From 'Off Hours' section of PCWorld (Phils) Sept
Pinoy Comics Online
By Ria Elainne C. Mendoza

I remember the Saturdays when I would walk to the market quite early to buy a copy of Funny Comics. Each trip was filled with anticipation at the new adventures that wily little boy, Niknok, had gotten himself into. During summers, when I was vacationing with my relatives in the province, my cousins and I opted to rent copies of Funny Comics at the nearest sari-sari store. Summers were always harder because we had no allowance.

But because the world is what it is now, most of my reading is done online. My daily dose of funnies -- and I admit, even horoscopes -- is delivered directly to my inbox. And as the cliché goes, the world is at our fingertips, giving us a whole menu of international selections that will entertain us and tickle our funny bones. Despite this, there is one thing that never goes away: that hankering for good, old-fashioned Filipino art and humor. And thank goodness, so many are online. Many of our artistic countrymen are conquering the World Wide Web with their splurge of color and drama. Boxed they may be, but they are wowing the world all over.


"Ding, ang Bato!" is a call that would strike a chord with most people who were already breathing and thinking in the 70s (I caught the reruns in the 80s). If you're thinking along the same lines, this is Vilma Santos, the fifth actress to put on Darna's sash, as the young, crippled Narda from the numerous film adaptations of Mars Ravelo's Darna (www.marsravelodarna.com). This spunky lady with her ebony black tresses and Malayan features, skimpily clad in a pair of red bikinis generously accessorized with gold but alien metal stars, is a true Filipino icon with true Filipino values. She has the beauty of Venus, the strength of Samson, and the sculpted but feminized -- and therefore curvaceous -- body of Apollo. Fifty-three years have already passed since she first captivated our country and now she's back with a vengeance. She pirouetted her way onstage at the recently concluded dance musical Mars Ravelo's Darna performed by the Ballet Philippines in CCP (www.ballet.com.ph/darna/castcrew.htm). And though months have passed since the first series was released in February, Darna is still making waves as a revamped, full glossy, body-beautiful heroine in the three-part series by Mango Comics(www.mangocomics.com/darna). Duly authorized by the heirs of Mars Ravelo, this series will show Darna as a college student fighting drug pushers and terrorists.

The Land of Hinirang

If you want a whole alternate land during a specific time in our history, hop over to www.hinirang.com, where comic book luminaries Nikki and Francis Dean Alfar (Kestrel Studios, www.kestrelstudios.com), Jason Banico (Dynatica Comics, www.dynatica.com), Carl Vergara (Carver House, carverhouse.blogspot.com), Marco Dimaano (Angel Ace, www.angelace.com), Arnold Arre (Tala Studios, www.arnold-arre.com) and Vincent Michael Simbulan (producer of Isaw At Iba Pa under Quest Ventures and manager of Comic Quest), have gathered. Here they offer readers a host of stories, essays, and Web comics about this enchanted land where higantes and tiq'barangs are but normal. You will meet characters like the demonica puta whose name is Immacolata (art and story by Marco Dimaano) and the nameless lady and her mystical sea creature in Asin (written by Nikki Alfar).

What’s great about this site is, it will link you to the respective pages of all these comic book big shots. For instance, you can go to the site of two-time National Book Awardee Arnold Arre (for The Mythology Class and Trip to Tagaytay) and take a peek at his latest graphic novel After Eden (Arnold was also the illustrator and designer for the 5th Philippine Web Awards, www.philippinewebawards.com.). You can visit www.alamatcomics.com where Carl Vergara's Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni ZsaZsa Zaturnnah is featured.


Over at www.beerkada.tk, you’re sure to meet a familiar-looking bunch of friends. There's the shy type, the slow type, the pornographic type, the kikay type, the activist type, and other people you would be able to relate to with such ease. Beerkada will easily remind you of your own barkada, your gimiks, your adventures, your embarrassing moments together... yes, just like your, real, live college buddies (ten years ago, or was it twenty?).

Pugad Baboy

Of course, who could ever forget the cholesterol-dominated world of Pugad Baboy by Pol Medina, Jr.? Hop on over to Mang Dagul and Polgas' backyard at www.pmjunior.com.ph before the round of rounded characters heckle you to death about the mermaids and clams growing in your beer.


Care to explore a different world? Head on to www.mikrokosmos.tk where Jomike Tejido, creator of Mikrokosmos, gives you a refreshing and sometimes disgusting insider's view of the world of insects. It's a green, green world as Jomike and the rest of the Mikrokosmos gang promote environmentalism. It’s a rich cache of information as varied as the insects that the writer/illustrator favors.

And others

We still have numerous talents out there, but space limitations dictate that we stop here. Since we're already online, though, check out Robert Magnuson's Shirley's Pets at www.shirleyspets.tk, Sanduguan at www.geocities.com/capsulezone and for more links, go to www.filipinolinks.com/Entertainment/Pinoy_Komiks. Have a great time browsing our local comics, may it be drama, action, or comedy -- that's Pinoy talent for you!