Wednesday, June 28, 2006

2006: The Year of Change

2006: The Year of Change

My friend Elbert Or writes in his blog:

I don’t remember if I blogged about it, but this year, according to a geomancer friend, was supposed to be a Year of Change for me and those in my immediate circle. Quite contrary to the common belief (or at least, it was our belief) that the year of the dog is supposedly a year of stability (dogs being stalwart and loyal creatures and all, remember?), this year is meant to bring in changes and obstacles aplenty.

Apparently, the same is true for me and my own immediate circle. Reviewing the events of the past 6 months, I'm startled at the numerous instances of great change and personal discovery. It's as if 2006 is the year that we reach a point in our lives, beyond which nothing will ever be the same.

*2006 is the year I take the big risk of giving up a lucrative and relatively stable job of inking comics to write, draw and publish my own comics here in the Philippines, as I search for comics jobs as a full artist abroad. Ilyn has also decided to quit the practice of architecture and concentrate on setting up a paper crafts business. We both took our leave of the UAP (United Architects of the Philippines) to concentrate on beginning new careers for ourselves.

I was able to self publish a comic book under my own legitimate publishing company for the first time, a personal milestone that I find great satisfaction in. And it's only the beginning.

*My friend and and Komikero Jonas Diego was able to establish a sucessful company, offering good employment to other Komikeros like Mico, Jerald and Neil, and a bunch of other artists, as the company continues to grow. Congrats, pare! He's got a lot of chnages himself in his personal life, but it's up to him if he wants to talk about it or not.

*Another friend of ours and another Komikero, Ryan Toledo, has relocated his place of work from Biñan to San Pablo and he began teaching with the start of the new school season next door at Canossa College.

*Our friend and another Komikero Rene Enriquez is having a baby with his wife Jolana for the first time and they're crazy excited about it. Check out Rene and Jolana's baby via ultrasound at You Tube.

*Our friend and Komikera Edjee Mendoza got married, rather unexpectedly, and me and Ilyn acted as one of the Ninongs and Ninangs. Incidentally, she and her husband Germer are also expecting a baby.

A friend of Ilyn is getting married next month, but with much relief, we're not Ninongs and Ninangs this time around.

*One of our good friends was at the house the other day to reveal to us that he's gay. Our initial reaction was, well, so what? For us, it changes nothing, but we are happy for him that he has finally admitted it to himself, and now he feels very relieved, and much happier as a result. I must admit, my "gaydar" is very strong and I knew about this about him for quite a while. I sense the same thing in a couple of my other friends, and I hope to assure them that to true friends, it really doesn't matter. We'd be happier for you because we can only imagine what it must be like to live with a secret, maybe fear, maybe denial, and how happier you will be once you just let it out and be honest about yourself to yourself and to others. As far as me and Ilyn are concered, there's really nothing to fear, as our good friend is now finding out.

*Our friend and another Komikera Cathy de Los Santos just moved to Germany with her better half Thomas.

*Friends are breaking up left and right. There's Elbert and Camy. There's another couple who broke up, but now are back together again, thank God. Ilyn has a friend who broke with her girlfriend of 10 years.

*Ilyn has another friend who, after practicing as a doctor for several years, finally quit to pursue what she truly wants to do and not what her parents have planned for her.

*Our dog Eugene himself has some changes that he and we have to deal with. Having gone through a life-threatening illness earlier this year, he now has to alter his lifestyle and watch his diet rather closely for the rest of his life. If plans push through, he will become a major character this year in my next project "The Adventures of Miko and Jec-Jec".

I'm quite sure more changes will come. I say bring em on!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ernie Chan, Jun Lofamia

Apologies for not having been able to update the online museum in any significant way in the past couple of months, but I'll be rectifying it soon with galleries and profiles of Ernie Chan and Jun Lofamia. As a preview, here are a few scans:

Ernie Chan

Jun Lofamia

Regular vistors to this site would know who Jun Lofamia is, and it's about time I've put up a profle and gallery for this underrated artist. Thanks to Erni Labao for the scan.


