Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Witchblade art by Whilce Portacio


Mass Combat! The combined forces of the Artifact bearers aligned with Witchblade bearer Sara Pezzini and The Darkness host Jackie Estacado have reached a truce with the cybernetic heroes of Cyberforce. They’ve fought off the relentless assassin Aphrodite IV, but that was only the beginning. Pushed to the limit, can they defeat a force that dwarfs everything they’ve faced before?

From Top Cow Universe architect Ron Marz (Witchblade, Magdalena) and legendary artist Whilce Portacio (The Darkness, Uncanny X-Men) bring the second chapter of the epic event series to a thunderous conclusion. Featuring a gorgeous cover by Portacio as well as a variant cover featuring Alina Enstrom by John Tyler Christopher (Witchblade).

Each issue will also feature a Top Cow Origin backup written by Marz and drawn by a superstar artist.


Written by MARK MILLAR
Pencils & Cover by LEINIL YU
$3.99, On-Sale—2/9/11

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pinoy comics’ pride and possibilities (Inquirer)

Pinoy comics’ pride and possibilities
by Oliver Pulumbarit

THE LOCAL comic book industry has evolved dramatically in the last couple of years. The weekly newsprint “komiks” are gone, but the number of independent comic book creators who bring their vision to their own publications continues to grow.

Filipino-made comics are alive, kicking, and here to stay, according to three of indie movement Alamat’s most successful creators, Gerry Alanguilan (writer-artist of the acclaimed “Elmer”), Budjette Tan (author of 2009 National Book Award-winning “Trese”), and Carlo Vergara (creator of the multimedia sensation “Zsazsa Zaturnnah”).

How different is the local comic book scene now, and how have creators and readers changed?

Alanguilan: The huge difference today is most comics are self-published by the writers and artists themselves. When all those huge komiks companies died out or stopped publishing, they left the local creators with little option. Did the writers and artists go off and do something else now that there are no companies to hire them? Some of them did, but seemingly beyond belief, other creators started taking money out of their own pockets to fund for the publication of their own comic book. They made them, had them printed or photocopied, and they themselves distributed their comics. The self-publishing creator can produce 10 to 1,000 copies, and sell them for 50 pesos at stores and comic book events. That has recently become the norm.

Tan: I think we’ve got a great mix of comic book creators with different influences in their work, from American comics to Japanese cartoons, to stuff that is just downright original. As far as readers are concerned, I think the Pinoy comic book reader is hungry to see more original works. Looking at the Internet buzz and from the people we meet during Komikon, many are excited to pick up new titles and would often bug us, asking when the next issue is coming out. It’s just up to the comic book creators to produce more comics.

Vergara: The local comic book scene is growing, though the focus appears to be more on the indie scene. I have the impression that interest in the manga style of stories and art is dwindling, and the newer creators are trying out new ideas and approaches in terms of story and art. The emergence of conventions in recent years in various parts of the country has helped a lot in encouraging these creators to invest time and effort in telling their stories.

Other creators are trying their hand at producing digital comics, or comics to be read through the Web, though I feel that we’re still pretty much print-based. The main advantage of digital comics is the prospect of attracting a global audience, and it could be that Pinoy comics creators who are going digital shape their stories to appeal to this audience. As far as readership goes, create stories that resonate with Filipinos and Filipinos will support it. The key, really, is zeroing in on unique, innovative, but very accessible stories.

What are your thoughts on the current generation of local artists working for American companies?

Alanguilan: Artists who work for US companies (I’m one of them) only do so because nobody would hire us here in the Philippines. There are no more comics companies who would hire artists to draw comics. So rather than stay here and do nothing, we look for employment elsewhere. When a rich guy or company establishes a comic book company in the Philippines who will give us artistic freedom and pay us well, many of us would stay and work here.

And besides, we’re planting the Philippine flag in some of America’s biggest comic books. If these were movies, it’s like seeing Filipino actors in big Hollywood blockbusters. Modesty aside, we bring great honor to this country by being the best in the world, and by promoting Filipinos and the Philippines in a positive light.

Vergara: I’m particularly excited about the growing number of Pinoys who are based here but work for the US comics companies. Apart from being a testament to the artistic caliber of Pinoys, this development can help jumpstart the education of budding artists on “best practices” when it comes to making commercial comics.

