Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Project : Hero. Edited by Andrew Drilon and Elbert Or. Quest Ventures and Nautilus Comics, 2005. (Reviewed by By Zarah Gagatiga)

Here is a hilarious and wonderful comic book by Filipino writers, artists and comic book creators. With new superheroes emerging from its pages, young readers are bound to enjoy the adventures and heroics of Yaya Kadabra; Jet Tatanium; Kid Continuum and Channel. Made in the tradition of well loved Pinoy comic books, Project : Hero stands out as a new creation of well written stories that kids of this generation can easily understand and relate to. Gr. 5 - High I

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bakemono High!
Written by Lio on Thu 3 May 2007 under K-Zone Monthly

K-ZONE: When did you first get the idea for Bakemono High?
Elbert: Oh, I’ve been asked this a number of times, and each time I’ve given a different answer, but essentially, I just wanted to write stories set in a school, and putting in monsters instead of normal human kids just seemed more interesting to me. Plus, you could tell more outrageous and fun and silly stories with monsters as your characters.

Originally, “Bakemono High” was supposed to be called “Halloween High,” but with a quick Google search, I discovered that Disney had something similar planned, called “Halloweentown High.” So I quickly changed the title (and avoided watching or reading any monsters-in-school type stories so I don’t get influenced by them) into Bakemono High — bakemono, for those who don’t know, is the Japanese word for monster. Or at least, so I’m told. Whether it’s true or not, though, I like the sound of it, it sounds cool, so that’s the title I’m sticking with.

KZ: Did you think up of Amy, Max, and Chuck at once, or were there other main characters planned before them?
Elbert: I’ve always been clear that I wanted the monsters at the start to be easily recognizable — a vampire, mummy, and werewolf just seemed like the basic ones for me. From there, I just patterned their personalities after facets of myself. Amy is the one who’s always scared or worried about everything; Max is the cynical one and always has something to complain about; and Chuck is everything about me that’s impulsive. He’s also very much in love with food and girls, which, in a way, is very much like me, too.

Now that I’ve established the “normal”-looking monsters though, except some of the newer ones to get weirder and more “out there” as we go along. :)

KZ: How long does it take you to make an issue of Bakemono High?
Elbert: Drawing and coloring takes just about a couple of days, but it’s the story that takes the longest. I think about stories I can tell all the time — and trust me, I have tons of ideas! — and how I can make them fit into two pages. Sometimes I even have to ask friends of mine (like Andrew Drilon, who’s written a couple of the stories) to flesh them out for me. Two pages is never enough to contain the madness of Bakemono High, though, and I’m promising myself one day I’ll actually take the time to create an entire book-length adventure. :)

KZ: Who’s the hardest character to draw?
Elbert: The hardest character to draw is also my favorite character, Chuck. I can never draw his head quite right, the way I see it in my head.

KZ: Tell us something we don’t know about the world of Bakemono High.
Elbert: Let’s see…um, there aren’t any normal humans in their world (not yet, anyway!), the school is actually alive (which explains why its look keeps changing every so often), and — oh! Something is buried in the playground at the back of the school. And it’s alive!

Oh. And the block-headed monster that hangs out with the bullies? The one with the thick eyebrows and pasty complexion? It’s actually a Tofu monster.

KZ: Which of the supporting cast is your favorite? Why?
Elbert: I like Salem, a witch character who has no control over the spells she casts. She’s one of the characters that just came out fully-formed from my head. There’s a story I’m working in now that shows how Chuck tries to get her to be his girlfriend, which is lots of fun.

I also like Alvin, the mad scientist kid who keeps on trying to rule the world, for reasons that I hope will become more [obvious] in the future, as I give him a more prominent role in the series. Down the line, for instance, you’ll get to meet the Brain Trust, which is a “club” of mad scientists led by Alvin. They meet every month and discuss their plans to conquer the world…or the school, at least. And in another story, you’ll actually get to see one of Alvin’s mad plans succeed…well, sort of. ;)

KZ: What’s up next for the Bakemono High gang?
Elbert: Well, aside from the little peeks into the future that I’ve been sprinkling throughout the interview (haha!), the next episode of Bakemono High will feature, finally, the winner of the Draw-Your-Own-Bakemono Contest from last Halloween. It took a while, but I was working on the Bakemono stories in advance, and it’s only now that I was able to squeeze in the story featuring the winner’s creation.

You’ll also get to meet more new monsters. You get to meet more of Max’s family, like Emo Globin, a goth-punk vampire teen cousin of his. There’s also Alvin’s little club of mad scientists, the Brain Trust, and, for those who were wondering whatever happened to Victor Frankenstein Junior’s sidekick, the zombie hunchback, you’ll finally get to see what he’s all about, and where’s he been all this time.

So, is Amy really a boy or a girl?
Elbert: Everyone in Bakemono High is also asking the same question! He acts like a boy, but his name is Amy? What’s up with that? I guess you’ll have to keep reading to find out! (Though I’m sure the pronouns I use are a dead giveaway!)
SUAYAN TALKS “MOON KNIGHT”by Dave Richards, Staff Writer

Marc Spector AKA Moon Knight's brand of justice is often swift and brutal, but it's effective. Moon Knight's adventures take him down some of the darkest alleys and streets of the Marvel Universe and it takes an artist with an eye for that stygian tone to bring them to life. Next week, the second issue of “Moon Knight” by new artist Mico Suayan, whose already showing that he's got an eye for the dark toned world of the title character, hits stores. CBR News spoke with Suayan about his work on the book.

