In 2009 I created and uploaded a video called “Hey, Baby!” to You Tube. It’s just a series of short shots of me around the house smiling at the camera. That’s it. I didn’t use content created by another party, nor did I use music created by any other party. In fact, my video didn’t contain any kind of music at all. The last time I checked, my video had up around 5.8 million views. Which is just incredible. And so unexpected.
People made their own versions of the video, and some of them even used my video and added music and other things. That was done without my permission, but that’s OK. That’s the nature of viral videos on the Internet.
Because the video became so popular, TV shows started showing it in viral video themed programs. Some of them asked for permission, but most of them didn’t.
Tosh.0 was one such case. This show used my video a lot as a punchline to jokes. I didn’t mind it too much. They didn’t ask for permission to use it nor did they compensate me for it. They linked to my channel, but they spelled my channel incorrectly.
A couple of weeks ago You Tube took my video down citing copyright infringement on a complaint from Viacom. They were waving a big ass finger in front of my face, saying I shouldn’t upload content created by other people, threatening me with the closure of my channel if I had another copyright strike. And I’m like, what the fuck are they talking about?
Hey, Baby is owned 100% by ME, and no one else. I think what happened is this: Tosh.0 used my video without permission and compensation. Tosh.0 is owned by Viacom and now Viacom thinks my video belongs to them. Screwed up right?
This is not the first time it happened. ABS-CBN here in the Philippines used my video as well in one of their programs. Later, they tried to claim ownership of my video on You Tube. So for a while there was a notice that this video was owned by them.
Of course I went berserk. I filed a counter copyright infringement notice and got in touch with the Viacom contact person “Brad” cited in the copyright strike notice. I was angry, but I tried to keep it in control. Times like this logic over anger wins out. But I gotta admit, there’s nothing more infuriating than a big media corporation trying to grab something you own, threatening legal action.
A week or so later, my video is back online, without any note or even an apology from You Tube OR Viacom. Figures.
First, a word with You Tube: You Tube…. I spent years creating original content for my Komikero channel, working hard on each video. Do you understand this? YEARS. Couldn’t one employee spend one God damned minute verifying if some greedy media corporation actually have grounds to cite me for infringement? ONE GOD DAMNED FUCKING MINUTE.
Viacom… couldn’t you have “Brad” have less of a copyright infringement trigger finger and ask him to actually LOOK at the video and see if it’s actually owned by you? When you create viral video shows like Tosh.0, you are going to be using content NOT CREATED BY YOU. And as in my case, you most likely DIDN’T EVEN ASK FOR PERMISSION. How many copyright infringement strikes have you given original content creators on You Tube just because their videos appeared on shows that you own?
Arghh… I wish I could…. but I’ll just move on.
For those who actually read my last post, which was my April Fool’s thing for this year… you might be interested to know that I was only half kidding. I do feel that way about social media, about Twitter and mostly Facebook. Except for approving a few tags, I actually haven’t posted anything myself in my profile for the past 14 days. Not that anyone would notice.
Besides I’ve got a lot of things going on offline lately which I just find crushing and it’s really wearing on me. April has been the most difficult month so far yet for this year, second only to May last year when my mom passed away. Things really just went downhill after Komiket. In a way things have been going downhill for quite a while. It only accelerated after Komiket. I feel so worn out. I need to swim in a beach, or maybe even just a pool. Hang out on a lounge chair watching the sun go down with an ice cold green apple soda in my hand. I would kill for that right now.
I wish April was over. Once April is over and things we’re expecting fall into place, I think it will get better from there. But right now it’s still right in the thick of the month and the end of the tunnel is still so far away.
As you may have probably noticed, I really don’t post much on this blog anymore. Most people who have been active as bloggers have shifted to Twitter and Facebook to update their friends. In my case though, I haven’t been posting THAT much to Twitter and Facebook already. I don’t know, I guess I’m just getting tired of the Internet. You go online and you just see lies everywhere. It’s gotten so bad that you just don’t know what the truth is anymore. I’m just sick of it. I go on Facebook and all I see are rants, people complaining out loud to everyone and anyone except the people who really need to hear it, people passing off hoaxes as the truth (without even knowing it), people posting their dirty dishes (as if it’s a cool God damn thing to do), people having knee jerk reactions to news before thinking things out, people being jerks, people being homophobes, people being sexist, people being overly preachy… as I said I’m sick of it.
Many times I wish I could just unplug this damned thing. I think the time has finally come to do it. The only time I’ll be going online from now on will be to check my email for work related stuff, and that’s it.
