A new age in Pinoy comics
READ NOW - J.Vincent Sarabia Ong (The Philippine Star) - April 20, 2013 - 12:00am

The local comic industry has developed into a bubbling utopia of creativity with a distinct voice. Komikon is a testament to this. The event, which happened last Saturday at the Bayanihan Center, was crammed wall to wall as usual with my fellow geeks. The difference this year is that fan boys have fully embraced independent comics and are flocking to see its latest issues.

Thanks to the national success of Trese and Skyworld, independent creators now see that being distributed by National Book Store isn’t a pipe dream. It is a reality. In fact, independent comics can even develop followers abroad, thanks to new digital publishing sites like Storylark.ph.

What’s more, indie creators have leveled up. Indie comics are now printed in full color, and crafted with better care. The industry has also matured from years of trying to find its own voice. We are now on the verge of developing our own identity of comics, just as the Japanese are known for their manga. There is a distinct Filipino drama about life and family bonds that is beginning to show itself in our graphic novel panels. And this is why readers are lining up for issues.

Here are three notable titles that I found at Komikon. These works speak to us on a deeper level by reflecting Filipino originality. May these sparks of genius usher in a new age of comics that rivals the longevity of Marvel and DC.

 

‘Sixty Sixty’ by Russell Molina and Ian Sta. Maria

Heroism is timeless and Sixty Six proves that fact. The lead character Tino turns 66 and his life is turned over by his new gifts. By having a senior citizen as its hero, there is much history to play around with and the creators make subtle references to Quiapo in the 1970s and ’80s. These references make the book stand out and carry it as a nostalgic drama mirroring the heroism of the daily man. Thus, I am equally interested to learn more about Tino’s past as much as his future in the upcoming issues.

 

‘Dark Colony: Book 1’ by Budjette Tan, Bow Guerrero, and JB â€˜Taps’ Tapia

Budjette Tan continues with Manila as a much scarier place to live in. If Trese’s adventures weren’t enough, Budjette and his crew decided to dump a Spanish Galleon boatload of demons to descend on our city. Thankfully, this graphic novel introduces a group Ghostbusting Crusade Knights from Antipolo to fend them off. Dark Colony shines holy bright with Bow Guerrero’s art that belongs seamlessly in an authentic manga anthology that spawned the likes of Dragonball Z and One Piece. The demons are gruesomely drawn that I will heed this book’s mantra to ward off these spirits by saying a litany of prayers.

‘Mythspace’ by Paolo Chikiamco and Cristina Rose Chua

Writer Paolo Chikiamco isn’t happy with creating one or two characters in his space opera mixed with Filipino folklore. He has set out to build a universe with Mythspace comics. His ambition to soar has churned out four one-shot books for the Komikon. Each book focusing on a different part of his universe and written with a specific genre in mind. It is illuminating to see this kind of work out there as Mythspace doesn’t just expand its own universe but the literary scene as well.

* * *

Have more Komikon finds to share? E-mail them to me at jvincentsong@gmail.com

 

BAYANIHAN CENTER BOW GUERRERO BUDJETTE BUDJETTE TAN DARK COLONY DRAGONBALL Z KOMIKON MYTHSPACE
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