Saturday, December 27, 2014


2014 wasn’t such a nice year for the family. The year started out with much optimism (I always try to be such at the outset of every new year.). Determination to be positive definitely has its limits in the face of unavoidable bad events.

I lost my mom on May 28. It was very devastating for me, specially for my dad who took it quite hard although he tried to hide it. He still struggles with the loss today, as I do. They were married for more than 50 years. Unimaginable losing someone you’ve been with your entire life. I just can’t imagine it.

A month or so later, Typhoon Glenda struck and for the first time in the history of our house, water entered and flooded all the rooms of the ground floor. It destroyed a lot of things including batches of WASTED. I made light of it later on by selling “Glendamaged” Wasteds for a vastly reduced price.

Months later on October 2, my brother also lost his wife Cherry to cancer. It’s hard for me to write about this. I just feel really bad for my brother and of course his son, Robin.

Around the same time, thieves stole a St. Michael statue from our garage that had much sentimental value for my dad. Feeling insecure in our house for the first time and perhaps because of the loss of something that meant a lot to my dad, his health took a beating and was hospitalized for several days. He soon pulled out of it, thankfully enough.

At about the same time, Ilyn and I learned of the loss of a considerable amount of money we had invested in a pension plan of a company that went bankrupt. We’re left with nothing of that investment. It’s just money, of course… but we still needed it to buy food to eat, pay the bills and buy medicine. I’m still trying to find some legal help about this matter. Insurance companies must have something similar to a bank’s deposit insurance. Any lawyers out there who can help out, please do get in touch.

At the end of October I got sick with pneumonia. I thought it was something easy to recover from, very much like a normal flu, but it turns out it wasn’t the case. I was sick with it for a week, but my immune system plummeted as did my hemoglobin. It was horrible. I couldn’t get up from bed. I had to work through inking Axis during this time and it was just punishing. After the work was done, I just collapsed and spent the next month and a half recovering. I didn’t work at all. I only learned later that pneumonia wasn’t a trivial thing. It was something quite serious and if I hadn’t been treated, I could have died. To be honest, there were a couple of moments during that time that I felt I was dying, so much so I had wanted to give Ilyn all my passwords. I missed another deadline for another company and I’m still struggling to do it now.

It’s hard, but I try to focus on some positive things. I still have my job, which I’m thankful for. Nobody else died or got horribly sick, so that’s a good thing too. I was able to release two new things this year, Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby (which bagged a place in this year’s Inquirer’s top ten books!) and Crest Hut Butt Shop #4. I also received some news that ELMER may get an Italian translation next year. Ilyn and I had a lot of pretty good and memorable times together, and to me that’s very important. Today Ilyn and I celebrate our 12th Anniversary. 12 amazingly happy years together. She’s the perfect partner anyone could ask for. Incredibly supportive through thick and thin, through sickness and health, literally!

I do look forward to 2015 with much hope. That doesn’t mean I’ll just sit around waiting for good things to happen. I will try very hard to make it happen for me and the family. I really think one must find their own happiness. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but I think it’s worth the effort.

At Sampalok Lake, December 20, 2014.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

“Ang Unang Pasko” Illustrated by Emil Rodriguez, Adapted by Angel Ad Santos

Here’s a short story illustrated by one of the greatest unknown Filipino komiks illustrators, Emil Rodriguez. I will be posting more of Emil’s work in the coming weeks, but I’m posting this one now in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, this particular story came from a bound compilation that doesn’t indicate what publication it came from or when it was published. I’m guessing this came out sometime in the early 1960s. Click for larger images.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On "Komikero"

Hard to believe, but a few people are taking issue with the word “Komikero” being used to describe comic book artists. I’d like to talk a little about it.

First, a little history.

Back in 2002, I was thinking of buying my own domain name. I didn’t want something like “” because it’s too long and a little too hard to remember (or spell). I wanted a name that describes me as a comic book guy. Of course, I knew “komikero” meant comedian. But I thought, what the hell. I’ll appropriate the word to mean comic book artist. And so I bought “” and used that as my website. It’s short, concise and easy to remember.

Over the years I noticed other people starting to use the word “komikero” to mean comic book artist. I thought that was awesome. Today it’s pretty much all over the place.

Of course, some people would take issue with it, insisting that “komikero” meant comedian and not comic book artist.

But think about this: What other term is used to mean “comedian”? Don’t they call comedians “comics”? Just look online. Here’s the definition of “comic”:



a comedian, especially a professional one.

“a stand-up comic”

synonyms: comedian, comedienne, funny man/woman, humorist, wit; More



comic strips.

synonyms: comic strip, cartoon, comic book; informalfunny

“the paper no longer runs his favorite Sunday comic”

If in the English language “comics” can mean both comedian and comic book artist, why can’t it be the same for the Filipino language? Why can’t “Komikero” mean both comedians and comic book artists?