I won’t go all drama queen and lament all this on Facebook before saying I will now be closing my account (like many people do). In fact, I won’t be closing my account at all. My FB and Twitter will still be there. This blog will still be here. But I won’t be.
Sorry to disappoint the few people who still read this blog and those who follow me on my online haunts. You know my email naman, so just drop be a line there and whenever I find myself online, I’ll try to respond. It might take a while.
Looking back on this blog, I realized how much of a ranty rant I was. At the same time, I suffered from hypertension. I was also mad a lot of the time. It wasn’t good. I started to rant less. Sure, things still bothered me, but more and more I just close my eyes, go to my happy place and just let it go. There are many things I could rant about the local komiks industry and the people in it, but I find that I’m a happier person just letting things be. After all, I do notice an incredible amount of improvement in the quality of local komiks in the last 10 years. That’s great, isn’t it?
Once in a while I do see something in Facebook that just flips my lid. More often I just move on, but on the rare occasion my lid is flipped so much that I just can’t help but launch an angry comment. The sheer amount of stupidity in people’s opinion just boggles my mind. People are entitled to their opinion of course, but sometimes it’s pretty obvious it’s just the wrong opinion. I mean, really, come on. These people are unfollowed right away. In the old days I’d rant about people tagging me, adding me to groups without my permission, posting their dirty dishes, posting preachy stuff. posting dead animals and people… right now I can’t be bothered to type anything. I just unfollow them right away. If the offense is just unbearable (like ignorant kids talking about the good old days of the dictator, or people condemning an entire religion for the actions of a few nuts), they get an automatic defriend without any more comment from me. I mean, why waste my time arguing? It’s not my fault they didn’t get the proper education.
I’ve also recently decided to make my profile less political and more just about fun stuff. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about current events and other important goings on, but FB just won’t be the place I’ll talk about it. Once in while I will post something like that, but it will be rare. If anyone makes a conclusion about my apathy towards current events based on my FB posts, then they would just be barking up the wrong tree.
“Sandali ng Katotohanan” (Moment of Truth) is a short story that’s both written and drawn by legendary Filipino komiks creator Nestor Redondo (Rima, Swamp Thing) for Espesyal Komiks #102, September 3, 1956.
“Sandali ng Katotohanan” tells the story of matador Paco Salazar, renowned for his cowardice during bullfights. It isn’t until he gets some encouraging reading of his future from a fortune teller that his fear disappears. The results are rather devastating.
Click for larger images.
Related link: Nestor Redondo, Philippine Komiks Illustrator
Here’s another short story illustrated by one of the Philippines’ best but relatively unknown komiks illustrators, Emilio “Emil” D. Rodriguez. This is a story of how Venus lost her arms as researched and written by Deo C. Gonzales.
The source material wasn’t that good as some of the edges are missing, but I just couldn’t help but post it because the artwork is just so spectacular. You can click on the images for much larger versions for better viewing.
This story was taken from Espesyal Komiks #177, July 20, 1959.
2014 wasn’t such a nice year for the family. The year started out with much optimism (I always try to be such at the outset of every new year.). Determination to be positive definitely has its limits in the face of unavoidable bad events.
I lost my mom on May 28. It was very devastating for me, specially for my dad who took it quite hard although he tried to hide it. He still struggles with the loss today, as I do. They were married for more than 50 years. Unimaginable losing someone you’ve been with your entire life. I just can’t imagine it.
A month or so later, Typhoon Glenda struck and for the first time in the history of our house, water entered and flooded all the rooms of the ground floor. It destroyed a lot of things including batches of WASTED. I made light of it later on by selling “Glendamaged” Wasteds for a vastly reduced price.
Months later on October 2, my brother also lost his wife Cherry to cancer. It’s hard for me to write about this. I just feel really bad for my brother and of course his son, Robin.
Around the same time, thieves stole a St. Michael statue from our garage that had much sentimental value for my dad. Feeling insecure in our house for the first time and perhaps because of the loss of something that meant a lot to my dad, his health took a beating and was hospitalized for several days. He soon pulled out of it, thankfully enough.
At about the same time, Ilyn and I learned of the loss of a considerable amount of money we had invested in a pension plan of a company that went bankrupt. We’re left with nothing of that investment. It’s just money, of course… but we still needed it to buy food to eat, pay the bills and buy medicine. I’m still trying to find some legal help about this matter. Insurance companies must have something similar to a bank’s deposit insurance. Any lawyers out there who can help out, please do get in touch.
