Saturday, November 28, 2009

hazel manzano's ten commanments for making a successful comic strip series

2009 komikon awards best cartoonist hazel manzano-chua of callwork fame dishes out some solid advice on what to do and not to do (example at left) if you want your four-panel strip to make it to the newspaper comics page.

especially noteworthy, and i think not nearly talked about enough, is tip #9: "Ipa- basa ulit sa mga kamag anak ang na revise mo nang script at drowing. Ganyan talaga kapag nagsisimula... Itapon mga strip na hindi nakakatuwa. Wag manghinayang."

we've got a load of talented artists, a handful of good writers, but practically no editors. and you need all three to make good comics. some disinterested opinion can spell the difference between a self-absorbed, precious work and something truly compelling.

like nathaniel hawthorne said, 'compose in white heat, edit in cold blood'--or at least ask your parents to.

and then there's #7: "Infomercial ba ang ginagawa niyong comic strip? Nakakawalang gana kasi magbasa ng [masyadong mahabang] script..."

the filipino is generally predisposed to wordiness, and comic strips are no exception. if i had a peso for every time i lost interest in a talky strip after the first paragraph, este, panel, i'd be free to do comics full-time.

even established cartoonists are not immune to this plague of glibness.

and finally, manzano-chua's article ends with some hard-nosed, tough love: not everyone is cut out to be a cartoonist.

"Hintayin ang mga reaksyon. More or less kapag may natanggap kang fan mail, isa itong senyales na magiging successful ang comics mo. Ituloy-tuloy mo na. Kapag wala ka pa ring fan mail or anything( reviews, good and bad) most likely sinasabi na sayo ng tadhana na ihinto na at sinasayang mo lang ang panahon mo sa paggawa ng comics."

What are the Elements of a Successful Comic Strip? by hazel manzano-chua

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

my new favorite dinosaur

well it's actually a 100-million-year-old extinct crocodile, but just look at that bad boy. it looks like it jumped off a fantasy book cover. it was twenty feet long, had tusks like a wild boar, an armored snout designed for ramming, and it galloped after its prey on dry land. someone oughtta write a poem.

boarcroc, boarcroc,
burning lustrous
in the swamps of the cretaceous...

Monday, November 23, 2009

sputnik's skyleague signing 'stravaganza

the groundbreaking artist/writer team of budjette tan and kajo baldisimo, fresh off their national book awards snub and 'controversial' madrigal-gonzales award nomination for trese, will be signing books at sputnik comics this friday, starting 8pm. joining them will be skyworld's mervin ignacio and ian sta. maria and paolo fabregas of the filipino heroes league.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

m3con 09 roundup

let me begin by saying this year's mangaholix convention was the coolest event i've ever been to. literally. it was freezing inside that tent.

and if i was chilled despite wearing a jacket, it was a miracle those cubizone booth girls somehow escaped hypothermia:


anyhoo, similarly skimpy was the interest shown by the mangaholix crowd towards my comics, judging by the dismal sales. which is too bad, 'cause i really enjoyed my huge-ass table:

that's the uber-talented jerome jacinto there on the left, from whom i scored a copy of the metro #2. also bought lambchild's komikon-award-winning life as viciously impossible, nailbiter by my new-favorite creative team of fidelis tan and mary ranises, and a boy ipis shirt from mike ignacio that i am considering using as my official comics event outfit.

most of these photos were taken during setup btw, which explains the emptiness.

danny acuna walked by our table, and when my seatmate jofel from kami-kami comics asked for an autograph, mr. acuna drew him a portrait instead! jofel then gave him a copy of their indie, and mr. acuna came back with three comic books in return! what a swell guy.

three-peat komikon comics creation champ mel casipit came by and we traded comics. this guy has four indies out, and none of them look like the others. that's versatility for ya.

now let's post some cosplay cross-marketing, shall we?

domino approves of operasyon's gratutious portrayal of gun violence. the rest of the marvel mutants, however, were less than enthusiastic...

more pics (actually good ones) @ carlo pagulayan's multiply.

Friday, November 20, 2009


actually, hindi torn. nanghihinayang lang.

sana pwede nalang akong magtinda ng komiks ko sa event ni james jean.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

a thoughtful case for on-screen reading

illustrator-cartoonist lucy knisley comes to the defense of online comics reading (indeed all types of digital lit) with this charming little comic:

downloading optimism (pessimism virus detected)

while you're at her site, be sure to check out her other autobiographical strips. they are excellent.

going back to digital vs. paper, i wonder if all screen-readers consider physical media a barrier to content delivery the way ms. knisley does. because to me, it's the screen that's a barrier. the words are on the other side of an electronically-lit window. sure books take up space and all that, but so do friends, and i'd rather hang out than do skype or facebook anyday.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

mangaholix manga mania '09

i'll be working the indie comics tables again this weekend, hawking copies of ang maskot and operasyon at m3con at the world trade center.

and then-- whoof! there's yet another comics event come january, called renaissance. it's pretty much a mystery right now, though the early hype describes it as a "historical charitable event" featuring "Influential Great Pinoy Artists of yesterday, today, and tomorrow – come together in one room." maybe it's an art show? it's the "charitable event" aspect that makes me worry--the post-xmas-empty-wallets-season timing seems quite precarious.