It was Suayan's work for another editor at Marvel that landed him the “Moon Knight” assignment. “ I was working on some stuff for Nick Lowe and then my Editor Axel Alonso saw my work and he e-mailed me to ask if I was interested in doing ‘Moon Knight' for them,” Suayan told CBR News. “I was like in shock during that time. 'Moon Knight' is a very important book for Marvel and they were giving it to me, a nobody in the business. But I was confident that I could do some great stuff on 'Moon Knight.'”

Suayan was introduced to Moon Knight through the work that writer Charlie Huston and artist David Finch were doing. “ I'm a fan of Charlie Huston and David Finch's current run on ‘Moon Knight,'” he said. “Before them, I really wasn't familiar with the character, but after I read the current run of MK, I did extensive research on the character's past adventures.”

Huston and Finch's work and his own research on “Moon Knight” helped define what Suayan wants his art to say about the character. “Marc/Moon Knight for me is a troubled and disturbed guy. I want my art to emphasize those characteristics,” Suayan explained. “For me it's more difficult to draw normal and clean characters without signs of problems in their life. It's more interesting for me to draw the opposite of that. It gives them more character and drama, which is what I think more readers today are interested in and i t's like the book was written for my taste and love in drawing. Every panel and page I do shows how much I love working on the book .”

It was Suayan's preference for and style of rendering dark toned things that got him the “Moon Knight” assignment. “ They liked my style before I got the 'Moon Knight' gig, but I did a few minor tweaks in my style; making it darker to fit on the books dark premise,” Suayan said.

Suayan is delighted to be working with the man bringing the ebony hued premise of “Moon Knight” to life, writer Charlie Huston. “ Charlie is a real great writer. I mean everything that I really wanted to draw is right there on the script,” Suayan stated. “He brings out the best in my work. I love his use of violence and gore, which is very difficult to use nowadays in any medium. He uses it in such an intelligent way and not just for the sake of wowing the readers. The next issues of ‘Moon Knight' will show all that. I'm really excited to draw them all.”

Since Suayan started drawing Moon Knight with issue #9, most of the characters had already been established, but the artist has had a few opportunities to do some design work. “ I did help in designing Moon Knight's current nemesis Midnight,” Suayan explained. “Also some of Moon Knight's gadgets and stuff. I especially loved designing his new Moon Copter. I gave it a more industrial look.”

Suayan knew he had big shoes to fill when jumping on "Moon Knight," well aware of the that every aspect of his art would be analyzed and scrutinized by “Moon Knight” fans used to the work of previous artist David Finch. For Suayan, this has been the most difficult aspects of working on the book. “I was a bit paranoid when my first book was released,” he explained. “I was reading every reader's reaction to my work. But so far they like my work, so I think I'm doing fine.”

The most rewarding aspects of Suayan's latest gig is that the higher ups are very happy with his work. “Working with the amazing people at Marvel is the most rewarding thing for me,” he said. “They consider me as one of their own and they take good care of me which is so over whelming,” he said. “The idea of working at Marvel is the reward itself, I mean being part of something amazing is a dream come true.

“I would like to say thanks to all those people who supported and helped me all throughout my career,” Suayan continued. “And this book is for all aspiring artists out there, dreams do come true so just do your best and be patient!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

‘Cast’ goes online
/ Last updated 04:31am (Mla time) 04/22/2007

MANILA, Philippines - What began as a high school memory has really gone places. Jaime Bautista recalled his high school theater experience when he came up with "Cast," a comic book about boys from St. Christian and girls from Mary The Immaculate as they work to stage the tale of King Arthur. Of course, romance breaks out in the most unexpected places even as the play itself threatens to go off the rails.

Bautista wrote "Cast," which was, in turn illustrated by a host of talented artists in a dynamic manga-influenced style. Now up to issue #11, "Cast" is published in glossy full color by Bautista's Nautilus Comics.

And now that following may just expand further as "Cast" editor Elbert Or, who has worked on the series from the beginning, explains that "Cast" can now be downloaded from the pioneering Pullbox Online site for 99 cents (yes, that's cents not centavos) per issue. So far only the first four issues, plus the "Pre-Production" special, are available but they're working to get the other issues up as well.

"For readers abroad, especially, this presents a cheap and convenient way of getting our books to them," Or says. "We've heard from readers abroad whose relatives send them copies, so for those who were left hanging and are dying to know what happens next, well, thatís what the digital comics are for!"

Bautista adds it has been an exciting experience and are also looking for an international audience, but adds that they have big things in mind for "Cast."

"We have plans for 'Cast' that will also have our Pullbox Online presence play an important role. Only the first seven issues of 'Cast' will be available on Pullbox for the immediate future. If our plans push through, it will be very clear why we are only making these issues available initially through Pullbox."

So see how it all began for the colorful cast of "Cast" or get up to date with what Or calls the "dead trees version" at National Book Store, Powerbooks, Comic Quest and Filbar’s. RSDV


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