At the end of October I got sick with pneumonia. I thought it was something easy to recover from, very much like a normal flu, but it turns out it wasn’t the case. I was sick with it for a week, but my immune system plummeted as did my hemoglobin. It was horrible. I couldn’t get up from bed. I had to work through inking Axis during this time and it was just punishing. After the work was done, I just collapsed and spent the next month and a half recovering. I didn’t work at all. I only learned later that pneumonia wasn’t a trivial thing. It was something quite serious and if I hadn’t been treated, I could have died. To be honest, there were a couple of moments during that time that I felt I was dying, so much so I had wanted to give Ilyn all my passwords. I missed another deadline for another company and I’m still struggling to do it now.
It’s hard, but I try to focus on some positive things. I still have my job, which I’m thankful for. Nobody else died or got horribly sick, so that’s a good thing too. I was able to release two new things this year, Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby (which bagged a place in this year’s Inquirer’s top ten books!) and Crest Hut Butt Shop #4. I also received some news that ELMER may get an Italian translation next year. Ilyn and I had a lot of pretty good and memorable times together, and to me that’s very important. Today Ilyn and I celebrate our 12th Anniversary. 12 amazingly happy years together. She’s the perfect partner anyone could ask for. Incredibly supportive through thick and thin, through sickness and health, literally!
I do look forward to 2015 with much hope. That doesn’t mean I’ll just sit around waiting for good things to happen. I will try very hard to make it happen for me and the family. I really think one must find their own happiness. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but I think it’s worth the effort.
Here’s a short story illustrated by one of the greatest unknown Filipino komiks illustrators, Emil Rodriguez. I will be posting more of Emil’s work in the coming weeks, but I’m posting this one now in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, this particular story came from a bound compilation that doesn’t indicate what publication it came from or when it was published. I’m guessing this came out sometime in the early 1960s. Click for larger images.
Hard to believe, but a few people are taking issue with the word “Komikero” being used to describe comic book artists. I’d like to talk a little about it.
First, a little history.
Back in 2002, I was thinking of buying my own domain name. I didn’t want something like “gerryalanguilan.com” because it’s too long and a little too hard to remember (or spell). I wanted a name that describes me as a comic book guy. Of course, I knew “komikero” meant comedian. But I thought, what the hell. I’ll appropriate the word to mean comic book artist. And so I bought “Komikero.com” and used that as my website. It’s short, concise and easy to remember.
Over the years I noticed other people starting to use the word “komikero” to mean comic book artist. I thought that was awesome. Today it’s pretty much all over the place.
Of course, some people would take issue with it, insisting that “komikero” meant comedian and not comic book artist.
But think about this: What other term is used to mean “comedian”? Don’t they call comedians “comics”? Just look online. Here’s the definition of “comic”:
a comedian, especially a professional one.
“a stand-up comic”
synonyms: comedian, comedienne, funny man/woman, humorist, wit; More
synonyms: comic strip, cartoon, comic book; informalfunny
“the paper no longer runs his favorite Sunday comic”
If in the English language “comics” can mean both comedian and comic book artist, why can’t it be the same for the Filipino language? Why can’t “Komikero” mean both comedians and comic book artists?
I REST MY CASE!
It’s been a very difficult couple of months for me, physically. I caught pneumonia late last month and as I recounted in my last blog entry, it was truly horrible. After I wrote that blog entry I thought it was all over, but much to my dismay, it took far longer to recover than I realized. It became so bad it affected my schedule for inking Axis. Although I still inked more than half of issue #8, I have to thank Jason Paz for stepping in to help, and specially to Leinil Yu, who has been very understanding of my situation and gave me as much room as he could. Leinil tells me that we won’t be working on anything new until January so that comes as a huge relief for me because I truly need the break.
I wasn’t feeling so good the day before Komikon that I seriously considered not going and just let Ilyn and Zara take care of the table. I was still furiously working on Axis at the time and there were still a couple of pages to do. I decided to go anyway because my printer ink ran out and I had to get some from Manila. It turned out to be an incredible Komikon.
My doctor has advised me not to go to crowded places and if I did, I needed to wear a face mask. I didn’t wear a face mask, at least for most of Komikon. I just decided not to shake hands with anybody and just stay at my table and not wander around. I hope I didn’t offend anybody by doing so. It just couldn’t be avoided. I asked my friend Danry Ocampo to wander around for me instead and buy me comics. There were a few new potentially good titles that came out that day that I just had to get. So thanks Danry! I haven’t gotten a chance to read anything much yet except for Manix Abrera’s “14” which was fun and interesting. Oh yeah, JP Palabon’s “Pera” was also hysterical.
