Johnny doesn’t like Mascots.
Panel from Johnny Balbona. Mwahaha #4, 2005
Johnny Balbona is dead. At least for now. How many times did he die on the pages of Mwahaha! anyway? Most of the time he died off panel, at the very end of the strip where his shenanigans brought him the ire of people around him, mad enough to kick his ass… permanently. In one strip alone he was poisoned, decapitated, and blown up with dynamite. All off panel of course.
I based Johnny on my real life friend, Johnny Danganan. I simply took his appearance, but his character completely reflected an exaggerated version of me. At first I didn’t know what I was going to do with him, but with the 2nd strip on, I knew exactly who Johnny was.
After doing that strip above, I started to really love writing and drawing the character. It seemed he started to have a life of his own where he started ordering me around, telling me what to do.
The publisher of Mwahaha told me as late as February this year that the mag will continue, but it’s been almost 3 months since that time, and around a year since Johnny Balbona has been in print, I feel it’s becoming less likely it will happen. So to have some kind of closure, Johnny Balbona is effectively dead as of today.
I know some of you like this character, as I do. But don’t despair. Like I said, Johnny has died and was brought back to life several times… why not yet again? If Mwahaha comes back, Johnny is coming back with them. I’m toying the idea of doing a whole Johnny Balbona graphic novel adventure. Who knows? Right now I just don’t have the time to do it.
Which brings me to the comics projects that’s keeping me busy… and will be keeping me busy well into the end of the year.
There is of course, ELMER. I’m currently working on #3. I wrote an article for an American magazine on my working process on Elmer, accompanied by two short video clips demonstrating the same. Once the mag is scheduled, I’ll be talking about it here. The videos will be exclusive, at least for the first two months, to the readers of the magazine, after which I’ll be making it widely available.
Only one installment to go on Humanis Rex! before it’s all finished. I’ll be beginning work on not only putting together the compilation (including adding some new pages and fixing/adjusting the dialogue), as well preparing for my new series for Fudge Magazine, which will begin a month after the concluding chapter of Humanis Rex! Hopefully, I can talk more about it, along with artwork for it, sometime in the next couple of weeks.
There is a new monthly Philippine comics magazine I have been invited to contribute to. It will be a regular series of 3 pages every month. I arrived at the idea of the series pretty quickly and I’m glad the editor liked the idea as well. I’ll begin work on this in the coming week. Yeah, no concrete announcement on just what this is, but I’ve been told not to talk about it. Believe it or ELSE!
There are a couple of international projects I accepted because of the long deadlines. One is another assignment for Graphic Classics, which is always a pleasure to do, specially now that I’ll be doing a cover to it as well. Another project that got me really excited is adapting, illustrating, coloring and lettering a comic book for a company doing documentaries for a cable channel.
A South East Asian comic book group has invited me to contribute a story for an anthology they are putting together. I’m rather intimidated because a lot of the artists in this group create stunningly beautiful work. The project is just at the early planning stages, but if this pushes through until publication, this will definitely one of the most beautiful comic book anthologies out there.
That, plus the various short stories, pin ups and illustrations I’ve promised to a few independent companies both foreign and local. There’s the 4 page a week coloring bit for Rudy Florese’s Oras Mo Na! And whatever incarnation Filipino Komiks takes from now on, editor KC Cordero can always count on a contribution from me.
Reviewing all of that and considering everything, oh my GOD. I’m thankful for the work, but oh maaan. I’ll be very busy for the next few months. I might not as active in most of my internet haunts as I withdraw to try and deal with all of this. The only places I’ll probaby remain active will be this blog, as well as continuing doing my video bits for You Tube. These are places I visit to try and take a break. I’ll be talking mostly about work in this blog, but mostly I’ll be talking about everything else BUT work on You Tube. I gotta have a place where I can do that or else I’ll probably go insane.
I may have to break a New Year’s Resolution where I promised to be good about answering email. I try my best, specially since I do appreciate any effort anyone makes to get in touch with me, but sometimes there’s just so many minutes in a day. But I do promise to try my best. If you don’t get reply from me, it’s really nothing personal, honest.