Friday, February 03, 2006

On Reviving the Filipino Komiks Industry

As Tony Velasquez lived his retirement years in the 1990s, he witnessed the continuous decline of the komiks industry in the Philippines. It was in such a sad state that he knew he could no longer do anything about it. The task belongs to the new breed of artists, writers, editors, and publishers.

Even in the 1980s, Velasquez foresaw that the coming of new technologies would adversely affect the komiks readership in the Philippines. By the 1990s the rise of consumerism brought about the affordability of television, computer, internet, cellphones and other new technologies that would outdate the komiks. Indeed, it was something inevitable. Velasquez correctly foresaw that if the Filipino komiks industry was to survive, a return to the classical style of making komiks was not only necessary but expedient.
He said “People no longer read komiks because they found its art to be visually unappealling, and the stories only rehashed from the ones that had been written before. People are intelligent, and you cannot force them to buy anything that they know is not even worth their money. This is more than true right now. People have a lot of choices where they want their money to go”.
He detested the quality of komiks that were being published.
“These komiks look like they were half-heartedly produced. You could hardly appreciate them. During our time, which was considered the Golden years of the komiks era in the Philippines, the komiks lorded over the people’s interest and appreciation. Our komiks back then could compete pound for pound with the others being published abroad, even those in the United States. We are very proud of what we have produced then. For instance, in one ACE or GASI komiks magazine, I usually have the collaborative efforts of Coching, Ravelo, Redondo, Del Mundo, Alfredo Alcala, Pablo Gomez, Fred Carrillo, and many other talented artists and writers. The komiks magazines virtually sold out once they came out in the newsstands because the people thought they were buying something that is worth more than their money. Our komiks magazines then were truly beautiful works of art, and we are very proud of them”. These words could not have been more well put indeed.
Now”, he continued, “the komiks look anemic with their ghastly coloring, sloppy drawings, and rehashed stories. You cannot begin to compare them with what was being produced during the olden days”.
What then was his view in order for the komiks industry to survive?
Nothing replaces excellence in komiks production. I still believe that people will buy komiks if they see that it is good, that it is equal to their hard-earned money’s worth. Maybe we could no longer bring back the time when there were hundreds of thousands to be printed just for a single issue, but who knows? But I tell you, the industry will still be there, if only diminished. If we only hold on to the relatively few who still buy komiks because they loved the stories and art in them, then I think it would be the starting point".

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Greetings, Mr. Villegas.

Ako po si Francine Liberia. I have read your article on reviving the local komiks industry. Napukaw po ang aking interes. Sana'y masagot ninyo itong mga tanong ko because lately, nabibisita ko itong mga blog tungkol sa Pinoy Komiks at talaga po namang they grab my interest these days. Dati po akong nagsusulat ng Tagalog Romance pocketbook under alias. Ang aking mga tanong:

Ano po ba talaga ang ibig sabihin ni Mr. Velasquez nang sabihin niya na dapat bumalik daw tayo sa 'classical days' para bumuhay muli ang industriya ng komiks?

Sa mga nabisita kong mga blog at sa mga nabasa ko, Monopolyo daw ng mga Roces ang komiks noong araw. Hindi nila pinapayagang pumasok ang mga competition kaya walang innovation sa istorya at estilo ng drawing o pamamalakad ng negosyong komiks.

Siguro po, tama si Mr. Velasquez na truly excellent at worth your money ang mga komiks noong araw. Pero ang 'beauty" ika nga ay di nagtatagal. Sumasabay ito sa pintig ng panahon. Umiiba ang pananaw ng tao kung ano ang dapat na standards of beauty. Dahil dito, ang dating 'beauty' ay hindi nakikitang maganda ng susunod na henerasyon ng mambabasa. (Tama po ba?) Sapat bang dahilan na magkaroon muli ng monopolyao para i-monopolize ng isang kompanya ng komiks ang kanilang 'standard of beauty' at pamamaraan ng paggawa ng komiks?

I agree with Mr. Velasquez na hindi maganda ang karamihan sa mga komiks noong mga 1980s. Pero paano naman makakagawa ng maayos na produkto ang mga comics writers at artists noon kung napakababa ng kanilang mga sahod at wala silang malipatan na ibang kompanya na tatratuhin silang tunay na artist? Ibang mga kompanya na hindi kasama sa monopolyo ng mga Roces? Nandiyan nga ang G.M. Miranda at Rex, pero maliliit ito at sumusunod din sa pay rate standard ng comics industry na kontrolado nga ng monopolyo ng mga Roces.

