Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ensuring a Future

Being in comics one thing is for sure: I spend a lot of time just sitting down in front of a drawing table and computer. That part of my body getting the most exercise are my fingers. I’ve put on a lot of weight ever since the late 1990s. I think I topped at around 91 kilos sometime in 2010. Look at this. This is me at my fattest during one of the conventions:

I started to recognize back then that I needed a change of lifestyle if I ever want to be healthier and be around longer. I started using less salt and sugar in my food. I dramatically decreased my intake of pork and beef. I started to generally eat much less. I didn’t starve myself, of course. I just started eating smaller portions. We stopped having pizza and other stuff delivered for snacks completely. No more midnight snacks.

I also started to regulate my work hours strictly. I would work only up to 12 midnight or at the very most 1am. I no longer went on all nighters. I had to get my 8 hour sleep every day. I’d probably take 6 hours at night and another two in the afternoon.

Exercise is my one last hurdle. Because I’ve developed a really bad knee, running/jogging is out of the question. Even walking for long periods of time is out of the question. I might start using a cane very soon. Holy crap. If I do I’ll make sure it will be one kick ass cane. With snakes and everything. I went ahead and got a pedal exerciser, something prescribed by a physical therapist, which I now use everyday.

Right now I’m down to a more manageable 76 kilos. I never veer too far from it anymore. I’d still like to go lower than that. 68 kilos is probably a more ideal weight for me. Because I lost all those pounds, I’ve actually stopped snoring, which is great. It’s something I was always deeply conscious of whenever I would sleep over at friends’ places.

I do still eat meat maybe once a month. I still eat everything actually, but in strict moderation. Mostly it’s just fish and vegetables and chicken. Fruits are awesome, but even that I’m told by my doctor that I need to keep in moderation. I love mangoes and melons. Those two are my favorite fruits of all time.

This is me today:

Me and my childhood friend Dan Yatco. Photo by Benjie Jacinto.

I feel better than I did a few years before. Which is great. I have to be around to keep working, keep writing and drawing. I just really have a lot more stories to tell.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Bold Star, Elmer

Where Bold Stars Go To Die“, a comic book I wrote that my late friend Arlan Esmeña illustrated was finally published in the US via SLG Publishing. If you’re in the US or anywhere outside the Philippines, you can just order it directly from the SLG website here. If you’re in the Philippines, this edition is being sold by Comic Odyssey. It will be available February 26. After February 26, you can just buy it from their stores in Robinson’s Galleria, Fully Booked at the Fort, Greenhills and Robinson’s Malate.

Since this is published by SLG Publishing, I don’t control the stocks of it so I myself don’t have copies to sell. You won’t be able to buy them directly from me. It will be a bit more expensive than the Komikero Publishing edition, which has since been sold out. Content wise, there’s very little difference. The new edition has a new pinup by Harvey Tolibao and an Arlan Esmeña tribute, but that’s it. Format wise, I actually have no idea yet how different it is with regards to printing and paper. I will know only when my complimentary copies arrive.

I will be having a Bold Star book signing at Comic Odyssey, Robinson’s Galleria on March 15. I will also bringing a lot of original artwork with me, plus a surprise release (more details soon). This is to raise funds for the printing of Rodski for Summer Komikon on April 12.

I will most likely reprint Bold Stars through Komikero Publishing later in the year. I’ve written a lot about the book on this blog.

Serge Ewenczyk, my French publisher of ELMER sent me this image:

Now I don’t know what it says, but it seems to be a feature/review of Elmer in a French chicken magazine. He seems to have found this very amusing for some reason.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blocked at Bleeding Cool Forums

I’ve noticed I haven’t been able to access the Bleeding Cool Forums for quite a while now. I don’t know exactly when this started, but it has been a while. This is the error message that I see when I try to access it:

You don’t have permission to access /forums/showthread.php on this server.

I mentioned it on Twitter today and I received a lot of responses from other guys based here in the Philippines who couldn’t access the forum as well, leading many to conclude that the entire Philippines (and not just me) is blocked from viewing the forums. I wonder why.

