Summer Komikon is happening this Saturday at the Bayanihan Center, Unilab Compound, Pasig City! (Commuting directions: Get to the Boni MRT Station and then take a cab from Robinsons Pioneer to the Bayanihan Center.)
My friend Danry and I caught up with one of the organizers, John Felix Zamar, the creator of CODENAME: BATHALA and the upcoming SINONG DAKILA, to talk about the history of Komikon, and I've got some previews of the offerings to show you afterwards.
Jon was part of CULTURE CRASH COMICS, which organized C3Con, one of the first comic book, anime, and gaming conventions in the 2000s. He got involved with people like Ariel Atienza of CLASS and Lyndon Gregorio of BEERKADA (as well as John's future wife Sherry), and as a group they got invited to several conventions such as ToyCon and Sci-Fi Con.
"Why don't we hold an event," he recalls thinking, "where the main focus is komiks?"
So they went ahead with that idea and held the first Komikon at the UP Bahay ng Alumni from 2005 to 2008, as well as in 2009 and 2010 for the Summer Komikon. The attendance got larger over the years, so they moved to StarMall for one event before finding a bigger and more easily ventilated location at the Bayanihan Center. They have remained true to their vision of spotlighting local komiks.
"At C3Con, I saw a lot of new creators. I found out there was this group — they were making comic books but they didn't have an avenue to sell it. Only some of them thought of selling to comic stores. So, from the start, Komikon's goal was to be that avenue for local creators."
Right now, Komikon and local stores seem to be the only way we can enjoy local komiks.
"If they want the industry to be as it was before, there should be more publishers," Jon says. "What we would like ideally is to have other publishers come in and look at all these komiks. Some are really worthy of being published and distributed mainstream. So we need a more viable system to sell this stuff. Komikon can be a launching pad, but it should be going somewhere other than Komikon afterwards."
What advice does Jon have for our local creators? It comes down to accepting criticism. "We should learn to take criticism, and not to be easily offended by it."
But what makes a work Filipino? Is it the language, the subject matter, the protagonists, or the setting?
"As a creator, you write for your chosen target market," Jon says. "If you write something for a Filipino audience, regardless of the language used, it's a Filipino komik."
And why should someone who doesn't really read comic books go to Komikon?
"Let's go back to Philippine history," says Jon. "Philippine komiks has always been a mining field for other creative media. Movies and TV, they're mining old Philippine komiks concepts. Paulit-ulit na lang yung concept nila sa movies and TV. (The concepts they show in movies and TV are repetitive.) Komikon has been a home for creators to think out of the box."
And with that, here are the previews, prices included!
BATHALA: APOKALYPSIS #5A
by David Hontiveros and Ace Enriquez
Having fallen at the venomous savagery of Abaddon, Bathala is held prisoner in the locust hive on Guadalupe Bridge, while the Apocalypse continues on its inexorable march of dread, as another threat prepares to rise from the Euphrates.
BAYAN KNIGHTS: NURSERY
by Donne Celadina and Jeff Benitez, with Erico Calimlim
Cover by Ramil Ibay
Kids have been mysteriously missing all over the metro. With the Bayan Knights currently busy with other pressing matters, it will be up to six teenage superheroes to save the day. Based on a plot by Aaron Felizmenio (Gwapoman 2000, Neverheard Web Comics, and Good Criminals Wear White), here comes BAYAN KNIGHTS: NURSERY — an all-ages story by writer Donne Celadina with amazing artwork by Jeff Benitez and superb digital enhancements by Erico Calimlim. Fantastic cover done by Ramil Ibay!
BAYAN KNIGHTS PRESENTS: HEART OF THE BLACK MATRIX
by Donne Celadina, Erwin Ropa, and Renie Palo
Five heroes will race against time to stop a deadly supernatural virus from spreading across the globe. Heart Of The Black Matrix #1 is written by Donne Celadina with fantastic artwork from Erwin Ropa and inker Renie Palo.
