Saturday, January 28, 2006

I quit!

I quit!

At least for a few days. I'm typing with my left hand as my right recuperates. After finishing coloring a page last night it got worse than it had been ever since it started, even though I'm no longer using a mouse. This happened during inking Silent Dragon, but never this intense because I never used the computer for work as often as this. Three of my major projects require color so I'm spending more time in front of the computer as I normally do.

Oh man, every move I make with my hand makes me want to scream. I can't even pull up my pants or brush my teeth let alone draw without agony.

So OK, against my will I'm taking a break.

Heartfelt and utmost apologies to everyone I owe work to at this time, including those checking out my regular Crest Hut strips, but I gotta take some time off, at least for a short while. Times like this I wish I was ambidextrous. I can't afford to stop work right now, but I no longer have a choice.

I think I can still do the Crest Hut stuff, because all those are already drawn. All they need is coloring, which is simple enough for me to do with my left hand. But with down a 2nd time this week, what does it matter? It's really starting to tick me off. That's why many images here don't appear. Those that do are hosted at photobucket.

Fucking technology.

It's something I can no longer live without, so it's just something I'm gonna have to deal with.

(But actually, I *can* live without technology if push comes to a shove. I'm already officially a freak [along with Ferres there] without a cellphone. I can live in the farm and grow my own chickens and vegetables to eat. Draw comics by hand by day and sleep at night, or work by candlelight. I can be one of those hermits who comes up with the ocassional one shot comic books published by something like Top Shelf. I'd mail my pages via Fedex in town. That would be really cool. I've actually seriously contemplated something like that once or twice.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

January 26 2006

Gilbert Monsanto has just begun a gargantuan task of drawing "every single Character inside our local komiks", a task that would certainly daunt me, but if there was anyone out there who could do it, Gilbert certainly can.

He's asking for help in getting reference for the various characters in local comics. It's no secret that no real archive exists and that such reference would be hard to come by. So I'm sure he'd appreciate all the assistance he can get.

I'm sure you'll get plenty of help, Gilbert, and to prevent any doubling, just let me know which character you need reference for and I just might have it.

Good Luck, man! Go here for Gilbert's Site.

Malakas at Maganda by Nestor Redondo
Isolation by Alex Nino

Randy Valiente has wrapped up his excellent essay on the art of Nestor Redondo and Alex Nino, offering an enlightening critical analysis of two of the greatest Filipino comic book illustrators and the relationship of one's art with the other. Check it out here. (In Tagalog only)

Dennis Villegas once again comes up with an informative and interesting article about an aspect of Philippine Comics history, the story of Pablo Gomez' PSG Publications. Really, this is something you literally can't get anywhere else. Dennis' blog is certainly becoming one of the most important resources, if not *the* most important resource on komiks history. I'm thankful that, as Dennis promises, all this will find itself in a book. Check out his article here.


On a personal front, I've been afflicted with a particularly BAD case of CTS. Click on the link. I don't even want to mention its name.

But it had been so bad that it made me swear off mouses forever. Thank God I have a tablet, and I'm making more use of keyboard shortcuts that enable me to do things that the mouse only used to do.

I had been pretty much disabled for the past week, struggling to draw, color on the computer and write with a right hand that was truly excruciating to use. I felt like screaming everytime I moved it.

This is time I put aside to work on Humanis Rex #11. So when you pick up the issue of Fudge with this on it, bear in mind that it was done through a whole mess of pain. These are pages from this story I won't ever forget. I can say that it hasn't really affected the quality of my work too much, except that it's taking much longer to finish than I would like. I guess I held back on putting in too much lines, but it's OK since I'm coloring it anyway.

It's a whole lot better today, thank goodness. Must be the bucketful of painkillers.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sampalok Colored

Although initially intended as a black and white only illustration, I was asked to color it for publication. I was stumped, and tried to find a way to color it without drowning out the line art.

I'm still new at this coloring on the computer thing and I've still got a lot to learn, but I'm at least glad to know I'm still young enough to learn new tricks. :)

Original black and White Illustration

Kurdapya, Crest Hut Update

Alfredo Alcala
Kurdapya #28 Page 3
Written by Pablo Gomez and Carlos Gonda
Tagalog Klasiks #144
January 8, 2006

I'm So Stupid Part 2 of 3!


Redondo vs. Niño
Randy Valiente's excellent analysis of the art of Nestor Redondo and Alex Niño (in Tagalog).
Redondo vs. Niño Part 1
Redondo vs. Niño Part 2

"Komiks Drowing ni Nonoy Alob at ni Edbon Sevilleno"
Museo Negrense De La Salle, University of Saint La Salle
January 5-17, 2006

Exhibit Set Up
Exhibit Photos!

