K.I.A.: She's not human!
Posted 06:36pm (Mla time) May 27, 2005
By Pepe Diokno, James Gabrillo
Inquirer News Service
Editor's Note: Published on Page C3 of the May 28, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
HEY GUYS, wanna interview a comic book character?
Normally, we'd say no-like, we're not Steve Martin--or David Hasselhoff--we just don't do... fake people.
But, at the risk of death, we had to. The subject: Kai aka Agent K, aka K, (the list goes on to negative K)-femme fatale, assassin chick off the pages of K.I.A., this new graphic novel created by Marco Dimaano. (The book is already out, peeps! Get it! Get it!) (She threatened us!) She was really nice. (She told us she'd cut it off if we refused to interview her!) She told us it's okay if we didn't have time for her. (She's weird.) She's great. It was really fun (e-mailing) sitting down and talking to her.
Q: Hey, Kai! Would you kick our asses if we ask the wrong question?
KAI: (Smiles pleasantly) No, of course not. Contrary to what you may have heard, I only start ripping spines out when attacked first.
Q: You're sexy and deadly. What makes you Super! compared to other femme fatales like Elektra, Sydney Bristow, Le Femme Nikita, Aeon Flux?
KAI: Thanks for the compliment. My main power is the ability to learn an opponent's skills and counter them. Secondary is my partial immortality, which lets me keep ticking even after I get "fatally" hit. Sydney Bristow and Nikita are just not in my league. Elektra would probably get some good stabs with her sai, but, when close, I'd grab her and that's that. As for Aeon Flux, I can probably snap her like a twig. Did you see how thin she is?
Q: You were created to be the nemesis of another heroine, Angel Ace. But we hear that you're more than a simple ruthless killing machine. Reveal your real self to us.
KAI: Originally I was Angel's best friend, who became her enemy but was revealed eventually to be still her best friend. Well, after that, I was assassinated by my own commander and resurrected with new powers and no memories of my past. My main motivation is recovering my past, no matter where that search leads.
Q: Your comic book's main issue is how you search for your identity in a world that continually seeks to dehumanize you. Why do you think this is such a big personal battle for everyone in the real world?
KAI: Well, in the real world there are few things people really have control of without corporations, governments and even religion having something to say. A person's identity, whether he/she reveals it to the world or not, is his/her own. It's the one thing unique to anyone, so keeping it safe is paramount.
Q: Do you think this "search for identity" has to do with faith, morality or mind work?
KAI: I'm a soldier and an assassin, and all I have are my mission and my code. I have no real home, not even in the KALI organization. The only place where you can be safe and secure in is in your own body, in your own mind. If I'm going to stay alive either as Kai or as 'Agent K', I'm going to have to like who I really am and live with her. That's why identity is so important.
Q: What is the scum of society? How do you plan to kick it into oblivion?
KAI: The most despicable scum are those at the top; the ones who control all and are, by most standards, untouchable. That's where professionals like me come in. How do I plan to kick them into oblivion? With pleasure.
Q: On to more serious stuff...Does size matter?
KAI: No. I've fought opponents twice and half my size, and it all boils down to how honed their combat skills are. (Eyes narrow) That IS what you were asking about, right...?
Q: If you were a plant, how would you want to die?
KAI: I'd be a nice shade tree where kids can play under. My ultimate fate would be to become a nice, comfy rocking chair. Silly, really...
Q: What is your opinion of graphic novel artists? Are they hot?
KAI: The ones I know are really funny and good conversationalists. I guess they're hot for me, but I don't know if my definition of "hot" is like most girls'...
Q: What about Super! writers? Are they hot?
KAI: (Smiles) Yes, you guys are hot.
Q: If you were to assassinate a real person, who would it be and how?
KAI: I think it would be really nice to bury my foot in some kidnappers' faces. I'd also like to do the same to at least half of your politicians.
Q: Do you have a fitness regimen?
KAI: Strangely enough, I don't. My body is always this fit, no matter what I eat, so usually I just sleep or read in between missions. Now you know why most of the other girls in KALI hate me.
Q: Is Osama Bin Laden dead?
KAI: I've killed three of him already. They'll just clone more, so why bother.
Q: Did you find Hayden Christensen hot... after he was scorched by lava?
KAI: Not at all. They say good girls always fall for the bad guy... I'm hardly what you'd consider a good girl. Anyway, I think Obi Wan is quite... hot.
Q: Do you watch The Contender? If yes, do you feel it's right that they let the children watch their dads suffer on the boxing ring?
KAI: I'm more of an Amazing Race person. I just find American boxing so boring since nobody uses their legs. Give me a Muay Thai version of that show and maybe I'll consider giving it a look.
Q: What is love?
KAI: I think I'm going to start kicking asses now...
Q: To creator Marco Dimaano, Who are the main influences in your work?
MARCO: Hayao Miyazaki, Kosuke Fujishima (Oh! My Goddess), Frank Miller, Jim Lee, Joe Madureira, J. Scott Campbell, Frank Cho, Pol Medina, Jr. Too many to count! I find influences every day.
Q: Your comic book is a big collaborative work. How was it like working with 20 different storytellers and artists?
MARCO: It was so interesting and exciting to be able to work with so many talented individuals, both newbies and veterans in the comic biz. I still find myself looking back and saying,"How did I manage to pull that off?"
Q: Did you fear that the 20 people wouldn't be able to capture who KAI really is? That they wouldn't be able to handle her well?
MARCO: Not really... I felt that I gave very clear directions for the character. Also, I oversaw all of the stories and scripts at every stage, so things were kept in order. The variety in look that resulted was one of the first book's strengths. I love input and, seeing the character from more than one viewpoint, is always good.
Q: Where do you think is the Pinoy comic book world going?
MARCO: As far as I can tell, it will continue as it always has. The Filipino comic book creators will always have stories to tell, and they'll go for it the best way they can, whether in a well-printed independent comic or a photocopied ashcan. I just hope that there will always be Pinoy comic book fans out there to support them.
James Gabrillo and Pepe Diokno are contributors to the Philippine Daily Inquirer