Thursday, April 17, 2014

good times, bad times, give me some of that

Cooky Chua just uploaded this on her Facebook account. Which made Danry Ocampo ask me if I still have a copy of this issue. Which made me dig up these old files. Good to know I still have them. Maybe we'll reprint them someday :-)


while all the cool kids would hang out at clubs like Mars and Euphoria, me and the guys usually ended our nights at the 24-hour Mr. Donut in Greenhills or at Dunkin Donuts, if we wanted a Bunwich.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kajo Baldisimo's AVENGERS art

Sunday, March 09, 2014

DAVID HONTIVEROS talks about Alamat Comics and creating comics

Alexander Sison's transcript of interview with Alamat Comics writer David Hontiveros: 7 Nov 2013

(photo from MCC)
Hi, Alexander. :)
Again, thanx for choosing to write about Alamat in your paper.

Okay, I’ll try and answer your questions in one long-ish, comprehensive reply, but, while I’ll answer briefly in a general sense, I also hesitate and would not presume to speak for any of the other Alamat creators. I’m sure there are differences (some slight, some significant) in regards to things like approach to comics or our individual motivations for working in the medium.
Similarly, I can’t really speak as to how other groups approach comic book creation. I can’t really say how their approach would differ from mine since I’m not privy to their inner workings.
All I’m certain of, and all I can really speak about, is my own approach.
So most of my answer(s) will be from a strictly personal viewpoint; I’ll be largely answering for myself and not as an “Alamat spokesperson.”
Okay. Here goes.
I think what ties all of the Alamat creators together is our deep sense of love for the comic medium. We all grew up with comics and at some point in our lives decided we’d like to tell our own stories in that medium.
We’ve also chosen to direct an insane amount of dedication towards our craft.
For all of us, this is not our “job,” we’re not getting a salary for working on our comic books, so however much time we choose to devote to writing scripts or drawing pages or whatever else needs to be done to get a new comic book out there, that’s time that needs to be juggled along with all the other responsibilities we may have, whether a 9-to-5 job or family or freelance work or school.
So this takes commitment.

Now, at this point, I’ll forego the “general” and start to answer your questions personally.
This is why I, David Hontiveros, am doing what it is I’m doing in Alamat.
(photo from Gerry Alanguilan)

I grew up with comics, and I was also a part of that generation who experienced comics growing up with them as well; that period during the ‘80’s when Watchmen exploded on the scene and undeniably proved that comics could be substantial and literate.
So for me, it was always this sense of a struggle to have comics get recognized by the general populace as a legitimate medium of expression, that it was a medium where you could say things.
That’s how I approach my writing in general (whether it’s in comic book form or in prose): to have the story be about something else other than just the story itself.

These days, a far different world than the ‘80’s, comic books are now looked at as prime fodder for massive Hollywood summer tentpole films, and while that’s made the medium a little more “acceptable” and brought it into the mainstream, I still feel the same struggle in making readers see that comics can be so much more than two guys in spandex pounding the crap out of each other.
That you can actually tell significant and substantial stories, even if your characters are two guys in spandex (pounding the crap out of each other, optional).

(photo from Paolo Chikiamco)

We had a Q&A panel at UST one time, talking about the horror genre, and I’ve always loved it when horror is used as a stealth bomber to deliver significant subtext to the audience, beneath all the surface shocks and screams.
That’s how I also approach my writing, hopefully giving the reader the surface entertainment (say, two guys in spandex pounding the crap out of each other), while layering in and embedding all the stuff I’m really talking about within the architecture of the story itself.
Genre as stealth bomber. To use the tropes and the conventions, whether of horror or superheroes or science-fiction, and turning those into vectors for all these other ideas and themes and sentiments.
(Something I’m also doing in the SEROKS collections.)

I’ve also made it a point to bring over my other non-comic book interests into my comic book writing. Film, music, literature, language, art, poetry, all these other elements that may not necessarily be commonplace in comics.

True story: I learned the meaning of the word “rubicon” because of Chris Claremont’s X-Men, a comic that also made me acutely aware of the horrors of the Holocaust.
So there’s also always that at the back of my head. If the story I’m writing in a comic can teach a person a new word, or make him see the world in a slightly different light, or even just become interested in a film director or a band or a writer or a painter or a poet, then that would be great!
I’ve had people come up to me at conventions, thanking me because my work had inspired them to work harder at their own writing. That’s so awesome.

