Saturday, November 13, 2010

Komikon today!

Just one final reminder to go to Starmall, Second Floor. Komikon will be 10 AM to 7 PM! 

My article on the proposed komiks law got published in the Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compendium. Budjette wrote a small introduction for the anthology here. It will be available in the Sulyap booth, which you can find here. (It's labeled F on the map). Major props to Adam David for hooking me up with the QBCCC people to begin with, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten published at all. Thanks, Adam!

I'll try to be there all day, but if I don't make it, will definitely be there in the morning. See you there!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Why You Need To Go To Komikon

1) Komikon is expanding!

This is one of the most amazing things about these conventions; they're not just a way for komiks fans to interact with each other and with creators. It's become a viable komiks market in itself, as more and more komiks start debuting within the Komikon itself.

2) It's the place to find indie komiks.

This is one of the advantages the convention has over buying komiks in brick and mortar stores; you get to experience the diaspora of indie komiks. If you're a fan of a small, but very well-made indie komiks series, you don't often get the chance to express your fandom among fellow fans, much less with the makers. You'll get to do that here.

3) You get to meet the komiks makers!

Afraid to approach your favorite celebrity, director, musician or cosplayer because they seem to be on a different level? Don't fret, because komiks people aren't like that! They're easy to approach and talk to, and won't just treat you like a fan, but as a friend. They're just like you and me, except for that Manix Abrera, who's appearing with his dad, the legendary Jess Abrera. I think he's going to teach us his seduction techniques or something, I don't really know.

Bonus: You get to meet me! Which isn't really a big deal, but hey, if you ever wondered what I look like, you can go there and find out! Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not green.

Komikon will be this Saturday, 2nd Floor Starmall EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard. Entrance fee is PH P 80, 10 AM to 7 PM. For full details, you can go to their website:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reviewing other blog posts regarding Lapid's komiks law

Yep, deliberately taking it easy until Komikon ends. I want everybody reading this blog to keep it in mind for the weekend in Starmall. Please come! I'll be there myself, revealing my secret identity and sharing contact info, like the cellphone number I still haven't memorized and that sort of thing.

I've shared links to how other bloggers have reacted to the proposed komiks law, but I thought it'd be a good time to review what they have said about it.


Literary writer, essayist and komiks maker (Kobayashi-maru Of Love) Adam David declares his general distrust of the bill, and points out a funny little typo. I did notice one odd point:
The wording of the document also has an air that it may become a regulatory, ie, censorship, board for komix...
The law has no provisions regarding regulation or censorship of people intending to publish komiks.  It's simply not in the scope of the Philippine National Graphic Novel Archive, whose stated purpose is to archive graphic novels.


Architect and veteran of both the comics and komiks industry, Gerry Alanguilan (Wasted, Where Bold Stars Go To Die, Elmer) points out three prior projects that attempted komiks restoration, for the purpose of publishing. These are Dennis Villegas' reprint of Ang Mga Kabalbalan Ni Kenkoy, Atlas Komiks' Lapu-Lapu and El Indio by Gerry himself under Vibal and Komikero Publishing. 

Preserving Philippine Graphic Novels

A komiks maker and entrepeneur, Jonas Diego believes will become the jump off point for other bills and projects to support the comic book industry...
and to this end, he recommends not one, but two people to represent the komiks industry in the Archive's Board of Directors.

Sen. Lito Lapid Wants to Preserve the Philippine Graphic Novels
Finally, we have a repost from komiks fan Jepoy from GameOPS, whose opinion runs the opposite of the political spectrum from Adam's. 
Another point for Lito Lapid if his bill gets approved!

I would like to share on a personal note that I have some old komiks that I've held onto for safekeeping. Most of them were made in the '60s, but if memory serves me right I have one item (a dilapidated, ashcan-sized Kenkoy special) from the 1920s!

I was in talks with Gerry about donating these to his San Pablo Museum, but as he explained to me personally, he would not be claiming ownership over them. I remember telling him; "Saan ko pa ba ito ibibigay, e ikaw lang ang kilala kong makakapagalaa nito nang maayos?" (Who else can I give this to, when you are the only one I know who can fix this?)

