SUNDAY INQUIRER MAGAZINE reviews and recommends...


“Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat” by Arnold Arre, Tala Studios

A LOGICAL and well-crafted evolution of Arre’s folklore-meets-modernity trip in “The Mythology Class,” this graphic novel is more action-packed, faster-paced and darker than “Class.” Told in Filipino and featuring crisp art, “Agimat” is an epic in a fishbowl, as Arre continues to tweak his unique take on the idea of metahumans and Filipino legends—with a good dab of superstition. Furthermore, Andong Agimat makes for a promising protagonist for future books and “Agimat” is confident proof that Arre has found a spectacular niche. RSDV

“Divine Comedy Comics” by Steven Pabalinas, Pango Publishing

YOU haven’t seen irreverent until you’ve read “Divine Comedy,” Pabalinas’s deconstruction of organized religion, history and culture as it appears in the Inquirer’s comic page. Be warned: This is not for the easily offended or the religious conservative. Ranging from the ridiculously obtuse (jokes about Charles Darwin’s ancestors and the Da Vinci dress code) to the smartly skewering (strips answering the question “What if God was one of us?”), the collected material is uneven at times but so brazen, you can’t help but chuckle a bit, and guffaw at the wordplay and wiseacre reinterpretation. RSDV<>

“Trese” # 3 by Budjette Tan and Ka-jo Baldisimo, Alamat Comics

THE BEST work yet from Alamat founder Tan, this moody mini-comic series starts out smart and gets even smarter. Investigator Alexandra Trese, holder of the supernatural secrets of the city as passed down from her grandfather, helps the local cops by tracking down the magical misdeeds with the help of her wickedly cool bodyguards, adroitly furnished by Baldisimo. The previous issues dealt with catchy ideas like a tikbalang in a drag race, but in this superlative issue, grisly murders lead to an unexpected interpretation of an iconic figure. RSDV



“Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume I”
edited by Dean Francis Alfar Kestrel IMC

A WELCOME visitation, this collection of short stories from Filipino writers delves exclusively in the realm of fantasy and science fiction, yet the pieces in “Philippine Speculative Fiction” may have evolved into a different breed somewhere in between, which is a good thing. From Ian Rosales Casocot’s audacious investigation of Jose Rizal to J. Pocholo Martin B. Goitia’s vision of the Filipino’s future in the being Magenta, the stories here lace the future with the flavor of our past. New and old fictionists like Angelo R. Lacuesta, Gabriela Lee and Francezca C. Kwe lend their vibrant voices to this project. “To find the fantastic, we must create the fantastic,” Alfar writes in his introduction to this fantastic find. RSDV

“Takod” by David Hontiveros, Visual Print Enterprises

SOMETHING’S rotten in what was once the little settlement of Mapayapa. And now, years later, Mike Lasombra returns to this place from his past with a curious pendant around his neck. After encountering a wizened old woman who knows more than she’s letting on, Mike will discover the throbbing dark secret of Mapayapa. The bloody, frightening shadow behind Mapayapa will require more of Mike than he ever imagined. All this, in straightforward horror and in allegorical manner, is stuffed into Hontiveros’s compact and creepy novella. RSDV

“Huling Ptyk: Da Art of Nonoy Marcelo” Pandy Aviado, Sylvia Mayuga and Dario Marcelo, eds. Anvil

THE late Nonoy Marcelo, best known for his long-running comic strips “Tisoy” and “Ikabod,” was a cultural avatar whose art reflected contemporary Philippine reality more effectively than most “serious” social critics. In “Huling Ptyk,” the editors—who better than his closest friend, his ex-wife and his son?—compile articles, interviews and analyses that shed light on various facets of Marcelo’s complex genius, from his unique personal language, to his experiences abroad, to his intimate relationships. Livening up the volume are copious illustrations by the maestro himself, taken from his four-decade career, which alone are worth the price of admission. It is a fitting memorial to a true Filipino original. - ESC