I think it’s all about broadening horizons, of opening up the readers’ worlds, not just to a new story, but to other real world elements that they can interact with if they choose, in their real, actual lives outside of the fictional world created in the comic book.

I think it’s also about having a unique “voice,” of writing and crafting stories from my own perspective.
At the moment, I’m busy with The ‘Verse, severaldifferent comic book titles all set in the same shared universe. And while I strive to give each book its own particular voice, I also make it a point that each title has my sensibilities in its DNA.
That, for better or worse, when someone reads a ‘Verse comic, they’ll go, “Oh, yeah, this is definitely written by David Hontiveros.” That the work isn’t seen as something interchangeable with any other comic book out there.

That’s what I’ve got off the top of my head, Alexander.
Hope that answered your questions.

If you’ve got any follow-up questions, or if there are things you’d like me to clarify or expound on, please don’t hesitate to email me back.
Thanx again, for choosing Alamat as your research paper subject, and best of luck with the paper!

All the best,


BOW GUERRERO talks about the early years of ALAMAT COMICS

25 November 2013 02:22

Bow Guerrero: Hi Alexander. I'll try my best to give clear answers ha ha ha! This is how I remember things.

I think at the time we started Alamat in the 90s, the general feeling was that the local comics scene was so small (as compared to today).  Aggressively competing against each other for exposure and sales could actually do more harm than good to local comics in general. So, Alamat sort of became a protective umbrella for all the artists and writers--a network of comic creators that helped out each other.

Today the local comics scene is still very small but immensely healthier.  It's absolutely okay to compete now.  I think healthy competition helps bring out better stories, better art, and better comics.

Why do comics?  I love telling stories. I've been doing it ever since I was in grade school at the Ateneo (I grew up with a barkada of storytellers).

I loved reading novels, watching films and of course, reading comics.  But in terms of telling stories, there was something about comics that really appealed to me--it was that perfect mixture of words and visuals, I guess.

Plus, I grew up with comic books which had crazier ideas than the stuff you found in books and films at that time.  I'm not saying that all the comic book stories were extremely original...actually, many of them followed the same story archetypes found in the best books and films.

Comics just did a better job in presenting these same stories in a different and weirder way.   Check out Jack Kirby's stuff.

You can even go way, way back.  Check out Winsor McCay.

Sadly, there are still many who think of comics as a kid's thing.

Hope that helps.

Interviewer: I guess the next thing I would like to ask, are about the particular problems and obstacles that came your way during the initial run of Alamat Comics. I heard for example that you guys weren't able to finish a lot of the titles you were working on, due to scheduling conflicts and whatnot. Could you tell me a little more about those stuff, and what  in your opinion you've learned from those experiences?

Bow Guerrero: In some ways, some of the challenges we faced when we were fresh out of school we still face now.  When we were younger, we basically had no money to use for making comics (except for might have to verify with him) I think he bankrolled all our printed stuff whether was offset printing, photocopies or Risographs.  There were no solid means to support our comics production on a regular basis.  So we wrote and drew our issues sporadically.

We tried to gain more exposure and get people interested by having small exhibits in malls...but that didn't help too much.

That's why the comics I worked on like the Phantom and Horus have been put on hold indefinitely.

If we didn't have to worry about making money to support our families, our lifestyles and produce comics, then we would do comics all day everyday.

Many of us writers and artists had to find jobs that were closely related to our first love.  Many went into graphic design, magazines and advertising (for a time all of us in the Demon Dungeon team worked in one advertising agency :-))

We were making money but our attention had to be on work.  Our problem now is time.  We put most of our time into work or our "day jobs" as we like to call it. But every free time we get we either draw or write.

I'm still in an ad agency so our work requires a lot of lateral thinking which exhausts you.  I usually need to rest a day or two after every big project at the agency before I can start working on the Demon Dungeon.  Rest is important because drawing stressed or tense always results in really lousy illustrations.

That's why there are some drawings in the first book that I'm not too happy with. That’s it!


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