Monday, November 16, 2009

poster design: school run

so i've started work on the first issue of my next comic, entitled school run. it's about... well, the three poster drafts below should give you a hint. which design do you think is best?

school run will probably span three or four issues. the first issue should be done around december or early 2010.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

sputnik autograph signing pics!

it was an honor and a pleasure to be part of sputnik's autograph signing event last night/early morning at cubao x. everything was perfect, the people were great, the food was great (yes they fed us), and i got to check out the shop's varied and interesting clientele (i'd never seen so much liquor in a comics shop before!).

gio paredes was there with fellow bayan knighters levy and renie, and randy valiente dropped by to check things out. josel nicolas impressed an autograph-seeker with a cute little bear's head:

awwww sweet.

one last photo with paolo and chez before leaving, around 130am.

thanks a bunch, guys! and thanks to everyone who dropped by!

it was sputnik-tacular!

AND ALSO be sure to check out

today's sunday inquirer, featuring the "sputnik gang":

quick, before the newsstands close!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

naoki urusawa on making comics

naoki urusawa's monster was the very first manga i read from start to finish, and, along with iou kuroda's nasu, opened my young, impressionable eyes to the fact that there was more to manga than ninjas, energy balls and sailor uniforms.

so it was such a pleasure to find this interview posted online and hear from the master himself. for example: he procrastinates just like us common folks!

Back at the studio I start by doing things like tiding up the bookshelves and cleaning the windows (laughs). While everyone around me is wondering what in the world I'm doing, I'm getting into my groove. Well, I guess you could say I'm wasting time, too (laughs). I'm going through the story as discussed in the meeting in my head thinking, "This panel should be like this, then this, then that, this, this, this.... That's it!"

In my comics I’m basically going for certain faces on my characters, or as we say “Face Manga” (???: kao manga). This is something I've been disliked for in the manga world; those long sequences of faces with word balloons. I think that’s probably because the editors have come to think that the faces the artist draws are just signs or symbols. However, I have come to question the general trend that shuns “Face Manga”. I feel like, "What’s wrong with going for the faces of the actors as they act!?"

so, meron din palang "ulo-ulo" komiks sa japan. but i never really noticed it in urusawa's work. probably because he does "ulo-ulo" the right way--as expressive reaction shots--rather than as a lazy draftsman's technique to avoid drawing bodies, backgrounds, etc.

he then goes on to criticize the manga industry's punishing publication schedule:

Honestly, the situation in Japan where comics are released in weekly anthologies is a very abnormal one. Everyone has become accustomed to it and deals with it like it was nothing, but people overseas think that producing comics of this quality on a weekly basis is insane. ... Yeah, it really is insane.
50 years ago, knowing it was something extremely difficult to do, weekly comics were created on a trial basis for the first time. But even after that initial trial period, it continued and is still the way it is now. It’s actually impossible. But it’s going through the impossible that has made today’s manga culture prosperous. It's an amazing story!

i've always thought that a twenty-odd-pages-per-week pace was an enviable central factor to the success of manga. though i admit that's more of a businessman's or selfish fan's outlook. it's amazing we don't get even more burned-out mangakas than we do today. WHERE'S MY HUNTER X HUNTER?!

full interview and more pics here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

meet & greet @ sputnik!

the good folks at sputnik comics have invited a trio of indie comics creators (myself included) to hang out, make merry and sign autographs tomorrow, 8:30pm onwards at the shop. if you aren't going to bed early in anticipation of pacquiao's fight, do drop by. bring food. let's make it a potluck!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

interesting comics business model

cartoonist jamie tanner is asking people to plege money to fund his next graphic novel. pledge $50 and you're promised a page of original art. pledge $500 and you get a character named after you, an original page featuring that character, and a special shout-out in the book (at least one donor has done this).

so far tanner has raised nearly $7,000.

interesting concept there. i've heard of a film critic doing something similar once to help raise money to go to cannes , but it never occurred to me that so many would follow in his footsteps (the kickstarter website already has over 240 projects marked 'successful').

it has to be said, though, that social fundraising websites like these are not risk-free.

but still... hm...


Friday, November 6, 2009

stephen wiltshire

is an autistic savant artist who takes helicopter rides over metropolitan areas and then draws vast, panoramic sketches of what he's seen entirely from memory. he's done tokyo, rome, hong kong, frankfurt, madrid, dubai, jerusalem and london.

a few pictures of him sketching new york city:

more here

Thursday, November 5, 2009

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