Me nabasa po akong article na halos lahat ng mga komiks companies noong 1970s hangang 1990s e pagmamay-ari ng mga Roces. Pag ganito ang situation, hindi ba't kontrolado ng iisang grupo ang mga artist's at writer's wages/rates? At di ba nasa interes ng monopolyong ito na para lumago sila ay dapat babaan ang bayad sa mga komiks creators? Kung mababa ang bayad di ba't pangit kadalasan ang produkto?

Binibigyan lang ng malaking bayad ang mga 'sipsip' kung tawagin na dating naging tanyag nacomics writers at artists pero habang tumatagal ay nalalaos ang mga gawanila sa paningin ng tao hanggang umabot sa punto na ang bagong talent na gustong umusbong ay nai-ignore o nae-exploit ng monopolyo?

Kung sang-ayon po kayo sa mga pananaw na ito, hindi kaya kulang ang naging opinyon ni Mr. Velasquez?

Hindi kaya tamang pamamalakad sa negosyo at ang pag-promote ng tunay na 'free enterprise' sa pangkalahatang industriya ng komiks ang kailangan para bumangon ito?

Palagay ko po nababaling lang ang ating tingin sa tunay na suliranin ng Pilipino Komiks industry kung panay sa sining lang tayo nakatuon.

Iyon lang po at salamat sa pagkakataong makapag-comment. Sana ituloy pa po ninyo ang inyong mga sinusulat.

Francine Liberia

Dennis said...

Mr. Francia:
Salamat sa iyong mga obserbasyon. Sasaguting ko ang inyong kumento punto por punto kung inyong mamarapatin.

"Umiiba ang pananaw ng tao kung ano ang dapat na standards of beauty. Dahil dito, ang dating 'beauty' ay hindi nakikitang maganda ng susunod na henerasyon ng mambabasa"
Hindi ko po maunawaan ang inyong punto sa bagay na ito na ang bawat henerasyon ay may kakaibang pananaw sa "beauty". Kung magkakagayon ay tuluyan na nating makalimutan ang mga gawa ng mga mahuhusay na mga artista tulad nina Da Vinci, MichaelAngelo, o kaya nina Redondo o Coching, dahil hindi na ito "beauty" para sa mga panibagong henerasyon. Ang kabaligtaran pa nga ang nangyayari, na maraming mga kabataan ngayon ang humahanga tuwing makakikita ng mga gawa ng mga sinaunang artista. Ang "standard of beauty" ay gayun din, hindi porke mayroong mga pagbabalikwas sa sining ay madadaig na ng kasalukuyan ang nakaraaan. Maaaring dumating ang "Art Deco" halimbawa, subalit hindi mo masasabing dinaig na nito ang "Classical Art".

"Ano po ba talaga ang ibig sabihin ni Mr. Velasquez nang sabihin niya na dapat bumalik daw tayo sa 'classical days' para bumuhay muli ang industriya ng komiks?"
Simple, ang paggawa muli ng komiks sa paraang ginamit noong panahong ginto ng komiks sa Pilipinas.

"Pero paano naman makakagawa ng maayos na produkto ang mga comics writers at artists noon kung napakababa ng kanilang mga sahod at wala silang malipatan na ibang kompanya na tatratuhin silang tunay na artist? Ibang mga kompanya na hindi kasama sa monopolyo ng mga Roces? Nandiyan nga ang G.M. Miranda at Rex, pero maliliit ito at sumusunod din sa pay rate standard ng comics industry na kontrolado nga ng monopolyo ng mga Roces.Me nabasa po akong article na halos lahat ng mga komiks companies noong 1970s hangang 1990s e pagmamay-ari ng mga Roces....
Pag ganito ang situation, hindi ba't kontrolado ng iisang grupo ang mga artist's at writer's wages/rates? At di ba nasa interes ng monopolyong ito na para lumago sila ay dapat babaan ang bayad sa mga komiks creators? Kung mababa ang bayad di ba't pangit kadalasan ang produkto?"
Una sa lahat hindi na kailangan maglipatan ng mga kumpanya noon ang mga artists at writers dahil hindi naman sila regular na empleyado ng Roces o ng iba pa mang kumpanya. Freelancer sila kaya kahit kaninong kumpanya ng komiks ay maari silang magtrabaho. Hindi sila pag-aari ng iisang kumpanya lamang.
Ang page rate ng mga artists ay hindi itinakda ng Roces. Talagang mataas silang magbigay ng rate dahil mas marami din ang kanilang sirkulasyon. Syempre ang mga artists ay ganadong magtrabaho sa kanila dahil dito pero di mo ito masisisi sa Roces sapagkat nakikinabang naman ang mga artists. Ngayon ito ba ay masasabi mong paninikil ng mga Roces sa ibang kumpanya ng komiks? Para mo na ding sinabi na ang lahat ng mga OFW na nagta-trabaho sa Amerika, Hapon, o Middle East ay pauwiin na natin at dito na lang magtrabaho sa Pilipinas dahil ang Amerika, Hapon o Middle East ay naninikil sa ibang kumpanya ng Pilipinas. Walang sense ang ganitong paniniwala. Ang lahat ay gumagawa upang umunlad at mabuhay at di upang kwestiyunin ang isang kumpanyang nagbibigay ng mataas na sweldo sa kanila. Kung ganito ang paniniwala ng karamihan, tiyak na matagal ng namatay ang industriya ng komiks sa Pilipinas. Ang mga artista noon sa GASI man o sa Rex o sa Miranda ay nagpupunyaging paunlarin ang kanilang buhay at sining. Hindi mo masasabing pangit ang gawa sa Miranda dahil mas maliit ang sahod dito, at di mo rin masasabi na ang lahat na ng artista ay nagta-trabaho sa GASI dahil mas mainam ang bayad dito.

