Saturday, December 2, 2017

My Health Issues

I wasn't really hiding it. I just didn't want to talk about it. But since my health issues had been apparent during the last few Komikon events, I just might as well talk about it here. Although these health issues are now a constant part of my life, I've learned to deal with it, and continued to work and be productive in spite of it.

In the early 2000s I developed kidney problems and I have been undergoing dialysis ever since 2011. At first I went in twice a week, but I've since gone in for three times a week, four hours each session. Outside of the 15 hours I spend in the hospital (SPC Medical here in San Pablo City), I go about my life quite normally, although I've had to severely adjust my diet and liquid intake.

But I've managed to work consistently all throughout this. I did blow one or two deadlines, but I've pretty much finished what was asked of me and on time. In the time since I started dialysis, I've inked things like Superior, Supercrooks, Indestructible Hulk, Avengers, Axis, Civil War, Inhumans Vs. X-men, Darth Vader Annual, Star Wars, Monsters Unleashed and Phoenix Resurrection. I was also able to come up with Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby, Bakokak and the re-release of Elmer and Wasted. And I'm currently working on other new books.

And since that time I was able to go to Algeria, Paris, Singapore, Cebu, and Iloilo without much problems. All I had to do was schedule dialysis sessions in the locality if I'm staying for more than 3 days.

I was also able to fulfill a dream of putting up a live museum located here in San Pablo City, and I'm currently organizing a new San Pablo Comics Festival for January 2019.

I've also developed knee problems which is totally unrelated to my kidney problems, that's why I go around in a cane most of the time. My face mask and me avoiding handshakes may or may not be related to my kidney problem. But I'm currently taking some kind of medicine to help my body produce blood, but it also has the unfortunate side effect of making me vulnerable to disease.

These health issues are the reason why I most often decline invitations of any sort for talks, conventions etc., because they do take quite a lot out of me. I decided to just concentrate on Komikon, but even that might be out of the picture soon. I would just much rather conserve all my energy to continue with my work here at home. I have a much better chance of doing my job well if I didn't have to go all around the place that just zaps my energy so much.

Right now I'm in a comfortable place. I found the perfect balance in my diet. And I can work in relative peace and quiet.

I had felt much comfortable talking about these things in comic book form. I put down my experience in dealing with this issue in Crest Hut Butt Shop #4. If you want to get a copy, just let me know.


I've seen a lot of death in the clinic. People I had gotten to know would just suddenly waste away and die. Someone who I had known for years was yesterday fighting for his life. A lot of these people, once they were on dialysis, just give up, like their lives are over. I wish I could tell them it isn't. That it's a new lease on life. As long as they're good about their diet, and more importantly, regulate the amount of liquid they take, they can live good, comfortable, even productive lives. But a lot of people are just bullheaded. I'll eat what I want! I'll eat what I want! They only think about themselves, and never about those people who stand patiently with them and take care of them.

The last thing I want is for my loved ones to feel relief and be actually happy once I'm gone. That would just be heartbreaking. I don't want to make their lives difficult by just being good to myself and my body and do everything my doctor says.

I really want to thank all the nurses at the Artificial Kidney Unit at the San Pablo City Medical Center because of the role they play, past and present,  in saving my life everyday. Doc Ed, Doc Andy, Dr Caliwagan, Rico, Jo, Wendell, Daisy, Ian, Rizelle, Luzelle, Kate, Johann, April, Lynch, Ara, Iris, Kristine, Camille, Thea, Jenna, Richelle, and Amer. They're practically my second family. Thanks guys!

And of course... much much thanks to my wife Ilyn who stood by me, literally through thick and thin and through sickness and health. She's been a rock, supporting me, keeping me alive spiritually and emotionally. Without her, I wouldn't be here anymore.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Johnny Balbona: The SINTUNADATOR!

For the first time in color! Johnny Balbona: SINTUNADATOR first appeared in black and white in Mwahaha!, published by Mango Comics in 2005. In this adventure, Johnny makes a biting commentary on the current state of SINGING! Click on the image or HERE to read the story!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Fourth San Pablo City Comics Festival Date Announced

It's official. The Fourth San Pablo City Comics Festival will be held on January 20, 2019 at Roño's Place here in San Pablo City. Roño's Place is just around the corner from the Komiks Museum. Here's a map.

I decided to announce it early because it's always good to start planning early and promote it right away. The more people know about this event, when and where, the more people will get the chance to go, specially since this venue is not located in a commercial area and walk-ins are practically nil.

It also helps to announce early to avoid any scheduling conflicts with other similar events. We decided to hold it on a Sunday because it would make it easier for visitors from Manila to travel to San Pablo. Traffic is usually hellish on Saturdays so we wanted to avoid that.

As of now that's the important info that I can share about the comics festival. More information about this event in the coming months will be announced.

Friday, November 24, 2017

My Future Activities

I just posted this on Facebook and Twitter.

"I can see a time when I'll be limiting all my activities to San Pablo City, even comics conventions. That means a revival of the San Pablo Comics Festival. Considering this seriously."

I can delude myself by saying it's to help decongest the traffic in Manila, but it's just me just getting plainly sick of the big city, the pollution, the insane traffic. Mainly it's for self preservation because I want to be where I feel I'm healthiest, and because of mobility problems that make it difficult to travel long distance. A single trip to Manila for one day wipes me out. The last Komikon event was amazing, but I just got too tired by the end of the second day, which actually led to some health consequences that I'm still paying for today.

