The Komiks Congress, as well as the Comics Art Exhibit, will finally push through on Tuesday, February 27, 2007. The opening of the exhibit will be in the morning, with the congress itself formally commencing at 1:00pm.
I have had previous thoughts about the Komiks Congress, the first part of which is here, and the second part here. I regard the congress with much optimism, because I can’t afford not to. I cannot dispel any efforts, be they genuine or possibly politically motivated, as long as it produces the desired effect, and that is the revival of the Philippine Comics Industry.
I say this with the full awareness that the younger generation of comics writers and artists have been doing a revival of comics in the country as early as 1993, and it’s an industry that has slowly grown over the last 15 years. As hard as certain parties may try to deny it, it is a true industry that has spawned comic books that have had a definite impact on Filipino pop culture, and has kept comics alive in the minds of many in the years that the old industry was on the collapse.
I have come to the realization in the last few weeks that the organizers of the Komiks Congress, mostly personalities from the old komiks industry, may not be fully aware of the younger generation and our accomplishments. I am not sure if they are simply not aware, or are disregarding our efforts altogether, but at this point, I cannot afford to believe the latter.
This particular headline in a recent news tabloid certainly brings up this point quite succinctly. “Carlo J. Revives Komiks Industry!” It’s a statement that completely ignores what has been happening in Philippine comics for the past 15 years. It’s a statement that completely disregards the efforts of many talented writers and artists who have worked hard to keep comics going when the big publishers were closing one by one. It is poor journalism on one hand, and it is pure self aggrandizing grandstanding on the other.
It is true Carlo J. has put P300,000.00 down on the table for the purpose of reviving an industry. 300 thousand pesos, in US currency, is $6,000. Ok, even then, this is a lot of money. I don’t have 300 thousand pesos to give for the purpose of reviving an industry. I thank Carlo J. for his generosity. I would certainly hope that it is used wisely.
So far it has been used to sponsor a competition with very large cash prizes. While competition is good, I would have thought that the money could be far better used to actually PUBLISH comic books. We will NOT build an industry on competitions. We will build an industry on creating, publishing and distributing comic books. With so little money in comics now, every peso would have been important.
The good thing that is coming out of this is a lot of attention is being given to comics from both the public and the government. The National Book Development Board and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts have shown that they have a good regard for comics, and well, the people have always been there for comics. They’re just waiting for the things to appear. I hope that the government goes all out and considers a tax holiday for comics publishers, as my friend Jonas Diego has proposed. It is the one tangible thing that they can really do to help revive the industry.
A much better thing that could result from all this attention is that it could encourage publishers to actually go and publish comic books, and I have heard of one who is already willing to do so, and that’s great! That is what I’m talking about! I hope the focus on actually making comics and publishing comics is never lost. It’s a focus that can be lost so easily in all the circus.
Backtracking a bit, I reiterate that perhaps the people involved in the congress may not be fully aware of the accomplishments of the younger generation of comics creators. And because we are the ones who have been doing comics for the past decade and more, we could probably have a few ideas that can actually help get the industry going. To revive an industry, you need new ideas, and new ways of doing comics, and more importantly, young people with the energy to create them. And that’s what we’re here for.
Since they have been good enough to ask for our participation, I took some time to create a video presentation to sum up, in a few minutes, what has been happening in the last 15 years, and who these new creators are. I have been assured that this video will be shown at the congress and will be seen by all attendees.
I think a video is a great idea to present a huge amount of information, introduce a large number of people in just a short amount of time, which is essential since the time the congress has discuss the various issues concerning the industry is a limited one. To present the same kind of information with all the people involved present and each wanting to have their say will take a much longer time, time that the congress, as is currently scheduled, does not have.
And besides, I believe that a video presentation would hold much more interest than a bunch of people present just simply talking. It’s a nice way of transmitting ideas in a quick and entertaining way.
This short history and introduction took around 15 minutes, with an additional 12 minutes where I and a few other people offer our suggestions to the congress, for a total of almost 30 minutes. The video is now live and can be viewed below.
Some people have informed me they were having problems watching the video in Live Video in full, so here’s the one hosted at You Tube. Slightly lower resolution to fit their file size limit.
Apologies to our non-Filipino friends, but this video is mostly in Tagalog, and I didn’t put in subtitles (as it would be shown in a venue where subtitles aren’t needed). Hopefully, I could do a subtitled version on-line in the future.
Video also works for me because at this point I am not sure if I can attend the congress on Tuesday. I took two days to put together this presentation, and now I have to scamper to finish a couple of deadlines for the coming week. In this regard, I think the video will do a much better job of presenting my opinions than me fumbling and stuttering in front of a large group of people. The congress has my support and I’m all for having the comics industry revived, and I would not have made this video if I did not care.
But now I have return to work and do my job, and that’s writing and drawing comics, which at the end of the day, is the one thing anyone in comics can do to get this industry going.
I sent out (well OK, spammed) many comics people I know who are currently active in doing comics, mostly here in the Philippines, and some abroad, asking them to create a short 10-second video of themselves that they would send to me via email, which I will in turn incorporate into the video I was doing. Thanks too all those who had sent theirs, and apologies to those I could not include because I didn’t get them in time. If you didn’t get the email, it is very likely that the email fell into your spam/bulk mailbox (specially if you’re on Yahoo) and got deleted. I tried to ask as many people as I can because I knew that the video would be most effective the more creators are included. I ended up yapping most of the time.