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 NiƱo 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.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Comic Book Signing, March 15, 2014!

I’ll be having a comic book signing this coming Saturday, March 15, 2014 at Comic Odyssey, Robinson’s Galleria from 1-4pm. The signing is specially for the Philippine release of the SLG Edition of “Where Bold Stars Go To Die“, but please feel free to bring any or all comic books I’ve worked on and I’ll sign them all, no limits! I’ll sign it even if it’s already signed! I’ll sign it even if it’s by Rob Liefeld! (If you want).

I’m currently raising funds for the printing of my next book “Rodski Pototski: Ang Dalagang Baby” (for release at Summmer Komikon on April 12), so there will be a few things I will be offering for sale.

I won’t talk about the Wasted Box Set anymore because sorry guys, it’s all sold out! But thanks to everyone who reserved a box. It’s very much appreciated! As previously mentioned, 20 of those things will ever be made, and I’m saying right now not all of those 20 boxes will be available on March 15. We’re trying for 10 boxes. I will get in touch with you soon if you will get yours on March 15, or on Summer Komikon.

I’m also bringing original inked comic book art from Avengers, Indestructible Hulk, and various other books I’ve worked on. I will be offering a lot of the pages for less than the usual price. So I would only ask that no discounts are asked for anymore. To be honest, I’ve never liked discounts on artwork. I feel it devalues me and my work. And it develops hard feelings in me every time I see you. And if you never asked for a discount, you will have my goodwill forever! I’m just being honest. I could go on about it, but maybe another time. Look for my assistant Zara in the store. She’ll be handling all the original art sales. Thanks in advance!!

See you guys Saturday!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Limited Collector’s Edition Wasted Box Set

To further raise funds for the printing of “Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby”, Komikero Publishing and Paper Basket will be releasing a limited collector’s edition Wasted Box Set!
Each box set will contain a hand crafted Wasted hardcover and slipcase, original Wasted artwork, a hand lettered letter from Eric to Jenny (from issue #8), a booklet of all extra material from the original photocopied Wasted, photographs, and a certificate of authenticity.

Only 20 of these box sets will be made. Each will retail at P2500. If you wish to get a box, please send an email to First come first served! Because I would need to see who reserved first, I would be able to only receive reservations only through email at that address. I would prefer I hand it to you personally so if you can make it to the Bold Stars signing at Comic Odyssey, Robinson’s Galleria on March 15, the better. I’d rather not ship it because of the delicate nature of the material, but if there’s no choice, I can ship it via courier at an additional P250 for proper packaging and shipping.

Because of the limited nature of the box set, only one box per customer will be accepted.

I have to say that probably only 10 will be finished by March 15. I can go up to Manila again at the end of March for the rest.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Digital Comics and Komikero Publishing

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth reiterating. I can definitely see the future of comics as being predominantly digital. It’s inevitable, I think. I’ve had so many offers from local and international companies to digitize my comics stories for distribution on mobile gadgets. I have made my concessions with digital by offering a lot of my work online, mostly for free. Wasted remains free to read online, along with a lot of my other work.

I’m no longer interested in debating the issue. I’ve had my fair share of “discussion” about this in the past. I’ve heard all the arguments and you know what? I throw up my hands and say all the arguments for digital comics are completely valid. You wont find me ranting and railing against it, because that would just be counterproductive. And futile.

But as far as Komikero Publishing is concerned, I will continue to do comics in print, and I will continue to resist translating most of my work into digital.

I know that the goal of any storyteller is to share his stories with as much people as possible, and digital is certainly a big way of doing it. I reach a far greater audience online than I do with print.

But you know, to me it’s more than just sharing stories and art. It’s about sharing an “experience”. That experience of holding a comic book in your hands. I think that it’s an experience that’s valuable and important, and that as human beings, it’s something that we should never lose.

As the world speeds hastily into the digital age, that experience will become even more rare and valuable. I want to be that publisher that gives people that kind of experience. I don’t care if I end up on the losing end of the financial stick. It was never about the money for me.

I don’t need to further explain myself. Those who don’t understand this never will. But those who understand it will understand perfectly. I’m not here to sway anyone to my way of thinking. I’m just laying out my publishing company’s reason for being.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

To help fund the printing of “Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby“, we’re now accepting pre-orders!

Rodski is being released in FULL COLOR on matte paper, 100 pages, 8″x 8″ dimensions and perfect bound. It will retail for P450. If you wish to reserve your copy now for pick up at Summer Komikon on April 12, you can send your payment to my BPI account. Send me an email at gerryalanguilan at so I can send you the information. If you are not attending Summer Komikon and you would prefer that we ship it to you via courier, you can just add P150 for shipping and handling. We will ship the book in between illustration boards via LBC or Air 21. Send me an email at gerryalanguilan at for further information. Unfortunately, I can only accept orders from the Philippines at the moment. But I will make it available for international orders once the book is out.

Don’t worry that you won’t get your copy. We plan on printing a lot… as in a lot of copies!

To everyone who will help out with the funding of the book by pre-buying it, you have my (and Arnold’s) utmost thanks and appreciation!

The cover above is illustrated and colored by Arnold Arre. Title design is by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre.