct long interviews in such a crazy noisy venue.

Tobie Abad gave me a really special gift... a chicken! And it's an fascinating chicken, to say the least. Seems a bit real from certain angles. I'll definitely take a photo of this and put it in ELMER #3. There's a photo of it with me at Tobie's blog.

Edgar Tadeo came up with his own video:

Here's a list of winners from the Komikon awards. I wasn't able to take notes of it during the event itself because I had been busy at my table, but here it is, courtesy of the Komikon organizers. I wasn't able to include this in my Newsarama report as I had to turn it in before I learned about the list.

Komikon Award Winners

Congratulations to the following winners of the first Komikon Awards 2006!

Best Comic Strip Compilation - Pugad Baboy

Best Comic Series - Fantasya

Komiks Legend Award - Alex Niño

Indie Impact of the Year - Kubori Kikiam

Komiks Character of the Year - Polgas

Comics Aid Award - Philippine Comics Art Museum

Best Weekly Webcomic - Kubori Strips for the Soul

Best Cover - Mythology Class

Humor Artist of the Year - Pol Medina

Coverage from various blogs have started to appear. Here's the ones I've seen so far:

Edgar Tadeo (with photos)
Marco Dimaano (with photos)
Tobie Abad (with photos)
Budjette Tan
Jonas Diego (with photos)
Carlo Pagulayan
Carlo Vergara
Henry Anima II
Reno Maniquis
Joel Chua (with an acoustics analysis)
John Becaro
Lyndon Gregorio (With Photos)
Elbert Or

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, although there are some who came away disappointed like this one.

Elmer sold really well. I think we moved 140 copies of the second issue, and 70 copies of the first. I'll be delivering to comics stores sometime this week.

As of this writing, I think Comics Odyssey already has copies because they got copies from me at the Komikon.

Forbidden Planet ordered 90 copies of Elmer #2, and 40 of #1 so I'll be sending that off to them as well.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Philippine National Library Refusing Comic Books ISBNs... AGAIN??

The Philippine National Library
Refusing Comic Books ISBNs... AGAIN?

In 2004, the Philippine National Library refused to give a stand-alone compilation album of Kenkoy comic strips an ISBN because they assert that comics do not have "research value", and that they refer to the ISBN User's Manual drafted in Berlin as their guide.

Incensed, I did research on my own, downloaded the ISBN User's Manual myself, and read carefully through the entire thing. Nowhere in there it is said that comic books should be denied ISBNs. In fact, the manual says that every publication, regardless of content, *should* be given an ISBN if it is a monograph, and an ISSN if it is a periodical.

For instance, something like the monthly Uncanny X-men strip should be given an ISSN, but if a set of X-men monthly issues are compiled into one complete book, it should be given an ISBN.

To strengthen my case, I got in touch with the International ISBN Agency of this problem, and the director at the time, Dr. Hartmut Walravens, replied:


Hi, Gerry!

You are quite right - ISBN is a technical identification tool without
any connection to the contents of publications. So if they are
monographs they are eligible for ISBN.
We will pass your message on to the Manila ISBN Agency, and I hope
everything will be all right!


Hartmut Walravens


And now, two years later, the National Library is once again refusing to give stand alone comics ISBNs. I met one such cartoonist at the Komikon yesterday, telling me of his frustrations in getting an ISBN from the National Library, for the very same reasons they gave two years ago.

Will the Philippine National Library be ever bereft of people who do not understand what an ISBN is, and what its purpose is?

Why are they using the ISBN as a tool to approve or reject the legitimacy of any publication, when the ISBN has never and should never be used in such an inapproriate manner?

An ISBN is an IDENTIFICATION NUMBER, and nothing more. It's supposed to help the publisher, the retailer, and the libraries catalogue their inventories better. It SHOULD NEVER be denied to ANY publication.

If you are a comics publisher and you are running into this problem, please feel free to to use Dr. Hartmut Walraven's email to me, as well as the ISBN Manual which you can download here.

Additionally, you can get in touch with the International ISBN Agency here:

Komiks on Newsarama Part 2!

Celebrating 120 Years of Philippine Comics II
The Future of Komiks

Newsarama's Benjamin Ong Pang Kean's 2nd installment of his report on Philippine comics has just come out. It features even more interviews with Filipino creators about the current state of the industry. Click Here.

Thanks to Matt Brady, Benjamin and Newsarama!