Friday, December 17, 2010

On Self-Publishing: Silent Sanctum Manga

The following is the sixth 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  the people behind Silent Sanctum Manga.

Silent Sanctum Manga is a bi-monthly independent manga brand from the Philippines, with current issues and back issues available at both Sputnik and Comic Odyssey in Ortigas. We've been doing this for about 3 years now. Originally composed of Chapel, Rodent, Head and Ookami, our current roster now includes king, Frinkster, Green and Hachi.

Our main goal back then was to join Culture Crash's "Make The Page" comic feature and earn some money for our rather expensive art materials and school projects. And since everyone was still involved with school, our first issue came much later than we had planned. We basically waited long enough for everyone to graduate. We all became really serious about it around Komikon 2006. We became really interested in the convention scene, and since then became regulars at similar events. At present, Silent Sanctum Manga has 6 issues; 6.5 if you count our 5.5th issue, which has in it a direct homage to our heroes, Culture Crash.

1 What made you decide to publish your own komiks?

We decided to publish our own work due to the fact that 
    1. We didn't know anyone that would publish our work and 
    2. We did not want any board of directors/ censors /conservative groups to dictate how we should do our stories.
Early on, we understood completely the importance of that freedom and what we must and should do to keep that freedom. Keeping it mature but still classy and maintaining the same goals and principles, these are the things that makes us who we are, today!

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

As a beginner artist, you have to have the  passion and drive to continue whatever it is that your doing. Everyone in Silent Sanctum Manga were all artists long before the book had even started. So, with that passion, you should have outlets and ways to share your gift with others.
In the early stages of Silent Sanctum Manga, none of us had any knowledge whatsoever of Photoshop, Corel Draw, etc. And even if you wanted to learn about these things, people knowledgeable in these skills kept their mouths shut. And so, out of necessity, we were forced to learn on our own. And just like any kid our age would do, we did as much research as possible, trying out tutorials, trying to learn from whatever is on the net.Basically, we tried to adapt with the changing times and evolved for the betterment of the book and ourselves.
We never really had any problem with our drawing skills and such, but we were concerned with learning how to use new technologies. But adaptation is the key, and sure enough, after some editing, we were able to finish our first ever indie manga.Change is good, because it keeps us from STAGNATING!

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

As I've mentioned earlier, one of our problems back then was technology. We wanted to put out an indie that could rival, say, an anime magazine. And with that goal we made plans for how to make that dream a reality.We wanted a book that reflected the OTAKU lifestyle, as we saw it in that time when anime was pretty much new and a big deal, and everyone wouldn't shut up about it. Reminiscing the 90's, a time of innocence and discovery. Our comic book was going to be a fan-based, fan-oriented, fan-centric book that would make everyone feel accepted and loved, regardless of age, gender, preferences, etc. A komik book for everyone!
Another problem would be the dividing factions between manga versus comics. Back when we were just starting out, komiks veterans and newbies alike would share their opinions and debate this topic. We were criticized as being unpatriotic and unoriginal. But we felt these criticisms had no basis, and at the time, PERSONAL. We've noticed that trend of bullying up to this day. But we survived this, in the long run, by taking everything with a grain of salt and accepting both the positives and the negatives. It helped us improve in a way. However, you have to remember that you can't please everyone. As long as you're happy, that's all that really matters!

I can already sense this interview may start quite the comments thread, so let me remind you that this interview does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Komiks Advocate blog, nor me, plsburydoughboy, personally.

Reminder: Join the Katarungan Sa Pilipinas komiks making contest! Just a few hours to go! You can see the details and submit your entry here.

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