Archive for April, 2013

Mythspace in the Philippine Star

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 22 - 2013

Last Saturday’s edition of the Philippine Star featured three new comics from the Summer Komikon, and the Mythspace series was one of the stories chosen (alongside ‘Sixty Sixty’ by Russell Molina and Ian Sta. Maria, and ‘Dark Colony: Book 1’ by Budjette Tan, Bow Guerrero, and JB ‘Taps’ Tapia).

Here’s what the Star had to say about Mythspace:

“Writer Paolo Chikiamco isn’t happy with creating one or two characters in his space opera mixed with Filipino folklore. He has set out to build a universe with Mythspace comics. His ambition to soar has churned out four one-shot books for the Komikon. Each book focusing on a different part of his universe and written with a specific genre in mind. It is illuminating to see this kind of work out there as Mythspacedoesn’t just expand its own universe but the literary scene as well.”

Huzzah!

Filipino Writers in Expanded Horizons Issue 39

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 17 - 2013

The April issue of the excellent online magazine, Expanded Horizons has two pieces of fiction from Filipino authors: Mia Tijam’s “Waiting for Agua de Mayo” and Christine V. Lao’s “From the Book of Names My Mother Did Not Give Me “. Go check the issue out!

Who Is Tintin? An Interview with Tintin Pantoja

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 11 - 2013
Filipina artist Tintin Pantoja will be at this Saturday’s Summer Komikon from 4-5 pm to launch “Who is AC?“, a new graphic novel illustrated by her and written by Eisner-award winning creator Hope Larson.
In this breakthrough graphic novel from the award-winning author of Mercury, there’s a new superhero in town—and she’s got kick-butt cyberpowers.

Meet Lin, a formerly average teenage girl whose cell phone zaps her with magical powers. But just as superpowers can travel through the ether, so can evil. As Lin starts to get a handle on her new abilities (while still observing her curfew!), she realizes she has to go head-to-head with a nefarious villain who spreads his influence through binary code. And as if that weren’t enough, a teen blogger has dubbed her an “anonymous coward!” Can Lin detect the cyber-criminal’s vulnerability, save the day, and restore her reputation?

With ingenious scripting from graphic novel phenom Hope Larson and striking art from manga illustrator Tintin Pantoja, this action-packed story brims with magical realism and girl-power goodness.

Tintin spared some time to talk to me a little about magical girls, comic workshops, and fandoms.
Q: “Who is AC?”, your new graphic novel with Hope Larson, has been described as “Who Is AC? is a love letter to the magical girls of shojo manga and anime…” Did you watch magical girl shows growing up? Who were your favorites?

As a kid I would watch SailorMoon dubbed into Indonesian, not really knowing what was going on but loving the characters and the show all the same. I’ve also seen some Card Captor Sakura (but more of the comic than the anime). I also got into a lot of western shows with magical girl elements, like Rainbow Brite and My Little Pony ( the eighties series).
Q: What do you think it is about the idea of the “magical girl” that makes it such a popular genre, especially with teens?

I think teens like seeing someone who’s their age, with their own experiences, exhibiting special powers and saving the world. Magical girls are just a feminine iteration of the superhero- emphasis on magic, romance, and of course, outfits and the relationships between characters. In popular culture, a lot of which is devoted to the heroic exploits of male characters, it’s nice to have a genre in which girls can be the star and save the world through strength and love.
Q: How did you come by this project? What’s it like working with Hope Larson?

I came by this project online. Hope was looking for an artist, and I volunteered my portfolio. She’s great to work with- very upfront about what she wants, and very clear. She sent me the script, and I was pretty much free to interpret it visually. She’s also been very supportive in other ways.
Q: You  graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and now you’re based here. Why did you choose to come back and work from here, as opposed to staying in the United States?

Honestly, it’s hard to stay in New York and not already a permanent resident or citizen, especially if you’re an artist.

Q: You’ve begun teaching a Comics and Manga Workshop here in Metro Manila. Why’d you decide to put up the workshop?
The workshop is only on a dry run right now. I hope to offer it to students during the school year on a weekly weekend basis. I just went online looking for comic schools and didn’t find any, so I thought it might be a good niche to fill, if people were  interested in learning to make comics I don’t know if Elbert Or’s workshop is still ongoing? It might be nice to trade notes with him, if he is. Anyway, a couple of my Indonesian friends put up comic/manga schools in Jakarta and I thought it might be a fun thing to do here. If anyone’s interested in the comic workshop, it’s a two-hour eight/nine-session program in which we make a short comic from script to final coloring/ tones. Email me at tintinp@gmail.com! ;) The first MWF summer sessions starts April 12!
Q: While everyone learns how to create in their own way, what are the benefits that you think a classroom-based workshop has to offer, that would be unavailable to an aspiring creator working on his/her craft alone?