I've put up another page of original art for auction at Ebay. This time, it's a cover for X-Force #105, pencilled by Whilce Portacio. This was published by Marvel Comics sometime in 1999-2000.

Click on the image or here to go to the listing.

I put this up because I was curious as to how it would do, as it's only "half" an original, meaning, I did not ink this on Whilce's original pencils. He emailed me a high res scan of the pencil, then I printed it out in Marvel's art board and I inked on that. Although Whilce's pencils are not physically underneath my inks, this is the original inked art that was used in the published cover.

I have no idea of the value of something like this would have, and in six days I guess I'll find out.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

ELMER: Why Do The Chicken's Talk?

Here's a truly awesome piece of chicken art by Chris De Joya, who came to the Toycon to get a copy of Elmer. He wrote me a few days later to give me this, and I'm just speechless. Thanks Chris!

Elmer Art by Chris De Joya

Lace Llanora sent over a question (via Az) with regards to Elmer: Why do the chickens talk?

That's actually a very nice question, something I would like to write about here. There are two answers to this question, one from the point of view of me as the writer/artist of the comic book, and another within the context of the story.

The decision to do a comic book with talking chickens really came from me doing endless "What If?"s about anything and everything. What if cats were really aliens sent here to observe humans? What if the TV programs and movies are the real world and the world we're living in is really just one big movie? What if nobody died but continued to age and age and age? What if chickens could talk? It's just one of those things.

But I've always been fascinated by chickens and I have lots of fun watching them peck and crow and act jittery and paraoid when disturbed. They seem to have a perpetually angry look in their eyes that it makes me wonder what goes on in their tiny little minds. What if they could suddenly feel and think and talk just like humans? The idea in itself is a bit funny, but I wanted to approach it seriously, and see where it would take me.

In the context of the comic book itself, the reason why chickens can talk won't really be addressed. I don't want to explain how it happened, be it divine intervention or a sudden leap in evolution, chicken warriors from fowl planet or acts of the devil. To do so would add a fantastic element to the story that would disrupt the kind of story I want to tell, which is a straight drama.

The story begins with the chickens already evolved and intelligent and are already part of normal society. That's pretty much what I tried to establish in issue #1. Issue #2 would flashback to the beginning, with the sudden evolution of the chickens and how they and the world coped with it.


To Wylz Gutierrez, my message to you bounced back, telling me that the email you entered doesn't exist. Please send me a message again so I can reply to you with my working email. Yes, you can send me your chicken art and I can post it here. Don't worry, I'll take care of cleaning it and fixing it in the computer. Thanks man!


Ogie sends a message: "When are you going to do comics that my nieces can read?"

Ha! ha! You got me there, Ogie! Honestly, my story choices aren't orchestrated in any way. I just write what I feel like writing and draw what I feel like drawing. And when I look at the stories I have done I really have to wonder, baffled, why my stories always seem to be unsafe for young children to read.

To be honest, the project I had originally planned on doing after ELMER was not only unsafe for kids, but was "For Adults Only". "Where Bold Stars Go To Die" is something I've written many years ago. I think I've had it since 1999, completely written. It was something I had passed on to two different artists, but in the end, I decided I just had to draw it myself. It's a short story, 24 pages at the most, and should be not much of a problem, except that the story will be populated by a lot of half naked girls. I don't know why I subjected myself to do it as drawing women is something I still struggle with. Perhaps this is something that would help me iron that out.

"Where Bold Stars Go To Die" Artwork by Dino Ignacio. Click Image or HERE for full image. Note: NOT safe for work! Please don't use it for posting on other sites.

Upon reflection... I changed my mind about doing Bold Stars after Elmer. In fact, I think I'll be pushing it waaay back. I think I want to take a break from serious stories that only older readers can appreciate. I think it's about time I did something that kids can read, something that my folks can proudly present to our priest and nun friends, and something that I could have a lot of fun doing.

So I came up with the idea for an all-ages adventure story called "The Adventures of Miko and Jec-Jec", starring a brother and sister teen team and their dog Eugene. Each story would take them all across the Philippines on a variety of exciting and dangerous adventures. The whole Miko and Jec-Jec universe was developed and is still being developed by both me and my wife Ilyn, a project I'm involved with that she's most enthusiastic about.

