New Comic Books for 2011

Booking Ahead By Ruel S. De Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 01/01/2011

TURNING the page of 2010 over only hints at the promise of the untouched, undiscovered pages of 2011. Readers will have another healthy harvest of books to browse, borrow and buy. Here’s what to expect on our bookshelves soon:

Graphic novels have become a force of nature in Philippine publishing, and this is reflected in the fact that there are three clear standouts waiting to be unleashed in 2011, amid what should be many other popular graphic hits for the coming year.

True to its devotion to the genre, Visprint is thoroughly immersed in this particular field. Fresh off winning the National Book Award for Graphic Literature for “Trese: Mass Murders,” the Trese series by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo brings to light more paranormal whodunits for its fanatical following with the fourth, and as yet unnamed, volume chronicling the streetside prowling of supernatural investigator Alexandra Trese and her bodyguard the Kambal. The Metro Manila night was never so exquisitely frightening and enthralling.

Debuting from Visprint will be a Filipino superhero title with a wicked twist to it. Paolo Fabregas brings us “The Filipino Heroes League,” but these aren’t your typical caped crusaders. After budget cuts resulted in the departure of most of its roster, the aforementioned League finds itself whittled down to a membership of three, grizzled Flashlight and young protégés Invisiboy and the Kidlat Kid. The triumvirate finds itself troubled by everything from financial concerns to figuring out who is framing them for murder. This sounds like a truly refreshing and inventive take on the traditional cape, with a Pinoy touch.

Perhaps the year’s most fascinating entry is the long-awaited “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Doctor Rizal” from Gerry Alanguilan and Komikero Publishing. After a year that saw Alanguilan’s masterpiece, the sentient chicken tale “Elmer” published in the United States by Slave Labor Graphics to great critical acclaim, we now have his labor of love, the creatively engaging and whimsical steampunk exploits of our National Hero reinvented as a science fiction hero. This much-anticipated comic book melds the familiar with the fantastic, finding the unexpected in the everyday and, like these great titles, fires up a very Filipino form of imagination. •