Monday, April 28, 2003


"Mars Ravelo's Darna" No. 1 (of 3)
By Boboy Yonzon, Ryan Orosco and Gilbert Monsanto
Mango Comics

It is always a pleasure to see Philippine komiks' most treasured icon back in graphic glory. Mango Comics' "Mars Ravelo's Darna" updates the flying heroine just in time for the next century. Ryan Orosco and Gilbert Monsanto's art is amazing and the colors and quality make this debut title a visual feast. Unfortunately, Darna, speaking in English, seems to be rather bland and virtually undistinguishable from various versions of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. While this is the first in a three issue mini-series, readers would probably have enjoyed seeing Darna take on more interesting foes-like the tussle with snake-haired Valentina (welcome back) promised in the next ish. While this does serve as a great starting point for those who have yet to really experience the magic of Darna, surely one can do more with the single most recognizable character in local comics. Still worth a look but here's hoping that "Mars Ravelo's Darna" gets much better.

"Wasted: Final Edition"
By Gerry Alanguilan

One of Philippine comicdom's true treasures has finally returned. This affordable new edition collects the eight issues of Alanguilan's seminal series of mini-comics, first available in 1994. Almost a decade hence, Alanguilan's cathartic epic of heartbreak, with its grim humor, hot-button issues and starkly compelling black-and-white art, vibrates with an irresistible, violent truth despite the years since its first release. The reason for the "mature readers" tag isn't just the 15 or so fatalities-it's the dark heart of the series itself, one that we just might recognize in ourselves. And that is bloody genius in itself. "Wasted: Final Edition" lets us go home, thankfully alive but changed forever.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

A review of WASTED: FINAL EDITION by Bernie Sim
PULP Magazine, Issue # 33, April 2003

The last we saw of Gerry Alanguilan’s WASTED was a serialization in the pages of Pulp’s June-July 2001 issue. Before that, Alamat Comics printed a mere 500 of the angry mini-comic in 1998, forcing a lot of awestruck readers to steal their friend’s copies. Two year later Pulp finally took pity on us thieving morons and printed 2000 new and improved copies of the Pinoy cult classic. I first read WASTED in college in the mid-90s, and despite now having a steady job and rosier love life, its raw power and cutthroat intensity still blows my mind all these years later.

It also helps that it’s better packaged now. Reincarnated as WASTED: FINAL EDITION, this new P100 version is bigger than its Alamat predecessor, has a new full-color cover by Mr. Alanguilan, several amazing black-and-white pin-ups by Filipino komikeros Leinel Yu, Arnold Arre, Roy Allan Martinez, Whilce Portacio, Edgar Tadeo, and Marissa Nepumaceno, an intro by Barbie Almalbis, who was actually inspired to write Barbie’s Cradle hit, “The Dance” after reading WASTED, and an enlightening three-page interview with the artist by Gabriel Banaag. If you’ve ever wondered about what drove Gerry to write WASTED, deliberated whether his love life really sucked, and shared Gabriel’s opinion that the art is raw, and, well, somewhat ugly, then you’d definitely love this partial interview (the complete and lengthy one can be found on

As Gerry explains, it’s more the story than the art that drives WASTED. It’s a fast and furious emotional journey fueled by rage and passion, a medium through which one talented artist and renowned Marvel, DC, and Image comic book inker can vent his angst and frustrations. WASTED is every fed-up citizen’s ultimate vigilante fantasy, and it’s superb that Gerry’s work could make us live it and then leave it, unless you do take crime-fighting in your own hands and end up being portrayed by Ronnie Rickets or Ian Veneracion in a sucky true-to-sensationalized Pinoy action flick. Now that’s truly wasted. (We also hear that a movie version of WASTED is in the works, and although we’re quite sure that Gerry will be showing some skin, we can’t confirm if Maui or Katya will).

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Review of ZSAZSA #1
COMIC RELIEF by Bernie T. Sim
MTV INK, April 2003

She ain't Joey de Leon's She-Man, but Zsazsa Zaturnnah is still one hilarious babe. This second Alamat offering from 2001 National Book finalist Carlo Vergara (One Night in Purgatory) is ripe with enought Pinoy showbiz cheek and parlor-gay camp to have you giggling for days.

The two-part, black-and-white book revolves around the (mis)adventures of Ada, a small-town hairdress who gets bonked by a fist-sized stone that falls from the sky. One swallow (snicker) and poof! She turns into a beautfiul and powerful woman who saves nincompoop townsfolk from a giant frog, zombies, and stylish Amazonista from Planet XXX led by, ehem, Queen Femina Suarestellar Baroux (charing!).

Of course, one simple cannot tell a great Pinoy tale without a well-rounded (and well-muscled) love interest. In Ada's case, it's Dodong her matipuno next door neighbor, who gets her panties in a bunch. The wisecracking Didi is the story's frank and funny sidekick, the one who gets all the great lines: "Sa susunod, Dodong, mag-brief ka naman. Naamoy tuloy ng mga mumu ang kayamanan mo."

Though the plot is predictable (hello, baklang Darna!), the hilarious storyline and crisp dialogue make ZsaZsa one delightful spoof of Pinoy superhero movies. Closet fans of Sharon Cuneta and Lorna Tolentino should really pick this one up. Promise.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Attention: Philippine Comics Creators and Publishers

Psicom Publishing, Mango Comics, Culture Crash Comics, and Pupung Company, recently met and discussed the state of the local comic book industry. It was determined that for the local comic industry to survive, much less progress, it would be to everybody’s advantage to cooperate in pursuing a common goal.

With this in mind, they formed a loose coalition and are inviting fellow creators and publishers to participate.

Below is the concept paper and mission statement of the group. Please read the document in its entirely. All those interested can send e-mail to to receive instructions on where the online discussions will be held. Discussions will focus on the following topics:

1. To increase comic book awareness;
2. To establish a comic book section in major bookstores, i.e. National Bookstore;
3. To negotiate with other retailers to increase local comic book visibility;
4. To attempt to organize a centralized distribution system

This will be a moderated discussion group.

Thank you. Let’s support this endeavor.

Reginald Ting

Concept Paper for Association of Philippine Comics Creators and Publishers


The Philippine comics industry is almost dead. Now only very low quality, murky newsprint comics are in circulation nationwide, and dwindling at that. Only a handful of original titles of better quality are in the market today – with an average of 10,000 copies of these sold in a year’s time.

Filipino comic book artists are well known in the USA, where the comics industry has had a so-called second coming. There is a wealth of talent locally that can be tapped to urge a similar second coming of comics here.

There is a need to reawaken awareness of comic books as powerful means of communication, whether for information dissemination, education, cultural expression (art) or pure entertainment. With awareness comes interest and eventually, patronage. Thus, should the local comics industry strive for its revival, an awareness campaign is a must.


A united front must be formed. It should be comprised of entities with a stake in comics: writers, artists, creators, publishers. An organization/association that will work for the promotion of local comics is needed.

As an initial activity, a communications program shall be designed and implemented.


A vibrant Philippine comics industry wherein titles abound that are patronized by Filipinos of all walks of life, such title being of good quality and contributing to the socio-cultural well-being of the country.

• To help uplift the quality of locally produced comics
• To help develop the market for locally produced comics

Membership requirements
• Publishers of locally produced comics
• Creators of locally published comics whose covers are at least offset printed

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Wednesday, April 2, 2003, Issue #81

Gerry Alanguilan's a Philippine artist who occasionally pops up as an inker at major comics companies, but if you read WASTED (Komikero Comics, Box 67, San Pablo City Post Office, Laguna, Philippines 4000; $3.95US) you'll realize what a waste of his talents that is. WASTED collects a crime comic Gerry wrote and drew in the mid-90s, about a would-be musician who goes nuts when all the pressures and betrayals of his life get to him. Not unlike the film FALLING DOWN, but involving a lot more bodies. It's one of those stories congested in overwhelming inevitability, but it's well done. Gerry's has developed as an artist since WASTED - his more recent work has a more illustrative European look, but I sort of prefer the open cleanness of WASTED: more power with fewer lines. Anyway, it's a kick.


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