I used to post there a lot back when Bleeding Cool was new. In fact, the website still sends me automated birthday greetings every year. Over time though, I’ve noticed a lot of really ignorant posts from some of the most vocal commenters on the site. It was quite off putting. It’s one thing to have an opinion (which everyone is entitled to), but if those opinions are uneducated and ignorant, well, that’s a whole different bag of chips.

The last straw was a few years ago when Mark Millar announced that he would be doing signings here in the Philippines. All of a sudden I saw such ignorant comments like “why is Mark going there they don’t even have running water”. It gets worse than that actually. It really pissed me off. So I went there and posted about why I never post at the forums anymore, and that’s because it’s populated by such ignorant and stupid people. And left.

Did that help me and the rest of the country get banned? Common sense tells me that it shouldn’t. I was just defending the Philippines from idiots.

Whatever the reason was for us getting banned, it really doesn’t matter. And it’s probably just as well. I really don’t want going to a place where there is such stupidity and ignorance. I wish I could tell Rich Johnston to tame his pets but I doubt even he can do anything about it.

Rich, if in the off chance you get to read this, you don’t have to unban me. It’s all right. I might still read the news from your website from time to time, but I’ll never again visit the forums.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On Inking, Bold Stars and Rodski

I’ve been inking comics professionally now for like well, since 1995. You would think I’d get tired of it, bit I’m honestly not. Admittedly, there was a time that I quit. This was back in 2005. That was not because I didn’t like to ink anymore, but because I wanted to expand my creativity to other things. In that break I did things like Humanis Rex, Timawa, and most specially ELMER. I’m really proud of Elmer. I still can’t believe I actually did that, and I still can’t believe all the doors that thing opened.

I’m back to inking but now I’ve made an extra effort to continue doing my own stuff. That’s why there’s “Where Bold Stars Go To Die” and there’s “Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby”. It’s been very difficult juggling inking and the other things, but I can’t help it now. I just have to do it.

Speaking of “Bold Stars”, it was picked up by SLG Publishing, the same publishing company that published ELMER internationally. It can now be ordered here. If your local comics store ordered this when it was previewed in the Diamond Catalog last October, then your store will most likely have copies.

Arnold Arre continues to send in finished pages of “Rodski”, and he’s blowing my mind with each page. Maaaaaan. I’m really pleased how the art’s turning out. Arnold made a Rodski poster specially for Summer Komikon so be on the look out for that when Komikon starts to promote the event. That will be on April 12 by the way. So save the date! We will be launching the book right there and yes, Arnold will be on hand to sign books.

Both Arnold and Leinil Yu will be special guests at Summer Komikon, and they intend on positioning me right between them at the venue. I think it describes my position in the industry quite well. One foot in independent Filipino comics and another foot in American comics. I think it’s a great place to be in.

Speaking of inking, I rediscovered this piece online:

It’s unsigned, but it’s pencilled by Whilce Portacio and inked by me, sometime in 1998. This was a cover for Darkness, I think, for TOP COW. I still remember exactly the circumstances in which this was inked. The studio in Manila was located somewhere in Horseshoe Drive, QC. At the time I was no longer staying full time at the studio. After training with Whilce since 1995, he had let me go to stay and work from home. I dropped by that day for a visit. Whilce was working on this cover and he asked me to ink it. But I had to work on it at the studio because the deadline was tight. I thought that would be OK. At the time I think Edgar Tadeo was still staying at the studio, as well as Gilbert Monsanto. I didn’t have my tools with me so I went to nearby Cubao to buy a Rotring Technical 0.1. That’s the tool I used to ink most of this cover, plus maybe a quill or brush I must have borrowed from Edgar. I ended up staying overnight.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Back Home

My classamtes with a photobombing waiter. Photo by Ariel Porca.

The homecoming at my old university UST went surprisingly well. That’s probably because we had a big bunch of my classmates there and it was really nice seeing a lot of these faces again after so long. Granted, I’ve seen most of them on Facebook, but it’s different when you see them face to face.

At the start of the day Ilyn and I passed by Robinson’s Galleria first for a visit to Comic Odyssey, where I picked up “Marvel Firsts: The 80s Vol 1″. I’ve been collecting these Marvel Firsts books beginning with their 60s volume and I’m really loving them. Sure they only feature first issues (which is the novelty of it), but as you read the stories you realize a lot of these stories are left hanging because they continue on to 2nd issues (which of course aren’t included in these books). I really like them nonetheless.

We had lunch somewhere and I made a mistake of ordering a shake. In the picture in the menu it didn’t look like a shake. It looked like tea with juice or something. But it was a shake. As soon as I drank it I realized my mistake. Why is it a mistake? I’m lactose intolerant. And you know what that means. I can’t afford to have a bad stomach, not with so many activities. We still had homecoming that night! I didn’t finish the shake anymore and just asked for water.

After lunch I then dropped off Ilyn at UP Diliman for her symposium and while she did that I went to Trinoma to meet a friend. That’s when I started to feel disturbing rumblings in my stomach. And I’m like HOLY SHIT. It wasn’t so bad though. It’s just that my intestines were producing so much air it was just annoying. To me and people around me I guess. But I’m not admitting anything.

At 5pm I picked Ilyn up at UP and we went off to UST. Thankfully, my brother lives just beside UST so I managed to get a much welcome bathroom break. I was able to go to the homecoming stress free.

There were lots of prizes up for raffle including almost TEN flat screen TVs. I was hoping to get one because I don’t have a TV here at home. But I was just unlucky. Oh well. Nevertheless, it was great meeting up with old classmates and reminisce. One classmate set me aside and told me she knew of another really talented guy who draws comics. She’s a neighbor of his and they often get to talk when they meet at gym. Apparently, she was talking about Leinil Yu.

Speaking of Leinil Yu, the two page spreads that arrived for an Avengers issue we’re doing are just spectacular and I’ll be spending the whole day today just working on them. So yeah, until next time!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Traffic. I hate it. I stay at home in San Pablo most of the time, not wanting to ever go back to Manila because I just hate traffic. But look at me today… I’m going to Manila on what is probably the worst time to go. Because of the INC and their Metro walk, I expect traffic to be hell today. You know, fund raising for Yolanda is a fantastic thing. We did it last year, raising almost 1 million pesos just staying in ONE ROOM and not bothering anybody not causing any traffic and not being an inconvenience to people. INC wants to raise funds (which is admirable), but closing roads inconveniencing thousands and thousands of people at the same time is just inconsiderate.

I have to go to Manila today because I’ll be accompanying Ilyn to UP Diliman and then later in the day go to UST for a homecoming. Our Architecture batch 89 is the host so we have to be there. And that’s another thing. Homecomings. I don’t mind batch reunions. In fact, I like going to those. But these homecomings include batches from other college departments and other years and these people are just complete strangers to me. I have nothing at all in common with them aside from the fact that we went to UST at some point in our lives. Why am I getting together with them? What do I have to share with them? Nothing. Nothing at all. I don’t know them. I don’t care about them, and I’m sure they don’t care about me.

However, I am looking forward to seeing my classmates. Since we’re the hosts, we have a large group attending, which was at last count was almost 50. So that’s practically a batch reunion right there. I had to go to SM yesterday and buy something yellow to wear. I had to go and buy something because I absolutely have nothing yellow in my closet. Yellow is just not my color. I don’t wear it. But for this homecoming I had to buy a yellow shirt. I found one that was actually quite nice. I just might wear it to Summer Komikon.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Back in the old days before the Internet, I had a diary. In addition to that, I was sending letters to a lot of people both locally and abroad. I was spending a lot of time just writing on paper. When the Internet came all that changed. Unfortunately. I could not deny that the instant communication offered by the Internet was incredibly appealing. However, I have come to miss the thrill of receiving hand written letters from friends in the mail. Somehow, receiving an email isn’t as thrilling.

