Sunday, December 27, 2015

13 Years!

It's been thirteen years since this photo was taken. Ilyn and I both decided to get married during December, between Christmas and New Year's Day because we wanted not only our wedding, but our anniversaries to happen when the weather was relatively cool, and there's a feeling of holiday and celebration in the air.

I still remember the day like it was just last week. We had our reception at Roño's Place, back when it was still owned by the Roños. They even gave us a free night in their bed and breakfast right next to the reception. The following day, Ilyn and I just walked a few blocks to our apartment, newly painted, with all new bamboo furniture and new appliances, utensils, tools, and bed sheets. We spent the day in bed just watching the special extended edition DVD of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. To this day, new paint and Lord of the Rings make me nostalgic for the Christmas season, and our wedding.

Our anniversary is actually tomorrow, December 28, but we won't be able to celebrate it then so we just decided to do it today.

Just like last year, Ilyn and I went on breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates here in San Pablo to commemorate our anniversary. The places we went to weren't that particularly special, but we didn't mind.

For breakfast, we went happily to Dunkin' Donuts. It just occurred to me that we also went to Dunkin' Donuts during our breakfast anniversary date last year.

I guess I just wanted to go to a place where I can have coffee and something to dunk into the coffee, proper breakfast style. Sadly, there's really no other place you can do that in San Pablo that's open at that hour. We would have opted to go to a local business, but even a place like Si Christina doesn't have anything you can dunk into their coffee. Can you imagine dunking cakes and sansrival into coffee? NO. Ugh.

The coffee at Dunkin' comes in really small though. As in tiny. See photo on the left for evidence. It's crazy. What is this, Hobbit land? Still, Dunkin' coffee is far more decent than most fast food coffee like those from Jollibee or McDo.

I went crazy and had three...THREE donuts. I wanted simple donuts. I didn't want those overly sweet, overly elaborate donuts that seem to be the norm in places like this. I would have loved to have a simple sugar raised donut, not any of these bavarian filled strawberry choco coco puff sprinkled sparkling carbonated bacon wrapped rainbow-colored monstrosities. Oh no, I'm starting to rant. Let me go and move on to lunch.

We happily had our lunch at David's Tea House at Puregold. David's wasn't my first choice, but we wanted to go to the newly opened Office Warehouse nearby. David's was the nearest, relatively decent place to eat.

I won't go at length about what we ate because I might start another rant haha. But let me just say that we did enjoy the food and I probably ate a little too much. No, I can't let this go! THEY FORGOT THE SAGO IN THE MANGO SAGO! There. I'm OK now.

For dinner, we happily ate at Simple Treats, one of our favorite places here in San Pablo. We actually struggled... STRUGGLED to decide where to have dinner. We were deciding between places like Hungry Gorilla, YOu Japanese Canteen and SuperWok, all of which are very near to our house. In the end, we decided on Simple Treats because I really wanted to have a really... REALLY good cup of coffee.

Hands down, Simple Treats has the best coffee here in San Pablo. I'm very sure you'll hear few arguments from those who have actually tried it. We like this coffee so much that a few years ago during our 10th Wedding Anniversary party, we actually asked Simple Treats to cater their coffee. No, they don't cater coffee, but since we're tight with the owner, he said OK. He even thought it was such a good idea that he might start catering coffee himself for other occasions.

Tonight, the coffee didn't disappoint. As usual, it was simply awesome.

So awesome that it made us truly happy.

It's really been such a nice day. Although today was special, we do try to make each day as special as this one, just in different ways.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Unfollowing Heroes

I've had to unfollow a few heroes of mine on Facebook. I had been very disappointed at how incredibly bitter some of them have become. Or have they always been that way? One of them seems to find the negative in almost anything that it just gets really tiring.

I do post angry messages once in a while that I'm sure would elicit negative feelings from people as well, but I don't do it on a regular basis. In fact, I've avoided posting about controversial, heavy stuff on my main Facebook profile for a while now. I reserve some of my angrier posts on my Facebook page. But even there I don't do it too often. I make it a point to post a few senseless, stupid, ridiculous (and hopefully funny) things every now and then.

I do understand that following someone who just keeps posting angry things every single day can be emotionally exhausting, specially if this is a person who, at some point in your life, you idolized and admired. Is this what's in store for me in the future? Will the comics industry disillusion me to the point that I become as bitter and angry as well? I hope to God it doesn't happen to me, no matter how negative my experiences could be.

In a way, I do understand the need to vent and express your emotions. That there are issues that you need spread awareness of. But I believe that the constant and relentless anger oftentimes cloud the message and the incessant slapping you in the face with these issues can close off people from looking at those issues more closely. What's the use of your message if people stop listening to you?

