Saturday, November 27, 2010

Komiks illustrators Leinil Yu and Harvey Tolibao in the STGCC 2010!!!

The STGCC, or Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention, is an annual event promoting toys, gaming, comics and animation sponsored by the Singapore Tourism Board. This year's guests include two of our own, the accomplished Pinoy comics illustrators in the U.S. Leinil Yu and Harvey Tolibao!

Leinil Yu has worked for Marvel and DC for almost ten years now. Highlights of his work include Silent Dragon, Superman:Birthright, Fallen Son: The Death Of Captain America #1, Secret Invasion, Wolverine, X-Men and Uncanny X-Men.

Harvey Tolibao, proudly born and raised in Mindanao, is a part of Glass House Graphics, and has done work for Emma Frost, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, Planet Hulk, X-Men Unlimited, Red Sonja.

Catch Leinil and Harvey, as well as other comics notables such as Gail Simone, Tan Eng Huat, Phil Yeh and many more at the STGCC 2010 this coming December 10-12, Suntec Singapore Hall 401 & 402. For more details, you can check out their official website.

Friday, November 26, 2010


This is once again a repost of a Facebook Note by Gilbert Monsanto. Original can be found here:

 People have always asked me different questions regarding comic schools. Do you still teach? Can you teach me? Where did you learn how to do comics? Nagfine arts ka ba? and sometimes it gets silly, but this questions are serious ones.

 I had the privilege to be Whilce's chief instructor for his school a few years ago. For three years I have encountered very talented people through this experience, some of them are now well respected names in the business. When Whilce moved out of the country, the school stopped. PWU-LEARN offered me to continue the school but without Whilce, it won't be a Whilce Portacio's comic course. I had to turn them down.

 What is it like to teach comics? It was different in all aspect of the word. I'll try to explain why I feel it would be hard for regular schools to actually turn this and turn it into a complete course.

 When I started creating comics for a living. I've always wondered why there was no comic making classes in school. I think I know the answer now and this is just one point of the why? This profession was not viewed as a well paying job. There in an industry at the time but it aint high profile. Komiks was known to be the lowest form of entertainment at the time. Unlike top career choices like architectures and such. Anyone can just come in and try komiks, we don't need a degree, just great drawing skills. They called us contributors, we get paid by the piece without royalties and everything else. We are by the way respected by our readers. That was our happiness. That is one reason, there was no need for such classes in school.

Anyways, as for training? We are instructed to go to the artist's ummm lobby near the restroom. There we watch the regulars do their magic. We learn doing that, talking to them helps a lot also. That is where the learning starts. Knowing the dos and don'ts, what  the publisher's needs and what you need to deliver, handle deadlines and of course if you can't do it the way they like it? You can't get a script, without a script? Nothing to draw, no money to collect. That was school for us.

Now, it is another story too different from the past. Now, more and more people are getting paid better. Pinoy comic creators are now well-known outside the country. With this comes a new level of respect and a new kind of discipline. This is the new image of comic makers, and you don't know how they do things? Well, it gets harder to break into comics. This is why I think, there seems to be a need to have comic book courses in schools.

 I  still think, that there is no mathematical formula to succeed in comics. Just determination, skills and a little bit of luck. Komiks is not an organized kind of learning. It is not like counting from one to a hundred or a to z. A student can come in gifted and gets side tracked to other stuffs he'd rather do, or another can start only able to daw a simple apple then after a while becomes the best there is. Learning comics is not just a skill, it is about talent. In fact, I'd say I learned a lot from my students before. I had the experience to pick up new tricks. They are usually afraid to make mistakes. I told them that sometimes? The mistakes we make are the styles we invent, styles that can make you famous.

 So what do I think of a degree holding comic artists of the future? I bet it still won't matter. Learning is an experience, and for comics? It never ends.

 The truth is, I can only offer to show you ways to create comics, I can encourage you to try things that you might feel is right for you. It can not be forced fed. The real teacher in fact, is yourself.

 Happy learning guys!

Now, just to clarify, is there no one teaching how to make komiks? Not entirely true. Elbert Or teaches a Fine Arts Elective called Comics and Graphic Novel Creation in the Ateneo De Manila University (details here.). Gerry Alanguilan also tried to teach komiks before in the College of Saint Benilde, but only did it for one year (brief reflection on that here). There have also been sporadic attempts to teach with one day workshops, etc. 

But I do believe Gilbert is referring to the kind of training afforded by komiks professionals in the days of full-scale komiks publishing, when komiks artists where invested in teaching younger guns, to keep quality at a certain level. Aspiring komiks makers just don't have a school dedicated to their craft. 

I think, rather than one, we need several schools, or several courses under one komiks school. All komiks makers need to go through some rudimentary basics, but different skill sets are required to work in komiks as a traditional artist, manga artist, cartoonist, writer, inker, colorist, letterer, and editor. Most indie komiks makers seek to fill up all these roles nowadays, and it's kind of a shame, because they run the risk of spreading themselves too thin. Hopefully, the time will come when komiks artists can fragment their roles, and specialize into the best work of their lives.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

GMA covers Komikon

This is a short, but timely reaction to late but welcome article from Carmela G. LapeƱa, Indie komiks draw crowds in Komikon 2010

I find it so strange that the major news outlets always seem to have some interest in the state of komiks, but not enough to get into the business themselves. Anyway, everybody seems to be picking up on the good news that the indie komiks industry is thriving! Of course, we all have our little objections that she may not be entirely accurate here and there, but this is still something to be grateful for.