Monday, November 24, 2014

Axis, Komikon and Other Things

It’s been a very difficult couple of months for me, physically. I caught pneumonia late last month and as I recounted in my last blog entry, it was truly horrible. After I wrote that blog entry I thought it was all over, but much to my dismay, it took far longer to recover than I realized. It became so bad it affected my schedule for inking Axis. Although I still inked more than half of issue #8, I have to thank Jason Paz for stepping in to help, and specially to Leinil Yu, who has been very understanding of my situation and gave me as much room as he could. Leinil tells me that we won’t be working on anything new until January so that comes as a huge relief for me because I truly need the break.

I wasn’t feeling so good the day before Komikon that I seriously considered not going and just let Ilyn and Zara take care of the table. I was still furiously working on Axis at the time and there were still a couple of pages to do. I decided to go anyway because my printer ink ran out and I had to get some from Manila. It turned out to be an incredible Komikon.

My doctor has advised me not to go to crowded places and if I did, I needed to wear a face mask. I didn’t wear a face mask, at least for most of Komikon. I just decided not to shake hands with anybody and just stay at my table and not wander around. I hope I didn’t offend anybody by doing so. It just couldn’t be avoided. I asked my friend Danry Ocampo to wander around for me instead and buy me comics. There were a few new potentially good titles that came out that day that I just had to get. So thanks Danry! I haven’t gotten a chance to read anything much yet except for Manix Abrera’s “14” which was fun and interesting. Oh yeah, JP Palabon’s “Pera” was also hysterical.

My childhood friend Dan Yatco came to Komikon to visit me (dude on the left at the photo above). We’ve been friends since Grade 6 (Grade 7 for him because I’m accelerated hehe). We were also friends and classmates in High School and then again in college. It was me who actually convinced him to take up Architecture because I couldn’t bear to go to a new university by myself. I don’t think he’s particularly interested in comics, but he reads them and goes to these events because of me and that’s really touching. Sometimes there are friends you make for life.

Now I feel much better and I probably will be able to do some bit of work. There is another thing I have to do for Graphic Classics that has also been delayed because of my illness. I can probably start doing that again soon. I’ll most likely take it easy and ease myself in, maybe just a few hours at a time in a day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Last Two Weeks

The last two weeks were just horrible. It started out as a cough that just won’t go away. I couldn’t sleep for all the coughing. And then I got fever. And colds. And the coughing got so bad that it started to disturb me in a way it had never done before. I had my x-rays taken and went to the hospital. It turns out I had pneumonia. Holy shit. I guess that explained it. I was flat on my back for two weeks on antibiotics, nebulizing three times a day. Today I’m feeling much better, but I felt terrible that I never had the chance to work at all the last two weeks. I suppose I needed the rest, but no I have to really catch up. I have lots of work to do. That’s what I’m thinking now. I’m voice is still rough from all the coughing torture I went through, but it’s recovering too.

I was told that pneumonia could kill. And it was really frightening knowing that a week ago while I was in the thick of it. There were moments when I swear I started considering giving all Ilyn all of my passwords. You can guess what that means. I’m glad that moment passed. It’s still too early for me. So much stuff yet to do.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nine Pages from Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby

 Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby
Written by Gerry Alanguilan
Line Art and Colors by Arnold Arre
Title Design by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre
Published by Komikero Publishing

Buy the book at branches of Comic Odyssey or from the Komikero Shop.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Finding the Right Publisher

This is a followup to my previous article, “Creating Your Own Characters is Creating Your Own Future“. It turns out there’s much more to say about the matter based on a few things I’ve read online.

It’s well and good to create your own characters, but great care must be given when looking for a publisher. There are still plenty of “old world” beliefs in the world of Philippine publishing including the belief that the publisher owns whatever you create.

For many decades creators simply were not aware that they were entitled to such ownership, considering what they do simply as a “job”. They write, they draw, the draw a paycheck and that’s it. A few creators probably don’t even think about it. They’re happy enough to have a paying job. And I think that’s perfectly all right. People didn’t know they were entitled to so much more for such a long time.

Now in 2014 though (and for many years now), creators can demand the right to own the stories and characters they create. And I think it’s really up to them to demand such things from their publishers. You can consider this a job if you want, but if you want a legacy, you have to demand it. I understand that you might not want to ruffle feathers, you just want things to go on as they are, but if you want something more for yourself, buckle up, ride the storm, and grab what’s rightfully yours.

For my entire career I’ve always avoided working for publishers who demand ownership of my creations, even if they say they simply own only 50%. I always refused. I own my work, 100%. In my view, the publisher only has the right to exclusively publish and distribute your work. All other rights belong to you. This includes movie and tv rights and other adaptations to other media.

There are publishers out there who are willing to accept such terms, but there are others who won’t. More often than not, I end up publishing my own work because that’s one of the ways I can ensure that I have complete control over what goes on with my creations.

And if you ever do find the right publisher for you, make sure you scrutinize your contract very well. It might help to consult a lawyer to help you understand completely what’s being offered.

Just make sure that the publisher only holds publishing and distribution rights. Other media adaptation rights belong to you. Make sure that you ask for a time limit to how long the publisher has your work. Three years, six years… whatever works best for you. Just make sure it’s in there.