Christmas 2015

Christmas was pretty quiet, subdued and simple this year. It's two Christmases since my mom died, and the only people in the house are Ilyn, me and dad. We tried to keep the Christmas spirit alive by putting up the tree the lights early. We never got around to playing any Christmas music though... and in spite of the tree and the lights it didn't feel so Christmas-y for us this year. For the first time in my life I wasn't able to finish Christmas Mass. I had to go home because I wasn't feeling too well. As I write this I'm already feeling OK, having gotten a bit of a rest and some quiet time with Ilyn.

I guess I can never really go back to that time in my life as a child when Christmas was so thrilling and exciting. I didn't have any worries about life back then, never had any responsibilities. It isn't to say I was miserable this time around. No, actually I am quite happy and content with the life I have. I guess I've just come to accept that life is like this now, and I've decided to find happiness wherever and however I can find it. I've got a great job inking Star Wars comics in a season when the new Star Wars film just hit and everything is all abuzz with it. I'm still here, still alive and I never ever take that for granted.

Noche Buena was simple but nice. We had some ham my brother gave us. (My brother isn't with us this year. He's in Manila with his son spending Christmas there.) I also made soup from roasted squash and bell peppers. Even I couldn't believe how good it was. We had some peppermint hot chocolate, some grapes, fruit salad that Ilyn made and just regular plain cheese. We were unable to get a Queso de Bola this year, but that's OK. And for the first time in years we didn't have anything that was even remotely alcoholic. I did have a Dr. Pepper with a slice of lemon, which was just great.

Fireworks came early, as it usually does here in San Pablo. I guess over the last few years a few San Pableños got it in their heads to blow up some firecrackers to greet the coming of December 25. When I was younger I loved firecrackers. I lit up up a box or two of them myself, Right now I'm just not interested in it anymore. And it frightens Bugel so I have to go and try to calm her down and reassure her that nothing's gonna happen to her. Even the faintest firecracker from far away drives Bugel into a panic. Poor dog. We'll have to give her some extra attention come New Year's Eve.

I usually wake up really early, but tomorrow, Christmas Day, I plan on sleeping in. Just stay in bed and sleep until maybe 7 or 8am. Crazy, I know, but considering I usually wake up at 4:30am, that's pretty late for me.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars!

Just came home from a screening of The Force Awakens and holy shit on a stick, it was just awesome! I won't spoil it for you guys, but there were plenty of hair raising moments throughout the film that would appeal to long time fans. I made sure that I caught the very first screening here in San Pablo because I wouldn't want to be spoiled by nutjobs posting spoilers online. And with things that happened in this film, they would be truly heavy spoilers.

It's doubly exciting for me because I get to go home after watching Star Wars and actually work on an OFFICIAL Star Wars comic book! I'm currently working on inking Star Wars #16 with my longtime penciller Leinil Francis Yu.

Previously, we worked on The Darth Vader annual, with me inking, Leinil pencilling and Jason Keith coloring. I'm particularly proud of being involved with that one because I think we did a pretty good job.

To those who asked me if I will be at the book signing/launching of the annual this Saturday at Greenhills, I would have to say no, and that's because I wasn't actually invited. To be honest, I'm kind of bummed. It would have been nice to be have been part of it. In any case, I made other plans for Saturday instead.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


My website,, is currently undergoing repairs so for the meantime, I will be posting updates here. I will eventually transfer all posts from here to my original site when it's fixed.

Last weekend was Komikon 2015, the first time Komikon was held for 2 days. I was excited about this because I have always believed over the last few years that Komikon has grown and must continue to grow. Adding more days to the event is one way of doing it. I don't live in Manila and to man a table for two days posed an interesting problem of logistics. I always rent a van for these events to transport our books. That meant renting a van for two days (which can be expensive). Do I get a hotel? That still meant getting a van for two days because I need to bring in and bring back books (which is more expensive). I decided to just get a van for two days and go home after each day. It could get tiring and expensive, but I thought I'd just find a way to earn enough money to pay not only for the transportation but for the cost of tables for two days.

I did find it tiring towards the end of each day. I apologize for leaving early and leaving my table with Ilyn and Zara, but I didn't want to wipe myself out too much. But even though it was tiring, it was all worth it. Komikons are always fun, and it's always personally inspiring to me to see what new things my fellow creators come up with. And this year didn't disappoint. I've so far browsed a few new titles and I'm very very impressed. The quality of stories, artwork and format have grown dramatically over the last ten years. A few of the creators who have been around making comics for a while have started to produce much more mature, much more professionally polished work. What I mean by "mature" is not "adults only" but a work that's more artistically sophisticated, benefited by years of experience and education. There's nothing amateurish bout new books like Josel Nicolas's "Bearings Windmills Volume One", "Light" by Rob Cham and Adam David and Mervin Malonzo's "Ang Subersibo". Looking at books like these make me highly optimistic about the future of Philippine comics.

The organizers of Komikon have done a tremendous job keeping things together for their first 2 day event. I remain thankful to them for taking the time and effort to create this event for the benefit of Filipino comics creators, readers, and Philippine comics as a whole.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by the table. Thanks to Iya Santos for feeding us continuously throughout the two days. Your cookies are awesome!

