Oct 11, 2017

Remembering Our Batman

Being a comic book, animation and movie fan runs in the family. Most of our family members loves pop culture. I am what I am today because of my family and I think I won’t be a big comic book fan without the influence of my late aunt, Jo.

Remembering Our Batman
by Migs Acabado

Tita Jo loved comic books. When I was still young she used to give me comic books whenever she gets home during weekends. Even when I was already in college and she was already working in Singapore, she still bought comic books for me.  I remember the expensive trade paperbacks or hardcovers that I cannot afford to buy then, she bought them for me. She told me while working in Singapore that she made sure that she bought at least one graphic novel every payday. We always had our geek talks whenever we read or watched something.

Batman and Phantasm, by Jo R. Santos

She was a big fan of Batman. She loved Batman: Hush, Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Killing Joke.  She also had other Batman merchandise ranging from toys, utensils, stuffed toys, playing cards and anything that you can think of. Her favorite Batman artist was Jim Lee. She told me that Jim Lee is the perfect Batman artist because he draws Batman beautifully. She was a DC guy and she rarely bought or read comics from Marvel. Besides Batman and DC, she was also a very big Vertigo and present day Image fan. She introduced me to the Vertigo titles as well as Saga and Tokyo Ghost from Image. One of the major things that I have adopted from her is that I learned to read and love nonsuperhero comic books. She made me a certified comic book fan by introducing me to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man (one of my favorite comic books of all time), and the works of Alan Moore. She also introduced me to world of indie comics. She also loved attending comic book conventions. In 2012, it was a dream came true when we met Mark Millar and got our comics signed.

A few years back, we were joking and she told me that someday I will inherit all her comic books. During that time, I was thinking that it’d take a very long time to inherit those because she was very healthy and very cheerful and you wouldn’t notice if there were any problems. I never thought that they’d be left under my care very soon. Last year, she got ill and one Sunday last October, she never woke up. It was a very rough year for me and that was the biggest blow of 2016. Up until this day I still cannot believe that she is gone. She was also a talented artist. Before she passed away, she was supposed to do a comic book with my youngest brother. It was meant to be released during the 2016 Komikon, but sadly it will never see the light of the day.

Her sickness did not stop her love for the medium. She continued to read comic books when she had the time. The last comic book that she read is Saga volume 6, the end of the first arc. I am glad she was able to witness the reunion of Marko, Alana, and Hazel. The last comic book that I gave her is the 2016 Batman Day free comic book. Unfortunately she was unable to read it. I now have her comics and I still get emotional whenever I get my hands on them. Every time that I touch them I cannot help but to think of Tita Jo. Those were her most prized possessions. It makes me sad to think that I can no longer see the owner of those books.

I know she is in a better place now. Even though she is no longer with us, I always think of her every day. Whenever I read comic books, she is alive. I know that she is watching us from afar. Just like Batman does.

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