Also pay attention to what’s written down with regards to their commitment to promote your work. Do they schedule signings, panels, and invite you to join conventions, festivals, etc? Promotion is one of the things that the publisher needs to commit to. You can help by doing promotions yourself. Every little bit counts.

And lastly, the contract works both ways. If they do their part, you also need to make sure you uphold your commitment to the terms of your contract. I think that’s only right and fair.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Creating Your Own Characters is Creating Your Own Future

Whenever I attend a local comic book convention like KOMIKON, I feel so excited because I see so many young (and maybe not so young) people creating their own comics, using their own characters. The amazing variety of creativity is sometimes just breathtaking. Me and a bunch of guys back in the early 90s who began creating our own comics have no idea that this thing will be much much bigger today, 20 years later.

In this time, I’ve created lots of different characters like Eric from Wasted, Johnny Balbona, Humanis Rex, Timawa, the Elmer Gallo family, and Rodski Patotski. I plan on creating so much more.

Of course, there is the option to create new stories for classic characters, and I have done so previously with Lastikman and the little Darna story that Arnold Arre and I created. Working on Mars Ravelo’s characters was so much fun and also thrilling knowing that you are working on such iconic characters with so much history.

A lot of people hope that Arnold and I continue the work we did on Darna Lives! We actually have the option to do it if we wanted to. But I want to say right here that I was the one who decided that I didn’t want to. What Arnold and I did was simply to show the potential of what can be done with a Darna story. Hopefully, it would give future Darna writers ideas on how to do things differently, how to perceive and develop the character from a different and fresh perspective.

I wanted to create my own characters. I wanted to create my own Darna. When I work on characters by other people, I ensure the future of not only that character, but that character’s copyright owners. I get a one time paycheck and that’s it. Nothing more. I want to ensure MY future by creating characters that would act as my legacy, that would hopefully be something I can benefit from in the future. Characters I create become a personal creative investment. If a movie of ELMER or any of my works would be made in the future, it would be me who would benefit from it. If one day I can no longer work, they would be taking care of me. At least, that’s the plan.

I admit I do still continue to work on other people’s characters at Marvel and DC. That of course, is what I would consider my day job. I love doing it so it’s more than simply a day job, but with the money I earn from it, and the free time I have outside of it, I would create my own characters and comics.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Francisco V. Coching Was More than Just An Illustrator

To clarify some misinformation being spread about Francisco V. Coching and his qualifications for being National Artist specially through the column of Nestor Torre, contending that:

“And there are those who oppose Francisco Coching’s selection for visual arts, because they regard him as more of an illustrator than a creative artist.”

I wish to inform these obviously misinformed people (or rather prejudiced elitists?) that Coching was more than just an illustrator. He has in fact, written all of the stories he has illustrated. He was a true auteur who was in full control of every aspect of his stories, presenting a full and unfettered vision of just one man.

More than that, all but a couple of the more than 50 komiks serials he WROTE and ILLUSTRATED were adapted into motion pictures.

Below are screenshots of only a handful of motion pictures based on Coching’s work:

For the better part of a few decades, Coching was one of those movers and shakers of popular Philippine culture. Not only did he helped direct it, he also helped express and immortalize it.

Beyond that, Coching was also one of the most influential artists whose work has inspired most artists who came after him including many of the greats this country has produced: Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Alex Niño right down through the generations right down to me, and probably even beyond.

Coching was merely an illustrator? You must simply be out of your mind.

Friday, July 4, 2014

May 28, 2014

My mom passed away on May 28, 2014. I made a note of it in the panel of this Avengers page I was inking at the time. I wrote the date and the time of her passing.

She had been feeling somewhat sick for a week, but we all thought it was just one of those things she experienced from time to time. We believed she would eventually get better, and that she would eventually go back to her gardening and things would be OK.

She went for a check up on the morning of that day and her lab results showed she was low on hemoglobin. Her doctor, who also happens to be my doctor, recommended she be admitted so she can have a transfusion. She was in the middle of the transfusion when she suddenly had a cardiac arrest. It was 9:15pm. My dad was there, but I was at home.

Ilyn and I rushed to the hospital to see my mom being given CPR as she was being wheeled to the ICU. Dad was standing there, shell shocked, not knowing what to do. He felt as helpless as I did. We were called up to the ICU where the doctor greeted us. He told us mom was gone. Just like that.

I’m trying to remember what I felt at that moment. I felt, I don’t know, blank? Like I was speechless in my mind. The doctor was talking but all I heard were words. Nonsensical words. My mind was somewhere else. I sat down. My dad seemed to be in denial. He was talking about other things, trying not to get to grips with what just happened. I tried to convince myself I was dreaming, that I needed to wake up. I wanted to wake up. I asked Ilyn if I was dreaming, and she said that I wasn’t.

I didn’t cry then. That came later on the car on the way to the funeral home to pick a casket. I just let go. I had to let it go. I knew I couldn’t keep it inside. I worried for my dad who still seemed to be denying it to himself. I wanted to see him cry, I wanted to see him let go because then I knew he was starting to really deal with it. He eventually did. As I did.

