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When you say nothing at all |

Young Star

When you say nothing at all

Jiggy and Jonty Cruz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - There’s this debate amongst comic book fans: Is the writer more important than the artist  in creating comics? Or is it the other way around? Both are obviously important but most fans will say that they have a higher regard for the artist because a comic book can still be a comic book. One can still tell a story without a single word in its panels. It’s the skill and talent in sequential art that sets great comic book artists apart from other artists. It’s difficult to tell a story without words and it’s in “silent comics” where you will see just how good a storyteller an artist is. In the world of comics, art is king and a comic that tells a story solely on the art alone is god.

“Silent comics” have been around much longer than we’ve been reading comics. One of the first successful ones was from an issue of G.I. Joe centering on Snake Eyes. Indie comic sensation also did a comic called Shhhh that took the wordless storytelling to another level. More recently, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason gave us a “silent” Batman & Robin story worthy of our feels. Our favorite “silent comic” though is a homegrown comic from one of the best local creators, Manix Abrera.

The creator of Kikomachine Komiks, Manix Abrera, known for his witty and philosophical storytelling, released a book back in November 2010 called 12. Call it Twelve or Dose, the important thing to note is that this is Manix Abrera’s best work by far. It’s different from his usual work with Abrera using the strength of his jokes to carry the story in his comic strips. With 12 Abrera allows his art to do all the talking and shows us his skills as a visual storyteller. You’ll just have to look at his drawings sequentially and you will understand everything in the book. Panel after panel, page after page, we guarantee you’ll understand it and love it. 12 has become one of the few “silent comics” worth talking about.

12 is a comic book without any dialogue whatsoever. In an already rare kind of storytelling, this is a one of a kind silent comic that’s even harder to come across because of just how good it is. The book contains 12 short stories hence the title. These short stories are diverse, tackling comedy, romance, philosophy, and probably the most gut-wrenching drama involving a balloon.  This was the only book that made us shift from one emotion to another emotion in the span of a couple of pages. We laughed, we got angry, we even cried at one point (okay, maybe more than one point.) The last story in the book is the one you should look out for. As that one will make the stiffest of men crumble and crawl into a glass case of emotion!

Comics like Manix Abrera’s 12 come along rarely. It’s a gem of perfect storytelling that not all comic books can achieve. It’s hard to make a good comic with words and Abrera pulled off a great comic without a single line of dialogue! There are books that you forget and some you will always keep in your bedside drawer. 12 is a book that you’ll want to read more than once. We loved 12 so much that one of us even bought one story from Manix’s exhibit. The story really is something else and we recommend it as much as possible to people who want to get into reading comics. In fact, it’s probably the most accessible comic we could recommend. You don’t even have to be literate to read this book, that’s how accessible 12 is!

The moment right after reading 12, we wish we could’ve given it all the awards in the world but the best thing that could happen to 12 is for people to read it. If you haven’t read it, we suggest you go get a copy now and spend an afternoon with it. If you’ve already read 12, pass it on to your friends so that even more people discover its genius. Just hand it to people and let them read it. You don’t even have to say a word.


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