Congrats to Nonoy Alob, Edbon Sevilleno, and Guhit Pinoy!!

Friday, January 20, 2006

How To Get Into Comics Today

How To Get Into Comics Today

This is a message I got in my other message board, a comment that I feel deserves a much longer, much more helpful answer. I hope that this could be of assistance to the many talented artists out there that are as yet undiscovered, or have been around a while and have so far gone underappreciated. This is a relatively realistic look into your options as aspring comic book creators in the Philippines.

The original message, as posted, was in tagalog (and in textspeak). I took the liberty to translate it here as courtesy to the non-Filipino speaking readers of this site.

"Maybe those comix artists that have yet to be discovered should be given a chance.... who knows maybe they will be the ones responsible in bringing life to our comix industry.... there are many other comix artists out there who want to do their own comics, who have their own characters and stories."

Thanks to Demz for the message, and with apologies, I hope you don't mind if I take this as a jumping point for something I want to write about.

This is certainly a valid comment. And it is most definitely true that there are many as yet undiscovered artists out there who might end up to be some of the driving forces of our recovering comic book industry.

First, A Little History

One that needs to be kept in mind is that our once great komiks industry has all but collapsed during the late 90's, with many comics companies closing shop, and many industry professionals heading off into other careers from animation to showbiz. Of an industry that once released more than 30 titles, and more than 500,000 comics in a month, what's left is the weekly issue of Liwayway, the occasional (and not even weekly) release of Tagalog, Pilipino, Hiwaga, etc. from Atlas and Funny Komiks.

During the decades-long dominance of this industry, comics companies like Atlas, G. Miranda, Mass Media, Sonic, and GASI were the only places where one could get a job in comics. If you were a comic book artist, the only option you had was to apply at their offices, and if they liked your work, you got an assignment.

Nestor Redondo and Alfredo Alcala were among the brilliant few who were clever enough to discern more options for themselves than the industry would have otherwise permitted. When a strike closed down ACE Publications in the early 60's, they and some of their compatriots, did not leave comics to do other things. Instead, they did something that was probably unheard of at the time: They formed their own comics company so they could publish their own comics. This company would eventually become known as CRAF Komix. (More information about CRAF at Dennis Villegas' Philippine Comics History blog.)

The initiative of Redondo and his peers is something to keep in mind today. In the wake of the collapse of the once great industry, artists today need to open their minds and try to find opportunities for themselves. The option of going to something like Atlas still remains an option, but it is not the only option anymore. Indeed, there are options that the artist can create himself. More on those options later.

A New Comics Movement

In the early 90's a new movement in comics was born. A movement that was composed of young writers and artists looking to find a venue for their work. Lacking an industry where their work can see publication, they took it upon themselves to create their own comics and publish it themselves.

Artists like Gilbert Monsanto, Lui Antonio, Louie Salvio, Roy Allan Martinez, Jim and Jay Jimenez and others, created Exodus. David Hontiveros, Carlo Vergara and others created Flashpoint. Budjette Tan, Brandie Tan, Mark Gatela, Arnold Arre, myself and others put together Alamat 101 and Comics 101. Russel Tomas, Jos Fouts and others created Archon. Arnold Arre, Zach Yonzon, Oliver Pulumbarit, John Toledo, Ian Orendain, Chris Bernardo, Marvin Quien, Nick Manabat and myself came together to do the great unpublished (but already finished) Lakan.

We wrote and drew our own comics, and then got money from wherever we can get them, our pockets or other people's pockets, to print and distribute our comics.

It was the start of a new industry, one that continues to grow, slowly but surely, to this day. Many of those unknowns at the time have eventually became some of the most prominent and respected comics creators currently working. They never got where they are today if it wasn't for their initiative, drive and determination, and a healthy love for the art of comics.

Fifteen or so years after the first of these comics came out, several new comic book publishers are doing business today. There's Zach Yonzon's Mango Comics, Nautilus Comics, PSI-COM Publishing, Kestrel, Arnold Arre's Tala, Quest Ventures, and Budjette Tan's Alamat Comics still continues to come out with self published comics by its members.

These are people who did not wait for others to give them a chance or give them a break. Many of them didn't wonder or fretted why nobody gave them a break. They took the initiative to create their own chances, create their own breaks, and create their own opportunities.

And if you are a young artist who thinks he's got what it takes to be a comic book creator, this is something that you need to keep in mind. These artists got where they are because at some point in their lives they took a risk (and still continue to do so). You are in the same position NOW as they were in their lives 15 years ago. You cannot compare yourself to them and say they can only get their jobs today because they've got "clout". At some point in your and their lives, you started out at the same point, all nobodies, but the choices they have made, the risks and initiatives they took brought them to where they are today. You can get there too, in a few years time, if you're willing enough.

