Sunday, November 25, 2012

komiks, dead or alive: the discussion that won't die

as a comics fan and someone who makes self-published comics, i've spent the last decade or so watching pinoy komiks redefine itself and struggle to bounce back from the 90's malaise that saw mainstream comics dwindle down to near zero.

i've watched the independent komiks scene, led by creators like budjette tan, gerry alanguilan, arnold arre, carlo vergara and the komikon team, make slow, gradual progress toward establishing itself as critically and financially viable. komiks shifted business models, moving from the banketa to the bookstore,  the newfangled comics convention circuit, and the web.

and yet, some people still insist that pinoy komiks is "dead." their definition of death varies slightly, but the thought remains the same.

the longtime komiks blogger/s who goe/s by the name "aklas-isip" posted a blog titled "WHY THERE IS STILL NO COMICS INDUSTRY IN THE PHILIPPINES Part 1" late last october, where he/they stated:

"...we find print publishers and potential investors shying away from local komiks publishing. We see these businessmen going into newspapers, textbooks, coloring books, school supplies, printing tagalog romance pocketbooks or reprinting American mainstream comics from Marvel and DC."

my response, which i posted as a comment, is still under moderation and has not yet appeared on the blog.

yesterday, jerald uy, a freelance writer and co-creator of the indie comic segovia solutions, posted this on his facebook page, the komiks reporter:

"Personal opinion: Komiks as a medium isn't dead. But a local comics industry is "dead" in the sense that there is no thriving industry for comics perse. The graphic novels/strip compilations we have in the market fall under the book publishing sector/industry."

now these two people claim to know about pinoy komiks. i wonder then how it escaped their notice that more mainstream publishers than ever are making, selling, and profiting from pinoy komiks. visprint regularly ends up on NBS bestseller lists with trese and kikomachine. pugad baboy is still going strong. summit media came out with underpass and kwentillion. precious pages has a bunch of titles coming out under the black ink imprint. heck, even atlas' lapu-lapu compilation is still in bookstores.

if you add indie komiks to the equation, you get the ever-growing number of conventions around the country. you get trese and arnold arre winning two national book awards each. gerry alanguilan's eisner-nominated elmer is a multiple-award-winning critical darling published in several languages. indie efforts like bayan knights, kalayaan, and sulyap are available at major bookstores. new indie comics-makers are appearing in record numbers. thousands of people are buying and reading their comics.

so how in the name of carlo caparas can anyone call pinoy komiks "dead," or non-existent, or repugnant to publishers?

komiks may be struggling--no one can deny it's currently nowhere near as big as it was during its heyday in the 50's and 80's--but it's struggling upwards after long stagnation. and guess what, the best is yet to come.

reading comments like those of aklas-isip and uy is to me like watching a person who's fallen over and trying to get back to his feet, and having other people say, "oh, look at him, he's done for. what a pity."

pinoy komiks, is not, in any sense of the word, dead. don't believe me? ask gerry alanguilan and the PDI:

"Adarna has taken on Arnold Arre’s works and have published “After Eden,” Visprint has published both Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo’s “Trese” as well as Carlo Vergara’s collected edition of “ZsaZsa Zaturnnah,” and National Bookstore has published “Skyworld” by Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria, as well as “Elmer,” 2nd Edition by yours truly."

komiks is dead? over komiks' dead body!


Gerry Alanguilan said...

Buhay pa pala si Aklas Isip? I've long put people who have nothing of substance to say or who completely and utterly clueless of the facts in my ignore list. Dead and buried. For someone whose handle supposedly means "open mind", Aklas Isip has one of the most closed minds I've ever encountered in my life.

macoy said...

like colbert said about bush, he is a man who believes the same things on wednesday that he believed on monday, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED ON TUESDAY.

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