I was supposed to do this now after Elmer, but there is a possibility that I may have the opportunity to have it published and have it read nationwide, which is great, but it also means I have to move the schedule up to this year, within the next couple of months, even. Since it will be serialized over a long period of time, my schedule for ELMER won't be affected too much, so those waiting for #2 don't have to worry too much if it so happens I take on this additional project alongside it.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Silent Dragon Original Art Sale

Here's a page I've put up for auction at Ebay worldwide, a page from Silent Dragon #4, written by Andy Diggle, pencilled by Leinil Francis Yu, and published by Wildstorm/DC comics.

Click on the image above or this link to go to the listing at Ebay. I'm putting up one first, just to see how it goes. It's a bit complicated to put up a listing, actually, specially for someone doing this for the first time. Unlike Ebay Philippines, selling on Ebay worldwide has a lot of requirements.

Payments to me can be made via I wish I can sell Elmer at Ebay, but I'm afraid Xoom only accepts a minumum of $25 per transaction, so that pretty much rules that out.

Coincidentally, the trade paperback compilation of Silent Dragon is also being released this month.

If you've been looking for original art from this title, here's your chance. Not only do you get some really nice artwork from Leinil, you also get bits of his DNA too, as a bonus! (Check out the left edge of the paper. ha! ha!)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Original Art For Sale

I've finally worked out the logistics of selling some of my original art on Ebay Worldwide. Doing it locally was rather easy, but it's tougher when taking it worldwide, specially with regard to payments and shipping. I'll be trying it out with the following artwork:

Specifically, Silent Dragon #4 Page 13, Superman Birthright #10 Page 21, and Batman/Danger Girl Page 36, all pencilled by Leinil Francis Yu. They go up on Monday, June 26. I'll post links here. Those who have been asking if I'll be selling any of my original art, this is it.

This is probably only the second time I'm auctioning off artwork. The first time was several years ago through an agent. Those pages didn't do too well, probably because they were pages I inked on print outs, meaning, I didn't ink them on original pencils. The pencils were emailed to me, I printed it out using blue ink and worked on that.

The pages above are all inked on original pencils. Which I've erased. ha! ha! Sorry, Nil.

I've always said I prefer to hold on to my originals, but I'm making the exception now in order to help fund my various publishing ventures.


Here are a couple more chicken art sent to me. The first one is by an old online pal Jason Maranto, who lettered my Ochlocrat pages. Hey, would you guys be interested if I auction off some Ochlocrat pages?

Jason Maranto

This next one was handed to me by Ace Florendo, editor/publisher of Neo Comics at the recent Toycon. It's by one of his artists, coincidentally enough, ELMER Santos Jr.

Elmer Santos Jr.

Speaking of Elmer, I did a signing for customers of Druid's Keep in Magallanes the other day, along with up and coming superstars Carlo Pagulayan and Jeff Huet (who are both currently working on Marvel's Incredible Hulk).

I continue to be pleasantly surprised at the generally positive and encouraging response to the first issue and I've received a lot of emails regarding it. I'll be putting up some soon, specially those which asked questions I would like to answer here.

By this time, ELMER should be available at Comic Quest branches at Festival Mall in Alabang, and SM City, North Edsa. In the US, it should now be available at Comic Odyssey branches at National City and Pasadena, California.

Copies will soon be available at FILBAR's in Marikina. Info on that to follow.

I'm currently working on my other big project of the moment, HUMANIS REX, part 15 of which is what's on my table. The newest Fudge issue, with Superman on the cover is already available! Allright! Back to work!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Toycon 2006

I really hadn't planned on going to this year's Toys and Collectibles Convention at the Megatrade Hall, Megamall, but Raipo Toledo ang the UGOKS were kind enough to offer me a bit of space at their booth for me to sell my comics. Thanks guys!

