Category Archives: You Had to Have Been There

Exhibits, Book Launchings and other Events of Note

Metro Comic Con ’09: Indie Komiks Panel

Indie Komiks Panel: Metro Comic Con 2009

To all future panel moderators, here’s a protip: know who the members of the panel are. I don’t know if Male Host #2 was joking when he asked whether Pol Medina was  amongst the waiting panelists but it was more of an awkward moment than a humorous one.

Inauspicious beginnings aside (the announcement about the missing laptop was also made before the panel began) the Indie Komiks panel proved to be an insightful glimpse in to the prevailing attitudes of some of the most successful veterans in the field of Independent Local Comics. The panelists were Heubert Khan Michael (Unstoppable), Reno Maniquis (Maskarado), Gener “Ner P” Pedrina (Sanduguan), Elbert Or (Bakemono High), Gio Paredes (Kalayaan), Gilbert Monsanto (Bayan Knights), Budjette Tan (Trese), and, in an appearance that was a surprise even to him, Andrew Drilon (The Love Eaters).

What follows is a summary of some of the salient points raised during the panel. If I missed anything significant or interesting, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

Q1: Why do you still call yourselves “Indies”? There is no longer a local comics industry right?

Gilbert: Well, in essence that’s correct. What we mean by “Indie” however is that we produce our komiks with our own resources, without depending on external corporate backers.

[Can’t remember if it was Gilbert or Elbert who mentioned that Liwayway still published, though their komiks are a different format. Psicom also gets mentioned, but for its foreign licensed DC and Marvel titles.]

Elbert: Actually, there are still some publishers. There is also the book publishing industry. The komiks industry is mature enough that there is much less of a distinction between komiks and books.

Budjette: Many of the local book publishers we’ve worked with, such as Visiprint and Adarna, give us a lot of creative freedom. Also, we are “Indie” in the sense that, unlike creators who work with Marvel and DC, we own our characters.

[More Q and A after the break.]

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Manilart 09: What Caught My Eye

I love art exhibits, although to be honest a lot of the more popular contemporary styles are a bit too abstract for my tastes–or too boring: I can see and respect the artistry that was required to paint a photo-realistic picture… but if it’s just another beatified pastoral-rural scene my eyes glaze over. I guess my cousin is the one who got all the high-end artistic appreciation skillz.

Still, I do love art exhibits and Manilart 09 seemed to boast a wide enough variety of styles and mediums of artwork to entice me and my wife to brave the possibility of gale force winds last weekend for the NBC Tent. I’m glad we did-there was a lot of stunning and (to my uncultured eye at least) innovative art on display. Here are some of my favorite pieces that contained elements of the surreal and the fantastic:

“Let’s Save the World” by Anthony Palo: Anyone for a high-art RPG? I love the feeling of eerie whimsy I get from this piece. Strange how it’s the humans who look the most alien to my eye… if they are humans that is.

“Claws” by Lotsu Manes: There’s just something striking about a Superman costume being the prize in a traditional pabitin – especially when you realize that, upon a close inspection of the grasping hands, those children aren’t human.

“Guardian of Patrimony” by Randalf Dilla: What I like here is the way the different elements are structured in such a way that the layered/tiered canvas gives the impression of depth.

[More favorites from Manilart 09 after the cut]

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A Tale of Two FCBDs

I know, I know, Free Comic Book Day was more than a month back (or a few short weeks ago, depending on which FCBD you’re referring to) but there always seemed something else to post about. Still, better late than never, so here are some photos and impressions of FCBD 2009 at Comic Odyssey Galleria and at Fully Booked High Street.

Comic Odyssey:

The line in front of CO was unbelievable. Sure I knew there would be a lot of people, but I didn’t expect it to look like an Episode 1 camp-out line.

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Then again, it helped that many of our comic book and komiks luminaries were on hand to meet their fans, sign some books, and generally lend their aura of artistic cool to the occasion.

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GBB: Book Bigayan 2009

Book Bigayan 2009 was a rousing success.

It took us a while to find the venue–I thought that I would be able to see Malate Church from Roxas itself–but upon arrival I couldn’t help but note how appropriate the meeting point was. Everyone clustered around a sculpture of a bespectacled man sitting on a bench and holding a newspaper as he gazes across the sea (waiting for the books to come in perhaps?)

Our taciturn host turned out to be Mr. Arsenio H. Lacson,  journalist, lawyer, guerilla, and Mayor of Manila, who survived three attempts on his life, twice disarming the unlucky attackers.

Luckily, the weather was very cooperative:

Nothing but blue skies, shining on me…

Things worked out in the end as we ended up arriving at the venue just before Gang of Rock Ed showed up and started the ball rolling.It was interesting seeing Gang in person–even if you didn’t know what she looked like, if you’ve ever heard her over the radio her voice was unmistakable. She also exuded an easy camaraderie with the crowd, most of whom (like myself) she’d probably never met before.

I hope she was able to charm the on-scene reporter as well. There was a young woman with a recorder and a cameraman on-hand, I assume based on the nearby truck that they belonged to the GMA-7 news crew.

I overheard Gang giving the reporter an overview of the Book Blockade situation (I wonder if the reporter had known of the whys-and-wherefores of the event beforehand or had just been tipped off regarding a strange gathering of bibliophiles along Manila Bay). The reporter also talked to the members of a family who had been the beneficiaries of some of the donated books, and I smiled when I saw the children show the reporter the books they’d chosen from the piles. They seemed happy with their hauls.

[More after the cut]

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KOMIKON Summer Fiesta 2009

There was no sign or banner (that I could see) announcing to all and sundry the existence of komiks nirvana at the UP Bahay ng Alumni last Saturday, but luckily enough I saw a familiar face hanging out at the doorway:

Please don’t kill me for not buying your cool merchandise Iris @_@

I’m glad they decided to hold an additional komikon in the summer–or, in the event that they’ve actually done so before, I’m glad I heard about it in time this year. I loved the way they identified the Marshalls this year–via speech baloons which said “Marshall Ako”:

Security–insofar as making sure people paid to enter the venue at least–was a bit loopy though: and by that I mean it had quite a few holes. I came in through the side, lured by the vista of Filipino comics… when I realized that, hey, shouldn’t there be an entrance fee? By then I was already in the venue, so I made my way to the front and ponied up 50 bucks for my wife and I, but the side entrance certainly did provide opportunity for less scrupulous individuals.

As usual, the place was jam-packed. The hardest part of Komikon for me has never been finding stuff to buy–it’s trying to get to actually see the wares on the tables without engaging in elbow-acrobatics that would make ‘ol Jawo proud. Likewise because the passages between tables are so narrow and jam-packed with people, I never really get to stop and talk to the creators much because I feel guilty that I’m preventing a flood of people from moving forward–conversation usually amounts to how-much-I’ll-take-it-thanks.

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Summer Workshops 2009

Yes I know it hardly feels like summer now (was it really only a few weeks ago that we were complaining about the Arakis level heat?) but for those looking to hone their creative talents–or vicariously perfect them through their children–there are a still a few summer workshops which have yet to begin, so here are a few that I haven’t seen publicized much, as well as some new details on the Fully Booked Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing workshop.

First up we have three workshops at the Lopez Memorial Museum (found through Pinoycentric and PEZSEUM, the museum’s blog). These workshops are part of the Book Matters festival, celebrating books and reading:

Fan Fiction with Anna Ishikawa
Date: May 30 and June 6 (Saturdays)
Time: 9 am to 12noon
Fee: P700 inclusive of materials

This is something I find very intriguing, as I know that we have a horde of active fanfic writers in the Philippines, quite a few of whom are very good, or very popular–and on rare occasions: both. I think that fanfic is modern the gateway drug to writing–it certainly was in my case.

The workshop is to be given by Anna Felicia C. Sanchez Ishikawa (link is to her bio at Panitikan.com as I can’t find a blog or website) an award winning writer and published author in books such as Nine Supernatural Stories (2005),  Pinoy Amazing Adventures (2006) and Loyola High: Freshman Diaries (2006).

Here’s the blurb from PEZSEUM: (Although I sort of wish they’d link to any fanfics she’s got online–I’d find it very cool if a Palanca winner pointed us to, say, her Naruto AU fanfic ^_^)

Are you a fan? What does it mean to be a fan? The modern phenomenon of fan fiction as an expression of fandom and fan interaction was popularized and defined via the Star Trek fandom and fanzines published in the 1960s. Author Anna Felicia Sanchez Ishikawa will explore fandom through a workshop on May 30 and June 6 from 9am to 12 noon. She will discuss its history, the characteristics and diversity of fan writing, and the challenges faced by a fan writer. Workshop fee is P700. Continue reading

Ozine Fest 2009: Modern Masquerade

Every now and then, when I need that extra dollop of courage to face the world, I hang a drill around my neck. I’ve gotten quite a few odd looks and hesitant inquiries because of my strange choice of fashion accessories, but this afternoon no one even noticed it–which stands to reason I suppose, since most of the people around me at the time were decked out in shiny assortments of power armor, armed with swords twice their height and possessed hair styled as if by angry porcupines.

Oh, plus a Prinny.

Ah, the wonders of cosplay.

Anime and manga have a robust fanbase here on our shores, and summer vacation means conventions galore. Today was the first day of Ozine Fest 2009, a three day event organized by Ozine magazine as an anime/manga/videogame/cosplay convention. The venue was packed (largely in my opinion because (a) they only used one Megatrade Hall; and (b) many of the attendees had tails, swords, booster engines–and in one case–a wingspan of at least six feet from tip to tip.

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