Archive for October, 2011

Animated Film: Andong Agimat: Kanya ang Kalye

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 29 - 2011

Those of you who’ve read Arnold Arre’s “Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat” should get a kick out of this 4-minute animated film, featuring Andong Agimat going up against a pickpocket (yeah, you know that isn’t going to last much longer than four minutes). For those unfamiliar with Andong Agimat, or those who might want more background information about why Arre made the film, go read the description of the video on youtube.

PSF6 Review: “The Big Man” by Asterio Enrico N. Gutierrez

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 27 - 2011

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

— The title? It just made me shrug. What do you think of it?

[Pao: A nice play on words, since that's a common term in basketball.]

Gutierrez’s story has been the most well received by readers so far (it recently won first place in the coveted Palanca Awards, in the Short Story in English category) and there is a lot to like in the story.

I see why this one won the Palanca. The crafting of the story is right up that award’s alley. It has that polished/smart/epic feel to it and brought median reverberations of Douglas Candano and Pocholo Goitia stories. If it is the most well received by readers then it’s because the whole thing just flows (right after you get into the groove of it by page 3) on the readability radar.

As an old-school PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) fan–I started way back during the Tanduay-Ginebra feud, when my Mom worked at La Tondeña and I wouldn’t shake Robert Jaworski’s hand even if I was paid to–I appreciated the level of research that went into the story.

I’m not a basketball fan though I remember that period. And it’s good that the detailing in the story provides that grounding in history… And this story is way better than the Ronald Cruz basketball mascot story in PSF 4.

That degree of detail helped immerse readers in this alternative Philippines, and on a more mundane level, the world of the PBA, which may as well be a secondary world to quite a few readers nowadays, considering the dip in the league’s popularity in recent years.

— Haha, yeah, it sure made me feel my aging in this alternative Philippines. And in real-time Philippines, Big Bird is a PBA player.

I also appreciate the feat Gutierrez was able to achieve in making a story about a kapre basketball player be about basketball, and not about the existence of kapres.

Definitely the story puts all those lectures I attended on sports writing when I was in high school in mind. So, hey, kids who are in the sports writing category in the Secondary Schools Press Conference— You can write speculative fiction and win a Palanca someday! Yay!

It brought also to mind how non-spec readers who love basketball would appreciate this story (Paging Leo Malapo! Paging Leo Malapo! The book is available in Fully Booked for 350 pesos! Buy now!)

The fantasy becomes the idea of a Filipino player in the NBA, not the reality of a mythical creature–or as the story put it: “Sure, the kapre is real, but is he for real?” This helps create the normalization of the fantastic that is important to an immersive, secondary world fantasy (and that’s the kind of story I think that “The Big Man” is, even if it’s ostensibly set in our world), but the manner by which this technique is deployed here is also one of the problems I had with the story: “The Big Man” normalizes the kapre by bracketing its supernatural qualities, precisely what makes the kapre a fantasy, and placing them aside.

— Tadadun…There goes the bomb!

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Call for Submissions: Bangungot Horror Film Festival 2011

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 20 - 2011

Personally, my idea of a horror film is the Star Wars Blu-Ray, but for those more keyed into the horror aesthetic, you may want to give this a shot: the Bangungot Horror Film Festival is looking for 10-15 minute videos (no limit to the number of entries) for a showcase of indie films on November 11, 2011. They’re especially on the look out for films featuring Philippine folklore, which places this right up the alley of most Rocket Kapre readers. Contact details are on the poster, so give it a go if you’re cinematically inclined.

Just go easy on the “Nooooo”s, okay?

[Image from Kakatakutan]

Filipino Bibliophile Podcast: Interview with Paolo Chikiamco

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2011

You know you’ve moved up in the world of speculative fiction when Charles Tan sits you down for an interview. After all, for years he’s been interviewing the likes of  RA Salvatore, Tim PrattEllen Datlow and Catherynne M. Valente on his personal blog as well as the official blogs for the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards. So I was more than happy to sit down with him this week for his new “Filipino Bibliophile” podcast. We spoke about Alternative Alamat, High Society, Rocket Kapre, and slush reading for Fantasy Magazine–Charles has a more comprehensive list of topics on the episode page, either at his blog, or at the podcast site.

Thanks to Charles for the opportunity, and for once again finding new ways to promote Filipino authors. Do check out the first episode of his podcast, where he has an interview (two interviews really) with Eisner-award nominated komikero Gerry Alanguilan.

Event: Zombiethon 2011

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2011

Being a lazy bum, I never could understand the fascination with running. But shambling? I totally get that.

Apparently, I’m not alone. On October 30, zombie fan organization “Dead Zone” will be holding a Zombiethon in Makati. Prizes await the undead with the best (by which I assume is meant the “ugliest”) looking outfit, so if you’re looking to get your shamble on, mark the date!

(Now, if only someone would organize a simultaneous “Plant-a-thon”, we’d really be cooking with fire…)

[Image via Geekmatic]

Supermaker: Andrew Drilon Interview

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 17 - 2011

Andrew Drilon (“Pericos Tao“) is one of the most respected komiks creators in the country today. His latest mini-comic, “Supermaker” has garnered praise from creators such as Chris Roberson and Jeff Lemire. He talks about the inspiration for the comic here, but I still wanted to know more. I asked the always busy Andrew if he’d be willing to answer a few questions about “Supermaker” and he graciously agreed:


So… I take it you come from the “characters have a life of their own” school of thought?

