When I woke up this morning, I opened a link Ilyn told me about the night before. It’s a link to an article at the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s website where I’m named as one of “5 Filipinos Who Owned Their Dreams”.
This is the link to that article. Original link disabled. This is a cached version.
My initial reaction was surprise, and well…joy that I was chosen to be featured in this article. I felt it was quite an honor. At the back of my mind I was thinking, “Why me?”. In the field of Philippine comics, there are quite a number of people who have probably owned their dreams more than I did. I can think of a few right now.
In any case, I had someone buy me a copy of today’s Inquirer just in case there’s a print version, but unfortunately, there’s not. And then I forgot all about it, concerning myself fully with a frightening deadline at hand.
But something about the article kept bugging me. I felt that there was something a little “off” somewhere. For one, the article didn’t say who wrote it.
Earlier this evening I decided to take a second look at the article and was quite surprised to read, at the very bottom:
“Led by its mission to Build the Filipino Dream, Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI) has launched its new campaign called “I own my Dream”. This campaign fortifies FLI’s tagline, “We Build the Filipino Dream”, as it aims to inspire more Filipinos to dream and own their dreams. And through its residential properties, FLI continues to help millions of Filipinos achieve their dreams of owning a home.”
Then it clicked. I realized that it wasn’t a true article, but an advertisement for Filinvest. People who know me closely would be familiar with my stance on appearing in commercials and advertisements. That stance being I don’t want to be in them. That I don’t want to appear in ads selling products. I’ve declined to appear in advertisements before. Because of a viral video I uploaded at You Tube, I’ve received invitations to appear on TV commercials. I’ve declined them all. If you ask me why, all I can say is I don’t like it.
Flattered as I am at being chosen (and I admit it did feel great), I wish Filinvest would have gotten in touch with me first to ask if I would be willing to be attached to their product in this way. But they didn’t ask my permission and instead used an old photo and collected information about me online. I would have politely said no and I would have gladly recommended other people in my place.
For the record, I do wish to say that I am not endorsing Filinvest in any way.
Civil War 2, the sequel to Marvel Comics’ Civil War is basically the main comics project that has preoccupied me for most of the year so far. I’m inking this over my long time partner Leinil Francis Yu. It’s written by Charles Soule and colored by Sunny Gho. I’m currently working on issue #5, the last issue. Inking Civil War has been both challenging and amazing. Challenging for a couple of reasons. One, much of the early issues I worked on under incredible stress because of family and personal emergencies. It had really been an incredible tough first few months of 2015.
The stress, I believe, actually began when my mom died in May last year. I thought I had gotten over it, but I didn’t realize it was really eating me up inside. I knew it because I slowly became physically weak over the next year. My dad got hospitalized in April. I had seen him collapsed on the bathroom floor and I thought he was dead. I can’t even begin to describe how harrowing that was emotionally for me. It really stressed me out further. By around May this year I was down to 62 kilos, which isn’t THAT bad normally, but I looked really sick and thin. Thankfully, my dad got better. I got better. Me and Ilyn forced ourselves to go on an outing just to relieve that incredible stress we were both feeling. I think getting away for a few days at the end of May must have saved my life. Imagine working all throughout that. I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to do it. I’ve managed to balance taking care of family matters as well as work matters. That thought really makes me feel glad.
Ok, what else made working on Civil War 2 challenging? Well, I’ve been inking Leinil close to 18 years now. The first thing of his I worked on were a few pages of Wolverine back in 1997. Over that time I’ve seen his stuff evolve and I needed to evolve with him. One would think that I have it all down pat and I’m just going on automatic when I ink his stuff. But to be honest, I keep pushing myself to do better. I keep challenging myself to do a better job. With Civil War 2 I’ve been really pushing it, working on each panel really hard and spending a lot of time making it all look as good as it can be. Hopefully, it shows. because man, I’m really really trying.
In between pages of Civil War, I worked on a full page full color newspaper strip for Le Monde. I don’t know if Le Monde is the title of the newspaper, or if it’s simply a section of a newspaper. I was commissioned to do it by Serge Ewenczyk of Éditions çà et là, the French publisher of ELMER. It’s supposed to depict a vacation I took here in my home country. I chose to tell the story of the trip I took with Ilyn to Bataan to visit an entire village of old restored Spanish era houses. I was also asked to letter it, which was a challenge in itself because it had to be in French. I don’t know any French except maybe merci or où sont les toilettes. (Thank you! Where is the toilet?) I believe this strip already came out Saturday last week. Serge promised to send me a copy. I can’t wait to see it!