It turned out to be a fruitful event, with the hundred or so copies of Elmer I brought selling out long before Day 2 ended. It was surprising, as hardly any of my previous Toycon experiences have elicited an ethusiastic response as this one. I was concerend that at P50, Elmer #1 might have been too expensive, but I've just got the opposite response from those who bought copies. Many times during the 2 days people would pass by, vaguely curious about a comic book with talking chickens, asking how much but it was quite clear they really didn't intend to buy. But when they heard how much it was, they seemed really surprised and bought copies right away.

That's good news to me because I'm not exactly losing money over that retail price, and that hopefully, they like it enough to buy the rest of the series.

Shot from Day 2 when I still had some stocks left. .

From Left: Ryan Orosco, Leinil Francis Yu, Carlo Pagulayan, Bong Seriosa and me. (Thanks Az!)

That shot is from Day 1. I think we also had Wilson Tortosa roaming around at the same time, it's too bad we weren't able to get a pic together. Me and Ilyn spent the night at Leinil's place with Edgar Tadeo and Ryan Orosco. Thanks to Leinil and Yai for their hospitality!

Komikeros me, Jonas, Johnny (straight from the airport from Mindanao!), and Raipo.

The Alfredo Alcala Legacy Exhibit

Komikeros me, Henry, Ilyn, Rod, Jerald and Raipo

Friday, June 16, 2006

Floro Dery's Masterpiece

Floro Dery's Masterpiece

For those of you who remember Floro Dery as the artist of the Spiderman newspaper strip with writer Stan Lee, and as the conceptual designer of the first Transformers movie and wondered what he had been up to, he's been busy working on a project of deep personal significance, "The Universal War of Har-Magedon". He has been mentioning this project on and off on the Philippine Komiks Message Board with some passion and convinction, and I personally felt that Floro Dery was most likely creating the project of his life. When I finally saw the artwork that he had been doing, I was absolutely blown away.

In a word, these illustrations Floro Dery has done are indeed "spectacular".

The Universal War of
(The Angelic Invasion)

The biblical prophecy that will rock the world, and a panoramic visual story beyond the imaginary. A new format and style of internet story telling and comics illustration.

by Floro Dery
copyright (C) 2006 by Flor Dery

Click on the image above or HERE to read the full "visual story" as this project is described by the author. I'm not certain if this will eventually find itself in print, but I would love to see it in a huge format, as these illustrations clearly deserve. Great work, sir! You are truly one of the greats!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

More Elmer! TOYCON 2006

Elmer is now available at Skybucks on the Theater Level of SM Fairview! Starting around next month, it will also be available at Comic Odyssey in Pasadena, California, for those in the US interested in getting a copy. Thanks to Sandy!

Here's some more recently arrived Elmer art:

Andrew Drilon Elmer Art


Thanks to Raipo Toledo (my poultry consultant) and his buddies, I'll be at the Toycon at the Megatrade Hall this weekend (June 17-18) selling copies of ELMER. Come on over! :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Elmer Review

First international ELMER review from Steven Grant!

ELMER #1 by Gerry Alanguilan, 32p b&w comic (50 pesos Philippine; American price unknown)
Alanguilan has turned into one good cartoonist, and his fable about an angry talking rooster trying to carve out a place for himself in a human world prejudiced against chickens despite promises of equality and equal opportunity. The parallels are obvious but understated, the characters touching, and Alanguilan does as good as job with the dialogue as he does with the art. If I can be allowed one chicken joke, this is the work of a mature talent that has come home to roost. Check it out if you get the chance.

Yeah! Thanks Steven! I worked with Steven years ago on Wildstorm Spotlight: Loner. I've been a fan of his ever since I read the first issue of Punisher: Circle of Blood. He's practically the reason why Punisher became so successful in the 90's. I respect his opinion because he's so unrelentingly honest, and he's never pulled his punches on my earlier works. For him to like Elmer really means a lot.

I had hoped to make Elmer available to US buyers at this time, but currently, I'm still talking to Mile High Comics and Independent Propaganda so those from North America would have easier access to it. Because of the cost of shipping and distributor fees, I've had to peg the dollar amount of Elmer at US $2.95 per issue. That's the lowest I can go to ensure it makes as much money when it sells locally.

