Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Self-Publishing: Omi Remalante, Jr.

The following is the fourth in a series of email interviews with some recently acquired contacts in the komiks community. If you'd like to share your own story, or just be a contact, please email me at

Today's article comes from Omi Remalante, Jr:

My name is Omi Remalante Jr., I work as a senior artist for a computer components company in Ortigas, Pasig. I am  also a freelance digital colorist, illustrator and inker for various indie companies in the U.S. In the deviant art world, I am known as spidey0318. Aside from doing comic book sequential pages, I also do pin-up commissions for the online game City of Heroes.

1 What made you decide to publish your own komiks?

I created a character named Talim on September 2008 because a few online friends told me to create a super hero and that they were invited to join a "ala" Pinoy Justice League, in a group headed by Gilbert Monsanto. Back then, Gilbert was creating Bayan Knights. Bayan Knights as we all know is a known comic book nowadays and fans often ask: "who are these bunch of super heroes?" "where did they come from?" and some of my friends asked me : "you can draw and you can color. why not make your own comic book?".

One challenge was when I read comments of the 2008 Komikon, I stumbled upon a non-indie comic book believer. He said : "Why should I buy a crappy indie comic book? yeah it costs less but the art and story you get are all trash. Halatang minadali, walang pinatutunguhan ang kwento. Puro lang sapakan.".

These questions challenged me and this year, I decided to create my own comic book. Together with close friend R.H. Quilantang, we formed a plot. R.H. developed a kick-ass script and of course I provided the visuals to prove to non-believers that indie comic books can be cooler than your regular Marvel and D.C. comic books. I also decided that self publishing will give me freedom to produce any quantity I want, without the pressure na malulugi ang komiks mo. I also decided to go black and white because Talim's story is kinda dark, just like Sin City, Hellblazer, etc. I myself am a big crime/noir fan.

Also, I had to choose the best printing press as possible to get solid results even if the Talim pages were only photocopied. As of the moment, I haven't decided if I will sell it on comic book shops around Metro Manila. I can't find time to do that but maybe, with the help of friends, you'll see Talim on the bookshelves next year. But as of the moment, Talim will be sold exclusively during the Komikon.

2 What did you need to do to get into komiks?

I've been a comic book fanatic since I was 5 years old. My first book was the Amazing Spider-Man. As a child, I dreamt of creating my own comic book so I practiced a lot. I studied anatomy a lot, perspectives, objects, etc. until I had my own drawing style. After my stint as a digital colorist for an indie U.S. comic book group, I had the funds to create my own comic book. I never attempted to show my work to any local company because I think I am not a well-known artist here. Besides, people think that comic books are dead. I just wanted to prove them wrong and do it my own way. I have funds, I have the skills and I have a cool character so publishing was the easy part.

3 What are the main hurdles to overcome in self-publishing, and how should new komiks makers get over these hurdles?

Printing was really easy because Jon Zamar, Gio Paredes and Ner PedriƱa told me where to have my comic book printed. The hard part was how to sell it because hey, I'm not known locally, and Talim is just a supporting character in Bayan Knights. Attending comic book conventions helped me to gain new friends, new fans and new contacts.

Facebook was a big help too. During the 2010 MCC, I asked JC Villaverde (who, back then, made a Facebook page of Kalayaan) to create a fan page for Talim and told him to help me advertise my not-so-known character. I also asked my Bayan Knights friends for help and created awesome "Asan ka na?" teaser ads that created a buzz on Bayan Knights fans on Facebook and deviantART. It circulated for months and created hype. Updating my Talim fan page almost three times a day was also a good idea and tagging a bunch of friends created more awareness about my character.

November 2010. Komikon came and the big question was : "How can I sell all these books?" Thankfully, a cool woman bought one and I said to myself: "Salamat sa Diyos. one down, 99 to go!" . After that sale, I had the longest 1 1/2 hrs of my life. Walang bumibili ng Talim #1!. My table mate, Lanie told me to hang on. The first 2 hours of Komikon is always slow. After uttering those words, 5 people bought Talim and so forth and so on. Sobra na akong napagod kapipirma, ka sisigaw at kangingiti sa camera. I was also interviewed by the cool people of Astig TV (thanks!). To make a long story short, the first issue of Talim was a HUGE SUCCESS!

Advice to newbie komik book creators: If you think you're ready to show the world your drawing writing skills then go for it. Maintain a bunch of helpful friends who can help you in a lot of ways both in advertising and keeping your hopes up all the time and of course this : Facebook is your friend too. Lastly, if you wanna publish your own book, save up to P4,000 to produce you own title. There are bunch of printing press in UP Diliman and I chose YZA Printing. They know comic books I tell ya!

Hope this inspires you and help you create your own title. Whilce Portacio told me once when I asked for his autograph: " Dreams, keep them alive." I am now living my dreams and you know, IT'S SOOOO DAMN GOOD!

You can check out Omi Remalante's deviantART here. I feel I have to warn you some of his work seems NSFW.

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