Transporting the diary online though, became kind of tricky. Diaries were supposed to be private. Bringing it online where people (and strangers) can read it was kind of weird. Certainly you couldn’t write an online diary as honestly as a private diary. But I did it anyway. I began writing online diaries long before there were things like blogger. I did it all on html and uploaded each page myself via FTP. I was more forthcoming with personal things back then. There came a time when it became less personal, and more like well… PROMOTION. I recognized the fact that people do read my online journal and I took advantage of that to sell them stuff. Being in comics with stories to tell, it’s an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.

So I will continue to do it, but hopefully not at the expense of more personal posts. I see myself doing more of that soon. You have probably noticed that I haven’t been posting a lot in this blog. That’s probably because I’ve been struggling about what to write. I’ve been concerned about you know, perpetuating the idea that this is a comics blog and that it should be a place where information about comics can be read. Maybe I should just get back to why I started writing this online journal in the first place. It was supposed to be a place where I can just share my thoughts and what I’m doing.

I guess I’ve been doing that a lot on Twitter instead. But you know Twitter, you can only say so much. And I’m a verbose kind of guy. So I will be writing a lot more stuff here. If you’re the TLDR kind, then sucks to be you then. And if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t really read and in the end asks questions that’s plainly answered by the post ONLY IF YOU READ IT, then I just won’t answer you. Again, sucks to be you.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby

After almost a year, I finally finished the script to my next book, “Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby”! Like a lot of my projects I felt good about, the writing of the story took a long time to do. After a lot of stops and starts, I’ve finally come to the point that I’m very happy with what I’ve written, and I feel good about handing it to the artist, which by extreme luck is none other than superstar artist Arnold Arre.

Arnold is drawing the book as well as coloring it. I’ve written it, and I’ll take care of lettering and laying out the book. Reading it through and looking at the art that Arnold has done so far, not only do I feel good about it, I feel very good about it. Arnold is such an extraordinarily amazing artist. He was able to elevate my story into something very special.

What is “Rodski Patotski??”

It really began when I discovered an old komiks story called “Linda Maligna” illustrated by my father in law, Rudy Florese. Linda is, amusingly enough, the name of his wife, my wife’s mother and my mother in law. I thought it cute that my father in law worked on a story named after his wife. I thought I’d continue the tradition and name my next story after my own wife.

“Rodsky” is a name my wife is known for in school by her classmates and friends, which is short for “Roddielyn”. So I named my character Roddelyn, or “Rodski” for short.

And now what idea or concept do I wrap around that name? I thought I’d make it a tribute to all the classic Pinoy komiks characters. I decided to call it “Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby”. As to why she’s called that, I guess I won’t spoil it for you. You would just have to pick up the book when it comes out.

The book is written in a combination of English and Tagalog. It was an experiment I wanted to try out. I wanted to see if I could write it that way, but still make it understandable to a non-Tagalog reader. Hopefully I pulled it off. HOPEFULLY!

A lot of people may be asking…. “What happened to DARNA LIVES?”

That’s a good question. Arnold and I enjoyed creating that short Darna story, but I’m afraid that’s only as far as it would go. I just wanted to show a different direction that such a long standing character can taken and still make it work. A lot of these classic characters come with stories that seem to be afraid to push the boundaries of the character and of the genre. Arnold and I demonstrated that it can be done and still be well received. Hopefully, future Darna writers would pick up on that.

When writing my own stories, I now prefer to just create my own characters and create my own legacy, instead of perpetuating the legacy of other people.

So is “Rodski” any good? I really don’t know. But I feel good about it. Hopefully, people do get to enjoy reading it. It’s written with “all ages” in mind so it can be read by young children and grandparents alike. It’s pretty much a first for me, having written so many “For Mature Readers Only” material.

I can’t wait for this book to be finished and printed and in your hands! We’re targeting Summer Komikon for it, so fingers crossed! The book will have 100 pages and square proportions. It will be square bound, and in full color. Yep! FULL COLOR! Lord knows where I’ll get the money to pay for printing this, but I’ll find a way!