"Binibigyan lang ng malaking bayad ang mga 'sipsip' kung tawagin na dating naging tanyag nacomics writers at artists pero habang tumatagal ay nalalaos ang mga gawanila sa paningin ng tao hanggang umabot sa punto na ang bagong talent na gustong umusbong ay nai-ignore o nae-exploit ng monopolyo?"
Hindi ko talaga maintindihan ang punto mo dito. Sana ay nagbigay ka ng espisipikong halimbawa kung sino yung "sipsip" na iyong tinatawag, at sino yung mga na-iignore. Gayun din kung sino yung sinabi mong mga nalalaos na.

"Hindi kaya tamang pamamalakad sa negosyo at ang pag-promote ng tunay na 'free enterprise' sa pangkalahatang industriya ng komiks ang kailangan para bumangon ito?"
Wala akong nakitang ganitong sitwasyon na walang free enterprise sa larangan ng industriya ng komiks sa Pilipinas. Napakaraming suliranin ang kinaharap ng industriya kaya't maraming mas maliliit na kumpanya nbg komiks ang nagsara. Ang GASI ay nanatiling bukas dahil malaki ang puhunan nila. Subalit kung isisisi mo sa GASI kung bakit sila malaki at nanatiling bukas ay malaking kabalintunaan.

"Palagay ko po nababaling lang ang ating tingin sa tunay na suliranin ng Pilipino Komiks industry kung panay sa sining lang tayo nakatuon"
Ang komiks ay isang malagong sangay ng sining na walang katulad dahil ito ay sining na biswal at panitikan na pinagsama. Hindi ko alam ang sinasabi mo na hindi dapat lang ituon sa sining ang komiks upang maging matagumpay. Kung magkagayon, saan natin dapat ituon? Hindi ko maunawaan ang gusto mong mangyari. Kung hindi rin lang natin itutuon ang paggawa ng komiks sa sining, wag na lang tayong mag-komiks at humanap na lang ng ibang hanapbuhay.

Bilang panghuli ito ang masasabi ko: Totoong ang Roces ay malaking kumpanya sa komiks noong panahon ng kasagsagan ng komiks sa Pilipinas bagama't wala silang monopolyo sa pagpapatakbo ng industrya. Nagkataon lamang na sila ang may pinakamalaking share sa market ng komiks. Subalit dapat din nating intindihin na kung wala ang Roces maaaring hindi naging mas matagumpay ang industrya. Oo nga at hindi maganda sa tingin na para bang may isang higante sa industriya ng komiks, pero ang higanteng ito ang nagsilbi upang pagbutihin ng mga artista ang kanilang mga gawa. Kaya nga noon ang mga ilustrador ay mayroong tinatawag na healthy competition "Ah Pag nakita nila tong drowing ko tiyak na tutulo laway nila". Ang mga ganyang bagay ay nakakapagpalago sa sining at hindi nakakasira.
Ang iba kasing tao masyadong nagiging emosyonal kaysa lohikal.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm Art Geroche, Jr.

I think you're right. Local komiks must return to the ideals and ways in which local comics were 'classically' made in the old days. I have this Sept. 2004 copy of Comic Book Artist No. 4 and even David A. Roach is of the same view:

"Wth a very few exceptions, the Filipino Invasion of comics is now over, and their 70s heydey is either ignored by collectors or misunderstood. In recent years, a third wave of creators has entered the U.S. but I suspect that few readers are aware that the likes of WHilce Portacio, Leinil Francis Yu, Jay Anacleto, Lan Medina, and Gerry Alanguilan are indeed Filipino.