If the National Graphic Novel Archive is setup to my satisfaction, I would donate these komiks to it completely. I don't even mind if it'll be part of the first batch.

If you know of any other blogs or websites talking about this law, please share so we can cite them appropriately!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some Free Advertising: Komikon and edgART.Supplies!

Again, no new articles. My apologies, a bad migraine and other responsibilities have put my writing in a standstill. I decided it would be better to hold it off to write better rather than force substandard piece out of myself now.

First things first, Komikon is coming up this Saturday! Get yourselves and your loved ones an early Christmas present with the latest batch of Pinoy graphic novels, manga, indie komiks and cartoon collections! Come to Starmall EDSA, Starmall Trade Hall (Level 2) this Saturday, 10 AM to 7 PM!

You can check the schedule proper here

And find your favorite komiks artists in the floorplan here

On another note, Pinoy komiks and U.S. comics artist Ed Tadeo is selling professional art supplies! Comics artists and fine arts students, amateurs or professionals, for graphic artists of any kind, this is your chance to get those precious materials you just can't find locally. He's selling professional level pens, nibs, markers, papers, brushes and inks.

You can check his inventory and a list of meetup places here

Ed will be at Komikon, but only between 2-5 PM. If you have pending orders but don't catch him there, he'll also be at Comic Odyssey.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Komiks makers are now entrepeneurs

Just a short post today, I have a headache and no energy to continue the komiks crowdsourcing topic right now.

There is a lot of disagreement with the state of komiks today. If this has not yet been made fully clear, the komiks industry as we once knew it, ran and dominated by Roces publications, is no more. The last holdout, Atlas Publishing, was bought by National Book Store in 1996, and was essentially subsidized until it ceased publication in 2006. (1) Carlo J. Caparas did spearhead an komiks revival called Carlo J. Caparas Komiks, with the company Sterling Publishing in 2007. This was also allegedly goverment funded, but it folded after publishing nine issues. (2)

Under the old industry, komiks makers had a market to cater to. Much like the American, Japanese, French-Belgian and Chinese comics markets, komiks shaped up to reflect the culture that originated it, and were made to cater to Pinoy's particular tastes.

As an example, Pinoy komiks had a particular format. Pinoys liked their stories serialized, and frequently updated (an issue every two weeks). They liked reading several stories rather than taking them one at a time, and the cliffhanger became a necessary staple.

These and other mores became an informal set of rules that all komiks makers were expected to follow. Not because their freedom to express was being stifled, but because this is what everybody making and reading komiks is used to. There was no question as to whether you could break these rules or not, it was just the way things were.

This ready made market no longer exists. Now, everybody who wants to make komiks needs to figure out where to find funding, who to hire to produce (writer, graphic artist, editor), how it will be produced, etc. Some komiks makers get a contract with a publishing company, some komiks makers self publish, and some setup their own companies, but there are no large companies dedicated to publishing komiks.

The good news is today, the old rules no longer apply. Pinoy komiks makers now are free to use whatever format they wish. Komiks nowadays follow formats of 30 page U.S. comics, the popularized Pugad baboy reprints format, manga format, the maxiseries/graphic novel format, ashcans. Some komiks are famously serialized in local magazines. Some projects attempt to simulate the anthologization of the older komiks format.

The bad news (which is still good news, depending on the context) is that there is no ready made komiks market. Instead, each individual komiks project is marketed to a particular niche; komiks traditionalists, U.S. comics fans, manga and anime fans, hipster indies, syndicated cartoon fans, etc.

In the sense that each komiks maker is out on their own in the business of making and distributing their own komiks, we can safely say that there is a new komiks industry. A komiks entrepeneur industry. The flip side to this is that the old market, were komiks makers can make a living as purely writers or artists, no longer exists.