Tan: I’m amazed at how many Pinoys are now drawing comics for Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. I think this is the most number of Pinoys we’ve had working for those companies. How does that compare to the likes of Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Ernie Chan, Tony de Zuniga, and all those great artists of the ’70s and ’80s? I think this current batch also offers distinct and unique art styles that have impressed American comic book readers as well as fans around the world. The newer artists leave little easter eggs for Pinoys, or as I call them “balut eggs,” surprising little jokes like Wolverine drinking San Miguel Beer, and Darkhawk wearing a Manny Pacquiao shirt. And thanks to the net, Pinoy readers and aspiring comic book artists are now aware that their favorite comic book titles are drawn by Pinoys living in the Philippines, which can be very inspiring for readers and artists alike.

Please name some young/new Filipino creators whose works have gotten you excited.

Tan: Andrew Drilon has done a couple of online comic book stories for Top Shelf, got rave reviews from Matt Fraction and Warren Ellis for his “Kare-Kare Komiks,” and that’s why I’m looking forward to his horror graphic novel “Black Clouds.”

Mervin Malonzo is another writer/artist who’s starting out on the net with his webcomic “Tabi Po,” one of the few new comics written in Filipino.

Paolo Fabregas’ “Filipino Heroes League” will be published by Visprint next year and it’s one of the graphic novels that I’m excited to see in published form. It’s funny and thought-provoking!

Trese's Victory (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Inquirer reprints the Trese interview by Paolo Chikiamco of

For fans of komiks, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo need no introduction, and neither does “Trese”, their komiks collaboration, now published by Visprint, which is one of the most popular and most successful komik series’ in recent memory. While komiks still remains, at this point, a niche market, “Trese” continues to make inroads into mainstream consciousness, its most recent success being recognition in the National Book Awards in the category of Graphic Literature. In their first post-award interview Kajo and Budjette talk about the success of “Trese”, the importance of their fans, transmedia storytelling, and the future of Philippine komiks:


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Silver Surfer covers by Carlo Pagulayan

Silver Surfer art by Stephen Segovia

Greg Pak talks about Stephen Segovia's art in the new Silver Surfer series: Stephen's a dream. He's unleashing the cosmic like you won't believe. But he's totally got the grace and quiet reserve that the Surfer so often displays. He's doing particularly amazing work with some of the seemingly mundane but emotionally powerful moments in the book. There's a panel of two people kissing in issue one that's just gorgeous — completely naturalistic and all the more beautiful and romantic because of it.

Read the complete interview at:

Friday, December 03, 2010

CHAOS WAR: ARES 1 art by Stephen Segovia

Chaos War: Ares #1

Story by Michael Avon Oeming
Art by Stephen Segovia, Danny Miki, Victor Olazaba, Don Ho
Colors by Ian Hannin, Antonio Fabela, Sotocolor
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover by Marko Djurdjevic
Publisher Marvel Comics

Ares is dead, torn in half at the hands of the Sentry. But what is worse than death for the God of War? Being enlisted into the army of the Chaos King! The Chaos War has its beginnings in Ares’ first miniseries, now see their fates come full circle as the two greatest forces of destruction battle one last time for the soul of the Pantheons. Ares defeated the Chaos King once before, but now he is dead and armed only with his love for his lost son. How can he stop the living oblivion Chaos King has become, even with the help of Zeus and Hera? And at what price comes defeat?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

RocketKapre inteviews Team TRESE

Trese (and Komiks) After the Award: Budjette and Kajo Interview
by Paolo Chikiamco

For fans of komiks, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo need no introduction, and neither does Trese, their komiks collaboration, now published by Visprint, which is one of the most popular and most successful komik series’ in recent memory. While komiks still remains, at this point, a niche market, Trese continues to make inroads into mainstream consciousness, its most recent success being recognition in the National Book Awards in the category of Graphic Literature. In what I think is their first post-award interview, Kajo and Budjette talk about the success of Trese, the importance of their fans, transmedia storytelling, and the future of Philippine komiks:


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pinoy Marvel Artists FEB2011