My mom was a very strong character. We frequently butted heads all throughout my life, but it was nothing acrimonious or long lasting. We disagreed on a lot of things. She wanted me to be an Architect. She frequently meddled in my love life. She would often burst into my room and pick at things. But she was ultimately supportive of my choices, as much as she grieved over some of the decisions I made in life.

She didn’t want me to be an artist at first. And it was the source of a lot of our contention. I stuck to what I wanted, and I eventually won her over when I started to make money from my art and my comics. I guess that’s what she always wanted. For me to be able to support myself. I only had to prove I could do it, no matter what I did.

I knew my mom was proud of me and my accomplishments. And I’m so happy she got to see the things I’ve done with my little comics. I can’t forget how happy she was when my Elmer won those awards and how it allowed me to travel the world. I can’t forget how happy she was during the Supercrooks signing with Mark Millar.

And when Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby came out, it made me so happy that my mom sat down to read the entire book non stop in one sitting and she told me that she liked it.

I wish I could have said goodbye. I wish I could have said that I loved her one last time.

I couldn’t talk about this online when it happened. I didn’t want to post about it on Facebook or on Twitter. I don’t know. I just didn’t want to. But I did let close friends know and that was enough for me. I’m so thankful for those who sent me messages and to those who came and visited and be with us during that difficult time. I’m not the friendliest person around, but I’m grateful to the friends that I do have.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Francisco V. Coching is Now a National Artist

Francisco V. Coching has finally been declared a National Artist via Proclamation 808.





WHEREAS, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines provides for patronage of arts and letters by the State;

WHEREAS, the Order of National Artists Award was established under Proclamation No. 1001 (s. 1972) to give appropriate recognition and prestige to Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine arts and letters;

WHEREAS, the Order of National Artists Award is jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, acting as the Order of National Artists Award Secretariat, by virtue of Proclamation No. 1144 (s. 1973) and Republic Act No. 7356 or the “Law Creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts”; and

WHEREAS, the works and achievements of Francisco V. Coching has left a lasting influence on the succeeding generations of younger cartoonists and his comics as popular art has helped forge the practice and consciousness of Filipino as a national language.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and existing laws, upon the joint recommendation of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, do hereby declare Francisco V. Coching as National Artist, with the privileges and emoluments attached thereto.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

DONE in the City of Manila, this 20th day of June, Two Thousand and Fourteen.


By the President:


Executive Secretary


To be honest, I can hardly believe it. I previously wrote a pessimistic post about Coching and his chances of becoming a National Artist. I’m very very glad to have been proven wrong, and I’m very happy to realize that the Philippine government, as well as the NCCA respects komiks enough (at least in this case) to have made this possible.

This is kind of a big deal because finally, not only did Coching receive this distinction, but it also elevated Philippine komiks as something to be respected and celebrated. That komiks is truly a part of, and an important part of Philippine culture.

Congratulations to the Coching Family, congratulations to the Filipino people, at Mabuhay ang Pinoy Komiks!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Freelancers and Health Insurance

Jessica Zafra is an acquaintance of mine for many years now. Today I was kind of shocked to hear of the news of her hospitalization and the call to friends to help her out because, as the article pointed out, “As is the case with almost all artists who work freelance, Jessica does not have health insurance.”

If you want to help out, you can donate. Check out this Facebook post on how to do exactly that.

I wish Jessica all the best and I hope she gets better soon.

She belongs to my generation of writers and artists, and our generation is slowly edging towards that age where we become susceptible to all kinds of illnesses. It’s inevitable. Our body does fail over time. We can take care of it by eating right and exercising, but we can really only do so much. One day, all of us will get sick.

That said, I do feel I have to say something about freelancers and health insurance. And the seeming acceptance that those two terms cannot exist in the same universe.

As a freelancer, YOU CAN have health insurance. You just have to do it voluntarily. And it doesn’t really cost all that much.

Here in the Philippines we have the state backed PHILHEALTH. I know, Filipinos have a general distrust of government, specially when it comes to trusting them with our hard earned money. It is corrupt and money does go to the pockets of corrupt politicians. But believe me, despite glitches here and there, PHILHEALTH is one of those government things that actually work well in the country. I’m not just saying it. It’s based on personal experience. I know there’s a bit of problem with Philhealth right now, but I’m confident it’s nothing that can’t be resolved.

I’ve had Philhealth since 2003. I was paying P300 quarterly, which is only P1200 a year. Today you pay P600 quarterly, which is P2400 year. If you start now, you can start benefiting from it nine months from now. If you are ever hospitalized, Philhealth will take care of a significant amount of that.

For example. Back in 2011, I was hospitalized. I ran a hospital bill for P90,000.00. Philhealth took care of P40,000. That’s a TON of help. I mean, where the heck can you get P40,000 just like that?

It can be daunting at first because of all the paperwork, but I tell you guys it’s all worth it.

