Cover by Ramil Peronilo
Pagan Press Premiere is a large format comic book at almost 8″x11″. There is no exact publication date in the indicia, but one of the artworks is signed and dated February 14, 1994. At first I didn’t want to get it, because it seemed potentially controversial, with the title and the Jose Rizal imagery in the same cover. But I got it anyway because it seemed potentially controversial. heh.
The only thing that had the potential to be is a short story entitled “Worlds Apart” by Nicolo Caedo, adapted from a poem by RM Santos. It features a scene of two guys kissing. Controversial only to the very conservative, I found it kind of romantic, specially the poem it was based on. I believe it may well be the very first independently produced Filipino comic book story that was unabashedly gay. The art could use a little fixing in the storytelling department, as well as bits of anatomy fixing, but the artist, if he continued to draw, would be a very very good artist today.
Another story entitled “Painful” by Lionel Valdelleon is a dark and disturbing meditation on pain. In spite of the seemingly heavy themes of these stories, what really stood out to me was something called “Indigo Valley” written and illustrated by Ricky.
In my opinion, this delightful story was the star of the entire comic book. It came out of the blue fully formed and evolved, showing developed cartooning right off the bat, as if the creator had been doing it for a long time. It was fun, entertaining, and in it’s own small way, thought provoking.
Indigo Valley would prove to be long lived, continuing on to two issues of P-Noise (feature coming soon), and going back to back on some Alamat Comics produced Pugad Baboy books.
“Boob Tube” by RM Santos and Asa Almario has similarly light and cartoony illustrations, but has a somewhat interesting story of what happens to a small sleepy town when cable TV is introduced. It ends somewhat absurdly, when the entire town commits suicide when the Mayor, upon realizing that the town was dying because people did nothing but watch TV all day, goes to the power station and cuts the power.
But it does make you think. Without distractions, people can accomplish more. I can probably write a story that would say the same for the distraction that’s known as the Internet.