Temporary Blog

Greetings! My current and long time blog, is undergoing repair. This will where I will post my blog entries for the meantime.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Friend Johnny

Johnny insisted that I first met him at Comics Den, a small comic book shop here in San Pablo sometime in the early 2000s. To be honest, I don’t remember. When the Laguna Artists Group (later known as the Komikero Artists Group) formed in 2002, he became one of the members. Little did I know at the time that his entry into my life would be a life changing one. Slowly over the years we got to know each other and he eventually became one of my close friends. That doesn’t mean we shared everything. Johnny was a private person and so was I. And so was Jonas, but in spite of that we three formed a strong bond. We didn’t need to see or talk to each other all the time. We didn’t intrude into each other’s personal lives. And yet we were so close it’s crazy. It’s hard to explain.

It is this same privacy that kept Johnny from telling us right away that he had been feeling seriously sick. He did tell us he felt feverish once in a while, but he didn’t tell us how serious it actually was. Talking with his sister last night at his wake, I was told how private he was with them. Talking with her made me realize something about Johnny… something I already knew but didn’t realize how significant it was. Perhaps I was too close that I didn’t fully realize it or comprehend it.

Johnny spent a large part of his life helping other people. The more I thought about it, the more I realize how true it was. Johnny spearheaded a lot of fund raising events that helped impoverished school children get school supplies. He approached those that he knew, bringing comic book artists together to create art that were sold at auctions held at our local comic book conventions.

Auctioning off artwork at Komikon. Photo by Kit Perez.

Johnny showing off how much was raised for “Lapis at Papel”. Photo by Carlo Pagulayan.

Johnny managed to get a lot of big local names to help out. Leinil Yu, Carlo Pagulayan, Stephen Segovia, Harvey Tolibao, Manix Abrera, Carlo Vergara, etc. There was something about Johnny that just made you trust him and made you want to help.

He was also involved in helping raise funds to help fellow comic book creators who had needed financial help for medical reasons, such as the case with Vergil Espinosa and Rico Rival’s family. When someone needed help, Johnny’s first thought was to help raise funds so everyone could help.

Johnny made a living for himself holding down two jobs. One job was with an NGO that helped fellow Filipinos across the country. His other job was online… and that was helping Japanese citizens learn how to speak English. It’s amazing how much of Johnny’s life was built around helping and serving other people, even right up to the end.

He thought of others more and less for himself. Sure he had his own vices. He was after all a comic book fan. He collected toys and comics. But that is as far as he went serving himself. I realize now how Johnny was one of the most selfless people I know. I wish there was some way we could have let him know how much we appreciate him and what he’s done. But knowing Johnny, he wouldn’t want the attention and the fuss.


Last night I saw Johnny at his wake. It’s so hard to believe he’s gone. Even now I still can’t wrap my head around it. He loomed so large, so vibrant and alive that it’s hard to fully accept that he’s no longer here. Of course, in many ways he will always be around. As long as we remember him he will be. And there’s the videos. I made so many videos with Johnny. I’m thankful I did that because whenever I miss him I can just look at any one of those videos and I can laugh with him again, and be comforted by his presence again.

Back in 2004, Johnny moved to Davao to work. I had gotten so used to having Johnny around during our regular Komikero meetings that his departure devastated me. I had been moved to create the video below as a tribute to him.

Commenting on that video from faraway Davao, Johnny exclaimed: “I’m not dead yet!”

No Johnny, you will never be.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Thoughts on Heneral Luna

This is not a proper Heneral Luna review. I tried writing one, but words fail me. Simply put, Heneral Luna is one of the most remarkable Filipino made films I’ve seen. The talent that went into creating this movie from all people involved evokes pride in me as a Filipino. The risk they took in creating a work of quality in the midst of commercial naysayers appeal to me immensely as an artist. That this movie triumphed is a victory I feel myself, my trust in the Filipino’s intelligence justified. That I love this film is now beyond question.

But there are things I do want to say about certain aspects of it.

I’m absolutely sorry to the actor who played Joven, but I believe he needs to attend more acting workshops. His acting is, I feel, the weakest in the entire film. His delivery has that sing songy quality that I detest in a lot of Filipino films and TV shows. That he had a scene with the actor playing Paco Roman, himself not that strong of an actor, as they rode the cart on the way to Cabanatuan just made me cringe.

Compare Joven’s delivery with the delivery of the actor playing Jose Rizal (in a voiceover). Just absolutely brilliant. Nakakakilabot. Nakakaiyak. Holy shit.

Outside of that, every single actor and actress here were just excellent. Brilliant casting all around. That I don’t know most of these actors lend well to the credibility of the film.