I will make my final stabs at Komiket and Komikon next year, 2018. But I'm afraid they'll perhaps be the last events in Manila I'll be attending. Perhaps my team can be there to sell my books in 2019 and beyond, but I myself won't be there anymore.

There are currently no comic book related events in San Pablo City, so that most likely means I'll go and have to revive the San Pablo Comics Festival. The first one was held in 2003. A new festival will be the fourth one. With Johnny gone, it will be much harder, but the owners of Tia Maria's Sining at Kultura have agreed to have festivals like this at Roño's Place. It's out of the way, but if the event is held there, it will be much easier for me to manage. This also means the Komikero Artists Group would also need to be revived for additional manpower and support. Well just have to promote it like crazy so people in San Pablo and surrounding areas would be aware that such an event is taking place.

Clearly I have gone beyond simply "considering it seriously".

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Almost Calm

I've been very busy the past month it was kind of hectic. There were my two deadlines, plus Komikon, plus the furious updates on this website with the archiving of old blog posts and putting up web comics. It actually kind of wiped me out because by the second day of the Komikon was very ready to just collapse. I took a couple of days to take it easy. I guess that's enough time for me because I was starting to get really uneasy not doing anything productive. I'm so glad I'm back to inking now. I have a new project with Leinil Yu which is actually kind of hard to describe, or even say a title. It's not just one issue, but a bunch of pages concentrating on one character across many issues. It's interesting working on several titles at once. Some VERY interesting titles.

It isn't as hectic today. I've managed to calm down a bit. Relaxing, inking, surfing the net, playing this online video game called "Awakening Kingdoms". It's not a tense game to play, unlike things like Crimsonland. It's a game that actually never ends. It just goes on and on. It's a free game, but if you want the game to progress faster than it's normal leisurely rate, that's when you throw in the money. But I'm not interested in blasting through this game. Playing it slow works perfectly for me. I get to play an hour, maybe less, in a single day. And that's just enough.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

At Komikon 2017

It's always nice meeting up with my old buddy old pal Jonas Diego specially at Komikon. It was a special Komikon for us because our mutual and late buddy Johnny Danganan received a posthumous Comic Aid award for his numerous charitable efforts to help comics creators in need. I pirated a bit of Komikon's recorded live video footage of the awards, inserted a special video that I did of Johnny and Jonas receiving the award on behalf of Johnny's family.

As far as Komikero Publishing goes, I think it was a pretty successful one for us. We sold a whole bunch of Bakokak as well as Elmer and Rodski. It was fantastic seeing all my old friends and meeting new ones. I'm specially proud of Kevin. His work on Bakokak seemed to have gone over well with readers and I'm glad to have had a little hand in introducing him to a wider audience.

I really owe a debt of gratitude to the Komikon organizers who have so graciously and generously helped me out with some of my concerns. Because of them I stayed at the event far longer than I scheduled to, and had a great time in the process.

Thanks also to Danry Ocampo for helping me out by getting copies of some new indie komiks that I wanted to get. I wasn't sure if I was going to get the chance to go around much so it helped having an extra set of Danry's legs to help me get these comics.

Of the things I've read so far, Puso Negro by JP Palabon and Please Take Care of My Heart by Gioseppe "Loser Mangaka" Custodio were just so hardcore that I couldn't help spewing profanity as I read them. P*cha, E 'di KOMIKS by Toto Madayag is always funny. Ultimo by Ruvel Abril was very exciting and has excellent artwork. I have yet to read the rest. I must mention the reprint of Dante Perez's "The Cursed" (bottom row, third from left). I was so glad to see this in print. A rare work of a master Filipino artist who passed away too soon.

I'm also very grateful to my wife Ilyn and my ever present Komikon crew: Zara Macandili and Edjee Chozas, and Ilyn's niece Kyla Florese in her first Komikon ever.  I would not survive Komikon without these guys.

In spite of the two annoying typos in BAKOKAK (which are entirely my fault, argh), I thought it turned out well. I'll be sure to correct that in the second printing.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bakokak Launches at Komikon 2017

My first new graphic novel in three years, Bakokak, launches at Komikon 2017 this November 11 and 12 at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig! I've written it and artist Kevin Ray Valentino illustrated it. The Komikero Publishing table is located at A49 and A50 (see map below).

All Komikero Publishing material will be sold at those two tables including Bakokak, Elmer, Rodski Patoski: Ang Dalagang Baby, Crest Hut Butt Shop #4, original inked at from Marvel, and official Bakokak merchandise bundles (with Bakokak, pins and shirts) in partnership with Green Turismo. Bakokak artist Kevin Ray Valentino will be at this table to sign your books!

However, I will be located somewhere else (for various reasons that I really can't explain at the moment). I will be sitting, for both days,  at table B72, near the screen. I will not be selling any Komikero books at this table. I will just be on hand to sign your books (and anything else you bring to me).

The Komikero Tables will be open for the entire two days. I will have a more limited schedule. At the B72 table I will be there:

Saturday, November 11

Sunday, November 12

Thanks very much to Komikon for making this possible. I'm really looking forward to an awesome event! And I'm very much looking to share my newest book with you all!

Unfortunately, I still can't shake hands because of my vulnerable condition. I can get sick very easily, specially in crowded places. I really hope you guys understand and not take offense.