Here’s the first batch of reviews of comics that I received during the Metro Comic-Con last August 8-9 at the Megatrade Hall of the SM Megamall.
Josel Nicolas is relatively new writer-artist who I’ve mentioned before in this blog. Based on the work I’ve seen so far, there’s literally no one else like him in the way that he creates his comics. “Making Up Words” from 2007, “Windmills: Bear Bong” and “Roleplay” from 2009 are clearly works of an intensely intelligent and creative mind.
Of his two recent works, “Windmills: Bear Bong” is definitely the more entertaining read. The writing is playful, creative, and offers deep insight on even the most mundane of things.
“Roleplay” however, is something quite different. It’s one of the more remarkable comics I’ve seen at the Metro Comic-con, and as personal expectations go with regards to Josel’s work, “Roleplay” doesn’t disappoint. It truly is a remarkable effort from a storytelling point of view.
But it is not for all readers, even if you’re old enough to read material for mature audiences. It’s subject matter is brutal and harrowing and I seriously doubt anyone can read this without wincing. It’s not a sunny, happy story with a wistful, hopeful ending. The reading of it is like being hit with several sledgehammers at once and it ends feeling like you’ve been finally put out of your misery. It leaves you thinking about it, and thinking about it hard.
I won’t spoil it for those who want to dare read it, but it features a couple of guys being put through the most horrible wringer of their lives. The fact that one of them looks like me gave me pause. I certainly don’t want what happens to the guy in there to happen to me, but as I read it, it made it more harrowing.
What impressed me was how Josel told this story with sheer visual storytelling with a minimum of words. It’s not simply how the story was told, but the choices of scenes to focus on to tell the story were very interesting. Even though you can probably read this quickly, I suggest you don’t. Nevertheless, You probably would read it slowly of your own accord because you just want to catch every little storytelling nuance. Every little gruesome bit of it.
I really have to say it. Josel Nicolas has one of the sickest minds I’ve ever come across. You wouldn’t know it when you see him, but underneath that sweet young innocent face lies the sick demented mind of a storytelling genius.
Where is it available? Outside of the conventions? Beats me! It’s best to ask Josel.
“The Filipino Heroes League” presents an interesting and rather hysterical take on Filipino superheroes. I’ve ruminated not too long ago about the difficulty of writing superheroes in a Filipino setting because of the real problems they would have to face.
Writer-Artist Paolo Fabregas finds a really plausible solution to the problem, that’s both sensible and completely entertaining.
I’m going to do a bit of spoiling here as it’s necessary to get the concept of this comic book across.
As I opened the first issue (three are available so far), I’m rather puzzled why it’s set in America. The most beloved Filipino superhero “Bomb Boy” is there, celebrating the fact that he’s just become an American citizen.
It turns out that superheroing, very much like a regular job, seems much more attractive and lucrative abroad. The most powerful, and the most popular Filipino superheroes have moved Stateside for greener pastures, leaving the the second stringers back home to take care of things. And these second stringers are rather a pathetic bunch. Their headquarters is a shanty, and their transport is a pedicab. It’s pathetic and funny at the same time.
The cops don’t have much respect for this bunch and it leads to some interesting confrontations and complications.
Where is it available? Ask Paolo here.