Sunday, September 24, 2017

At the Elmer Signing

At the Elmer signing yesterday I came upon a realization. I'm so glad I can still do comics and do them actively. There's really nothing else I want to do. If I'm not creating comics, I'm reading comics. Of course, I read books too and watch film, but for the most part, comics just consumes my life completely.

Some people might wonder why I'm holding the Elmer 3rd edition launching here in San Pablo. I really just want to entice people to visit San Pablo, visit the Komiks Museum, visit our places of interest and eat our food. Everything is not about Manila. I just want to do my small part in promoting my hometown. In any case, I will be doing signings in Manila later this year at Komiket and Komikon. God and my health and strength willing.

Yesterday I felt really good. By the end of the day I still wasn't feeling exhausted and I was really happy about that. I'm so glad for those who came from near and far to buy their books and have them signed. I'm really grateful that they took the effort to come.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Elmer, 3rd Printing

Before Bakokak, there is the matter of the 3rd edition/printing of Elmer. The first edition was published by me through Komikero Publishing in 2009. When it ran out and I didn't have money to reprint, National Book Store stepped in and helped publish Elmer from 2011 to 2016. Now the publishing rights have returned to me and now I'm publishing it again via Komikero Publishing.

The rights situation of Elmer is a bit complicated. I have the right to publish Elmer in any language, but only here in the Philippines. I cannot sell the English version (which is the current Komikero version) abroad. That's because the International English language publishing rights belong to my US Publisher, SLG.  SLG also holds all English language publishing rights to digital editions.

My French publisher, Éditions çà et là, has the French and European languages publishing rights.

Whew, now that's over, I'm glad to say that Elmer is now back with me, at least here in the Philippines. I missed Elmer under my tutelage. The first thing that happens now is a signing I'll be having tomorrow at the Komikero Komiks Museum. I really hope it doesn't rain. It's always been raining after lunch the past few days. I hope it doesn't, so it won't be so difficult for those who want to come. I plan on sketching on every single copy that people get. It's the least I can do for the effort people will take to go all the way to San Pablo.

Those in Manila don't need to go though, because I'll be at Komikon 2017 on both days, although I won't be staying for the entire day. It's likely that on Saturday, I'll be there from 10 in the morning until around 11:30am. I'll take a break and come back around 1:30 or 2:00pm and stay until I get tired. On Sunday I'll only be at the table after lunch up until around maybe 5:30pm. There will be people manning the tables though, so there will always be someone there to sell Elmer, as well as Bakokak.

The 1000 copies of Elmer I had printed arrived today. There's really nothing like the smell of newly printed books to a comic book creator like me. Others may find the smell weird, but I just love it. It smells like creation. The whole house smells like it now and it's just so nice.

I hope tomorrow would be a good day for me, physically. The way I'm feeling now, it would seem like it. I hope it just gets better!

Sunday, September 17, 2017


I remember watching our old black and white TV back when I was really young. I was, I don't know, maybe 7 or 8 years old? It was playing an old Filipino movie featuring a super-heroine called "Supergirl". It was only later that I learned this character was a knock off of the DC super-heroine of the same name. Anyway, this local Supergirl was played by actress Pinky Montilla. I thought she was so pretty that I kind of fell in love with her a little bit.

The movie also featured a giant frog that devastates a local town. It was actually my first exposure to Big Monster movies, long before I saw Godzilla. I was hooked. The unbelievable spectacle of a giant creature terrorizing and destroying the countryside just blew my mind. I became a big fan of giant things destroying towns. I saw other movies in the same vein like "Kronos" a giant robot from space with something like a piston hammering the earth as it moved. There's King Kong from 1976. I thought that was terrific. Of course it also had young Jessica Lange, who I also kind of fell in love with a little bit.

Years later, comic book writer/artist, actor, playright Carlo Vergara showed me preview pages of his upcoming book "Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah", which featured a giant frog terrorizing the countryside. I laughed. I thought it was so awesome. It revived an interest in all things huge monsters.

Years later I decided to go ahead and do my own giant creature story. I chose a frog because of course! Set in present day, this is my version of what a giant creature could do in modern day Manila.

I decided to work with artist Kevin Ray Valentino. For my past few books I've had other artists draw my stories because I simply didn't have the time to draw them myself. In all cases, I found that collaborating with other artists is quite rewarding because they always, always do a much better job than I could have.

I chose Kevin because I saw great potential in his work. I have to say he does an excellent job and I have no regrets asking him to draw this.

BAKOKAK will be available at Komikon 2017, November 11-12 at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig. Bakokak is 84 pages including covers. B&W interiors and colored covers. It will retail for a special Komikon price of P199. After which it will be sold at places like Comic Odyssey and through me directly for P200. Sorry. I just find Komikon a perfectly good place to dispose of a large and heavy basket of 1 peso coins!

Cover art above is pencilled by Kevin Ray Valentino and inked/colored by me. Those colors are temporary though. I just did this quickly for promo purposes. Final cover will be recolored.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Comic Con Asia 2018 and Why I'm Not Going

I was alerted to Comic Con Asia some months ago and I found it interesting enough to want to participate. I expressed interest in getting a table and participate in any way I can. 2018, I decided, was the time I became more active in my local comic book projects. The Philippine publishing rights to Elmer had reverted back to me and I have a new book coming out with Kevin Ray Valentino. I planned on having both books printed by the end of this year and I fully intended on participating in more comic book events the following year. So Comic Con Asia came quite fortuitously.

However, Comic Con Asia held a press conference last night and I was disappointed to learn that Manny Pacquiao is one of the people behind the event. I cannot, in good conscience, participate in Comic Con Asia any longer.

Am I making such a big deal over this? So what? Isn't the promotion of comics locally and internationally more important? Comics is very important to me of course, and I want nothing more than to see Philippine comics elevated and celebrated not only here in the Philippines but around the globe.

But I cannot forget the statements made by Manny Pacquiao in the past. He called same sex couples worse than animals. Worse, in a now deleted Instagram post, he posted Bible quotes that preach that gays should be put to death. As someone who believes in equality for all, I find these statements reprehensible and dangerous. Dangerous because Manny Pacquiao is in a position of political power that would enable him to make his personal beliefs a matter of national policy. That is something I cannot abide.

If people have no problem with this, then by all means, attend and participate. I am NOT advocating a boycott. I am simply saying that I will not be going. My decision shouldn't affect anybody or cause anyone to freak out and bring down lightning from the heavens. It's just another event I won't be going to, simply for personal reasons.