WOLVERINE #1000, Cover by Stephen Segovia

SILVER SURFER, Pencils by Stephen Segovia, Cover by Carlo Pagulayan
Artwork from

Monday, November 15, 2010

Trese wins National Book Awards

The Official Citation from the 2009 National Book Awards : Powerful, iconic characters comic book characters Darna , Zuma and Captain Barbell, among others, emerged fully-formed from the mind of Filipino comic creators. That creativity continues to this day, in all directions, in different ways. But in Trese, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo have a stunningly original idea, swathed in the irresistible spookiness of our folklore and the edged mythology of our urban legends. Alexandra Trese, the enigmatic paranormal investigator and her lethal bodyguards the Kambal helps the police when encountering cases that just don’t make any sense of the normal kind. In the process, Tan and Baldisimo offers us a peek into the supernatural embedded into Metro Manila’s badly lit corners.

In the first volume, Trese: Murder on Balete Drive, we are introduced to Alexandra and her team, and the second volume, Trese: Unreported Murders, showed us one peculiar procedural after another. But it is in this third volume, Trese: Mass Murders, where we find out where and how Alexandra Trese came to be who and where she is. Instead of hemming us in, Trese: Mass Murders actually opens up another world of narrative possibilities.

The rabid fan following Trese has earned is impressive, and that only adds to the fact that in Trese, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo has crafted a testament to the limitless capacity of the Filipino imagination, as well as one of the best Filipino comic books of all time.

It is for those reasons that Trese: Mass Murders is given the National Book Award for Graphic Literature.

 thanks to Ruey de Vera for sending us a copy of this citation

Friday, November 12, 2010

SUPERIOR 2 art by Leinil Yu & Gerry Alanguilan

See more SUPERIOR preview pages at:

Elmer reviewed in Publisher's Weekly

Elmer: A Comic Book
Gerry Alanguilan, SLG (, $12.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-59362-204-6

Jake Gallo is an angry young man, frustrated at his lack of employment and easily provoked by perceived slights. It is not until we are several pages into the book that we discover that he is also a talking, thinking chicken. He is no anomaly; decades earlier, all of chickenkind suddenly gained intelligence and speech; by the 2000s they are legally human. Jake's father's illness and subsequent death lead Jake to read his father's account of the early days after the change; this in turn allows Alanguilan to show the reader the often horrific sequence of events that followed chickenkind's sudden elevation to sapience. Used to seeing chickens as food or worse, humans are not shown at their best as they react, often violently, to this sudden alteration of the natural order. The gorgeous b&w art, full of lush pen work and strong expressions, takes what should be a self-evidently ludicrous proposition and somehow imbues it with plausibility, drawing readers into a brutal, blood-soaked tale of a transformed species and the outrage and savagery of their former owners. A peculiar but engaging work that deserves attention.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compendium

The Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compendium is a 100 page anthology. Inside you'll find a ten-page story from Mervin Malonzo of the webcomic TABI PO, a new Alamat ng Panget from Apol Sta. Maria, a comic book story Ammathorn, and essays by Adam David, including a reaction on Sen. Lito Lapid's proposed Graphic Novel Archive bill and (as the they always say) much, much more! Edited by Dj Legaspi and Josel Nicolas, and the indie designed by Mervin Malonzo.

Here's  run down of the contributors:
Adam David
Apol Sta. Maria
Bugsy Garcia
DJ Legaspi
Hub Pacheco
Jim Faustino
Jobert Cruz
Josel Nicolas
Mervin Malonzo
Norby Ela
Rex Romano
Tilde Acuña
Teddy Pavon

Get your copy of The Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compendium at the Komikon, Nov 13, at Starmall.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

URBAN ANIMAL preview pages

"Morpheus Etsip, Genus Animale!" With those words, the mysterious manong who sells banana-Q casts a spell on the the boy named Joe. The next day, Joe discovers that he has gained the ability to channel animals and their feral, or at times, voracious traits. Whether this is a curse or blessing, he must learn to harness and control his newfound powers if he is to survive -- for even stranger things are coming.

Story and art by JOHN AMOR,
Published by Big Ape Design Studios.

URBAN ANIMAL will be launched at the upcoming Komikon, Nov 13, at Starmall, EDSA. Go to for more details.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Once-great Philippine comic industry fights for survival

MANILA — Philippine comic books have nurtured talent for international TV and animation blockbusters, but the once-mighty industry is fighting to survive as it comes up against the Internet and other new media.