That is of course, only two of the things I’m working on that I can actually talk about. I may be working with another artist for something for Komikon, I may be not. Whatever I finish though, you’ll definitely see it this November at Komikon.
I can’t end this post without an obligatory selfie with Bugel.
Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby has received a nomination at the 34th National Book Awards in the Graphic Literature Category, English Language. It goes against Mythspace by Paolo Chikiamco (and artists) and Trese 6: High Tide at Midnight by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo.
I really want to thank Paolo Herras and Tepai Pascual of Meganon Comics for making this possible. They’re really the ones who went through the effort to have Rodski nominated by processing all the paperwork, submitting copies and applying the book for an ISBN. None of which I would have done myself. This is probably why Rodski appears here under the Meganon umbrella rather than Komikero Publishing.
I want to thank Paolo and Tepai for all they’ve done for me, and for believing in the work I do. They’ve done more than this, I have to say. They are also actively promoting and selling Rodski for me at various events and fairs and even online. So thank you guys… you’ve been awesome! I really appreciate it.
Of course, I really want to thank Arnold Arre as well. He breathed life into this character beyond my wildest expectations. Finally, thanks to my wife Ilyn for the unfaltering support. Rodski is based on her, after all. If it sounds like I’m already giving my award acceptance speech, then you’re not deaf. The nomination is already an award in itself. But I have to be honest and say that I would like to win it. Sorry, Paolo C. and Budjette. hehe.
If you want to read the first 9 pages of Rodski, click here!
This is the view outside my window whenever I’m lying down in bed. Because I haven’t been feeling all that well for the early part of this year, this is a view I saw a lot. My attention almost always fixed on that branch from our neighbor’s chico tree. I would see it bathed in sunlight when it’s sunny and I would see it swaying in the wind and wet whenever it rained. At night I can barely make it out. I felt I had a constant companion whenever I was feeling bad both physically and emotionally. It became a constant in my life…something I could count on to always be there whenever I looked out the window. And it became quite a big comfort for me.
Nowadays I’m feeling a whole lot better, I still look out my window and I still see it there. It’s grown a little bit and seems to have a lot more leaves than before. It still makes me feel good. It’s quite ironic because I actually hate the chico fruit. I’ve never liked it. I don’t like the smell of it, and I don’t like the taste of it. But I’m so glad that tree is there for me to look at. I’ve grown to appreciate at least that.
Those following my tweets would know that I will not be voting for Jojo Binay. I will not be voting for Mar Roxas either. If Miriam Santiago runs, I’ll vote for her. If Rodrigo Duterte runs, I’ll probably vote for him. If both of them run for the same position, I’ll have a big debate with myself until election day.
Some of you would probably be indignant at the idea of Duterte as president due to his reputation. But you know what? Every single candidate out there have faults in them. None of their hands are clean. In this and in any election, you do not have the luxury of choosing the purest candidate. You only choose the lesser evil. Would you choose a relentlessly self promoting candidate with a corrupt reputation who has done nothing to alleviate this country’s hardship, or would you choose a candidate who made his city one of the safest in the world, but has an alleged reputation of doing away with criminals on the side? I’d choose his crimes over the other guy.
The problem with a lot of Filipinos is that they cry and bellyache about how this country is going nowhere, but are perfectly unwilling to make drastic changes and make sacrifices to solve the problem. Of all the candidates laid out before us so far, Miriam and Duterte would be the two people with enough balls in them to actually make real and lasting changes. It will be hard, I have no doubt about that. We will be sacrificing a lot of things. But good things cannot happen easily or be granted to us just like that without working hard for it, or sacrificing a little bit of our idealism.
We can no longer afford to be completely idealistic. I thought I could live my life like that, but I’ve come to believe that I need to get my feet dirty once in a while just so I can achieve a greater good. Waiting for the completely, and perfectly ideal dirt free candidate is like waiting for Godot. It is someone who will never come.
I for one would be willing to get my hands dirty just to see a better future. Duterte himself has said that he doesn’t mind going to hell just as long as his people can live in paradise. He knows that he will get his hands dirty (if they aren’t already), just to ensure everyone else lives a better life. And we can see that right now in Davao. He has already proven himself with actions, not with empty words.
