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.