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.