Joey de Leon has commented that this movie would have been a bigger hit if it had cast Alden or some other famous person in certain roles. The problem I have with that is that Heneral Luna would have become a showbiz film. Viewers would not see the character, but the actor. The moment the viewer goes “Ay, si Alden!” the credibility of the film and the integrity of it will be shot to hell. In spite of the star-less quality of these actors, the movie has nevertheless earned 200 million pesos (and counting), far more than any historical film in the history of the Philippines. Would it have made more money if it had “stars”. Perhaps, but it would have been a movie that’s damaged, its integrity compromised.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Inking Sample

In connection with my previous post, I would like to share an image that compares Leinil’s pencils with my inks, taken from a panel detail from Civil War 2 #4.

As you can see, more than just “tracing” is going on. In fairness to Leinil, most of his pencils aren’t like this. As with any project with tight deadlines, any penciller can’t afford to go full details on every single image. Once in a while there would be panels like this and the inker would need to come in and clarify what the penciller has put down. Having worked with Leinil for almost 20 years now, I have a pretty good idea of how he would like these lines to be interpreted. I am simply going in and do what he would have done if he had more time.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being an Inker

I’ve finally finished the inks on all 5 issues of Civil War II and I’m really glad I got to ink every single interior page of it, with no line rushed or thrown away. It really feels good that I get to accomplish a book in this way, working on all pages without the need of another inker coming in. It feels like a complete job, something I can take as a whole and feel proud of. I have felt the same way when I did things like Superman Birthright and Indestructible Hulk. Projects that I’m proud to have done as an inker.

I’m even happier that I completed the job in spite of all the drama that happened in my personal life behind the scenes. No matter what happened with me on a personal level, it didn’t affect the job, as it should be.

Leinil has been telling me about how the book is getting good notices online and I’d gladly take his word for it. I generally don’t read reviews of books I inked. In fact, I avoid them all together. It’s not that I’m uninterested in feedback. It’s just that the only credible feedback I can ever get from my inking is from Leinil himself and from my editors. If they’re happy with what I’m doing, then I’m good. Of course, Leinil has been really critical of my inks early on in our partnership. He has a very specific way he wants to be inked and it took a long time for me to adjust. Right now I feel I’ve pretty much grasped how he would like his pencils to be inked.

Reviewers, for the most part, don’t fully understand what goes on in inking. A lot of the critiques I’ve read speaks to me how they don’t understand the process. I’ve read comments about how I ink too dark or too scratchy or too “rushed”. I pretty much work with what the penciller gives me. If he puts in a lot of shadows, I will just follow his lead. If he doesn’t put in too much details, who am I to add any more? My job is simply to understand what the penciller is trying to do, and help him interpret his pencil lines in pure black and white. To me it’s pretty hard to review an inker’s work without actually seeing the pencils. Reviewers do so anyway, and I just feel bad about it because I think they just don’t get what I do. So that’s why I avoid reviews altogether. Leinil knows his pencils in and out, so it is his critique that would be of utmost importance to me. If I screw up, believe me, he’ll tell me about it, and I’ll adjust.

When it comes to my own work though, like ELMER, I read ALL reviews. It is reading reviews online and even those long reviews sent to me privately that help me, as an artist, improve my work. I have taken a lot of those comments and improved what I did subsequently.

Monday, August 31, 2015

I Tried To Like Alcohol

When I was very young my dad shared a can of beer with me. It was nice, but I didn’t enjoy it. Later, he would allow me sips of the hard stuff. I didn’t enjoy it either. By not forbidding alcohol, I think my dad actually diffused a curiosity about it that could have led to me indulging in it out of spite.

I tried drinking again in college, but I did it more to fit in. I still didn’t like the taste of beer, but I did enjoy feeling buzzed. Was that it? Were people drinking because they enjoyed the buzz rather than the taste? Because honestly, beer really tasted nasty.

When my GF broke up with me back when I was a young adult, I took to going to Shakey’s and having a large pizza and a pitcher of draft beer all to myself. I did this as often as my paycheck would allow. I kind of liked draft beer but I still thought it tasted weird and bitter. I still loved the feeling of being buzzed and enjoyed the challenge of going home, on foot, trying to act like I wasn’t drunk.

One day when I was still feeling really down because of the breakup, I found a recipe for a zombie drink which consisted of rum, juices, and grenadine. I gulped down two glasses at once and enjoyed it because I like juice but there was a weird, strong aftertaste that I attributed to the rum. I got drunk real fast and threw up. I felt horrible. I never tried that again.

Still feeling really down, I attended a school reunion and got really drunk. My classmates brought me home in dad’s car (which I had borrowed) as I threw up in the back seat. It was terrible. Back home, mom dragged me to the bathroom and gave me a shower, cursing all the way. I didn’t take a drink after that for a long time.

As time passed, I would just have sparkling white wine here and there during Christmas and that’s it. One New Year’s I tried getting drunk on lambanog. But it tasted nasty so I didn’t get fully drunk, just half buzzed.

Even today when I drink beer with friends I still don’t like the taste of beer. It’s just nasty. I just don’t get it. Why is this such a popular drink? People all over the place seem to enjoy it. And drink lots of it. They like it so much that a lot of them become alcoholics. But it just tastes nasty to me.