Their art reflects the U.S. Mainstream of the past decade (1990s) rather than their own visual heritage, and they clearly work in different artistic tradition with little in common with their predecessors. That is probably good for them commercially but it means that the traditional Filipino style is all but dead. So, for purposes of this article I shall deal only with the first two waves of Filipino artists."

Unlike the classical comics artists of yesteryear featured in your blog, I think that a lot of today's young and modern comics artists are in it for the money just to survive which is why most of their works are for an American (or other foreign) market. A lot of them don't do local comics work because of the low pay from the few existing local comics publishers around. That's why I don't expect these people to REALLY love their work and do something different for the Philippine comics market that is truly reflective of the times. Its all westernized and japanized.

In another article of the same CBA issue, pg. 95 you find this observation by Dr. John A. Lent citing Franc Reyes' opinion of today's Filipino comics artists:

"Reyes, writing in the late 1990s, painted a bleak picture of contemporary komiks saying they were in decline, because readers no longer find in them the psychological, emotional, and aesthetic needs offered in the past, and the industry is dominated by young creators who appear not to possess the engrossing styles of the older writers and cartoonists."

So again, you're right Mr. Villegas (or Mr. Velasquez) that a return to the classical way of producing comics is in order. That's why I think our old comics artists still toiling and slaving away at Liwayway Magazine should take over. They are paid terribly less than what Mr. Alanguilan and co. earn from their foreign jobs, and yet here they still are doing what they LOVE best. Aren't their classical styles still the best? Do you agree that they (old comics artists like Hal Santiago, etc.) still produce the best "classical" comics around? Don't you think Hal Santiago (The Philippines' Official and Greatest Comics Illustrator) and the other old-timers, can sell thousands or millions of copies? How about showing in your blog the latest 2005 0r 2006 komiks works of Hal Santiago along with other "classical" comics artists still alive and with us in your blog?

Yours truly,

Art.

jonty said...

Dear Mr. Villegas,

Very informative po ang inyong blog post tungkol sa istorya ng ating komiks.

I'm 16 years old and an avid fan of anime, but also curious in our comic community. Mahilig po akong mag-drawing.

Meron po pala kaming bagong storyblog, IPUPO @ http://ipuipo.blogspot.com/ It's a mythical story about a young boy’s journey as a mystical healer and warrior in the lush forests of Dakilang Bundok somewhere in the Philippine islands.

Sana po ay may panahon kayong bisitahin ito.

Salamat po!

Jon

jonty said...

BTW, I will link your site to our sites.

Dennis said...

Mr.Geroche: First of all, I'd like to tell you that I'm a fan of your father, and have met him twice through Mr. Esphid Mahilum.
Gerry Alanguilan's informative site Komikero.com is regularly featuring works of the old komiks masters, so younger generations of komiks artists can really appreciate the true Filipino style of illustration. He has even a forthcoming book about these old masters which I know can contribute to a much wider appreciation.
Like you, I believe that going back to the basics in komiks publishing is a great way to start the rejuvenation of our komiks industry. Strict quality control, healthy competition among artists to bring out the best in them, and make the stories diverse but truly Filipino. That way we could truly say that our komiks is indeed Filipino and not only in drawing.

I also do not believe that web comics is the wave of the future. I detest komiks in any form other than the printed one, which I can hold and smell and touch.
We must go back into producing komiks of beautiful art and meaningful stories, of the kind of komiks that have been loved and appreciated by the Filipino people.
I know there are people who would oppose my views but I also know that there are people, like you, who understands the real reasons for going back to the classical way of producing komiks.
Thank you very much!

Jonty: Thank you for the visit. I will visit your site, too, later this day :)

Gerry Alanguilan said...

Hello Art...

I'm deeply aggrieved by what you said about me. Out of respect for your father, I will let it go (but not without airing my side first).

I guess you were able to say what you said about me simply because you knew nothing about me except for what foreigners have said about me and my work.

Before you cast aspersions on people that would put them in a bad light, I hope you check a little bit about that person in question.

If you have been visiting my site for the past few years, you will realize that I have nothing but great respect for Hal Santiago, Jun Lofamia, and all other artists of their generation and earlier generations, whose work I celebrate in my online comics art museum. Please visit:
http://www.komikero.com/musuem

I'm deeply hurt that you would contend that I do it for the money and not for the love of it. That's because that is so far from the truth.

Inspite of my work abroad, I take great pains to do work right here in the Philippines. A lot of my work are currently seeing publication in several publications and comics.