So before anybody dips their feet into making their own komiks, even if they intend to work for other companies or want to make noncommercial work, they need to think as an entrepeneur. Who do you want to read your work? How will you get your work to them? How will you get the money to invest in your project? And if it is for-profit, how do you intend to make money off of it? All aspiring komiks makers need to think of all of this for each of their komiks projects.

Supplementary Reading: Kasaysayan ng Komiks sa Pilipinas (History Of Komiks in the Philippines)

If you agree or disagree, please share your thoughts below.

Promo: Komikon is this Saturday! Starmall EDSA, Trade Hall PH P 80 Entrance fee. For more details, go to

Monday, November 8, 2010

Of Komiks laws, edited!

NB: This is a revised version meant for offline use. If anyone wants to publish this article, or have any other feedback, please email me at Thanks!

Lost among yesterday's headlines may have been the news that Lito Lapid was proposing a new law to preserve komiks. My initial reaction to this was my usual distrust of politicians, compounded by the fact that the legislator in question is a former action star. However, I found myself making a full 360 after reading some of the comments on the Philippine Star article for November 3, 2010; "Lapid wants to preserve Pinoy komiks":

Just to quote:

Kung bakit sa tatalino ng mga Pinoy e nanalo si Lapid ! si Jinggoy ! at si Bong Revilla ! ay eto ang dahilan .... KOMIKS (1)

Tama lang po ang ginawa nu mr senator, tingan mo nakinabang ang dalawawang higanteng istasyon ng TV lalo na ang isang bias dyan kita mo naman halos lahat ng telenovela nila galing sa komiks.... lol (2)

ang galing ni senator lapid, suportado ang komiks. doon kasi nagka-pelikula. nakasakay sa kabayong puti, may baril at pasirko-sirko. (3)

Kaya pala maraming komedyante sa kongreso graduates pala sila sa komiks. (4)

Now, I understand that message boards and comments don't always yield the most constructive conversations. However, I felt the need to speak out against the hate speech propagated here against komiks, which seems to be fueled by reaction against Senator Lapid. These comments generally assume that an attack against komiks equates to an attack against Lapid, therefore, they are logical fallacies.

However, I am still dismayed that some people demonstrate a general disdain for komiks, and not just because I call myself an advocate. I can understand outright ambivalence towards komiks, or even the condescending attitude that it is not high art. I'm not new to that, although I may not like it. I also can understand hesitation towards the bill, after all, the proposed budget is at PH P 50 million. But the outright condemnation of komiks, that it is some form of propaganda tool, or that it hinders poor people from rising above poverty, it just hit me as discriminatory.

So I asked myself, what is in this law anyway? What would the money used for, and who would benefit from it?

I reviewed the proposed Philippine National Graphic Novel Archive Act, and will only be quoting select passages. In justifying the bill, Lapid refers to our Constitution and states:

Our heritage needs to be preserved for all to share and benefit. A nation is defined by its history and culture. Our graphic novels and all its write-ups reflect our history and culture. (5)

His definition of graphic novels is as follows:

As used under this Act,  a "graphic novel"  is a narrative work in which the story  is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an  experimental  design  or  in  a  traditional  comics  format.  The  term  is  employed  in  a broad manner,  encompassing non-fiction works and thematically  linked short stories as well as fictional  stories across a number of genres. (6)

This definition is compatible with definitions used by comics makers themselves, as defined by Will Eisner:

The printed arrangement of art and balloons in sequence, particularly in comic books. (7)

Sequential Art as a means of creative expression, a distinct discipline, and art and literary form that deals with the arrangement of pictures or images and words to narrate a story or dramatize an idea. (8)

as well as Scott McCloud:

Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce and aesthetic response in the viewer. (9)

In non legal terms, Lapid explains

The proposed Philippine National Graphic Novel Archive shall be responsible for acquiring, safeguarding, documenting and making graphic novels available to current and future generations for private study and public pleasure.
Concurrent to this cause, the Archive shall have all legal powers appertaining to a juridical person. (10)

These powers include the ability to enter contracts, buy property, receive gifts & donations, make their own rules & to establish offices in Manila & other regions. Furthermore, the Archive's Board of Directors will have representation from several other gov't offices, including DepEd, the National Archives, the NCCA, the NHI, the National Museum, a member of academe and a representative from the graphic novel industry. The last 2 members of the Board also have to meet certain requirements to be considered eligible.