If you feel you’re more comfortable with private insurance firms, then by all means! But to be honest, I trust them less than I do government. And yes, that too is based on personal experience. But in any case, at least get some form of insurance. Your future self will be thanking you one day.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Soft and Entitled

Back in the 80′s I spent almost an entire day going from Greenhills to Makati and finally to Cubao just look look for a copy of Marvel Team Up #150 with a cover by Barry Windsor Smith. It was a long, hard day, full of frustration, sweat and spent money. I finally found a copy of it at National Book Store in Ali Mall. It felt like a victory. It felt like triumph. All the hardship that went into it was worth it.

Today it’s so easy to get a copy, specially if you’re into digital. You just punch a few buttons from the comfort of your air conditioned room and within a minute, you have a copy in your iPad.

If you want a hard copy, you can just just punch in a few buttons at Mile High Comics from the comfort of your air conditioned bedroom and within a few days the copy is at your doorstep.

The younger generation is deprived of the thrill of the hunt, and the euphoria of finding it. And I feel bad for them because it’s an experience that’s not only fun, it also builds strength of character. If you work hard for something you want, the rewards, and the experience you get from it have much more value.

It’s too late to go back to how it was in the 80s of course. It would be idiotic of anyone to assume that’s what I want.

But this generation has to find other ways, alternate ways of making you work hard for what you want. They need to have that experience. This age of convenience has has made it possible to have a soft and entitled generation. A generation who always had it easy. A generation who never had to work hard for anything. A generation who believes that’s how things are and that they’re entitled to it. The danger of this for future generations is something I cannot even imagine.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It's May 2014

Because PLDT has been screwy for the past couple of weeks, specially after that crazy April 28 thunderstorm, my Internet has been mostly down. I had wanted to update this blog earlier, but it was just not possible. We’ve been pretty insistent on calling repair early on and PLDT has visited us twice to check things, but this seems to be a problem that they have extreme difficulty solving.

Well, whatever. As long as this interruption of service reflects on our phone bill, I won’t freak out too much. I did freak out early on, but I just got tired of it.

It was Free Comic Book Day last May 3. I never got a chance to talk about it. It’s a special FCBD for me because I was this year’s editor of Comic Odyssey’s free comic book giveaway. I had proposed to have it magazine sized with interviews and comics.

Awesome cover by Elbert Or, right? :)

I was able to bring on board guys like Whilce Portacio, Jay Anacleto, Leinil Yu, and Mark Torres to contribute pinups. But a lot of the actual work was by my team of Andrew Villar and Jon Zamar, who did the nitty gritty of putting together the comics and layout the entire thing. I came up with the interview articles.

I do this because I’ve pretty much committed to FCBD with Comic Odyssey in perpetuity several years ago. It’s when I give back to the best comic book store and comic book shop owner I’ve had the pleasure to visit and meet. Sandy Sansolis of Comic Odyssey is so passionate about comics and sharing comics that I want him to be successful in his business. The more successful he is, the better it is for us comic book fans here in the Philippines.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Summer Komikon 2014

Photo by Jonas Diego

I think I’m still feeling a little dazed from Summer Komikon. It was probably the most physically stressful time I’ve had at a Komikon. My allergies were pretty bad that it’s embarrassing, specially since I had to talk to people a lot and do a couple of interviews. My bad knee also didn’t spare me and I had to walk around with a cane. People started calling me “Don Gerardo”. I hope it doesn’t catch on. I think I will be using that cane more often from this time on. It’s also embarrassing that I forgot the names of a couple of people who were, at some point, closely acquainted with me. I feel really bad about it.

Bad vibes out of the way, it was also one of the most spiritually rewarding Komikons I’ve been to because we launched “Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby” and we sold a lot of copies. At a rough estimate, we sold around 300 copies, plus 100 copies of Wasted. The early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It feels just great knowing Rodski came alive in the minds of people. That’s what I really take away from this. That things I create find a life of its own outside of me.

Rick Olivares reviews Rodski for the Philippine Star. Thanks Rick!

Bad knee notwithstanding, I did try and manage to snaggle up a few things from other creators, a few of which was given to me (thanks very much!) The output this year has been very impressive. The quality of writing and art, and the quality of formats just keep increasing with each passing year. Here are the stuff I got, which is only a fraction of what was available at the event.

I post comments on titles I’ve already read (or are currently reading).

“K8″ by Jay and Jim Jimenez, published by Black Ink.

I’ve only read like 15 pages of this so far and I’m really liking it. Jim’s art is very impressively detailed and the story by Jay is very easy to follow. Unlike a lot of the Black Ink titles available, this one seems like it’s complete in one book, which makes it a nice, compact package that can stand on its own.