I've had visitors from Manila today! There's Andrew Drilon of Ran Online, Mike Simbulan, formerly of Comicquest, and Cast's Elbert Or. Thanks for the visit, guys! I've discovered that seeing other human beings once in a while is actually a good thing!

Comments Section

I've received messages asking that I bring back the comments section of this blog. A lot of the visitors appreciated that I'm reachable, and they are able to get in touch with me directly. Yeah, I really did like the interactivity this blog had when I had not only one but two commenting systems installed. When those services acted up, I decided to remove them entirely. I sort of missed it, but when I realized it gave me a little bit more time to actually do some comics work, I began to rethink it.

I spend a lot of time composing things I wish to say in this journal. Sometimes some posts take me half a day to do. It's great when comments come in and I appreciate the discussions that spring from it. When I get caught up in a particular discussion, it really takes a lot of time and it more often than not, it makes me spend much more time online than I should. Some discussions wipe me out, specially when I notice my points aren't really being listened to and understood, and I'm made out to have said things I haven't.

It had been suggested to me to just let the original post speak for itself, and that I should just let discussion about it go without me having to participate. But I really can't bear not to respond, specially when I'm asked a question. I'm just that kind of guy. I don't know how other bloggers do it, seeing a huge discussion in their blogs and they don't respond at all, even direct questions. If I had time to spare I'd gladly join discussions, but it really just a lot of time from me, time I should have used making more comics.

So I just decided not to bring back the comments section after all. Anybody who still wishes to comment on what I said, or just ask me a question, there's nothing more direct than emailing me personally, and you getting a personal reply from me. I'm always reachable by email and most of the time, I do respond. There are times when I don't though, circumstances being as listed in the contact page. Sometimes I forget (I'm forgetful), sometimes I'm just too busy, or maybe your message put me off for some reason. But I read them all, and more often than not, I do respond.

If you wish to discuss matters of comics with other people, there's always the two message boards I maintain, the Philippine Komiks Message Board or the PKMB, and the Komikero Comics Message Board, both of which I visit and post regularly.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Komiks Meet

I was handed this photo by komiks illustrator Abe Ocampo for posting on this site. It's amazing how a young Orvy Jundis looks a lot like Pol Medina! For a larger image click here.

Front Row Seated (left to right)
Gerry Talaoc, Rico Rival, Abe Ocampo, Tony Caravana, Filimond, Victor, E.R. Cruz
Second Row Seated
Nestor Leonidez, Manuel Carrillo, Teny Henson, Leandro Martinez, Jess Jodloman, Nestor Redondo, J.M. Perez, Fred Carrillo, Orvy Jundis
Joey Matucenio, Dionisio Roque, Ernie Guanlao, Ernie Patricio

I was invited today by a group of veteran komiks illustrators to a meeting at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City to discuss a possible komiks project. Good thing I brought along my nifty digicam. It's always cool to hang out with artists who have been around for a long time because they have a lot of great stories, and they're quite uninhibited, animated and unrelentingly frank.

Abe Ocampo

Jun Lofamia

Jun Lofamia and Danny Acuña

Orvy Jundis

Rico Rival and Abe Ocampo

Me, Jun, Rico, Danny, Abe and Orvy

Below is a video of Abe Ocampo talking animatedly about his early career, with some interesting insight on the workings of komiks during that time.

For slower connections, click PLAY. Then click PAUSE and let the video load completely before clicking PLAY again. For Opera browser users, click here.


Today, it's my dad's turn to featured in the newspapers! Dad won a weekly contest conducted by the Philippine Star. Congrats dad!


Something I got via email from good pals at Guhit Pinoy.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Gerry's Chicken Supreme/ Plague of Ghosts

There's a review of ELMER #1 at today's (June 10, 2006) issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer by Ruel S. De Vera:

Gerry's Chicken Supreme
By Ruel S. De Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer

WHEN Gerry Alanguilan decides he’s going to pull something you’ve never seen before, he does it. Though he’s a top-shelf comic creator whose provided inks for characters like Wolverine and Superman, it’s his personal projects that really push the limits of the panel. When he decided to write and draw a comic book series about a spurned lover’s homicidal rampage through Metro Manila, he churned out the ultra-violent tale of catharsis and carnage called "Wasted," that rare story where readers find themselves cheering for the gun-toting madman.