Do you complain about not being given the chance, about not being given a break... or are you going to *do* something about it?

If you still feel like fretting about how unfair the world is after everything I've said, it's probably best to just go away right now. Go HERE, maybe, and spend the rest of your life wasting your time.

But if you want to do something about it, here are some tips that might help you get an idea of how to get into comics today.

Do you love comics enough?

First of all, you've GOT to determine if you really want to do comics. That you're not doing this because you want to be famous and sign autographs like Leinil or Arnold. Believe me, I've received email from a couple of people who want to be in comics specially for that purpose.

Determine for yourself that you are not getting into comics just because of the money. Because you know, as soon as you start working in local comics and you realize how hard it is, and realize you'd make much more money in animation, or advertising, and you realize you are working far harder for money that isn't enough, then you're in trouble. Hardly anyone makes any serious money doing only local comics at this time. Decades ago, yes. In the future, possibly. But today, it's very difficult.

Then why do it at all? Well, if you have to ask, then you don't love comics enough. You'd probably be better off in a more financially rewarding career. Nothing wrong with that, all the best to you.

But if you are really good, you can find comics work for companies outside the country. Some of them pay well enough to live comfortably. And you don't even have to leave your house. (But "Getting Into Comics Abroad" is another topic altogether, although many points are similar.)

Are you really any good?

You probably really love comics if you're still here and you're still reading. Great! Carry on.

*Don't* believe it when your parents or your friends tell you that you can write good, or you can draw good. They love you and they don't want to hurt your feelings. They really can't be counted on to tell you the truth if you suck.

It's not enough that you can draw a naked girl very well, or a huge muscled guy punching a hole in the wall very well. You may well be a kick ass painter who sells landscape or abstract paintings for 100,000 pesos a piece. That does not necessarily mean you can draw COMICS. I'm not here to teach you how to draw. Get books. Study THIS BOOK IN PARTICULAR. And THIS BOOK IN PARTICULAR. And THIS BOOK IN PARTICULAR. And THIS BOOK IN PARTICULAR. Maybe then you can get an idea of how it is to really do comics.

What you need is someone who isn't your friend, someone who is actually doing comics for a living so you know he knows what he's talking about. Approach local comic book artists and ask for their critique. You can ask me, but I take a while to reply with a critique.

When asking for critique, the one thing you *shouldn't* do is give excuses for your work. Let it stand as you drew it. Don't say it's old, or it's unfinished, or it's that way because of this, because of that. Just shut up and let them tell you what they think. Most likely you will hear stuff that you won't like. Suck it up. That only means that you're not that good yet. They have no reason to lie to you. They don't know you. Just grin and bear it. Grinning and bearing it is part of the learning process. Don't forget whatever they say about your work because that's important.

Remember who you are talking to. Be respectful and don't talk to them like you're their pal. You don't know them, and they're not your best friend. Too much familiarity can make some artists very uncomfortable, and just rush through the critique, desperate to get away from you. I'm OK with it, but even I have my limits.

If David Campiti is in town, attend one of Glasshouse Graphics' comic workshop seminars and have your work critiqued by him. Generally, he gives very sound advice in terms of what you need to work on. He's very frank about it so be prepared to grin and bear it really hard.

And then say thank you. Hardly anyone says thank you. These people are very busy. They just gave you a lot of their time just to go over your work in an effort to help. The best thing you could do is thank them for it. I think those people who don't give thanks are pissed they didn't hear what they wanted to hear. Well, what did you want? Mindless praise or an honest assesment of your work?

Be nice. You never know, these same people may well be in the position of offering you a job or referring you to a company one day. You don't want them to remember you as the ungrateful egomonster do you?

You know you can do Comics. What's next?

Ok, so your work is good enough to be published. What to do you do? Post on message boards and complain about not being given a chance? You must have missed this. Go away.

Option #1

Your first option is to approach comic book companies. There's Nautilus Comics, Mango Comics and PSI-COM. They have websites. Exert a little effort to search Google for their addresses and email them. Or go to their offices and then show them your work. You can even email them your artwork. Just ask first if they accept submissions that way. Don't make the files too big.

A little note: COMPUTERS. Computers are slowly becoming essential in finding employment, and maintaining employment in comics. Learn to use them. Learn to use scanners and learn to use the Internet. Learn Photoshop. There are other programs you need to learn like Illustrator, but Photoshop is your priority. Hey, I myself can't make heads or tails of Illustrator and I'm doing fine.

If you don't have money, don't fret. You can always go to a computer shop and rent a computer for an hour or so. And don't tell me you can't afford 20-30 pesos an hour when you can afford to load your phone.

