KOMIKON 2009 in Manila Times

by Karen Kunawicz

ON Sunday, the 5th Philippine Comic Book Convention aka “Komikon” gathered geeks and fans of art, literature and local talent under the roof of the Megatrade Hall at SM Megamall.

After 15 years of being a fan, collaborator and creator—it is such an awesome feeling to see the comic industry get a lot of support and love. It was great to see my favorite creators there—Gerry Alanguilan and Budjette Tan. Gerry was selling his copies of Elmer and the released Where Bold Stars Go To Die, a project he had been talking about for the last 10 years. Working with him is Arlanzandro Esmena—who does a great job along with the artists who contributed well done pin-ups for the back of the book including Brice Beckham, Francisco Coching and Leinil Francis Yu.

Then there’s Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo who I’m proud to say sold all the copies of TRESE they brought—not to mention it’s up for a National Book Award! Budj, Kaj and Gerry are also part of Summit’s
“Underpass”—a graphic anthology of short horror stories, which also include another favorite, David Hontiveros. Ian Sta. Maria and Oliver Pulumbarit contribute as artists to David’s work.

My favorite surprise of the whole con was finding a book called Alamat ng Panget & Many Other by my favorite nut case, the very hilarious, wonderfully strange but normal looking Apol Sta. Maria. I met him two years ago in Vietnam and found out he and I shared a deep admiration for Tim Burton. I loved the art he’d regularly post on his Multiply site but I had no idea he was working on a comic. I opened up one page and I was in stitches. Apparently there are but a few copies left which you can find at Sputnik in Cubao X.

And where are the women of the comic book world? Mango Comics sold the second to the last issue of Mango Jam, #16. Jam of course is very dear to my heart—since I am editor in chief and I did write one of the stories there. Shameless plug thank you Ed.

I picked up a few independent titles done by young women creators—I wish I could meet them and get to talk to them all. Right now I’m about to look through something called Life as Viciously Impossible by Daphne Martinez and Joanna Sioson.

Kudos go out to the organizers who had some of the more senior artists do comic portraits in exchange for donations to help out other artists who were affected by Ondoy.

It’s amazing to see the comic scene alive and well. It’s inspiring and just gives a lot motivation for creators to come up with more new material. Oh and what else made it really great? Carlo was there—yes THE Carlo—Vergara. Creator of Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah.