Thursday, November 4, 2010

komiks: dead, struggling or what?

gerry alanguilan and budjette tan recently posted their thoughts on an agence france-presse piece by mynardo macaraig about the undying topic of the dying pinoy komiks industry.

such is the tone of the aforementioned article, entitled "Once-great Philippine comic industry fights for survival":

Philippine comic books have nurtured talent for international TV and animation blockbusters, but the once-mighty industry is fighting to survive as it comes up against the Internet and other new media.

Comic books that dominated the Philippine publishing industry just a couple of decades ago are now largely relegated to photocopied titles sold in a few specialty stores and at conventions.

tan's reaction tends toward the hopeful:

It's just a bit sad that the report didn't even mention the multiple comic book events that have been happening for the past couple of years. I just hope the article also gets the attention of potential publishers, entrepreneurs maybe, people who used to read comics, and might take an interest in making comics.

while alanguilan is characteristically a little more blunt.

There is a NEW Philippine comic book industry, and it has been around since 1993. It’s nothing like the old komiks industry. It’s comic books are nothing like the old comic books... They are no longer produced in the millions like the old days, but the question is: DO THEY HAVE TO BE?

If you love Philippine comics so much, then get off your asses and go to your bookstores, comic book stores and attend comic book conventions so you can buy them.

for myself, i fall somewhere in between. i don't want to overpraise what is essentially a niche market or cottage industry at present, but neither do i buy into macaraig's grossly oversimplified picture of a barren post-komikalyptic landscape.

it's not so much macaraig's lazy conclusions and shallow research that i find... unhelpful. it's that he is writing at a time of slow but steady resurgence and he paints it as a low point. that's a disservice to the likes of paolo fabregas and ner pedrina. hell, that's a slap in the face of komikon and mcc and all the other people actually doing something to bring the new komiks to a wider audience. here they are trying to redefine komiks and the media just can't get over the old.

nor will they, probably, not for a long time yet. seeing that macaraig's piece is about ten years behind, i expect people like him to start noticing today's progress by around 2020.

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