Option #2

Ok, so the companies tell you they can't hire you for whatever reason. Their roster may be full, or they just don't want you. Maybe you're still not good enough. Practice more, and then come back again in the future. Don't start fretting you're not being given a chance or given a break or it's back HERE you go.

Like I said at the beginning, you need to take your own chances, make your own breaks. They don't want you? Well, forget about them. Show them they're wrong! Make your OWN comics! Remember Redondo and Alcala's CRAF Komix? Remember Alamat? When opportunities aren't there for employment with a company, create your own company and make your own comics! You don't even need an office or a printing press.

Write and draw your comics, write somewhere in there the name of your company, whatever cool name you can think of, have your comic phototocopied, send copies off to friends, befriend a comic book store owner so that you can sell your comics there. You can even sell your comics online. (More on that later.)

That's what *I* did with Wasted. No comic book company came out of the heavens and pointed a finger at me and said "THOU SHALT CREATE WASTED!". No, I just wrote and drew it on my own, thought up "Deranged Comics", a company which constituted of nothing more than just something written on the cover, making it appear as if it was a real company. I sent it out to friends, a copy eventually found its way to Budjette Tan (who I've never met before) and included it in a comic book he was publishing.

Don't have money even for photocopying? Then you better find ways of making money. If you can read this, it means you can read (at the very least) so you're not inept. You can get a job. Sell newspapers. Clean gardens. Paint gates. Sweep floors. ANYTHING. You can work. You can earn.

Succeeding issues I sold through stores after befriending their owners, who are very cool guys if you get to know them, and you're not being an asshole when you talk to them.

I still continue to make photocopied comics to this day. My titles Dead Heart and Crest Hut Butt Shop led to jobs with bigger companies. I got a job writing Lastikman for Mango, specifically because of Crest Hut. And then that led me to doing Johnny Balbona for Mwahaha! Wasted has opened a lot of other doors for me as well.

You really just have to start somewhere. And if your work is good enough, it *will* get around no matter what.

Option #3.

The Internet. Ok, now that you know how to use computers, the Internet, Photoshop and the scanner (If you followed Option #1, then you should be able to.), you need to create a presence online. Get an account at Deviant Art (It's free!) and upload your artwork. Deviant Art, or DA for short, is your online art portfolio, and at the same time get feedback for your work from other members.

Get a blog from Blogger or LiveJournal. They're basically online diaries, but you can use them to upload and talk about your artwork. For larger images, you can use Photobucket in conjucntion with your online diaries. They're all free!

Join message boards and mailing lists that talk about comics and art and share your work. For local message boards, check out this one (which is mine. he.he.). Plenty of people there you can talk with, and give opinions on your work. Comics professionals like Edgar Tadeo, Budjette Tan, Leinil Yu, Philip Tan, Dave Yardin visit the message board from time to time.

If you have money, try to get your own domain, like I have with It's hosted by Castlemelody, which has excellent online support. If you have your own domain, it looks more professional. And perception goes a long way with potential employers.

I've gotten jobs because of my online presence, both local and abroad. Specially abroad. I know of a lot of other people who found jobs because of their online presence. It's all about networking, getting in touch with people who are in the know, and those who can help you.

You can even use your site an online catalogue for your self published comics. They send you money through the bank, and you in turn mail the comics to them.

You can even create your comics completely online. A lot of creators have gotten attention and acclaim by doing comics on the web and it's something worthy of attention.

Option #4.

Ok, now that you've made your mini comics, you've made a splash with your terrific art online. If you are really really GOOD, It's simply just *impossible* that people won't be talking about you and your art. If you suck, then people won't be talking about you at all, or if they do, it's about how you much you suck. But if you are really good, you will notice that you will start to have a reputation as a really awesome artist. This is the beginning of what may be considered as "clout".

At this point, you can go back to Option #1. You may probably have been able to cultivate enough reputation and clout by this time, and hopefully a HUGE improvement in your work for the companies to give your work a second look.

One thing you can try is to create for yourself a new option. Create venues where you can do your comics with established publishers and their publications. Think out of the box. Established comic book companies are not the only places where you can do comics. It's very possible that magazines that don't normally do comics will agree to have them, if approached properly. PULP Magazine used to carry 2-page comics. Maybe you can come up with a proposal and submit it to Editor In Chief Vernon Go. He likes gritty realistic stories so keep that in mind when you submit stories there.

