Thursday, May 31, 2012

kwentillion: a million stories

kwentillion is summit publishing's attempt to kick-start a nonexistent local YA readers' market by offering a mix of comics, short fiction, and articles aimed at young readers. that's a heck of a daunting task that editors paolo chikiamco and budjette tan have set themselves to, but then these two know what it's like to build readerships where no one believed one could exist before. tan was instrumental in the 90's indie komiks movement, later parlaying that popularity into the crossover success that is trese, and chikiamco has championed pinoy sci-fi through his rocket kapre imprint.

going back to the first issue: it is excellent. the comics alone are worth the cover price, and seeing them for the first time in full-size print is a joy. there are four stories in all:

the last datu's short-haired, dagger-wielding, aswang-fighting heroine (alexandra trese precursor, anyone? ) is out to assassinate the head of the aswang tribe that massacred her people. story by budjette tan and art by kajo baldisimo.
robert magnuson's wordless poso maximo supplies the cute quotient, telling an all-ages tale about an aging monster hunter and his endless quest for... the perfect fried egg?
chikiamco writes and hannah buena illustrates high society, a highly original steampunk-meets-pinoy-mythology story set in an alternate colonial philippines. it poses the question, what if the revolution was led by anitos, aided by a mysterious indio named "the carpenter"? i particularly enjoyed this one, although it is far too short. bitin!

the last story is james dimacali and john bumanglag's sky gypsies. this is straight-up sci-fi of the isaac asimov kind, and expects a bit more from the reader than the previous three. but if you stick with it, it's a beautiful, rewarding tale, and one of the best mashups i've read of space-age tech and ancient pinoy beliefs and customs.

there's some lovely images of these futuristic badjao, "swimming" through outer space in their loincloths, vulnerable yet infinitely graceful beside their bulky spacesuit-clad counterparts.

dimacali also invents some neat methods for badjao "fishing," or in this case, mining asteroids for precious metals: the traditional boat, nets, and goggles are still used, but in new and ingenious ways.

an encounter between the father-son protagonist team and some local space patrolmen also had me shaking my head with recognition. even in the far-flung future in outer space...

kwentillion is available at select national bookstore branches, and comes out every other month.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

mark millar at summer komikon 2012! (video!)

photo by GeekMatic!

comics superstar mark millar, writer of wanted, kick-ass, and the ultimates, was a surprise guest at this year's summer komikon, and he had the crowd guffawing with his opening quip, spoken in filipino:

"How are you guys. I am Dingdong Dantes. Only a few know this, but I'm Filipino. I color my hair blonde to look caucasian. This is our secret!" (it should be explained that he was preceded onstage by local actor dingdong dantes, who has quite the female following.)

millar went on to talk about how national bookstore won a personal appearance from him by ordering a truckload (or two) of his latest title supercrooks, on which he collaborated with local comics heroes gerry alanguilan and leinil yu.

thanks to carlo pagulayan for posting the video!

EDIT: geekmatic! posted another vid on youtube, it's got better audio.

also, here's a link to mark millar's amusing manila journal. he seemed quite surprised by the fuss NBS made over his arrival, with armed guards, PR assistants, and a plethora of banners and billboards:
"As somebody said when I sent them these pics, Manila had been turned into a terrifying, nearby parallel Earth where I had won World War 2."

seeya, cj

1.) corona's conviction may not have been strictly a legal victory, but it was certainly a moral one. people in positions of power hardly ever get their comeuppance--i'll take what i can get.

2.) it remains true that powerful people can only be removed if they tee off enough powerful people of lesser influence, or one person of much greater influence.

Friday, May 25, 2012

summer komikon 2012: updates and apologies

ok, so let me bite the bullet and get this over with.

school run #5 will not be available at tomorrow's komikon. i am sorry.

i put off starting for too long, incorrigible crammer that i am. and by the time i started in earnest, dayjob-related stuff magically began to pile up. so i missed my self-appointed deadline for SR #5, i missed 24-hour book day, i chickened out of flipread's 24-hour komixathon, i chickened out of my contribution to the melon pinup anthology, i failed to do my unofficial komikon indies preview... aagh. my apologies to adam and benj and to everyone waiting to see what will happen to maki and the gang.

SO, as i type this i am hurrying to finish yet another long-delayed project so i won't be completely empty-handed tomorrow (if i can find a photocopy shop that opens early, that is). it's a collaboration with a pair of young, very young, up-and-coming creators.

still 7 or so pages to go!
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