Monday, February 06, 2006

A Note on my Previous Post "On Reviving the Komiks Industry"

I should have written this as a reply to the comments on my previous post re "On Reviving the Komiks Industry", but I'd rather make it into a new post because of its length.
When I said we should go back to the times when beautiful comics were being produced, I did not mean that all present artists should emulate the style of the old komiks masters. No. My message (although I apologize for not being so clear about it before) is to go back into producing komiks of great quality. That is the reason why I should emphasize the important words mentioned by Tony Velasquez, "ghastly colorings and sloppy drawings" regarding most of the komiks being produced by Atlas and GASI during the 1990s and present.
It should mean that whatever style the artist will follow, be it Manga or Classical or Ninoesque (Alex Nino style), the artist should give his heart and soul to his drawings. Make it the best possible drawing that he could draw.
Here's an anecdote I'd like to tell you: Alex Nino for sure is considered today one of the world's greatest comics artist. Everyone in the komiks circle back then knows that the beginning of Nino's comics career in the Philippines was very discouraging. Most editors never liked his style which was often labeled "weird" or "psychotic" . Even the great Mars Ravelo rejected Nino because back then the prevailing trend in comics stories was drama/action/adventure. Yet because Nino drew figures with elongated heads and blunt arms and feet, his drawings were abhorred by editors.
There were only two editors who accepted Nino's style: Tony Velasquez and Pablo S. Gomez. Why did Velasquez not reject Nino ' s art while the other editors were rejecting it?
Simply becauseVelasquez sincerely thought that Nino's drawings were excellent works of art. Maybe weird but truly the works of a genius. What was the result? It was Velasquez who gave Nino the latter's first assignment in GASI. The short stories Mikrobyo, Gamu-Gamo, and Three Siters were all written by Tony Velasquez and magically illustrated by Nino (they were feautured once in the Komikero website)
Velasquez was very much impressed by these masterpieces of komiks art that he told Nino that someday he would be one of the world's best, which indeed came true. I should know this. I have the Nino originals in my collection as well as the handwritten notes of Velasquez and his original scripts. These originals are some of the earliest known works of Nino as a comics artist, even earlier than his stint as regular artist in the PSG.
Now why did I mention this story? It is to show that Velasquez was open to all other styles of art, provided the artist manifested excellence in following his chosen style. I bet Velasquez could welcome Manga if he see that the artist had done well drawing it. Every artist and writer in GASI knows this. I have talked with several of them, Hal Santiago, Sonny Trinidad, Steve Gan, Virgilio Redondo, Tony tenorio, Vic Poblete, and many others.
Vlasquez will accept your style no matter what it is. But you should excel in it or be rejected outright. Sonny Trinidad, future Marvel artist, experienced it. Velasquez askedhim to draw Araneta Coliseum filled with teeming humanity. "It was the most difficult drawing I have ever done in my entire career" recounts Trinidad when I interviewed him in his Sta. Rosa home. "Boss (velasquez) asked me to draw the inside of Araneta Coliseum just as it is, without alteration, and filled with people. Boss had the habit of rejecting art whe he saw that it has errors, however small, he was that meticulous..One day he accompanied me to Araneta Coliseum and we took pictures of the dome, so that my drawings will be realistic. I finished the drawings in about a week's time and he was very impressed. Yet I was sick after doing those magnificent pages". Those original pages were published in Pinoy Komiks with the title "baby Blue Seal".
I, myself, am not advocating a single style of art, although I am more of an admirer of the Redondo and Coching style rather than Manga or the Jim Lee and company style. Yet I have nothing against Manga or Jim Lee. An artist should follow what he thinks is best suited to his interests and appreciation. If he likes Manga then do so, but he should make it into the best Manga that he could ever draw. He should never follow a particular art style because somebody urged him to, or just because of nostalgia of the past komiks.
Always dedicate yourself to your art because it will be the one thing you could say that truly reflects your personality. To quote Mars Ravelo "I always wanted to be #1. When I was a janitor I wanted to be the #1 janitor, and when I became a komiks artist and writer, I wanted to be the # 1 komiks artist and writer!"
I hope that I have made myself clear on this matter. Reviving the industry did not mean
going back to the style of the old Filipino komiks masters, but rather,emphasizing on producing
the best komiks based on the standards of the old komiks masters.


Robby Villabona said...


My comment on that topic was really prompted by the Art Geroche Jr. comment...

Dennis said...

Thank you Robby.