If Pulp is willing to put comics in their pages, you know, maybe other magazines will. PUMP is already carrying comics as well. I approached FUDGE Magazine with the idea of doing comics for them and after a couple of proposals, they said yes. So that's another job for me (and a looming deadline so I better wrap this up quick!). Take your pick of the magazines being published today and one of them just might agree to do your comics *if* they think it's good enough for them, and if it's thematically appropriate for what they publish. Do you want a hint which magazine may be open to comics? (Manual Mag)

Option #5

There are many calls for contributions for various projects. The most recent I saw were a call for contributors for Mondo Comics, an anthology written by a Filipino filmmaker, and the First Philippine 24-Hour Comic Book Challenge. If you had followed Option #3 and cultivated an online presence and joined groups and message boards, you're bound to know about these projects. These kinds of projects don't pay most of the time, but if you're interested in getting your name out there, boosting your reputation, and you have the time, then why not?

Option #6

Join competitions! These are rare, but when there's one, jump at the chance. There's a terrific contest right now sponsored by no less than Neil Gaiman himself, and Fully Booked. 100,000 pesos first prize, 12 pages black and white with a February 28 deadline. Winning entries will be published in a book. For more info, check this out. Prose writers get a separate contest.

Not only that, recognizing the fact that this competition will bring out the very best, and that losing entries will still kick ass, Elbert Or of Nautilus Comics is mulling an idea of helping non-winners get their work published. He needs SERIOUS encouragement.

Option #7

Get an agent. Glasshouse Graphics. So far, it works great for Wilson Tortosa, Carlo Pagulayan and a lot of other Filipino artists. Just don't forget to read the fine print.

There you go. Keep in mind that these options are not applicable to everybody. They're only applicable to those writers and artists who are really good. And if you are good, and you follow all of these options, there's no reason why you can't be doing comics in a year's time, be they with a company or publisher or self published.

But don't forget, no matter how exhilarating it may be to finally get to work in comics, don't let your rights as artists get compromised along the way. This is the part of your career as an artist, the very beginning, where the potential for you to get screwed is great. Be careful, and to guide you, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

Remember, fretting won't get you anywhere. It's the doing that does.

Good Luck!


I'm So Stupid Part 1 of 3

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Redondo's Kurdapya, Crest Hut Update

Nestor Redondo
Written by Pablo S. Gomez
Tagalog Klasiks 117, December 26, 1953

Considered a masterpiece in Philippine Komiks, Kurdapya is written by Pablo S. Gomez, who considers this the biggest hit of his career. The first half of the story is illustrated by Nestor Redondo, with the latter half illustrated by Alfredo Alcala.

It truly is some of the finest artwork done by Nestor Redondo, intricately delineating carefully each figure, with distinct facial and bodily expressions.

Dennis Villegas is hard at work at getting this series compiled at reprinted into one volume, and it should see print later this year. If and when it comes out, be sure to get a copy to own for yourself some of the finest comic books ever to be created by Filipinos.


I Had A Dream: Conclusion!

Monday, January 16, 2006


This is one of my projects for this year that I can give a definite schedule of release for. It's been something I've been wanting to do for quite a while, a story I've been doing some serious research for the last couple of years.

I had initially scheduled this for January 2006, but delays of various projects in 2005 pushed this back a little bit as well. But by April, if all goes well, the first issue will hit the stands. Color covers, 24 black and white interiors. No word yet on how much it will be per issue. It will be available at branches of Comic Quest, Druid's Keep, Comics Odyssey, and for those far away, they can get copies from me directly.

Although "Elmer" is an offshoot of "Stupid Chicken Stories" from Crest Hut Butt Shop, I don't consider this a comedy, though it may well end up unintentionally humorous, as Wasted did, but for totally different reasons.

For those that have been looking for my next "serious" work after Wasted, then this is it.

I consider "Humanis Rex!" serious as well, but it won't be published collectively until 2007.

I've set aside a section of for Elmer, which can be found here.

Nestor Redondo's Bible, Crest Hut Update

Nestor Redondo
Adam and Eve
Mga Kasaysayang Buhat Sa Bibliya #3
Superyor Komiks #105
November 25, 1968

Many would be familiar with THE BIBLE, a large format comic book book published by DC comics in the 1970's as illustrated by Nestor Redondo. Many consider this comic book as one of the finest in terms of art.

Less people are familiar with Nestor Redondo's much more extensive adaptations of Bible stories, published in the Philippines in the late 60's, serialized in Superyor Komiks. Redondo adapted and illustrated hundreds of pages of Bible stories beginning with Genesis and well into Exodus.

I'll be featuring more artwork from the Superyor adaptations, which I feel are (pardon the pun) far superior to the DC book.


"I Had a Dream" Part 3 of 4!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Jun Lofamia, Trese

Jun Lofamia
"Hardin" Illustration
From poetry by Tony Talan Vargas
Liwayway Magazine
January 16, 2006

Jun Lofamia continues to amaze in an illustration that is worth the price of the magazine alone. You also get some great art from Hal Santiago (who's really bringing it with his cool water color art), Rico Rival, Abe Ocampo, Rod Lofamia and others.

written by Budjette Tan
illustrated by Ka-Jo Baldisimo
Alamat Comics

Apologies go to my good friend Budjette Tan, as I wasn't able to pick this up back during the Komikon. I always meant to buy a copy at Comicquest Megamall when I had the chance, but I've never been back to Comicquest or Megamall for that matter, for the last five months. It was the first thing I was going to get as soon as I got back.