“Time Machine” by Apol Sta. Maria
“Kuatro Kanto 2″ by John Nano

“Abangan” The Best Philippine Komiks 2014

Edited by Rob Cham, Adam David, Carljoe Javier and Elbert Or
Published by Visprint

“Best Philippine Komiks” is a pretty bold claim. Thankfully enough, with names like Manix Abrera, Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo, Bong Redila, Emiliana Kampilan, Paolo Fabregas, Elbert Or etc contributing to this book, it more than lives up to it. This collection is definitely some of the truly best Komiks to come out of the Philippines in 2014. I haven’t read it through and through, but the variety in this book makes it a perfect cross section of the best the Philippines has to offer.
“Sumpa” Chapter 1 by Paolo Herras and Brent Sabas

“BuhayHabangBuhay” and “Noodleboy” by Paolo Herras and Tepai Pascual 

“Adventures Inside the Glory Hole” by Carlo Valenzuela 

“Enter the Dragonfly” by Noel Carlos N. Caragay

“Alamat ni Manila Man” by Mike Ignacio and RH Quilantang

Frequency One” by Andrea Catrina Tolentino, John delacruz, Tyrell Tan, Nate Piekos

“Lagimbal: Saving the Messiah” by Rawwrr Enrique
“Caution: Drugs/Sex/Rock ‘N Roll” by Rawwrr Enrique
“Komiks!! Atbp. Ultimate Edition” Edited by Jon Zamar, Artists: Various
“#CheesyFit”, by Mel Casipit and various artists.
Not strictly a comic book but a joke book with artwork that accompanies each joke. It sports a really nice Bong Redila artwork on the cover (Bong is fast becoming one of the most excellent Filipino cartoonists around), plus other art by guys like Macoy, Freely Abrigo, Randy Valiente and Mel Casipit himself on most of it. It’s actually very funny.

“Puso Negro II Part 1″ by JP Palabon

JP continues to offer some seriously uncomfortably funny stories, plus a character that will probably sear into your memory and haunt you in your dreams. I’m still going “OMG” whenever I see a visual image of it.

“Minkowski Space Opera, Chapter One” by Aaron Felizmenio

This is a very surprising comic book because it’s so different from anything else other local creators are currently doing, and it’s a huge departure from Aaron’s previous work, Gwapoman. This universe seems well thought out and very complex. Presented in full color, this is a very ambitious piece of work that’s a pleasant surprise to witness in local comics. I knew early on Aaron had the potential to be one of the big talents in the future of Philippine comics, and with this comic book he starts to fulfill that potential.

It’s also worth noting that the last two titles presented above have been printed and in full color. Local comics is definitely leveling up.

Public Facebook Summer Komikon 2014 Photo Gallery by Jonas Diego.

Thanks and congrats again to the organizers of KOMIKON. In spite of the bad traffic, in spite of many Manila residents have already left for the provinces for Holy Week, I think this year’s Summer Komikon still pulled off a decent sized crowd. The event itself seemed to have proceeded without any visible problems. Security has been vastly improved. Great job all around!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Komikon Day

It’s 4:22am as I write this. The Wasted Box sets are not yet done, but they will be at some point in the day. Rodski books are all set downstairs. We’ll be bringing 600 of those, 100 will go to Comic Odyssey for them to sell at their stores. I know 500 copies is optimistic, but that’s how I prefer to be, just in case! I’ll also be bringing 150 more copies of Wasted, along with a bunch of original artwork for sale.

I slept at around 10:30pm and woke up at around 1:30am. I’ve been drawing the Wasted sketches for the box sets as well as doing the letters. I printed out the list of Rodski pre-buyers as well as the Komikon ingress form. I’m still trying to think of what I may have forgotten… I’m sure I’ll forget something.

I still have to do a Wasted commission I’ve owed to someone since November. I still have to price more original artworks, cut the certificates of authenticity for the box sets, look for the reserved copies of Batch 72, and maybe a blog entry. Oh yeah, here it is.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Two Days to Summer Komikon

All of a sudden, I’m nervous. I have absolutely no idea what kind of reaction “Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby” is going to get at this Summer Komikon on Saturday, TWO DAYS FROM NOW! I’ve always said I have strived to satisfy myself first and foremost, and if I was able to do that (satisfy myself), then I’m sure it will find satisfied readers as well.

But Rodski is a huge, HUGE risk. It’s the first full color book I am self publishing. At 2000 copies on it’s first printing, the cost of printing it was extraordinarily high. I could have bought a new car with that kind of money. Thank goodness the printer allowed me a deal that would make paying it much more easier. Would I break even? Would I make enough money to actually pay Arnold? Would it make enough money to pay off all my other debts?

I’m relatively confident that we will sell all of that eventually and if we do, I’ll be able to fulfill a lot of my financial obligations. I’m confident because it’s Arnold who’s drawing it, and he’s done a spectacular job. I think people will see that.

The book arrives here at the house tomorrow, and I’m very excited to see it.

While Rodski is a huge risk, I think RIZAL would be a much higher one. But that’s a story for another year. I’m already psyching myself up for that one!

Right now, Ilyn and I are busy putting together batch 2 of the Wasted Box Sets. Ilyn more than me because I also have an inking job to think about. So I’m inking, and doing the hand written letters and Eric sketches. Sara is helping out with the reproduction of the photographs and Wasted extras booklet.

Browsing Facebook I see a lot of other comics folk burning the midnight oil trying to finish their own books. It’s amazing to see such creativity and drive over something that’s driven by the love of something. So much new Philippine comic books coming out this Saturday. It’s truly a great time for Philippine comics. I’m so glad to be part of it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

New at Summer Komikon: Rodski Patotski, Ang Dalagang Baby

Arnold Arre and I will have a new book coming out at Summer Komikon on April 12, 2014. I wrote and lettered it, and Arnold Arre illustrated and colored it. Arnold’s wife Cynthia Bauzon-Arre provided us with the title design.