Now, Alanguilan’s got a chicken for you. Not just any chicken, but the ultimate chicken. Hot on the racks is Elmer Book 1, the first part of a four-issue series from Alanguilan’s newly conjured Komikero Publishing. In it, Alanguilan explores a parallel Philippines, almost exactly like our own, except that, somehow, the chickens have developed human intellect and the ability to speak, becoming a part of Filipino society. "Despite the apparent humor in the overall concept, that of a world of talking chickens, it really is one of the most serious stories I’ve ever attempted to write and draw," he explains. "It’s an idea and a story that I feel very strongly about and I didn’t want to compromise it by removing some of its edge."

For the rest of the review click here. Thanks RUEY!

I'll put up the complete review up at the site in a couple of days.

Here's another review, this time for "Plague of Ghosts", the story I adapted for Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini.

Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini
by Eureka Productions and found here/141 pp./ $11.95/
various artists and writers/

Once a celebrated author, Rafael Sabatini is virtually unknown today. Even his tales of the pirate Captain Blood, 'immortalized' in motion pictures by actor Errol Flynn, are slipping into obscurity. This would suggest that Sabatini is positive proof that fame is fleeting.

But, the 13th volume in the Graphic Classics series of literature adapted into comics suggests that Sabatini's fame shouldn't be fleeting. He wrote tales of high adventure and the supernatural in comics as well as tales in other genre, including novels, short stories, and poetry. They are deserving of praise.

My favorite art in this collection is by Gerry Alanguilan. The best story is every story; Sabatini was talented, and these terse adaptations of his work are entertaining and worth your attention.
The entire Graphic Classics series is strongly recommended.

Original review link.

For more information about this particular volume click here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

No Chicken Stories

No Chicken Stories Please!

This is something I forgot to mention before. I'm open to receiving artwork for inclusion in ELMER, but please don't send me any story ideas, or your own chicken stories for me to read. I won't be able to read them, and it should be so, for both our sakes. I made the mistake of reading one story sent to me recently, but thankfully enough, aside from the fact that there's a talking chicken (an idea that's been used so often before), none of his story elements resembled mine. The danger lies in being accused of using an idea that someone else came up with.

I'm proud of the fact that this is something completely out of my imagination, informed by a couple of years of off and on research on chicken history, mythology, anatomy, poultry production, etc. I completely avoided watching anything with talking chickens in it like Chicken Run or Chicken Little and I felt paranoid whenever I saw other talking chickens in recent comics, comic strips or editorials. One Dutch guy sent me an editorial cartoon of talking chickens by a South African cartoonist. I thought... OH MAN. Once again, I'm relieved that inspite of the fact that there's talking chickens, the idea was completely different. Manix Abrera has a mutant chicken in a recent newspaper strip which I found hilarious. But thank goodness I don't have any mutant chickens in my story.

That said, I have to reiterate that I won't be reading any story ideas with chickens in it for reasons I've said. Most likely I'll just delete the message unread, for my protection and yours. Thanks for understanding!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Why English?

I've had some interesting feedback, not only about Elmer, but about my work in general, about why I chose to write in English as opposed to Tagalog. It's something I had been thinking of writing about for a long time. In fact, I remember writing about it years ago, but it's a pain going through the archives, specially upon realizing I've been doing this online journal thing since 1997.

Those familiar with me know that I normally converse in Tagalog, and in fact I have difficulty speaking English fluently. I can write it well enough though, and it's cause for some interesting reactions when I meet people for the first time after I had been corresponding with them via letters and emails beforehand. One such person actually couldn't help but comment and said something like, "Why is it when you write you seem so smart, but when you talk...". Probably realizing where his statement was going, he stopped himself, smiled and offered me coffee. I also get my pronunciations corrected once in a while, but that's OK, except this one time when this guy corrected every wrong pronunciation I made rather condescendingly and it really got my goat.

I try not to speak English if I can help it, except when I talk to a non-Filipino. In that case, I would have no choice.