In fact, most of my work for 2006 will be for publication right here in the country. I won't make much money from some of them. In fact, there is one here that I probably won't make money out of at all (although I hope I do. I have to eat too, after all). Here is a graphic list of my work for 2006:
http://komikero.com/2006projects.html
Why would I do so much work for far less pay locally if I didn't love it? Why did I decline inking Ultimate Wolverine and Hulk for Marvel (it was offered to me) and opt instead to do comics right here in the Philippines if I did it for the money? I guess I'm just stupid, or maybe I just love Philippine comics with such a passion that my heart breaks.

And I seriously object to the blanket judgment that anyone who does work abroad can't possibly love what they're doing. Your father did, but I'm sure he loved doing it as much as everyone else.

Many of these artists who do work abroad carry the name of the Philippines, and they do all of us honor with the work that they do. They make us proud when they get selected to do such characters like Superman, Batman, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four. Filipinos. Take note... FILIPINOS like you and me are drawing them right now. That is a great thing. A Fantastic thing! And it should be something to be proud of. I know most of them, and I tell you this, they love comics with a passion that can't ever be measured.

Gerry Alanguilan said...

Corrected link to the comics museum:
http://www.komikero.com/museum/

Wylz said...

Tama si Mr.Art sa pagsasabing "Its all westernized and japanized" ang komiks industry. Tapos they dont play the Filipino Culture because they are just spoofing those great foreign works pa. Whats cool na nakikita ko sa Golden Age Komiks noon is its all "Filipino". Great Filipino Titles tapos ay matalinghaga magsalita.

Sayang ang mga pamana sa atin ng Ginintuang Komiks!

Wylz said...

Hindi ko nga lang nagustuhan ang sinabing comic artist are working just for Money...

Whats cool ngayon is itinataguyod ng mga bagong henerasyon ng Comics Artist ang galing ng Pinoy sa komiks sa ibang bansa. Mayroong GHG na may tiwala sa galing ng Dibuhistang Pinoy...

Ang nakapanghihinayang lang ay karamihan sa Pilipino'y may maling pananaw sa Sining ng Komiks...Sayang!

Parang me mali ako sa sinabi ko kanina ah! Oops! Sory! Hindi po kayong mga artist sinasabihan kong japanised or westernized iyong kadalasan lang sa ating industriya ngayon.

We Love Gerry! said...

Gerry is a major and active proponent of preserving Philippine comics heritage. I think the opinions of the uninformed gentleman above reflects his ignorance and quiet possibly his jealousy towards the success of Gerry and his fellow artists.

Just because you father is a has-been doesn't make it fair that you bash present day artists like Gerry who's sincere efforts in building and educating the Komiks community have been going on for many years now. Could you say the same for your obscure artist Dad?

Dennis said...

To everyone concerned: Kindly refrain from attacking on a personal level. We all love komiks so it's great to have a debate or an opinionated discussion about it, but don't take it too personal. Mr. FlipMcGee your last comment is too personal I had almost wanted to delete it, but I will let it pass to let people know I don't tolerate childish reactions such as this.
Like you, I am an admirer of Gerry, but I don't think he will be pleased if he reads your comment. He is a fair and sensible man, and your defense of him on such a childish way only messes the issue. Certainly, Gerry had already made his point, he explained his side intelligently, like I expected him to, and I know Mr. Geroche had already read and understood that.

somedumbschmuck said...

Why call comic books "komiks" in the first place? Just so it sounds Filipino? Shouldn't this be a medium that is global in nature and shouldn't it be treated as such?

What is a comic book? According to wikipedia a comic book is "a magazine or book containing sequential art in the form of a narrative. Comic books are often called comics for short." Comics are for telling stories. Good brain-exercising stories. Doesn't matter if you're Filipino, American, Japanese or anything, just tell your stories and let your readers enjoy them.

Personally I find the artists on local Filipino comics draw the finest looking pages on God's green earth. Then I read the story they're telling and it leaves me empty. I'm sorry but 7 out of 10 of the stories I read I can watch on television (which really isn't saying much for the writers), and the other 3 leaves much to desire. And I have to disagree with webcomics as not being the future for this medium. I have more insights reading a crudely drawn but well-written comic strip than a Michaelangelo page illustrating a nauseatingly undigestable story to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Art G. here, Mr. Alanguilan,

My sincere apologies if my comments offended you but I speak out of honesty and sincerity no malice intended. Please allow me to do so again.