CALLOUS COMICS: ON LIGHTER DREAMS
by Carlos Jose San Juan
The fantastic adventures of the Callous Comics gang continues in "Callous Comics - On Lighter Dreams"! Callous Comics features Dr. Rianne Nicah, a struggling new physician. During her time in medical school she encountered a talking duck in her kitchen. He introduced himself as Cal Duck, her Guardian Duck. He explained that she was his charge and that it was his duty protect her and to help her become the best person she could be. Picking up where previous storyline, "The Land of the Guardians", left off, "On Lighter Dreams" puts Rianne and her best friend, Dr. Aimee Queens, under attack by a mysterious ghostly entity and Cal and his Guardian Duck mentors come in to fight back the shadows! What adventures are in store for the gang as they return to the Guardian Realm to find out more about this mysterious threat?! "Callous Comics - On Lighter Dreams" compiles full-color comic strips from "The Crystal Diary" and "On Lighter Dreams" storylines with print-exclusive additional scenes and artwork. It also features a foreword by fantasy author Walter Shuler ("Celadonian Tales Volume 1: Blood and Brass", "Gods of Sand and Stone") and bonus artwork by Ernest John Daryll Fiestan ("Crazy Metro"), Liz Staley ("Adrastus"), Ferrari Ferrarez ("Lethal Fox"), and Andrew Villar ("Ambush"). "Callous Comics" is published daily at http://callouscomics.com
CRESCI PROPHECIES: BOOK OF ARCEN
by Joanah Tinio-Calingo
Volume 1: Php340
Volume 2: Php390
Volume 3: Php410
Ceredion is haunted by visions and premonitions about an unborn mortal woman’s death, showed to him by his counterpart, Myste. Disturbed by the premonitions, and later after finding out about the girl’s destructive power, he finds a way to meet the girl thinking that she would be a threat to him and to all of Rohedien. In a nutshell, the story is about a god, a mortal, and a forgotten prophecy that talks about someone’s downfall. A prophecy which looms throughout the series.
THE HOTDOG PRINCE
by Francis Martelino
Nangarap ka na bang maging hotdog? Hinde? E hotdog na may kapangyarihan na gawing kahit na ano ang kahit na sino? Umamin ka. Gusto mo. Ang storyang ito ay tungkol sa pakikipagsapalaran ng isang Hotdog para makilala ang kanyang sarili.
KANTO INC. #1–3
Written by Tagailog and Joanah Tinio-Calingo, drawn by Kilayman
Gwen lost her job because of a strange call. Now she has a new job, an eccentric boss, and a strange house to work in. Things aren't always what they seem... And Gwen's work is gonna get more interesting.
by Freely Abrigo
The New Adventures of Kapitan Tog: Php100
Kapitan Tog is a wordless comic book that has been published in Pilipino Funny Komiks (2009), and was created by Freely Abrigo, also known as the creator of Kulas. Kapitan Tog, ang Superherong Laging Nauuntog is a parody of Superman, possessing extraordinary or superhuman powers and dedicated to protecting the public. Unfortunately, idiocy has always been his biggest problem. Along the way, he gets into mishaps that interrupt his duty to save the helpless. But as soon as our superhero recuperates, Kapitan Tog’s villains will easily die out and our superhero will again save the day!
by Freely Abrigo
Published since 2001 in the Manila Bulletin, this komik chronicles the life of the title character, Kulas (a typical bystander) together with his good buddy/sidekick Otek. They're surrounded by characters that made the story more spectacular like Lenon, the Rock Star; Tonyo, the outspoken gay admirer Kulas; Utoy, the shrewd little boy; and Mayang, the sexy and hottie love interest of Kulas. As of 2007, it was famed by the Visual Print Enterprises and has been accessible in all bookstores nationwide.
MELON PIN-UP COLLECTION
Happy Lockjaw and their friends celebrate beautiful women with Melon, an immodest collection of good girl art. Different women, different styles. All good.
MONA: QUEEN OF THE BABES
by Dark Chapel (SSM!)
The very first indie to be printed in A3 (Standard Comic Book Format).
Mona, basically is a normal young girl in which after a series of strange events was reluctantly and forcibly changed to the — well as the title says, THE QUEEN OF THE BABES. Following the same formula as HE-MAN, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, RED SONJA, and others, it's a PUNCH & RUN story with twists and turns in every alley. If you loved LOTR, MONTY PHYTON, KULL THE CONQUEROR and BRAVEHEART. Then you're gonna hate our book! This is LOTR-style budget applied to stories about DICK & ARMPIT JOKES. This is swords and sorcery, SSM! style.
THE SSM ILLUMINATI #2
By Dark Chapelb
This is a bi-annual newsletter/almanac of sorts, now on its second run, because the first one was such a flop and we usually do sequels of flop projects. Filled to the brim with information about current events, useless nerd trivia, and unconventional comic strips by the country's finest and brightest cartoonists. The newsletter is a breathing proof that COMICS and MANGA artists can peacefully co-exist — at least that's the case within our publication.