It’s eight inches by eight inches (yes, it’s a perfectly square book!), full color, and a hundred pages.

Arnold and I will both be at this coming Summer Komikon to launch it and sign copies.

I will be there pretty much the entire day from the opening at 10 am up to 7 in the evening, just to make sure everyone who drops by who would like to get a copy would get a copy. I have no fears of copies running out because we printed a lot. Ok, Komikero Publishing is printing 2000 copies!

I was scratching my head about how to fund this book because everyone knows doing a full color book in print is insanely expensive. Kickstarter isn’t available to project creators based in the Philippines so I thought about just asking online for people who wanted to buy the book before it even came out, as a kind of pre-selling thing. Lots of people did, thank goodness, and we were able to raise something like P20,000 from that. But that is just a small fraction of how much the book cost to print. Even when we added the money made from selling the Wasted Box Sets, it was still a fraction of what we needed. Hair fell off, my BP shot up, but in the end, the book is finally coming out!

Nevertheless, I am thankful for those who bought the book without having it in their hands, without knowing a single thing about it. I am very grateful for that trust and appreciate it very much. I hope I don’t disappoint you guys!

I’m really excited for this book because it’s a rare thing for me to have an all ages book out there. It’s not by far my first because Arnold and I collaborated once before on Lastikman. That wasn’t published by me though, but for me and Komikero Publishing, RODSKI is definitely my first all ages comic book!

People have been asking for previews but I’ve been hesitant to post any because I want the book to be a complete surprise when it comes out. Nobody has an idea of what to expect from this thing. I like it that all my projects are wildly different from the other. Wasted is nothing like Elmer and that is nothing like Bold Star and Rodski is nothing like any of those. People always come with some sort of expectations based on my previous work, that can’t be helped, but still, I hope people get that I don’t do things twice.

But anyway, as a small preview, as in very small, here’s a video ad created by blossoming animator and filmmaker Arnold Arre (who also happened to draw this book!):

All right, then! See you guys at Summer Komikon at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig on Saturday, April 12, 2014!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gerry Alanguilan and Summer Komikon (April Fool’s)

Hey, this is my April fool’s joke for 2014. It’s simple and a bit obvious, but I couldn’t believe I still got a few people! Until next year!

I’ve mentioned it several times in the past, but there is, in fact, another “Gerry Alanguilan” who resides here in San Pablo City. He’s in fact my cousin. He’s a construction worker, a mason, specifically. Right now he’s working on building this house just next door to where I’m living.

Perhaps it’s fortuitous for him to be in easy access right about this time. You see, It’s starting to look like I might not, unfortunately, be able to attend Summer Komikon this April 12. I’m sorry I can’t say why, except to say that’s it’s purely for personal reasons and it cannot be avoided.

However, my cousin Gerry Alanguilan has agreed to go in my place. He will occupy my table, sell Rodski, Wasted and original artwork, and he can even sign your books for you. I mean, he’s also Gerry Alanguilan, and in many ways, he’s more officially qualified to use that name because that’s the name that appears in his birth certificate. Gerry isn’t really even my name. It’s Doroteo, as you all may know. So yes, he’s more authentically Gerry Alanguilan than I am, so he isn’t exactly lying when he signs your books. And he’ll be very glad to, I’m sure. Say hello, take pictures with him, and just generally be nice. He’s kind of sensitive.

I’m truly sorry for my absence, but you can count on me to be around on Free Comic Book Day. See you then!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Get Around (not).

Sometimes I wish I still lived in Manila. It’s not that I want to live in the big city because I actually don’t. It’s just that there are so many activities and events I wish I could attend and participate in.

Over the last week I was invited to two events, one a cosplay convention thing by Kit Perez and the other a talk on Philippine comics by Paolo Chikiamco on April 6. There’s this zine thing that Adam David is involved in. I think I attended one of the very first of these things back in 2001. I really would like to attend one of those again. There’s signings by my friends in comics like Leinil’s signing at Glorietta last Saturday. So many more. I wish I could attend them all.

If I was in Manila I definitely would. I think it’s just one of those things I have to let go after deciding to settle here in San Pablo City. It’s not THAT far to Manila, but you guys have no idea how much of a hassle it is to make the trip, specially for me and my bum knee.

If I do decide to attend an event, it’s not just simply a matter of going there and get back home and continue working. I have to set aside an ENTIRE DAY even if the event is just a couple of hours. The trip going up to Manila, then take a connecting ride via jeep or bus or cab to the place, then the same thing going back. That all ads up. Ever tried hailing a cab at 9pm in Makati? GOOD LUCK.

Public transport in Manila, as you guys know, can just be a nightmare. I mean, just look at how insane riding an MRT or LRT right now is. The metro buses aren’t safe and it’s not just because of the hold-uppers. It’s the drivers and their lack of discipline.