Surprisingly, Budjette decided to upload the entirety of Trese #1 at Like I often said, it's difficult for me to read comics online, but this story proved to be so compelling that I read through the entire story's 20 pages in one sitting.

I have to amend my initial assesment of best Philippine comics of 2005 as this easily ranks among the best of them. I'm not saying this only because Budjette is a friend, but this truly is one terrific comic book. Sparsely written, you are easily drawn into the reality of this world, where everything is taken as a matter of fact. Not everything is explained, like who is this, or what is that, which is a good thing because the story is written cleverly enough that you get to know these things as the story progresses. This helps keep the story moving along, unhampered by unecessary exposition.

There is not an awkward moment in the writing, a weakness that I see often in local comics in recent years. The story is neatly wrapped up by the end of the issue, making it feel like a particularly good TV show, where you just can't wait to see the adventures of these characters the next time around.

The great thing is, issue #2 is already available, with #3 already on the way.

I'm very happy for Budjette that he's finally making comics, after fretting for years about wanting to do them again. Not just comics, mind you, but excellent, well done comics. It's fortuitous that he was able to shanghai an artist willing to stick with the series. And not just any artist. Ka-Jo Baldisimo is pretty good. If there's a comparision I could even make with regards to the artwork, then it feels like the first few issues of Sandman, but actually even better in some places.

All in all, I think TRESE deserves far more than just the mini-comic treatment. This is one comic book that needs to be read by a lot more people, a story that needs to be distributed much more widely.

Last but not least, it's from ALAMAT Comics! YEAH!!

Congrats, Budj! You can count on me to go and buy the dead tree editions as soon as I get to Megamall, which is SOON, I hope! Dave and I have to meet.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Carlo, Arnold and Crest Hut

Whenever you see this little banner in my current post, there's a new update in the webcomics section of my site. It's Friday, so a new installment of "I Had a Dream" from Crest Hut Butt Shop has just been uploaded! Click on the image above or here.

My congratulations go to my friend Carlo Vergara, whose landmark comic book "Ang Kagilagilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah" or "Zsa Zsa" for short, is now a musical!

And a musical by the Tanghalang Pilipino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, no less! Way to go, Carlo!

Here's more info:

The Cultural Center of the Philippines presents a Tanghalang Pilipino production:

Carlo Vergara's Zsazsa Zaturnnah: Ze Muzikal

Eula Valdez
Agot Isidro
Tuxqs Rutaquio
Ricci Chan
Lauren Novero
Arnold Reyes
Deeda Barretto
Wilma Doesnt
Mayen Estañero
Tess Jamias
and the Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors’ Company

direction Chris Millado
music/lyrics/musical direction Vincent A. de Jesus
adaptation Chris Martinez

lighting design Shoko Matsumoto
choreography Ding Cruz
set design Sonny Aniceto
costume design Nicole Mori
technical direction Barbara Tan-Tiongco
stage management Chynna Roxas

February 10 | 11 | 17 | 18 | 24 | 25 March 3 | 4 | 2006 8:00PM
February 11 | 12 | 18 | 19 | 25 | 26 March 4 | 5 | 2006 3:00PM

Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater)

Tanghalang Pilipino 832-3661 / 832-1125 locals 1620 / 1621 /
(0920) 953-5381 / 0920 953-5419
TicketWorld 891-9999


Has there ever been other stage musicals based on comic book properties in the Philippines? I know they did a Darna ballet back in 2003 or 2004, but this is one based on the comic book of one I know personally, a comic book that came out during my time and I saw it being made.

I still remember Carlo showing me pages of this comic book, pages of running villagers being chased by a giant frog. Now how cool is that?

Congratulations go to Carlo and I hope this, and all his projects would be extremely successful!

Arnold Arre sent over this teaser of an upcoming project he's doing. I think he's mentioned this project for some time and he seemed pretty excited over it. I haven't seen pages of it myself, but I've seen other recent work by him (most notably Lastikman), and the quality of his work, good as it is was to begin with, is growing by leaps and bounds.