 

Sometimes. Well, really, they’re all fictional constructs, but my feeling is that the act of creation is really a conversation with oneself, so some of the creator’s internal logic bleeds into the characters. You can play around with archetypes or create well-rounded personalities, but with each line/panel/image you set down, you’re building rules for them which have to be followed (or subverted with good reason). 

So yeah, I feel that once that “rule set” is established, you can extend it forwards and backwards with your imagination, giving the impression of a life outside the actual story, which allows for things like sequels and fan fiction. However I do like the thought that they exist somewhere in the second dimension, living lives outside our purview. It’s a romantic idea that I tend to obsess over.

You mentioned in your journal entry that “Supermaker” was originally a longer work, but you decided to make it shorter. How long was it, originally? What sort of cuts did you make?

It was originally designed to run in monthly 8-page installments for three years. The first “season” would have been a year, clocking in at around 96 pages, with the whole thing running to almost 300 pages. I had a ton of ideas for it–the overall stylistic theme being rampant references to (and reflections on) all the superhero comics I grew up reading—all anchored in this “real” cartoonist’s story. I wanted to do a “Supreme” or “End League”-style work, which usually starts out being derivative of other stories but evolves into own thing. I love Barth and Borges and Burroughs, and I think there are lots of ways to do metafiction comics that we haven’t seen before. In the end, though, I decided to just cut out the body and leave the heart of it–that sentiment expressed in those 8 pages, which I think is the most important aspect of the story.

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“High Society” Philippine Steampunk Comic – Now on Amazon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 14 - 2011

The mysterious steampunk comic book collaboration between myself and the wonderful Hannah Buena has now been released! Flipside Komix has published “High Society” (formerly “Kataastaasan“)  on Amazon as a Kindle comic. It’s an alternative history story that mixes automata, Philippine folklore, and the British invasion of Manila in the 1760s. It’s also the first comic book story set in the world of the “Wooden War”, which was also the setting of my story in Philippine Speculative Fiction 6.

There’s not a lot of Philippine steampunk stories out there (I’m eagerly awaiting “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Doctor Rizal”), and none that mix it up with Philippine mythology quite the way that Hannah and I do here, so if that interests you, please do buy a copy and help spread the word. If not for me, then for Hannah’s amazing art. Maybe some preview pages/panels will seal the deal?

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Alternative Alamat: Table of Contents

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 13 - 2011

It gives me great pleasure to finally be able to announce the table of contents of our first commercial anthology “Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology”. It’s been a long road, but I’ve enjoyed every step of the way. The book will be digital-only for now, and will be published in cooperation with Flipside Digital before the end of the year. I’ll be releasing more information about the anthology in the coming weeks.

“Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” by Eliza Victoria

“Harinuo’s Love Song” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

“The Last Full Show” by Budjette Tan

“The Alipin’s Tale” by Raymond G. Falgui

“Keeper of My Sky” by Timothy James Dimacali

“Conquering Makiling” by Mo Francisco

“The Sorceress Queen” by Raissa Rivera Falgui

“Beneath The Acacia” by Celestine Trinidad

“Offerings to Aman Sinaya” by Andrei Tupaz

“Balat, Buwan, Ngalan” by David Hontiveros

“A Door Opens:  The Beginning of the Fall of the Ispancialo-in-Hinirang” by Dean Alfar

Appendix A: A Few Notable Philippine Deities

Appendix B: Interview with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben

Appendix C: Interview with Professor Fernando N. Zialcita

Appendix D: On Researching Philippine Mythology

Cover and interior artwork by Mervin Malonzo

Book Launch: Elmer, Second Edition

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 12 - 2011

Convention-going komiks fans have known about Gerry Alanguilan’s Elmer for years,  but now it’s set to reach a wider audience through a second edition published by National Book Store itself. The second edition will be launched this Saturday, October 15, 2011 at Bestsellers, 4th Floor Robinson’s Galleria, Ortigas at 5pm.

According to Gerry: “This edition will be virtually the same as the previous Komikero Publishing edition, although it would have a new afterword, a sample of the script, and drawings previously available in the Elmer Limited Edition Box Sets. Because of my agreement with my publishers abroad, this edition will only be made available here in the Philippines.”

If you don’t have a copy of Elmer–or, heck, even if you do–this would be a perfect time to pick up what is, to date, probably the most critically renowned Philippine graphic novel. It’s won the 2011 Prix Asie-ACBD  Award, been included in a list of essential reading by the Association of Critics and Journalists Love, and been nominated for best comic book of the year award by two French festivals, and the “Best Graphic Album-New” in the Eisner Awards.

Trese 4 Launch Videos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 11 - 2011

So last Saturday’s book launch of Trese volume 4, “Last Seen After Midnight” was a smashing success. Not every Trese fan could be there of course, which is why I’m uploading the question and answer portion of the event. After all, how else is the world going to know the rift running through the middle of Trese fandom: should Alexandra ever get a romantic interest? Budjette and Kajo also address fan influence on the storylines, a Zsazsa Zaturnnah crossover (make it happen!) and when book 5 will be coming out.

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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.

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