Sunday, March 09, 2014

BOW GUERRERO talks about the early years of ALAMAT COMICS

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TRANSCRIPT OF ALEXANDER SISON'S INTERVIEW WITH BOW GUERRERO
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 Budjette...you 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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