Regarding access to the archive itself, the Board is given free reign to set rules and even charge fees for access, provided, That copying or duplication shall not be allowed except with the written permission of the copyright holder.

Now, do I like everything in this law? Certainly not. What bothers me the most is the inclusion of board members from gov't institutions that have for years refused to acknowledge the value of komiks as to merit archiving. As Gerry Alanguilan pointed out in his blog post, "Twin Senate Bills for the Revival of Philippine Komiks" (11), the National Library refuses to give komiks ISBNs, the NHI & National Museum do not archive komiks, and the NCCA has never named a komiks artist as a National Artist*. Why do these institutions get a free pass in entering this body? Why are they not held to the same requirements as the proposed members from the academe and the komiks community?

I also feel wary regarding copyright protection and corruption issues. Clearly, there is possibility for corruption within the system, currying favor as well as embezzlement, but the possibility and the actuality are two different things. It ultimately depends on the Archive Board members if they will sincerely carry out their functions. They also have to balance out the need to protect individual creators right to their work with the public interest. How do we expect them to do that when they are given free reign in making these rules?

In spite of all my objections, I feel this law would be a major step forward, not just for the komiks industry, but for all arts and culture in the Philippines. It will increase the quantity and quality of  the our goverment's recorded history, and will function not only as a record of creative output and artistic distinction, but also as a historical record of our shared mores and values as a people.  In short, this will benefit all of us, assuming the Archive dispenses its function effectively.

*Of course, as a side note to this, we all know about the brouhaha that was created when former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo nominated Carlo J. Caparas as National Artist for the Visual Arts. He was not necessarily being lauded for his komiks work This distinction was meant to reward him for the totality of his creative work, covering komiks, film and television. As a reminder, the Supreme Court suspended his entitlement.

What most people may not remember or even be aware of was that the late Nonoy Marcelo was in the running to be National Artist, but he himself passed that over for a rarer distinction, which was the CCP Centennial Artist Award. In this case, the NCCA may have favored Nonoy to be a National Artist, but in spite of that never gave him the distinction.


(1) "gatbon" "Kung bakit..." [Weblog comment.] 03 November 2010 "Lapid wants to preserve komiks." Marvin Sy. The Philippine Star. 03 November 2010. ( 06 November 2010.

(2) "jkwt" "Tama lang..." [Weblog comment.] 03 November 2010 "Lapid wants to preserve komiks." Marvin Sy. The Philippine Star. 03 November 2010. ( 06 November 2010.

(3) "edsamax" "Ang galing..." [Weblog comment.] 03 November 2010 "Lapid wants to preserve komiks." Marvin Sy. The Philippine Star. 03 November 2010. ( 06 November 2010.

(4) "dzing" "Kaya pala..." [Weblog comment.] 03 November 2010 "Lapid wants to preserve komiks." Marvin Sy. The Philippine Star. 03 November 2010. ( 06 November 2010.

(5) Philippine National Graphic Novel Archive Act of 2010 § Explanatory Note, i § 2485 (2010)

(6) Philippine National Graphic Novel Archive Act of 2010 § 1,3 § 2485 (2010)

(7) Eisner, Will, Graphic Storytelling & Visual Narrative, Poorhouse Press, 2001 (1st. Ed., 1996), p. 6

(8) Eisner, Will, Comics and Sequential Art, Poorhouse Press, 1995, (1st. Ed. 1985) p. 5

(9) McCloud, Scott, Understanding Comics, Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 9

(10) Philippine National Graphic Novel Archive Act of 2010 § Explanatory Note, ii § 2485 (2010)

(11) Alanguilan, Gerry. "Twin Senate Bills for the Revival of Philippine Komiks" [Weblog entry.] Komikero Dot Com. 22 February 2009. ( 06 November 2010.