Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Helped KILL Philippine Comics!

I Helped KILL Philippine Komiks!

A email with a concern that I just had to reply to:

"Mr. Alanguilan, I read in a blog accusations against you, claiming that you helped kill Philippine Komiks, and many many other things thrown against you that I find so incredible. But I know better, but what do you think?"

-Norbert A.

Thanks for the email, Norbert, and thanks for the concern. I'm actually aware of what has been said about me, and I know exactly what blog you are referring to. I really didn't want to respond further, as I feel I have succinctly explained my side both here and here. I had thought further reply would only give validation to their opinions, which I think are ridiculous and not worthy of note. But since a lot of people have been asking me about it, like you, I now feel it's necessary to talk about it.

It's so easy to be swayed by strong opinions, specially if you don't know the facts. This person is twisting history before our very eyes, and it's unbelievable that people actually believe him.

I've already addressed the same concern at my message board, but I think it warrants paraphrasing and expounding upon here.

Doing comics for the poor is beyond what I am capable of financially. If it is true that the anonymous author or authors of that blog were part of the old industry, what they can't seem to understand is that there are no longer any publishers with an editorial staff, huge capitals, a marketing arm, and a wide distribution system. Those are the things that are essential in producing inexpensive comics.

To produce comics cheaply, you need to have thousands and thousands of copies printed, just to get the cost per copy really low. And to do that, you need lots of money. Money that I just don't have. And to make sure you make more comics, you need to make money from the thousands of copies you just printed. And to do that, you need to distribute it widely, to all corners of the Philippines, as the old companies used to do. For that, you need a distribution system. A distribution system I don't have.

To expect one person perform like a large company is really ridiculous. I do all I can with the resources at my disposal, and that is my personal money, creating comics upon my own initiative, and distributing my comics as far as my legs would take me.

If the poor cannot afford my comics, it's never intentional, and it doesn't mean I don't care for them. In fact, I care enough about their intellectual well being that I don't write stories that will insult their intelligence, in case they do encounter one of my comics. As I have written before, the taste of the masa is far more sophisticated and intelligent that many of our entertainers are ready to believe or accept.

They tell me I'm responsible for the helping the decline of Philippine comics, and that I'm part of the problem.


This is a perfect example of how history is being twisted to support their ridiculous conclusions. This brings to doubt the credibility and intelligence of these people, as they prop up statements that are not supported by facts.

The industry has been dying long before I got here, and would have died out anyway with or without me. They might not have seem to have noticed that old industry, save for Liwayway, is now dead. I grieve at that, but it's true.

I, along with an number of my compatriots, are the ones actually doing something about keeping comics alive right now. We're doing it out of our own initiative, without being paid for it, paying for the printing and distribution of our comics out of our own pockets.

That doesn't mean we don't want there to be publishers. Of course we do! If there was publisher as big as ATLAS that emerges today, doing inexpensive comics distributed nationwide, and would pay us for it, then why not? I'd work for them in an instant, if they take me.

But what about them? If it's true that they are part of the old industry, what have they done when their industry died out? Did they initiate doing their own comics the way they wanted it? Did that concept even enter their minds? Creating and distributing comic using their own money? I don't think so. They would rather create fake names on the Internet and cast stones , yakking and nagging at those who are actually DOING something.

That is why my admiration for people like Romeo Tanghal, Dell Barras, Franc Reyes, Floro Dery, Steve Gan, Nestor Malgapo, Jun Lofamia and many others of the old industry who are taking steps of their own to create their own comics, knows no bounds. They're amazing. And their work is beyond terrific.

It's really too bad, if these anonymous bloggers really were part of the old industry, then that means they were either editors, or writers, or artists. They have the experience and probably the talent to actually be able to help.

If that anonymous blogger is who I think it is, then he's an amazing artist who I've featured before on this site. His talent can go a long way in helping revive the industry. But sadly, he would rather yak ignorantly than lift a finger to help.

You know the picture I have in my mind? The comics industry just had a car accident and me and some of my friends are trying to get the survivors out of the burning wreck. Now here comes these experienced paramedics. Do they rush in and help? NO, they don't. They wear paper bags over their heads, watch the spectacle going on, hands on their hips, and tell us and everyone else around how bad a job we're doing.

So who is part of the problem now?

If they're still strong enough lift their fingers to type so agressively on their keyboards, and have enough money to pay for Internet, then they can still DO SOMETHING about helping Philippine comics. Come up with your own initiatives! Create new comics!

I'm not sure if the concept of "Self Publishing" ever crossed their minds, or if they even understand it. I really see no other reason for them to misunderstand what I'm doing. But If they do, I urge them to channel all that energy to something positive and creative.

If they really feel we're doing something wrong, then please, show us how it's done. Try doing it yourself. Since we don't have any big publishers anymore... by all means, please, set up your own company, write, draw, print and distribute your own comics, and show us how it's done. We're all willing to learn.

If you do, you would be doing Philippine komiks a whole lot of good because more comics is what this industry needs to get up on its feet and running again.

Isa lang naman talaga ang gusto nating lahat e. Ang mabuhay ang komiks, diba?