But when I write and create stories, I do it in English. To me, language is simply a form of communication. As a storyteller, it's only natural that I would want to share my stories with as many people as I can. To use a language that only a certain section of a potential audience can understand would be unproductive, and would defeat my wish to propagate my story widely. As a small time publisher, I cannot afford to publish different translations of my work. I can afford to publish only one version, so I decide on publishing in the language that I know that most people would understand, both here and abroad.

In the Philippines, that would be English, and not Tagalog, unfortunately. The decision to write in Tagalog for the sake of nationality or patriotism is somewhat misguided. Because not all Filipinos speak Tagalog. Reading through a Cebu-based message board, I saw some posters bewail the fact that a local graphic novel was written in Tagalog because they would not be able to understand it. Remember, these are Filipinos. I remember going to Bohol a couple of years ago, trying to buy something in a local mall. My questions in Tagalog were greeted with confusion and shakes of the head, but when I spoke in English, they immediately knew what I was talking about.

Comparisons to Japan is inevitable, but one must also remember that nearly all Japanese people speak one language, unlike in the Philippines where people speak more than a hundred different dialects, and not all of them can understand each other. If you release a comic book in Japanese in Japan, everybody there would understand it. Not so when you release a Tagalog comic book in the Philippines.

Japan has a gargantuan comics industry, probably the largest in the world. It would only be natural for western publishers take note of it and wonder what makes their comics tick. Once they do, they would go and do English translations. But what of the Philippines? The local comics industry is all but dead, with only Liwayway as the remaining solitary remnant of a once great industry. There are few small companies and self publishers and although this audience is growing, the readership is still very limited. I'm not about to sit and wait until an American company gets interested in my Tagalog comic book with a few hundred print run for them to translate into English. I don't presume that they would be of an opinion that my comic book is good enough for them to translate anyway. It's very unlikely for that to happen. Not right now. Probably in the future perhaps, if and when our industry grows and more notable comics are made and our industry gets some international attention. But like I said, I'm not going to sit around and wait for that to happen. I'm not that young anymore and I've only got a relatively small amount of time to do all the work I want to do.

Language is only a tool by which our stories are understood. It's all about communication. Communication, if it is to be efficient, clear and concise, should be beyond such things as nationality and patriotism, no matter how noble those things may be. If a Filipino writer feels the need to bring something "Filipino" to his story, then let it be in the story itself, and not in the language it is written. Let's see it in the art, in the subject matter, in how people are portrayed, in the story's very substance. It's the Filipino writer's option to do so.

But further, a Filipino shouldn't be limited by that as well. He can write about many things, and not all of them could be Filipino-themed. Not all American writers write about being American, and not all British writers write about being British. And we can do that too. And to me that would be just allright, as long as we bring something original to the table, and not something derivative of the work of others.

That said, Elmer does not strive to be an overtly "Filipino"-themed comic book. If I can go so far as to say, Elmer is almost generic. I try not to be specific about where all this is happening, if it's happening in the Philippines at all. Humanis Rex!, Timawa and the Lake Legends are all very specific in terms of place, and as such I can really consider them as my attempts at overtly Filipino-themed comics.

I do none of that with Elmer because I hope to make it a story that's universal and not specific to any particular culture. I slip here and there of course, with some names, and with some designs, but I do try and make Elmer as generic as I can make it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Elmer Review. Meyo de Jesus

Elmer #1 gets its first review from writer Dean Alfar in his blog:

Easily the best comic book I've read this year (including both local and imported comic books), "Elmer" is something you must read.

For the rest of review, visit Dean's blog here.

Thanks Dean!! Kain tayo sa KFC. Treat ko. he.he.

For people in the US who want to read it, I'll currently arranging to make it available through Mile High Comics and Cold Cut. Stay tuned for details.

Caricature by
Meyo de Jesus

Something I got in the mail from one of Guhit Pinoy's most talented crew. ha! ha! I wish my hair were really THAT plentiful. Maraming salamat, pare!