Hard drinks taste even nastier. I tried them all. Rum, vodka, tequila, whiskey… even the tame stuff like Tanduay Ice. Even wine, red or white. They all taste weird and nasty. An average ice cold glass of Coca Cola still tastes much better. So what gives? Why are people drinking this stuff?

It’s not like I haven’t tried like it. Lord knows the many kind of brands of beer I tried. Most of the time I never even finish the bottle. I’m always like what the fuck is this shit?

I guess it’s really not just for me.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Flattered, but NO.

When I woke up this morning, I opened a link Ilyn told me about the night before. It’s a link to an article at the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s website where I’m named as one of “5 Filipinos Who Owned Their Dreams”.

My initial reaction was surprise, and well…joy that I was chosen to be featured in this article. I felt it was quite an honor. At the back of my mind I was thinking, “Why me?”. In the field of Philippine comics, there are quite a number of people who have probably owned their dreams more than I did. I can think of a few right now.

In any case, I had someone buy me a copy of today’s Inquirer just in case there’s a print version, but unfortunately, there’s not. And then I forgot all about it, concerning myself fully with a frightening deadline at hand.

But something about the article kept bugging me. I felt that there was something a little “off” somewhere. For one, the article didn’t say who wrote it.

Earlier this evening I decided to take a second look at the article and was quite surprised to read, at the very bottom:

“Led by its mission to Build the Filipino Dream, Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI) has launched its new campaign called “I own my Dream”. This campaign fortifies FLI’s tagline, “We Build the Filipino Dream”, as it aims to inspire more Filipinos to dream and own their dreams. And through its residential properties, FLI continues to help millions of Filipinos achieve their dreams of owning a home.”

Then it clicked. I realized that it wasn’t a true article, but an advertisement for Filinvest. People who know me closely would be familiar with my stance on appearing in commercials and advertisements. That stance being I don’t want to be in them. That I don’t want to appear in ads selling products. I’ve declined to appear in advertisements before. Because of a viral video I uploaded at You Tube, I’ve received invitations to appear on TV commercials. I’ve declined them all. If you ask me why, all I can say is I don’t like it.

Flattered as I am at being chosen (and I admit it did feel great), I wish Filinvest would have gotten in touch with me first to ask if I would be willing to be attached to their product in this way. But they didn’t ask my permission and instead used an old photo and collected information about me online. I would have politely said no and I would have gladly recommended other people in my place.

For the record, I do wish to say that I am not endorsing Filinvest in any way.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Civil War II, Le Monde and Bugel

Civil War 2, the sequel to Marvel Comics’ Civil War is basically the main comics project that has preoccupied me for most of the year so far. I’m inking this over my long time partner Leinil Francis Yu. It’s written by Charles Soule and colored by Sunny Gho. I’m currently working on issue #5, the last issue. Inking Civil War has been both challenging and amazing. Challenging for a couple of reasons. One, much of the early issues I worked on under incredible stress because of family and personal emergencies. It had really been an incredible tough first few months of 2015.

The stress, I believe, actually began when my mom died in May last year. I thought I had gotten over it, but I didn’t realize it was really eating me up inside. I knew it because I slowly became physically weak over the next year. My dad got hospitalized in April. I had seen him collapsed on the bathroom floor and I thought he was dead. I can’t even begin to describe how harrowing that was emotionally for me. It really stressed me out further. By around May this year I was down to 62 kilos, which isn’t THAT bad normally, but I looked really sick and thin. Thankfully, my dad got better. I got better. Me and Ilyn forced ourselves to go on an outing just to relieve that incredible stress we were both feeling. I think getting away for a few days at the end of May must have saved my life. Imagine working all throughout that. I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to do it. I’ve managed to balance taking care of family matters as well as work matters. That thought really makes me feel glad.

Ok, what else made working on Civil War 2 challenging? Well, I’ve been inking Leinil close to 18 years now. The first thing of his I worked on were a few pages of Wolverine back in 1997. Over that time I’ve seen his stuff evolve and I needed to evolve with him. One would think that I have it all down pat and I’m just going on automatic when I ink his stuff. But to be honest, I keep pushing myself to do better. I keep challenging myself to do a better job. With Civil War 2 I’ve been really pushing it, working on each panel really hard and spending a lot of time making it all look as good as it can be. Hopefully, it shows. because man, I’m really really trying.

In between pages of Civil War, I worked on a full page full color newspaper strip for Le Monde. I don’t know if Le Monde is the title of the newspaper, or if it’s simply a section of a newspaper. I was commissioned to do it by Serge Ewenczyk of Éditions çà et là, the French publisher of ELMER. It’s supposed to depict a vacation I took here in my home country. I chose to tell the story of the trip I took with Ilyn to Bataan to visit an entire village of old restored Spanish era houses. I was also asked to letter it, which was a challenge in itself because it had to be in French. I don’t know any French except maybe merci or où sont les toilettes. (Thank you! Where is the toilet?) I believe this strip already came out Saturday last week. Serge promised to send me a copy. I can’t wait to see it!