A vote for Binay or Roxas, I fear, would just be a vote to continue the status quo. This horrible, unbearable status quo we’ve been living for such a long time. I think it’s time for change. REAL change. Binay and Roxas will not, cannot, and are completely unable make that happen. We need something risky, something drastic.I think we can no longer afford to let things continue as they are.
It’s been months since I made a video on You Tube. One or two people have missed me and asked on Twitter why I don’t upload new ones. I’ve thought about that. In the past couple of years I have attempted to restart vlogging and you can see my efforts up at my You Tube channel. I made videos saying “It’s been a while since I’ve made videos”, after which I’d say why and they all involve me being busy with this or that.
To date I’ve uploaded six hundred and fourteen videos, counting a few that are private. When I realized how much videos I’ve done, I’m surprised. 614. Holy Shit. Where did I find the time?
I realize now that my burst of You Tube activity coincided with my hiatus from inking for Marvel/DC. I had quit inking in 2005 and soon after I was doing these videos on You Tube with seemingly crazy abandon. It also coincided with the time I got my first digicam and I was giddy with the thought that I could make my own little films. It was something I dreamed about when I was younger. I really enjoyed making these little videos. I particularly enjoyed editing it all together. I think this is one of the videos that I enjoyed editing the most:
But by far the most notorious video of mine is THIS one:
Right now it’s up to 5.8 million views. That’s kind of crazy. All of a sudden I’m seeing this video on TV on shows both here in the Philippines and abroad. The Japanese got a little excited about it which led to this:
The good stuff starts at 9:43m.
And there are lots more! I’ve gotten offers to appear at commercials and things like that. I’ve always declined because I don’t know… I feel that it’s just not my thing.
I wouldn’t say it changed my life, but it has been quite an interesting experience. I do get recognized once in a while, but not as often as you would expect. Earlier today a tricycle driver recognized me and asked how my comics work was going and I said it was just going fine. I didn’t know the guy. I don’t think I’ve met him. But I keep wondering if I have. I don’t know. I guess when people recognize me, I always assume it’s someone I’ve already met before.
In those days I was active at You Tube I would get all these ideas for videos. I guess that’s why I kept making them. My most favorite video of mine is this one, from August 2008:
I had this rough idea for a topic. All I did was switch on the camera and just started talking. I didn’t have a script. It was just stream of consciousness stuff. I think it came out pretty well. To this day I had no idea how I did it. I seriously doubt I can come up with something like this now.
When I started working for Marvel again in 2009, I continued to make videos, but the enthusiasm for it became less and less. I don’t think I’ve made any videos at all this year and it’s already August. I guess you can say I’m pretty much retired from it. It wasn’t a conscious decision to quit. It just happened. I think it’s got to be like falling out of love with someone. You probably wouldn’t want it to happen, but it does. And you just don’t know why.
I remain grateful to all those who have followed my videos, watched and left comments. I’ve met a lot of people through it with whom I remain on friendly terms to this day. It was a great experience and although I’ve made a damned fool of myself in a lot of those videos, I regret nothing. It was fun.
There are a lot of countries now that have legalized gay marriage, including the US. It’s cause for celebration for a lot of people, and also a cause for despair, disappointment and anger in other people. The question is why?
If you are a Catholic, or Baptist (or any kind of religion that doesn’t support gay marriage), the legalization of gay marriage doesn’t automatically mean that gay marriage will suddenly be allowed in your church. Of course not. It will still not be allowed, and it will still only honor “traditional” marriage between man and and a woman. For you, nothing will really change. NOTHING.
So how does the legalization of gay marriage affect you? It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t.
But why are you angry, indignant, disappointed and all those things?
Why do you want to dictate how other people live?
Have you considered the possibility that you are simply selfish? Because why would you care about what OTHER people do?
Why would you want to deprive them of the benefits of a legal marriage that YOU have always enjoyed?
1. You want to deprive other people of being “next of kin” when it comes to medical benefits.
2. You want to deny inheritance rights if their partner dies.
3. You want to deny them joint home insurance and other kinds of insurance.
4. You want to deny them the right to legally protect each other in court cases.
5. You want to deny them benefits (such as leave, social security, insurance etc) in case their partner dies.
There are so many other rights you enjoy right now that you want to deprive other people simply because you are personally offended by how they live their lives. Think about how “right” that is. If you are a Christian, would you call that attitude kind? Charitable? Compassionate? Loving? Understanding?
I wouldn’t. I call it selfish.
If I may give any kind of advice, worry about your marriage, your morality and your life first, before worrying about other people’s lives.
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.