With these things, I'm convinced more than ever that 2006 will be a great year for Philippine comics!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Irwin Hasen Exhibit

A bit different from what I usually talk about in this journal, but I received an email from Neal Adams with an invite for an Irwin Hasen exhibit at the Museum of Cartoon and Comics Art in New York. It looks interesting, and I would definitely go if I could afford the ride. I'm posting it here because maybe our Stateside visitors to this site may want to go.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Steve Gan Art Gallery

Steve Gan
Written by Carlo J. Caparas
Darna Komiks

Steve Gan's profile has just been uploaded at the online museum with a detailed biography and an art gallery of his work in Philippine and American comics. Click on the link below.

Steve Gan Art Gallery

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Rudy Florese and Alex Niño

Rudy Florese's Naging June Bride Din Si Lola
Written by Tony Velasquez
Pinoy Komiks #82, June 30, 1966

The entire seven-page story has been uploaded at the museum and can be read in one go in one page. Click on image above or HERE. This is my favorite local work by my father in law Rudy Florese. This is probably Rudy's work at his very prime, employing intricate detail on a unique page layout to illustrate Tony Velasquez's genuinely touching story.

Alex Niño's Katuparan
Written by Fernan Santiago
Espesyal Komiks #297, October 11, 1965

The entire 5 page story has also been uploaded and can be read here. Or click image above.

This short story by Alex Niño is unique at the time it came out in that it used innovative paneling sequences not seen before in Philippine comics. Reminiscent of Bernie Krigstein, Niño manipulated panels to heighten drama, evoking cinematic movement. This is one of my favorite Alex Niño illustrated stories for local comics.

The Philippine Comcis Art Museum online also welcomes aboard comics historian and collector Dennis Villegas. He has been writing some amazing articles on Philippine comics history on his blog and I invited him to have his articles a permanent part of this site. Thanks Dennis!

The first article up at the site is The Story of Ace Publications, a relatively detailed but concise account of the history of the greatest comics publisher in Philippine history. Click Here.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ang Alamat ng Lawa ng Sampalok

Click Here for a Larger Scan

This is a drawing I started doing way back in December 2003 that was to be used for the San Pablo City Comics Art Festival, which I've only now had the opportunity to finish. This will be part of an adaptation of the Legend of Sampalok Lake, one of the seven lakes of San Pablo City, which will see print later this year. I can't say in what form this publication will take as yet, but as soon as I can talk about it, I'll put it up here.

I've been wanting to do a comic book adaptation of the legends of all the seven lakes of San Pablo ever since 2001, and I'm ecstatic that I finally have not only the opportunity to do it, but the work will find print publication as well, which is great!

I've always been fascinated with these legends, ever since I saw them enacted out in a play at my old school, Canossa College, back when I was in grade school. Some of these legends are quite brutal, with lots of deaths, destruction, cruelty, jilted lovers, angry gods, and even a vivid decapitation at some point.

Fantastic material for a comic book, I think. :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What's in Store for 2006

"Hi Gerry, Ultimate Hulk and Wolverine by Leinil is now available. Don't you have any regrets in turning down this project to concentrate on your own? Sayang kasi. The artwork of Leinil would have been much better if those were inked."

This was asked of me in the comments section of an earlier post in this blog, but I don't remember if it was Erwin or Rene. Anyway, I thought it was a pretty good question and I mean to answer it as honestly and as frankly as I can.

I know some people have been disappointed that I didn't continue inking Leinil on this project from Silent Dragon, and I'm very, very glad and flattered of their appreciation of our work together. To them I extend heartfelt apologies.

It would have been great, I'm sure, inking Leinil on this project. But I've been feeling pretty burned out doing inks for the last couple of years, after doing it for so long. I figured I had to stop while I still enjoyed it, before I started to mess up. The wish to assert my own creativity has been steadily growing for the past several years. I did start out doing comics in 1992 with the full intent of pencilling and inking, and possibly even writing my own work. And I have done so professionally with stints in UZI Weekly and Terror Komiks for Mass Media Publications.

Dracula's Wives
UZI Weekly, 1992

My artwork was the runner-up in a Cable Cover Contest Wizard Magazine held around the same time, and the judge, Bart Sears, observed that my inking seemed to be stronger than my other skills, an observation that was shared by Whilce Portacio when I joined his studio a couple of years later. And so it was how I found myself becoming a professional inker. It was great having to work on stuff like Wetworks and Grifter, and to work with people like Whilce so early in my career.

But a part of my confidence got bruised rather badly. "Is inking really all I'm good for?", I kept thinking. It's a thought that never strayed far from my mind in all these years.

I've since worked on many of the greatest characters in comics: Batman, Superman, The X-Men, Fantastic Four, Wolverine, and a lot more. Just inking Superman, my all time greatest comic book super hero, was an all-time high for me and I don't think or even aspire to top it. As an inker, I think I've done all I possibly can, and I think the time has come to move on.