That is of course, only two of the things I’m working on that I can actually talk about. I may be working with another artist for something for Komikon, I may be not. Whatever I finish though, you’ll definitely see it this November at Komikon.

I can’t end this post without an obligatory selfie with Bugel.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Rodski Patotski, National Book Award Nominee!

UPDATE! Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby wins the National Book Award for Graphic Literature!

Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby has received a nomination at the 34th National Book Awards in the Graphic Literature Category, English Language. It goes against Mythspace by Paolo Chikiamco (and artists) and Trese 6: High Tide at Midnight by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo.

I really want to thank Paolo Herras and Tepai Pascual of Meganon Comics for making this possible. They’re really the ones who went through the effort to have Rodski nominated by processing all the paperwork, submitting copies and applying the book for an ISBN. None of which I would have done myself. This is probably why Rodski appears here under the Meganon umbrella rather than Komikero Publishing.

I want to thank Paolo and Tepai for all they’ve done for me, and for believing in the work I do. They’ve done more than this, I have to say. They are also actively promoting and selling Rodski for me at various events and fairs and even online. So thank you guys… you’ve been awesome! I really appreciate it.

Of course, I really want to thank Arnold Arre as well. He breathed life into this character beyond my wildest expectations. Finally, thanks to my wife Ilyn for the unfaltering support. Rodski is based on her, after all. If it sounds like I’m already giving my award acceptance speech, then you’re not deaf. The nomination is already an award in itself. But I have to be honest and say that I would like to win it. Sorry, Paolo C. and Budjette. hehe.

Click here to see a list of all nominees in all categories.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Chico Branch

This is the view outside my window whenever I’m lying down in bed. Because I haven’t been feeling all that well for the early part of this year, this is a view I saw a lot. My attention almost always fixed on that branch from our neighbor’s chico tree. I would see it bathed in sunlight when it’s sunny and I would see it swaying in the wind and wet whenever it rained. At night I can barely make it out. I felt I had a constant companion whenever I was feeling bad both physically and emotionally. It became a constant in my life…something I could count on to always be there whenever I looked out the window. And it became quite a big comfort for me.

Nowadays I’m feeling a whole lot better, I still look out my window and I still see it there. It’s grown a little bit and seems to have a lot more leaves than before. It still makes me feel good. It’s quite ironic because I actually hate the chico fruit. I’ve never liked it. I don’t like the smell of it, and I don’t like the taste of it. But I’m so glad that tree is there for me to look at. I’ve grown to appreciate at least that.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Videos and Me

It’s been months since I made a video on You Tube. One or two people have missed me and asked on Twitter why I don’t upload new ones. I’ve thought about that. In the past couple of years I have attempted to restart vlogging and you can see my efforts up at my You Tube channel. I made videos saying “It’s been a while since I’ve made videos”, after which I’d say why and they all involve me being busy with this or that.

To date I’ve uploaded six hundred and fourteen videos, counting a few that are private. When I realized how much videos I’ve done, I’m surprised. 614. Holy Shit. Where did I find the time?

I realize now that my burst of You Tube activity coincided with my hiatus from inking for Marvel/DC. I had quit inking in 2005 and soon after I was doing these videos on You Tube with seemingly crazy abandon. It also coincided with the time I got my first digicam and I was giddy with the thought that I could make my own little films. It was something I dreamed about when I was younger. I really enjoyed making these little videos. I particularly enjoyed editing it all together. I think this is one of the videos that I enjoyed editing the most:

But by far the most notorious video of mine is THIS one:

Right now it’s up to 5.8 million views. That’s kind of crazy. All of a sudden I’m seeing this video on TV on shows both here in the Philippines and abroad. The Japanese got a little excited about it which led to this:


The good stuff starts at 9:43m.

And there are lots more! I’ve gotten offers to appear at commercials and things like that. I’ve always declined because I don’t know… I feel that it’s just not my thing.

I wouldn’t say it changed my life, but it has been quite an interesting experience. I do get recognized once in a while, but not as often as you would expect. Earlier today a tricycle driver recognized me and asked how my comics work was going and I said it was just going fine. I didn’t know the guy. I don’t think I’ve met him. But I keep wondering if I have. I don’t know. I guess when people recognize me, I always assume it’s someone I’ve already met before.

In those days I was active at You Tube I would get all these ideas for videos. I guess that’s why I kept making them. My most favorite video of mine is this one, from August 2008:

I had this rough idea for a topic. All I did was switch on the camera and just started talking. I didn’t have a script. It was just stream of consciousness stuff. I think it came out pretty well. To this day I had no idea how I did it. I seriously doubt I can come up with something like this now.