Let's not kid ourselves. With the amount of dollars earned from abroad by local comics artists working on X-Men, Batman, etc. transposed later on to pesos, I'm sure these local artists REALLY love working for foreign comics and consequently emulate such work even in the local work that they do which, forgive me for disagreeing, do not really reflect the culture and experiences shared by most people in the Philippines. You may see some skill here and there but at the end of the day, I can't really say I'm reading, much less enjoying, a real Filipino comic. Maybe its a generational thing. I don't know.

I have visited the blog sites you mentioned and I have observed that your comics projects for 2006 are for the foreign market (Plague of Ghosts) and the rest local (Fudge Magazine, Mwahaha, Alamat) and a webcomic. I have no knowledge of how much these jobs pay but if you say they are "low" compared to the dollar equivalent of foreign jobs you take, then I'll take your word for it.

What frustrates me is, with your talent sir, and others like you, why choose to work in these high priced local magazines that are mostly read by the few and economically advantaged in Filipino society?

If its really low pay that we're talking about here, why not work for LIWAYWAY? Why not have your group work in Liwayway and uplift it with your art, if you think that it will revive an interest in classical Filpino comics art? I'm sorry, but I feel really let down. You're so talented. You would even benefit from more mature, challenging, and most definitely FILIPINO stories from older, wiser, FILIPINO writers and other award-winning FILIPINO writers who work there. I could see some really great collaborations here between your young group and the classical greats still toiling over at Liwayway. Your two groups could learn something from each other.

Unlike Fudge, Mwahaha, and Alamat, Liwayway is read by many economically disadvantaged Filipinos here and abroad. Why expose your talent as a classical Filipino artist to a few? Why do these publications you chose matter?

Putting up a virtual museum in the internet in honor of our comics greats is indeed laudable. But if the effect is only to produce bittersweet memories of the past and of pinings for glories long gone, I'm sorry but its not my cup of tea. I'd rather see people like you really work in the sweatshop where the classical masters toiled such as Liwayway.

I want to see LIVE people ACTUALLY promoting the old masters' work HERE in this country and read by the great many who matter. A collaboration of the old and the new in today's LIWAYWAY magazine. I want to see you guys MATURE as people in LIWAYWAY.

But then again, this may have insulted you yet again and for that, my advance apologies.

Art.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment on what Mr. Geroche posted... there is such a thing a freedom of choice. Mr. Alanguilan and the others chose to work on foreign books because they were given a chance and they chose to take the opportunity and I'm sure many of the artists on Liwayway would grab the opportunity if it was offered to them.

Is it really that saddening to see your countrymen succeed globally?

Gerry Alanguilan said...

You said that you were bewailing the fact that we work in American comics and not here locally.

I've shown you that I AM working locally.

And yet for you that is not enough. Now you require that I work for Liwayway.

Do you know that some artist is going to lose his job to me if I work there? I'd work there in an instant if it meant not depriving anybody work over there.

I've met and talked with Hal Santiago many times, and with Jun Lofamia. They're all great artists. You don't need to tell me I need to learn anything from them because I do everyday, everytime I see their work in Liwayway with every new weekly issue.

I'd much rather see them continue working there. I'm content to find work elsewhere.

I thought we were talking about your mistaken contention that I'm doing it for the money. That was what I was reacting to. Now, working locally is no longer enough for you, we have to work for something like Liwayway for our work to "matter".

That is a new discussion entirely. But for the sake of discussion....

It seems that for you, love for the comics industry means we have to starve. The lower the pay the better. How productive can that possibly be if I'm not doing comics because I'm dead? It really doesn't have to be that way. I'm already taking more than 80% pay cut to work locally as opposed to internationally. I can work internationally if I want to. But I don't. Isn't that enough proof for you that I'm not doing it for the money?

You forgot ELMER, a project I'm publishing myself. I'm not doing this for any pay at all. I'm not only doing it for free, but I'm paying to get this out there myself. Elmer is only the last in a long line of self published comics I hae been doing for the past 10 years where I really made no money. How lower in the economic scale do you want me to go?

Would you rather I go lower and earn 100 pesos a page, starving myself and my family, get us kicked out of our apartment, just to satisfy your standards of doing it for the "love of it."?

There has to be a solution somewhere where I could earn well enough to support myself and my family, and yet do comics locally. Comics that are inexpensive enough to be afforded by more people.

"Sampalok" and "Timawa" are part of an experiment that will test this out later this year. We hope to make these comic books inexpensive enough to be afforded by more people, and yet not cheap enough that it would kill us doing it.

But I don't see anything wrong with working for Mwahaha or Fudge Magazine. The industry of comics today now allows for much more venues as opposed to decades ago. I object to your contention that doing comics not necessarily geared for the masa doesn't matter. It does matter. We're all Filipinos here, poor or not.