From a certain point of view, it may seem to be a stupid decision, not doing something like Ultimate Hulk and Wolverine. Creatively, the Ultimate universe of Marvel holds very little appeal to me personally. I really don't like my Marvel heroes to be this dark and so touched by realism. I grew up on Marvel heroes in the 70's and 80's and they are my favorite eras as far as Marvel heroes are concerned. As a fan, I rarely buy any of the new comics, but I spend a lot of money buying their Essential collections, trade paperbacks, hardcovers, and Visionaries books.

Financially, it's not the wisest move. But ultimately, it's not really about just the money. It would have been financially rewarding, but I would just have been literally dying inside. It's possibly a hard concept for the more business minded to grasp, but for an artist, the expression of his art is something very important and integral to his well-being. And I think I've held it back long enough.

It's a good possibility that I may never work on those great characters I had inked as a penciller, but through the years, I've realized that my developing artistic sensibilities lend themselves less and less towards the super-heroic. My work, as it is turning out now, may not be the best style suited for mainstream super hero comic books. It would be cool to do that kind of thing one of these days, even on those characters I had previously inked, but for now, I've got to go where my art leads me.

I find great satisfaction in working on new characters, either those created by myself or with a collaborator. Humanis Rex! is one of those things. People have asked me what I'm working on, now that I'm done with Silent Dragon. I tell them Humanis Rex, Johnny Balbona, Graphic Classics, and others. If I can interpret their reactions they all seem to be saying the same thing: "No really, what are you really working on?"

Well, this is IT man, Humanis Rex! is my major work for the moment. And it will be a significant part of my work for the rest of 2006. With my inking work over, I've been spending more and more time to doing this series, trying to make each installment better than the last. It takes a week to pencil, ink, color and letter two pages. That leaves me ample time to do other things, specially the odd adaptation of classic short stories for Graphic Classics.

I've just finished pencilling, inking and lettering an adaptation of Rafael Sabatini's "Plague of Ghosts" for Graphic Classics. I've learned my lessons the hard way doing this story as it took far longer than I expected. Difficult though doing this story was compared to previous work I did for this publisher, I look at the finished pages and I've got to say I'm rather proud of it.

I'm doubly proud because this volume also includes a 40-page story illustrated by my buddy Carlo Vergara. And his art is just fantastic, as it usually is. Watch out for this book sometime in the next few months.

More information about this volume here.

And as I previously mentioned, I'm involved in another project that will hopefully be good for the Philippine comics industry in 2006. And there's another project, stateside this time, that I'm equally excited over, and it's all happening this year. It's my objective to tire myself out mercilessly all year. It's a make or break time for me in a way, but looking at all the things I need to do, I really can't have it any other way.

But I've yet to answer the question. Do I ever regret not inking Ultimate Wolverine? Looking at the stuff I've managed to do in its place there is only one answer I can think of.

Not really.


Monday, January 02, 2006


Alex Niño
The Orc's Treasure, 2006

I think 2006 will be a great year for comics in the Philippines. I see it starting off well with the Neil Gaiman-Fully Booked contest which will surely attract a lot of really good comics work. And with the best of these being published, the resulting book will definitely be a remarkable thing for local comics.

I'm also aware of a lot of other comics projects like the one being done by Dell Barras in cooperation with Guhit Pinoy, as well as another project by one of our finest, Romeo Tanghal. More on those when more details come in.

PSI-COM is testing the waters with their FANTASYA title and although I might have some concerns with some of their copyright policies, the debut issue of FANTASYA is solid and promising. I sincerely hope this is a successful title for them so that more of its kind can be published.

I myself am involved in a project that will see the light sometime middle of this year, and I am joined by some names in comics which might be familiar many of you. I'm very excited about this project and based on complete stories I've already seen, it's really gonna rock!

I'm really glad that the Philippine comics industry is slowly but surely being revitalized and with each new group or project I hear about, I feel like I want to be involved.... with ALL of them! And I have been invited by some of these groups, and each of them wish for nothing but to see comics in the country come alive again. It's just very unfortunate that I can't be faster (like Alfredo Alcala) so I can be involved with all of them.

Accepting my glacier-like pace as something I still have to work on, I can only be involved in those projects I already am involved right now. I really hope that my non-participation in some of these groups is not seen as disinterest. I'm definitely interested and I want nothing more than to help, but I have to accept that my physical limitations prevent me from participating in many of these great projects.

That said, I wish you guys all the best, and you can definitely count on me to talk about, and promote whatever comics projects you guys might have right here.



Dennis Villegas' blog on the History of Philippine Comics continues to amaze. His recent articles have been very informative and quite fascinating.

A History of Liwayway Magazine

The Story of Ace Publications

The Beginnings of the Philippine Comics Industry

Thanks to Dennis for writing these articles. He really should write a book!

Sunday, January 01, 2006