Comic books that dominated the Philippine publishing industry just a couple of decades ago are now largely relegated to photocopied titles sold in a few specialty stores and at conventions, lamented veteran artist Rico Rival.

"There are still a lot of good Filipino artists. They just don't have an outlet anymore. They just photocopy their own works," said Rival who has worked for local publications as well as US comic and animation companies.

The 72-year-old Rival is now retired but still indulges his passion by drawing occasionally for Philippine magazines and doing commissioned art at conventions.

Local comic books, popularly known as "komiks", were once the most widely read periodicals in the country with dozens of titles sold on newsstands every day.

Terry Bagalso, editor of Atlas Publishing, once the country's largest komiks publisher, recalled that in the 1980s, at the height of the industry's popularity, his company was printing 30 titles a week.
Its top-selling titles easily sold 400,000 copies a week with total komiks circulation in the millions.

"We had to send out an armoured car to collect our sales earnings," she recalled.

These komiks -- printed in black and white on cheap newsprint -- presented serialised stories in a wide variety of genres, including romance, horror, superheroes, historical adventure, fantasy, comedy and fairytales.

Sold largely by street vendors, they appealed mainly to the poor masses and cost just a few centavos (less than one US cent), far cheaper than a movie ticket or other forms of popular entertainment.

Komiks characters such as superheroine Darna, the mermaid Dyesebel and the monster-slaying "Panday" (the Blacksmith) are still household words in the Philippines and live on in TV series and movies.

The artists who worked on these komiks caught the attention of US companies such as Marvel and DC Comics, which started recruiting them in the 1970s to work on characters including Batman and Conan the Barbarian.

"They were amazed that Filipinos were very good illustrators. They thought there was an art school that trained us and then they came here and they found that we just influenced each other," said Rival.
Many Filipino artists then went on to produce cartoons for companies such as Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Today, Filipino artists can be found working on big-screen animation projects such as the 'Toy Story' series.

But despite that success, komiks have virtually disappeared from Philippine newsstands.

The consensus is that komiks lost their audience as Filipinos turned to more modern forms of entertainment such as television, videogames, DVDs and the Internet.

"It is the technology. With one click on the computer you can get anything. So instead of reading komiks, people like computers, cellphones and other things," said Bagalso.

There have been various attempts to revive komiks in recent years but none have had much success.
Alexie Cruz, editor of PSICOM, a local publisher, said his company's last komiks foray two years ago -- a comedy title called "Topak" (Nutty) -- fell victim to poor sales after just two issues.

"One of the main problems is the bookstores don't cater to komiks by Filipino publishers. They give them very little space," he said.

Ironically, PSICOM's big sellers are magazines on 'manga' or Japanese comics, as well as licensed reprints of DC Comics titles -- which do get shelf-space in local bookstores, said Cruz.

But local creators won't give up. Some publishers still come out with their own home-grown "graphic novels" -- extended stories told in comic format.

Philippine publisher Visprint is producing one such effort next year: 'Filipino Heroes League', a semi-comedic tale by artist-writer Paolo Fabregas who puts superheroes into a developing world setting.
"They're underfunded, unappreciated and generally unwanted... like Kid Kidlat (Kid Lightning). He's super-fast and super-poor," Fabregas, 32, said with a laugh.

Like many other aspiring Filipino komiks artists, Fabregas started out either putting his stories on the Internet or selling home-made copies.

His main job is in advertising and he describes his komiks work as "a glorified hobby".

Komiks artist Gener Pedrina said he and other creators just drew the stories, printed them with a photocopier, stapled them by hand and then sold them on their own.

He described his products as "labours of love," because they take so much time but make barely enough to break even.

Pedrina's superhero title, "Sanduguan," (Blood Brothers) and other komiks like "Zombies in Manila" and "Gerilya (Guerrilla) Komiks", are sold at the handful of comic conventions held in the Philippines each year.

While these titles may not have the polish of their predecessors, Rival said they still kept the tradition alive.

"Komiks is still here. It won't go away. There may not be publications but artists can come up with their own komiks. You cannot restrain their creativity."


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