My childhood friend Dan Yatco came to Komikon to visit me (dude on the left at the photo above). We’ve been friends since Grade 6 (Grade 7 for him because I’m accelerated hehe). We were also friends and classmates in High School and then again in college. It was me who actually convinced him to take up Architecture because I couldn’t bear to go to a new university by myself. I don’t think he’s particularly interested in comics, but he reads them and goes to these events because of me and that’s really touching. Sometimes there are friends you make for life.
Now I feel much better and I probably will be able to do some bit of work. There is another thing I have to do for Graphic Classics that has also been delayed because of my illness. I can probably start doing that again soon. I’ll most likely take it easy and ease myself in, maybe just a few hours at a time in a day.
The last two weeks were just horrible. It started out as a cough that just won’t go away. I couldn’t sleep for all the coughing. And then I got fever. And colds. And the coughing got so bad that it started to disturb me in a way it had never done before. I had my x-rays taken and went to the hospital. It turns out I had pneumonia. Holy shit. I guess that explained it. I was flat on my back for two weeks on antibiotics, nebulizing three times a day. Today I’m feeling much better, but I felt terrible that I never had the chance to work at all the last two weeks. I suppose I needed the rest, but no I have to really catch up. I have lots of work to do. That’s what I’m thinking now. I’m voice is still rough from all the coughing torture I went through, but it’s recovering too.
I was told that pneumonia could kill. And it was really frightening knowing that a week ago while I was in the thick of it. There were moments when I swear I started considering giving all Ilyn all of my passwords. You can guess what that means. I’m glad that moment passed. It’s still too early for me. So much stuff yet to do.
Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby
Written by Gerry Alanguilan
Line Art and Colors by Arnold Arre
Title Design by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre
Published by Komikero Publishing
Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby is available at the following outlets:
Comic Odyssey (Robinson’s Galleria, Greenhills, Bonifacio High Street, ATC)
Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Baguio
Comic Odyssey Online at this link
You can also buy it from me directly. Email me at gerryalanguilan at gmail dot com
You can also buy it from me directly at conventions. The next one is KOMIKON on November 15, 2014 at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig. Information about that event here.
Komikon 2014 Facebook Event Page here.
If you are a retailer and you wish to carry Rodski Patotski, please do get in touch with me at my email: gerryalanguilan at gmail dot com
This is a followup to my previous article, “Creating Your Own Characters is Creating Your Own Future“. It turns out there’s much more to say about the matter based on a few things I’ve read online.
It’s well and good to create your own characters, but great care must be given when looking for a publisher. There are still plenty of “old world” beliefs in the world of Philippine publishing including the belief that the publisher owns whatever you create.
For many decades creators simply were not aware that they were entitled to such ownership, considering what they do simply as a “job”. They write, they draw, the draw a paycheck and that’s it. A few creators probably don’t even think about it. They’re happy enough to have a paying job. And I think that’s perfectly all right. People didn’t know they were entitled to so much more for such a long time.
Now in 2014 though (and for many years now), creators can demand the right to own the stories and characters they create. And I think it’s really up to them to demand such things from their publishers. You can consider this a job if you want, but if you want a legacy, you have to demand it. I understand that you might not want to ruffle feathers, you just want things to go on as they are, but if you want something more for yourself, buckle up, ride the storm, and grab what’s rightfully yours.
For my entire career I’ve always avoided working for publishers who demand ownership of my creations, even if they say they simply own only 50%. I always refused. I own my work, 100%. In my view, the publisher only has the right to exclusively publish and distribute your work. All other rights belong to you. This includes movie and tv rights and other adaptations to other media.
There are publishers out there who are willing to accept such terms, but there are others who won’t. More often than not, I end up publishing my own work because that’s one of the ways I can ensure that I have complete control over what goes on with my creations.
And if you ever do find the right publisher for you, make sure you scrutinize your contract very well. It might help to consult a lawyer to help you understand completely what’s being offered.
Just make sure that the publisher only holds publishing and distribution rights. Other media adaptation rights belong to you. Make sure that you ask for a time limit to how long the publisher has your work. Three years, six years… whatever works best for you. Just make sure it’s in there.
Also pay attention to what’s written down with regards to their commitment to promote your work. Do they schedule signings, panels, and invite you to join conventions, festivals, etc? Promotion is one of the things that the publisher needs to commit to. You can help by doing promotions yourself. Every little bit counts.
And lastly, the contract works both ways. If they do their part, you also need to make sure you uphold your commitment to the terms of your contract. I think that’s only right and fair.
Whenever I attend a local comic book convention like KOMIKON, I feel so excited because I see so many young (and maybe not so young) people creating their own comics, using their own characters. The amazing variety of creativity is sometimes just breathtaking. Me and a bunch of guys back in the early 90s who began creating our own comics have no idea that this thing will be much much bigger today, 20 years later.