I'm sorry that you don't see the advantages of having an online museum of our classic artists. Our young artists today have forgotten who the likes of Nestor Redondo, Alex Nino and Alfredo Alcala are. Don't you think that's tragic? They emulate Japanese and American artists more than Filipino artists, because they are not aware of our great legacy of Filipino comics art.

But now because of this museum and a lot of things I've been doing to reintroduce the art of our great masters to our young artists, they now look to home as well, and are inspired by our artists as well.

I'd like to think that appreciation for these artists give them a sense of identity, a sense of pride in our comics history, and pride in themselves as comic book artists.

aklas isip said...

Art G. here.

Thank you for responding, Mr. Alanguilan. It really answers a lot of questions.

Mr. Villegas, thank you for the opportunity to comment in your blog and I do apologize for the controversy I caused here. I now understand that we really have a long to go.

Thank you all.

Art.

Wylz said...

Wala namang mali sa pagtawag na Komiks sa ating Philippine Comics ah...Its Filipino kasi! If the Japanese comics nga is Manga and korean comics naman is Manwha bakit hindi naman iyong KOMIKS(Philippine Comics) of the Philippines...There's the filipino style of Comics kaya nga tinatawag na komiks...Yaman ito ng Sining at Kultura sa Pilipinas eh...

Anonymous said...

Si Art Geroche pala si Aklas Isip. Bagsik!

Pero alam mo Art, you can still do comics for the love of it, but you can still do it for the money at the same time. Pwede namang hindi exclusive yung dalawa. Money is important. Anybody who thinks otherwise is either naive or stupid. You need to pay your bills and everything, that's all. That's why importante na people find jobs that they want to do, para naman they not only get to do what they want,they also get paid for it. You can't blame people if they want to work abroad. Malaki ang kita e. Do they do it for the money? Syempre! But you can bet your ass they love what they're doing nevertheless. Di mo rin sila masisi. Talents yan e, hindi sila mga publisher. Pag may nagtayo ng comics company dito na malaki ang bayad, makakasigurado ka na maguuwian lahat yan. You can't expect them to be sacrifice themselves for their country. They're only human who have families to feed. At least pag sa ibang bansa sila gumagawa, nabibigyan nila ng parangal ang ating bansa. Maganda rin yun!

-Don

Gerry Alanguilan said...

Wag naman kayong ganyan sa father ni Art. Magaling naman sya, at kahit paano OK din ang contribution nya sa bansa natin. Sa totoo nga, featured sya ngayon sa site ko. Dapat noon ko pa ginawa kasi bilib ako sa gawa nya.

Pero confused ako. Are you Art Geroche himself, or are you his son? So ikaw pala si Aklas Isip. So why didn't you say so in the first place? Now I know why you seem so knowledgable about the comics industry (but not about me at least until today). I mean, OK lang naman if you said so right from the start. Hindi na ngayon nakakainis dealing with you. Now I know I'm actually talking to a human being.

Pasensya na if I get hot under the collar sometimes, pero ganun ako minsan talaga. Well, actually a lot of the time, lalo na when people say things about me na hindi totoo. Bad ang naging experience ko sa buhay ko sa ganyan. Lagi ako napapagbintangan gumagawa at nagsasalita ng mga bagay na hindi ko naman ginawa o sinabi. Natural lang naman na pagtanggol ko sarili ko diba? At natural na rin na may kasamang inis doon.

Now that I know who you are... hindi ka na anonymous. And let's see what happens from here.

Dennis said...

Kung si Aklas Isip nga si Art Geroche, medyo nagtataka ako dahil ang alam kong stand ni Aklas-Isip ay yung stand ni Mr. Francine Liberia, yung isang nag-post ng comment sa itaas(correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what it seemed to me from reading regularly Aklas Isip's excellent blog). Anyway, I do not wish to participate in the discussion until I know for sure who I'm talking with. Hindi ko alam kung si Art ba siya o yung father niyang artist, o kapangalan lang. But then, if I'm mistaken, I deeply apologize.

Gerry Alanguilan said...

Napansin ko lang Dennis, kasi the person who is using Aklas Isip's blogger account to post is last message is signed Art G.

I don't know if it was intentional to reveal himself or if he failed to log out when he posted as Art G.

Let's see what happens next. Sa akin OK lang naman if that's who he really is. At least may idea na ako where he is coming from, and I can put his views in perspective.

Ako rin I'm not sure if it's Art Geroche himself or his son, but if it's the former, regardless of what I think of your opinions, I think you're a fantastic artist, Mr. Art Geroche.