That's me, Ilyn and Komikera Zara Macandili resting at SM Mall of Asia last Friday while we were delivering ELMER in Manila stores. Zara is one of three semi-regular people who assists me in my comics works and Ilyn in her crafts works.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Congrats To Noel Tuazon

Congrats to Filipino comics illustrator Noel Tuazon for his nomination as Best Artist for the Harvey Awards 2006 for his work on ELK's RUN.

Noel Tuazon's art has been featured on this site recently for his ELMER art. Congrats, pare!! I hope you win it!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Elmer Delivery 2

Finally delivered copies to both Comics Odyssey in Robinson's Place Malate, and Druid's Keep in Magallanes.

Thanks to JP and Mike Simbulan of Comicquest, Sandy Sansolis of Comics Odyssey and Felix Cua of Druid's Keep for their support. Mabuhay kayo!

Sandy also informed me that he will also be bringing copies to another store in Fairview. I'll get more info on that later. Thanks Sandy, specially for the Superyor Komiks issue. Ang ganda!

If anyone wishes to get in touch with me, please try not using my and PLDTDSL address for the meantime. If you sent me messages there from Wednesday onwards, I would appreciate it a lot if you could send them again to my Yahoo address. Since I don't have Internet access at home, my Yahoomail address is the only one I'm able to check. Using the email contact form ( will forward all messages there. Thanks!


There may be an article on ELMER at next Saturday's Philippine Daily Inquirer.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Elmer Delivery

As of right now, ELMER is available at ComicQuest, Megamall. We're going around Metro Manila seeing some new sights as we deliver the comic books to different stores. I'm hanging out at an Internet cafe at the SM Mall of Asia and there's only one thing I can say. "A-A! Kainaman! Ang laki namang tindahan nire!! Walastik!"

We'll be delivering copies to Comics Odyssey at Robinson's Place and Druid's Keep at Magallanes much later today after we've been sufficiently awed senseless at the enormity of this mall. I remember an old strip at an old MAD book. I think it was something drawn by Wally Wood, about a mall so huge that the place had different time zones. I thought it it was ridiculous. Now I'm not so sure.

Anyway, I still don't have phone/Internet at home. Arh!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Elmer, No Internet

Yesterday was exciting, but rather just a little bit frustrating as well. The printers promised the delivery of ELMER at the house in the morning, by noon at the most. That was ok because I had been waking up later and later recently because of the long nights I've been spending working (and Red Dwarfing). I planned on getting up at 9 to go to town to get my payment ready, and be back before they arrived.

Me and Ilyn woke up at 8 in the morning, startled that the printer's truck is already outside the house, honking. Oh man! I quickly but groggily opened the door to let them in. Oh my God! The comics look very nice! I just sat there looking over the thing over and over and oh shit, I think I spotted at least three typos. Crap! But that's ok. I was just over the moon.

I had to go back with the truck to town to pick up the payment, but on our way out, we hit some wires and with a snap and a shwing, the wire snapped and zoomed into a far post. Oh man! I thought, quickly! Let's go! I thought I'd sort it all out later when I got back, whoever and whatever that line belongs to. It looked like a Cable TV wire so I thought it wasn't life threatening or anything. Besides, the electrical wires are bigger and much more higher up.

I got back home after thirty minutes. I opened the TV. We had cable. Whew! I opened the computer to check my mail and email the printers, but before I could log on, the power went out. Shit. I picked up the phone to call my folks to ask if they too had no power. No dial tone. Oh Double SHIT!

And then I realized. Oh crap! It was OUR phone line that got hit. Normally, it wouldn't bother mo TOO badly if I had no Internet, but I had an auction ending at Ebay and I needed to attend to it. I had to get in touch with people with regards to the delivery of Elmer at the stores. I went immediately to PLDT to report the problem (and pay my overdue bill. he.he.). Hopefully, it will all get sorted out this week. I'm not about to count my chickens and expect it to be one in just a couple of days.

For the meantime, I'm at a cafe in town. Logging into Ebay was a great surprise. The Wasted copy I was auctioning off sold for 355 pesos! Oh man!! I wish I had more of those! he.he. But unfortunately, I hardly have any copies left myself. I wanted to sell that one copy just to see how it would do. I'll be selling other stuff once my phone and Internet comes back.