If I was younger I could have easily dealt with this, but I’m not so young anymore. My bones aren’t so young anymore and it’s really difficult for me now. More often than not, I would just rather stay here in San Pablo away from the craziness that is Manila.

How can I explain to people that this is one of the big reasons I decline invitations? It’s just too hard for me. As I mentioned previously, one of my knees is giving me trouble and walking for long distances can be excruciating. That’s the bottom line. I really don’t want to leave San Pablo and deal with that.

But if I really have to go, like if it’s something important like KOMIKON, I don’t take the bus. I rent a van. It’s not cheap, but it’s very convenient, and it circumvents a lot of the hassle dealing with going to Manila and back. So I reserve van money specially for those events that’s important to me as a creator, and that’s the two Komikons within the year, FCBD at Comic Odyssey and a couple of signings here and there. That’s it. That’s also why I don’t go to Manila that often. Because it costs me a lot of money to go.

So I guess I’m pretty lucky that I have a job that I can do at home. I can do everything from my work desk and computer and I don’t even have to go out. With this kind of arrangement, I just continue on working even when I’m sick, even when I don’t feel like taking a bath. And I’m thankful for that!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Komikero Publishing, Print Comics and Surviving the Digital Age

Photo by Comic Odyssey

Last Saturday’s signing at Comic Odyssey went pretty well. All the copies of “Where Bold Stars Go To Die” that the store ordered were all sold out even before I arrived. Admittedly, I arrived a bit late, which is frustrating because I’m never late. Thing was, the van we rented ran into problems and it took a couple of hours to fix.

But anyhow, I’m glad people stayed around to get their books signed, and pick up the first 10 Wasted Box Sets that were finished.

Signing Photo Gallery 1 (Danry Ocampo)

Signing Photo Gallery 2 (Comic Odyssey)

It is the Wasted Box Sets I wish to talk about here. That box set is the ultimate expression of Komikero Publishing’s reason for being, and that is to not only share stories and art, but to give readers an EXPERIENCE. That experience of actually holding a comic book in your hands. An experience that is slowly but surely being eroded by our transition into the digital age. More and more comics are now being downloaded and read on screens. That is now a fact of life. And I for one won’t stand on a pulpit frothing at the mouth railing against it. Everyone else can go digitize their comics and that’s perfectly cool.

My stories, however, will remain in print and some of my work will ONLY be available in print. I feel that touching comic books with your hands, physically flipping the pages and reading is an experience too valuable for us humans to do away with. And that is an experience everyone can still count on with Komikero Publishing for as long as I’m alive.

The other day I saw a comment on Twitter by a fellow pro. I won’t mention him anymore because that isn’t really the point. He said that two page spreads in comics should be abolished because it does’t work with digital. Deep inside my heart I just had to laugh. I didn’t want to argue so I didn’t, but I thought I’d talk about that here.

So because it doesn’t work with digital, it HAS to be abolished? From my point of view, for print to survive, there should be MORE 2 page spreads, because as it turns out, there are strengths in print that digital comics cannot possibly replicate. And one of those are 2 page spreads. And that is true. The magnificence of opening a comic book with a 2 page spread is quite an experience, and it’s one of the things that make comics such a pleasurable reading experience. I remember Alfredo Alcala’s Voltar 2 page spreads… oh man… or how about those glorious Jack Kirby two page spreads in his comic books for Marvel and DC? How about Frank Miller’s 300 where every single damned page is a 2 page spread? Even better… how about those multiple page spreads in Jim Lee’s Wildcats? In Alan Moore’s Promethea? In Frank Miller’s Ronin? Or how about those multiple page drawings by Alex Niño that, put together, form one gigantic panel? Digital can never hope to replicate the experience those kinds of things print comics can do. It’s something print comics can do best, and it’s something that will help keep it alive.

At Komikero Publishing, aside from keeping my comics in print, we also produce specially made box sets in cooperation with my wife’s paper crafting business.

In 2009 we made box sets of my comic book ELMER:

Each box set contains a hand bound hardcover of the comic book, original artwork, photographs and facsimiles, a certificate of authenticity, a CD with videos, all packaged within a special hand made box.

Check out my original post about it:

A close up of the hand made hardcover from my wife’s blog:

It’s our version of an Absolute book or Omnibus, but much more special and lots more extras.

This year, we’re releasing a box set of my comic book WASTED:

This box set contains a hand bound hardcover of the comic book in a slipcase, original artwork, photographs, certificate of authenticity and a handwritten letter. The letter is a real life reproduction of a letter that figures prominently in the story. Each box has one of these.

Check out my wife’s post about the Wasted box sets:

We do these boxes because as we previously mentioned, we want to share an EXPERIENCE when people read my comic books. It’s something that’s important not only to me, but to my wife as well who has devoted a significant portion of her life creating art from paper.

How in the world can you digitize this? The answer is YOU CAN’T.

However, I’m not completely closed off to the idea of digital comics. My comic book Wasted can be read completely for free online from this website. It can be read in various forms: html, cbr, mobi, pdf… it even has a special digital edition complete with videos from me.

So yeah, it’s best of both worlds.