I have no idea what you are doing now, but if you still wish to do comics, I think there's plenty of venues for your art.

Wyn said...

I'm no comics artist but I know what kind of art I like. No one has to tell me what "great" comics art should be because it all comes down to taste. We all appreciate comics art here no matter what style they use. And for a Filipino living abroad, I am proud to hear pinoys making it big in the international comics industry. Its the way to go, if artists like Gerry Alanguilan and others constrain themselves to work locally, they will only limit themselves (and what they can do) to people living locally. We already know they've got talent and skills, breaking the international comics market exposes not only the artists but the Filipino art to the world.

And I'd like to think that the online museum that Gerry put up was quite informative. I didn't know who Redondo was or any of the other masters if not for the komiks museum.

Robby Villabona said...

I guess the problem in Mr. Geroche's argument is -- it's really ultimately none of anybody's business telling artists with whom they should work for and for how much, unless that somebody is paying for the artist's daily living.

Ultimately Redondo (and many others of the classical style) spent the last years of his life in the U.S. working for U.S. companies and not even working for comics. There are still many of them not working in comics anymore -- many working in animation or advertising, some as waiters or security guards as a reliable source told me. What do we say to these people? Come home and work for Liwayway and starve? Don't give your children the opportunity for a better future for the sake of reviving cultural heritage? Again, ultimately, it's nobody's business telling others how to make a living as long as how they make a living is not illegal.

Gerry's probably an exception -- since he chose to work on local stuff and has left behind working on Marvel/DC stuff.

But the other artists who are still working on the Marvel/DC comics should be proud of carrying on with our heritage, albeit in a different arena. Besides, some of them have been able to do local work because they're paid well abroad... so they're able to subsidize their work on local comics.

And another thing other people shouldn't be in the business of telling others is where they should take their artistic influences. You can expose them to what you feel are good influences (as Gerry's done), but let them decide. If they like to draw in Manga style, then long live the diversity. What a boring 'komiks industry' that would be if everybody drew like the classical masters. I've looked at some books about manga art in Japan and I'm amazed at how diverse the styles are even in that genre! I don't draw manga myself, but I can appreciate good and bad manga.

I do agree though that most of the local komiks produced have anemic art not worthy of putting beside our old komiks-- but that doesn't mean they should draw like people did back then. It just means people should draw well in the style of their choice.

monsanto said...

Sala sa init, sala sa lamig.

Kailan ba tayo talaga matutuwa sa lahat ng sakripisyo ng mga artists natin sa ganitong larangan?

Pag ganyan tayo kakitid sa damdamin at kakayahan ng bawat isa... hay, nakakapagod na.

Pero, basta kung ikaw ay masaya, pumalakpak ka hehe.

Kung gusto mo talaga ng change? Contribute!

-Gilbert Monsanto

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, di na makakabangon ang comics industries sa Pilipinas. Dami ng option ang mga tao para malibang. Collection item na lang Komiks sa ibang Pilipino at yung majority wala ng interest kaya namatay ang industry. Yung monopoly ng isang kumpanya resulta na rin iyan ng proseso ng mga nangyayari sa loob ng industriya nuon. Alam din naman natin kung ano ang nangyari sa manual animation industry.... heto kinakaharap natin ang panibagong hamon ng sining......computer generated animation. Nasa atin na lang kung saan tayo lulugar. Kung production na lang ba tayo o creative talents na gumagawa ng sariling atin at binibenta sa buong mundo ang mga likhang sining natin. Alam natin lahat ang sagot kung ang dahilan ng kamatayan ng isang industriya gaya ng komiks. Ang mga tao eh marunong ding mauta o magsawa sa kanilang nakikita.
Example natin ang jeepney... since world war 2 yun pa rin ang itsura nito. Humaba lang, naiba lang ang makina, nagiba lang ibang disenyong nilalagay sa katawan. Pero jeepney pa rin. Tatak natin, proud tayo kasi identity natin yun, Ang problema di tayo lumabas, we stick to that. Imagine lang natin kung by 1960's gumawa si Sarao ng sarili niyang Hybrid n a sasakyan siguro by this time baka umaalagwa na sa industriya ang mga kotseng SARAO mabuhay class, Maharlika, Sarao X110, etc. etc gaganda sanang magisip ng pangalan. di lang dito sa Pinas baka worldwide pa sumikat ang Sarao.
Sa Japan alam ko after komiks nagmigrate sila sa animation to movies to character licensing. Kaya ayun may sarili silang industry. Kasi sila ang nagcreate sila din ang nagdikta kung ano maganda sa masa. Marami tayong magagaling na artist at illustrator, proven na iyan.