The new komiks releases for this week came as a surprise. I knew that a komiks adaptation of the popular TV program Maalaala Mo Kaya?, hosted by Charo Santos-Concio, was coming, but I didn’t know it was coming THIS week. Further, TWO issues came at the same time, Series 1 and Series 2.
I’ll digress slightly to note the use of “Series” to denote which is essentially a single issue. Series 1 is essentially, Issue #1, Series 2 is Issue #2 and so forth. I have no idea why they chose to number it this way. It’s slightly confusing, but only when you’re encountering these komiks for the first time.
Upon opening the first issue, I was immediately struck by how nice the art of Arnel Avetria is. I’ve talked about him before, mostly about the series he is still currently working with Carlo J. Caparas on for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, To Have and To Hold. I commented how I thought Arnel wasn’t doing his best and that I knew he could do much better. His work on “To Have…” seems to have become much better since I last saw it, and it looks much better in this first issue of MMK. Perhaps he knew that this story would be colored, so he might have pulled back, lessened the blacks and made the art much more simpler. And it looks quite good to me.
Great job Arnel! The artwork above is from the story “Kwintas“, adapted by Vic J. Poblete.
The second issue of MMK features the story “Kerubin“, adapted by Vic J. Poblete and illustrated by Jim Faustino. This is the first time I’m encountering Jim’s work. His art needs work, but has amazing potential. There are a couple of panels where his drawing looks very impressive to me. Unfortunately, I don’t know what went on during the production of this comic book for them to decide to stretch the artwork vertically as they have here.
Perhaps Jim didn’t work with the proper proportions when drawing this, but judging by this scan, which represents the proportion of the paper to the artwork, it seems that they still have plenty of space on the sides to make the stretching perhaps unnecessary. It distorts Jim’s drawings, unfortunately. If I was Jim I’d raise quite a stink about this. It’s something I will never allow to be done to my work.
Running as a back up feature to these stories through the two issues is part 1 and part 2 of a biography of Filipino actor and comedian Chocoleit. This biography was done by Jonas Diego’s studio, and as I’m told, initially finished and submitted as a whole story in black and white. The publisher decided to do the story in color and cut up the story into segments and serialize it as a back up story to other main stories.
The scan on the left is what the original file looked like, and on the right is how it looked like in print. For some reason, the publisher decided to remove the image of the host, Charo Santos-Concio from the first panel, changing the word balloons into a sheet of paper resembling a page of a letter. Now if the publisher had sound reason to remove the host, perhaps Charo didn’t like the look of her drawing, that’s OK. But if I was the artist, I would have liked to have done the alteration myself.
But what’s truly intolerable about this is that the credits have been removed. To adjust for the removal of the host,they’ve had to erase the word balloons and do a paste over of the “letter”, covering the credits. Now the person doing these digital manipulation seems to be good enough to remove the host, erase the balloons and so forth without much trouble. How freaking difficult is it to SELECT and COPY the credits and paste it over somewhere else? There’s a GLARING blank space beside the bookshelf right there where the credits could go perfectly.
Since this as intended as a whole story but was instead chopped into several pieces, it would be a simple matter to once again SELECT and COPY the credit box from the original file into the first panel of installment #2. And yet they didn’t do that as well. Why is this so difficult to do? Likewise, if this was me, and I was the writer and artist involved, I would close this computer, get out of the house, go to Manila and blow up on these people.
Just for the sake of reference, and for giving credit where credit is due, The Chocoleit Story is adapted by Jonas Diego, from a teleplay by Maribel G. Ilag, illustrated by Mannie Abeleda, tones and letters by Sandy Gonzaga and edited by Lawrence Mijares.
Aside from the MMK Komiks, Vol. 1 Series 6 of Joe D’Mango’s Lovenotes also came out. This issue’s material was created mostly by Jonas Diego’s studio, except for the coloring and I highly suspect, the cover. The cover looks like inked versions of panels from the interior. And sorry to say, not inked very well. NOT a very good cover, sorry.
The interiors look much better. The figures are very nicely drawn and the storytelling easy to follow. But if I can make a suggestion to Jonas, it would be to improve the backgrounds. The figures are OK enough, but they seem to exist by themselves in ethereal to non-existent backgrounds. It’s like the backgrounds exist in a dream like state with realistic figures moving through them. One minute they’re there, the next minute they’re not.
As I always say when I do lectures, comics artists don’t simply draw figures and backgrounds. They draw environments. European artists are very good with this kind of thing, with emphasis on the whole picture, instead on emphasizing on the figures, like many American and Asian comics do.