In this time, I’ve created lots of different characters like Eric from Wasted, Johnny Balbona, Humanis Rex, Timawa, the Elmer Gallo family, and Rodski Patotski. I plan on creating so much more.
Of course, there is the option to create new stories for classic characters, and I have done so previously with Lastikman and the little Darna story that Arnold Arre and I created. Working on Mars Ravelo’s characters was so much fun and also thrilling knowing that you are working on such iconic characters with so much history.
A lot of people hope that Arnold and I continue the work we did on Darna Lives! We actually have the option to do it if we wanted to. But I want to say right here that I was the one who decided that I didn’t want to. What Arnold and I did was simply to show the potential of what can be done with a Darna story. Hopefully, it would give future Darna writers ideas on how to do things differently, how to perceive and develop the character from a different and fresh perspective.
I wanted to create my own characters. I wanted to create my own Darna. When I work on characters by other people, I ensure the future of not only that character, but that character’s copyright owners. I get a one time paycheck and that’s it. Nothing more. I want to ensure MY future by creating characters that would act as my legacy, that would hopefully be something I can benefit from in the future. Characters I create become a personal creative investment. If a movie of ELMER or any of my works would be made in the future, it would be me who would benefit from it. If one day I can no longer work, they would be taking care of me. At least, that’s the plan.
I admit I do still continue to work on other people’s characters at Marvel and DC. That of course, is what I would consider my day job. I love doing it so it’s more than simply a day job, but with the money I earn from it, and the free time I have outside of it, I would create my own characters and comics.
My mom passed away on May 28, 2014. I made a note of it in the panel of this Avengers page I was inking at the time. I wrote the date and the time of her passing.
She had been feeling somewhat sick for a week, but we all thought it was just one of those things she experienced from time to time. We believed she would eventually get better, and that she would eventually go back to her gardening and things would be OK.
She went for a check up on the morning of that day and her lab results showed she was low on hemoglobin. Her doctor, who also happens to be my doctor, recommended she be admitted so she can have a transfusion. She was in the middle of the transfusion when she suddenly had a cardiac arrest. It was 9:15pm. My dad was there, but I was at home.
Ilyn and I rushed to the hospital to see my mom being given CPR as she was being wheeled to the ICU. Dad was standing there, shell shocked, not knowing what to do. He felt as helpless as I did. We were called up to the ICU where the doctor greeted us. He told us mom was gone. Just like that.
I’m trying to remember what I felt at that moment. I felt, I don’t know, blank? Like I was speechless in my mind. The doctor was talking but all I heard were words. My mind was somewhere else. I sat down. My dad seemed to be in denial. He was talking about other things, trying not to get to grips with what just happened. I tried to convince myself I was dreaming, that I needed to wake up. I wanted to wake up. I asked Ilyn if I was dreaming, and she said that I wasn’t.
I didn’t cry then. That came later on the car on the way to the funeral home to pick a casket. I just let go. I had to let it go. I knew I couldn’t keep it inside. I worried for my dad who still seemed to be denying it to himself. I wanted to see him cry, I wanted to see him let go because then I knew he was starting to really deal with it. He eventually did. As I did.
My mom was a very strong character. We frequently butted heads all throughout my life, but it was nothing acrimonious or long lasting. We disagreed on a lot of things. She wanted me to be an Architect. She frequently meddled in my love life. She would often burst into my room and pick at things. But she was ultimately supportive of my choices, as much as she grieved over some of the decisions I made in life.
She didn’t want me to be an artist at first. And it was the source of a lot of our contention. I stuck to what I wanted, and I eventually won her over when I started to make money from my art and my comics. I guess that’s what she always wanted. For me to be able to support myself. I only had to prove I could do it, no matter what I did.
I knew my mom was proud of me and my accomplishments. And I’m so happy she got to see the things I’ve done with my little comics. I can’t forget how happy she was when my Elmer won those awards and how it allowed me to travel the world. I can’t forget how happy she was during the Supercrooks signing with Mark Millar.
And when Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby came out, it made me so happy that my mom sat down to read the entire book non stop in one sitting and she told me that she liked it.
I wish I could have said goodbye. I wish I could have said that I loved her one last time.
I couldn’t talk about this online when it happened. I didn’t want to post about it on Facebook or on Twitter. I don’t know. I just didn’t want to. But I did let close friends know and that was enough for me. I’m so thankful for those who sent me messages and to those who came and visited and be with us during that difficult time. I’m not the friendliest person around, but I’m grateful to the friends that I do have.