When I started working for Marvel again in 2009, I continued to make videos, but the enthusiasm for it became less and less. I don’t think I’ve made any videos at all this year and it’s already August. I guess you can say I’m pretty much retired from it. It wasn’t a conscious decision to quit. It just happened. I think it’s got to be like falling out of love with someone. You probably wouldn’t want it to happen, but it does. And you just don’t know why.

I remain grateful to all those who have followed my videos, watched and left comments. I’ve met a lot of people through it with whom I remain on friendly terms to this day. It was a great experience and although I’ve made a damned fool of myself in a lot of those videos, I regret nothing. It was fun.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Are You Just Being Selfish?

There are a lot of countries now that have legalized gay marriage, including the US. It’s cause for celebration for a lot of people, and also a cause for despair, disappointment and anger in other people. The question is why?

If you are a Catholic, or Baptist (or any kind of religion that doesn’t support gay marriage), the legalization of gay marriage doesn’t automatically mean that gay marriage will suddenly be allowed in your church. Of course not. It will still not be allowed, and it will still only honor “traditional” marriage between man and and a woman. For you, nothing will really change. NOTHING.

So how does the legalization of gay marriage affect you? It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t.

But why are you angry, indignant, disappointed and all those things?

Why do you want to dictate how other people live?

Have you considered the possibility that you are simply selfish? Because why would you care about what OTHER people do?

Why would you want to deprive them of the benefits of a legal marriage that YOU have always enjoyed?

1. You want to deprive other people of being “next of kin” when it comes to medical benefits.

2. You want to deny inheritance rights if their partner dies.

3. You want to deny them joint home insurance and other kinds of insurance.

4. You want to deny them the right to legally protect each other in court cases.

5. You want to deny them benefits (such as leave, social security, insurance etc) in case their partner dies.

There are so many other rights you enjoy right now that you want to deprive other people simply because you are personally offended by how they live their lives. Think about how “right” that is. If you are a Christian, would you call that attitude kind? Charitable? Compassionate? Loving? Understanding?

I wouldn’t. I call it selfish.

If I may give any kind of advice, worry about your marriage, your morality and your life first, before worrying about other people’s lives.

Monday, April 20, 2015

An Open Letter to You Tube and Viacom

In 2009 I created and uploaded a video called “Hey, Baby!” to You Tube. It’s just a series of short shots of me around the house smiling at the camera. That’s it. I didn’t use content created by another party, nor did I use music created by any other party. In fact, my video didn’t contain any kind of music at all. The last time I checked, my video had up around 5.8 million views. Which is just incredible. And so unexpected.

People made their own versions of the video, and some of them even used my video and added music and other things. That was done without my permission, but that’s OK. That’s the nature of viral videos on the Internet.

Because the video became so popular, TV shows started showing it in viral video themed programs. Some of them asked for permission, but most of them didn’t.

Tosh.0 was one such case. This show used my video a lot as a punchline to jokes. I didn’t mind it too much. They didn’t ask for permission to use it nor did they compensate me for it. They linked to my channel, but they spelled my channel incorrectly.

A couple of weeks ago You Tube took my video down citing copyright infringement on a complaint from Viacom. They were waving a big ass finger in front of my face, saying I shouldn’t upload content created by other people, threatening me with the closure of my channel if I had another copyright strike. And I’m like, what the fuck are they talking about?

Hey, Baby is owned 100% by ME, and no one else. I think what happened is this: Tosh.0 used my video without permission and compensation. Tosh.0 is owned by Viacom and now Viacom thinks my video belongs to them. Screwed up right?

This is not the first time it happened. ABS-CBN here in the Philippines used my video as well in one of their programs. Later, they tried to claim ownership of my video on You Tube. So for a while there was a notice that this video was owned by them.

Of course I went berserk. I filed a counter copyright infringement notice and got in touch with the Viacom contact person “Brad” cited in the copyright strike notice. I was angry, but I tried to keep it in control. Times like this logic over anger wins out. But I gotta admit, there’s nothing more infuriating than a big media corporation trying to grab something you own, threatening legal action.

A week or so later, my video is back online, without any note or even an apology from You Tube OR Viacom. Figures.

First, a word with You Tube: You Tube…. I spent years creating original content for my Komikero channel, working hard on each video. Do you understand this? YEARS. Couldn’t one employee spend one God damned minute verifying if some greedy media corporation actually have grounds to cite me for infringement? ONE GOD DAMNED FUCKING MINUTE.

Viacom… couldn’t you have “Brad” have less of a copyright infringement trigger finger and ask him to actually LOOK at the video and see if it’s actually owned by them? When you create viral video shows like Tosh.0, you are going to be using content NOT CREATED BY YOU. And as in my case, you most likely DIDN’T EVEN ASK FOR PERMISSION. How many copyright infringement strikes have you given original content creators on You Tube just because their videos appeared on shows that you own?