I do worry that when you see a news article like this one, or Paolo Chikiamco's article over at the POC, that people may be misled into thinking that there is an actual komiks industry, like the old one. I wish we could safely say that komiks making is profitable and stable as a career, but not everyone gets to be as successful as Budjette Tan or Manix Abrera. And even then, if we are truly honest about this, the definition of success needs to be qualified with how success is defined in other careers. Komiks still has a long way to go to be profitable enough for us to get into it full time.

I don't mean to be the cynic here, but I am saying komiks makers need to be wary that they may pick up a false sense of security from all this. All the news outlets also raved when Caparas 'revived' komiks not so long ago, as well as when Stone first came out almost a decade before that. The news outlets are great for letting the world know komiks is still here, but they won't do all the work of promoting and marketing komiks.

Let me end this with a little suggestion for all you komiks makers out there, if I may: there's a link in that article to email the editor. Send them that email. Tell them that you want to be interviewed, and maybe even advertised with GMA. Be aggressive enough that they can't say no, irregardless of your age or qualifications. Maybe you won't all get a response, but it will make them take notice. GMA can do way more in promoting your work than this humble blog could. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

From Gilbert Monsanto: How about editors for independent komiks in the Philippines?

NB: This was a Facebook Note posted by Gilbert Monsanto. You can see the original, including comments, here

Okay this might be a sensitive topic. This is another question raised at the local conventions here in the Philippines.

What are the roles of an editor in komiks?
-If working for a publisher, an editor does a lot of essencial tasks to finish a book including:
a.) concept of a title or what should be inside a title. The decide what is allowed to print or not to print.
b.) follow ups the creative crew, timing is very important. They usual talk to all the people involved in a project.
c.) proofreading. Corrections corrections, corrections before going to print.

There are more but let's just minimize all these shall we? In short he is the manager and boss to most comic titles. A lot of responsibilities but someone has to do it.

There was a time, when I was working as a contributor for GASI,Sonic Triangle and Infinity Inc. A fellow contrbutor had a fight with an editor and decided to talk to publisher about it. The publisher just said. " you know? the reason I have editors is to avoid having talks with you guys. I trust them, so just deal with it."

 Artists can learn alot from them, they might not be artists, some are writers and they have a lot of practice looking at details and basically see things creators tends to ignore. I personally learned alot from my editors, I thank them now for giving me the opportunity to work with them.

Now, editors for independent komiks? This might not work the same. Since the owner/publisher of a title is the creators. The roles are somewhat reversed. The last say will be the creator's. Who would want to be an editor with this kind of set up?

I often heard stories of people offering to edit works to some indie creators. " what the f--! he wanted me to change this and that and that, I created this! I know better!." Not a good scene huh?  I think that having editors is still a must in order for us to minimize mistakes. The problem was that the creator I mentioned earlier came to another creator with another title of his own. Thus, ineffective.

This is now being avoided by selecting carefully new breeds of editors, collaborators. People who are willing to help and in exchange be helped as well. There are no bosses, just friendly advises.

 I am very much in need of these new heroes, I usually have difficulty seeing my mistakes, especially since I am so focused on other details. My editors are there to tell me exactly what I needed to hear and saves the day. The last say is usually mine as a creator but because they are there, mistakes I'd say has been to a minimal.

 I am thankful for them. 

-Gilbert Monsanto

NB: Gilbert's article ends there. I just wanted to add that this clearly points to need for better quality control in indie komiks. This is certainly not endemic, independent comics around the world vary in quality and could benefit from good editors.  The dilemma here is how to get editorial advice from a pro while staying independent. Please feel free to share your comments or suggestions below.

If any of you have komiks articles that you want to share here, please contact me at

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another quick update!

Sorry for the hiatus. It got a bit too complicated when my laptop started lagging, and it still is.

Before anything else though, congratulations to Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldissimo for Trese winning the National Book Award for Graphic Literature!

To be brief, I thought it'd be good to review what has been written about Pinoy komiks elsewhere in the blogosphere, and so this is what I'd done the past week. I did not want to repeat anything that had already been written, but more importantly, I wanted to know what had happened out there, and what has been said and done. There's just too much to catch up to, so I've settled for trying to catch up bit by bit when I can.

At least temporarily, this blog will be about current events and new ideas for komiks creators. Komiks is a risky venture as it is, so it's understandable if people are wary to try new things out, or to retry old things that failed. However, it is only by increasing these risks that we increase the reward! However, there is such a thing as calculated risks, and so we should not be trying anything out that's new without looking at the consequences.

For example, the last article series on crowdsourcing explored instances when crowdsourcing has been and has not been successful. In the case of Zuda Comics, DC could call it a success in that they came out with titles that made money. However, it could also be seen as a failure as they were unable to recruit the webcomic creators into their fold. Webcomic makers did not believe that working for Zuda would be in their best interest, even if the money seemed good. The few creators who did sign up with DC knew what they were getting into, although they weren't really webcomics people.

I will setup an interview series soon. I hadn't gotten around this yet, because I wanted to be careful and frame my questions in a way that we could glean more insights from the makers. There is also an upcoming project with, still being planned but possibly like NaNoWrimo.

OK, that's it for now, it's getting late. Posts may not be daily for now, but they'll be regular again starting tomorrow!