Arghh… I wish I could…. but I’ll just move on.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Half Kidding

For those who actually read my last post, which was my April Fool’s thing for this year… you might be interested to know that I was only half kidding. I do feel that way about social media, about Twitter and mostly Facebook. Except for approving a few tags, I actually haven’t posted anything myself in my profile for the past 14 days. Not that anyone would notice.

Besides I’ve got a lot of things going on offline lately which I just find crushing and it’s really wearing on me. April has been the most difficult month so far yet for this year, second only to May last year when my mom passed away. Things really just went downhill after Komiket. In a way things have been going downhill for quite a while. It only accelerated after Komiket. I feel so worn out. I need to swim in a beach, or maybe even just a pool. Hang out on a lounge chair watching the sun go down with an ice cold green apple soda in my hand. I would kill for that right now.

I wish April was over. Once April is over and things we’re expecting fall into place, I think it will get better from there. But right now it’s still right in the thick of the month and the end of the tunnel is still so far away.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Final Update (April Fool’s)

As you may have probably noticed, I really don’t post much on this blog anymore. Most people who have been active as bloggers have shifted to Twitter and Facebook to update their friends. In my case though, I haven’t been posting THAT much to Twitter and Facebook already. I don’t know, I guess I’m just getting tired of the Internet. You go online and you just see lies everywhere. It’s gotten so bad that you just don’t know what the truth is anymore. I’m just sick of it. I go on Facebook and all I see are rants, people complaining out loud to everyone and anyone except the people who really need to hear it, people passing off hoaxes as the truth (without even knowing it), people posting their dirty dishes (as if it’s a cool God damn thing to do), people having knee jerk reactions to news before thinking things out, people being jerks, people being homophobes, people being sexist, people being overly preachy… as I said I’m sick of it.

Many times I wish I could just unplug this damned thing. I think the time has finally come to do it. The only time I’ll be going online from now on will be to check my email for work related stuff, and that’s it.

I won’t go all drama queen and lament all this on Facebook before saying I will now be closing my account (like many people do). In fact, I won’t be closing my account at all. My FB and Twitter will still be there. This blog will still be here. But I won’t be.

Sorry to disappoint the few people who still read this blog and those who follow me on my online haunts. You know my email naman, so just drop be a line there and whenever I find myself online, I’ll try to respond. It might take a while.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ranty Rant

Looking back on this blog, I realized how much of a ranty rant I was. At the same time, I suffered from hypertension. I was also mad a lot of the time. It wasn’t good. I started to rant less. Sure, things still bothered me, but more and more I just close my eyes, go to my happy place and just let it go. There are many things I could rant about the local komiks industry and the people in it, but I find that I’m a happier person just letting things be. After all, I do notice an incredible amount of improvement in the quality of local komiks in the last 10 years. That’s great, isn’t it?

Once in a while I do see something in Facebook that just flips my lid. More often I just move on, but on the rare occasion my lid is flipped so much that I just can’t help but launch an angry comment. The sheer amount of stupidity in people’s opinion just boggles my mind. People are entitled to their opinion of course, but sometimes it’s pretty obvious it’s just the wrong opinion. I mean, really, come on. These people are unfollowed right away. In the old days I’d rant about people tagging me, adding me to groups without my permission, posting their dirty dishes, posting preachy stuff. posting dead animals and people… right now I can’t be bothered to type anything. I just unfollow them right away. If the offense is just unbearable (like ignorant kids talking about the good old days of the dictator, or people condemning an entire religion for the actions of a few nuts), they get an automatic defriend without any more comment from me. I mean, why waste my time arguing? It’s not my fault they didn’t get the proper education.

I’ve also recently decided to make my profile less political and more just about fun stuff. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about current events and other important goings on, but FB just won’t be the place I’ll talk about it. Once in while I will post something like that, but it will be rare. If anyone makes a conclusion about my apathy towards current events based on my FB posts, then they would just be barking up the wrong tree.

Friday, January 9, 2015

“Sandali ng Katotohanan” by Nestor Redondo

“Sandali ng Katotohanan” (Moment of Truth) is a short story that’s both written and drawn by legendary Filipino komiks creator Nestor Redondo (Rima, Swamp Thing) for Espesyal Komiks #102, September 3, 1956.

“Sandali ng Katotohanan” tells the story of matador Paco Salazar, renowned for his cowardice during bullfights. It isn’t until he gets some encouraging reading of his future from a fortune teller that his fear disappears. The results are rather devastating.

Click for larger images.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bakit Putol Ang Mga Kamay Ni Venus? Illustrated by Emilio D. Rodriguez

Here’s another short story illustrated by one of the Philippines’ best but relatively unknown komiks illustrators, Emilio “Emil” D. Rodriguez. This is a story of how Venus lost her arms as researched and written by Deo C. Gonzales.

The source material wasn’t that good as some of the edges are missing, but I just couldn’t help but post it because the artwork is just so spectacular. You can click on the images for much larger versions for better viewing.

This story was taken from Espesyal Komiks #177, July 20, 1959.