The classroom setup automatically forces you to do the comic itself. A lot of creators- including myself- have a hard time motivating ourselves to work. So in a classroom, you’re automatically being obligated to make your stuff. Also, making comics is so solitary. It’s more fun to be working in a setting where people can learn from each other and encourage each other. It’s true that comics can easily be self-taught. What I want is to make the comics process more social, regular, and enjoyable for the individual creator.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the creative process?

Definitely the inking, when all of the hard work ( thumbnailing and pencilling) have been done!
Q: I read in an old interview that you liked to listen to stories while working. What have you been listening to lately?
I used to listen to online radio shows on the BBC and NPR websites, but mostly I just turn the TV station to the Crime Channel these days, or when inking, catch up on HBO shows like True Blood.
Q: What works/fandoms are you passionate about at the moment? Anything you’re looking forward to picking up for yourself at the Komikon?

At the moment my biggest fandom is the TV show Supernatural ( my favorite character is Castiel), and Adventure Time- but with Fionna and Cake. As for Komikon, I’m very much looking forward to picking up anything new from Mel Casipit- he’s a great artist and I’ve been following his career. I also love discovering new local cartoonists and finding something really unique and cool.
Q: What’s next for you, after “Who is AC?”

I have no idea. the future’s kinda wide open at this point. I don’t really have plans or ongoing projects.

 

Mythspace Summer Komikon Reading Guide

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 10 - 2013

The Summer Komikon is this Saturday, April 13, once again at the Bayanihan Center. The Mythspace Team will have four new stories (and limited copies of Mythspace #0) available at the event, so it seemed like an opportune time to provide a reader’s guide for our new offerings. But first off, here’s where we’ll be on Saturday:

 

We’ll have four Mythspace stories out on Saturday, as well as Pilandokomiks (a book illustrated  by “Mythspace: An Unfurling of Wings” artist Borg Sinaban) as well as some second hand graphic novels. Here’s a breakdown of the Mythspace titles so you can decide which is right for you (with the answer hopefully being: All of Them):

Title:  Mythspace: Black Mark

Artist:  Paul Quiroga

Writer: Paolo Chikiamco

Genre: Science Fiction / Action / Mecha

Price: 60 pesos.

Synopsis: What if the creatures from Philippine folklore — the tikbalangs, nuno, kapre — were inspired by sightings of actual alien races? That’s the question that fuels the Mythspace stories.

In “Black Mark”, readers gain insight into the fractious society of the crafty Nuno, where political zealots (who tint their skins to signify their party loyalties) have the government in a persistent state of gridlock. Yet, legend has it that there is a faction that transcends politics: the legendary Black, a task force that is authorized to go to extreme measures to safeguard Nuno society. Helmless Mang, a pariah on his home planet, is about to find out that the Black are very real — and both more powerful and more terrible than that the stories would have you believe…

Reading Notes: Stand-alone story, but provides insight into the Nuno, the race of Qu in Lift-off. Nunos also play roles in Humanity and Devourers of Light.

Folklore Notes: I combined the Nuno and Dwende from folklore to form the Nuno race — the idea of different Nuno types being distinguished by skin color comes from stories about the dwende. The Bungis were one-eyed giants in our folklore.

Title:  Mythspace: Humanity

Artist: Cristina Rose Chua

Writer: Paolo Chikiamco

Genre: Science Fiction / Drama

Price: 60 pesos.

Synopsis: What if the creatures from Philippine folklore — the tikbalangs, nuno, kapre — were inspired by sightings of actual alien races? That’s the question that fuels the Mythspace stories.

In “Humanity”, the descendants of humans abductees (taken from Earth centuries ago) labor as slave-miners in the asteroid fields of the materialistic Kataw. Danny and Marta are two young miners, thrust into dire straits when a stroke of good fortune leads to a calculating betrayal. When salvation comes in the form of the legendary Dalakitnon — Free Humans — both of them must decide for themselves what they would give up, to be free.

Reading Notes: A stand-alone story, this expands on the plight of humanity in the galaxy, which is touched upon in Lift-off. Also gives you a glimpse of the culture of the Kataw, and why they have the reputation that they do (as seen a bit in Devourers of Light and Black Mark).

Folklore Notes: The Dalakitnon are one of the “elves” mentioned in our folklore. Kataw is another name for Sirena.

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Words and Pictures at Play: An Interview with Elbert Or

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 8 - 2013
Writer/artist/creator Elbert Or is one of the special guests at this Saturday’s Summer Komikon 2013. where he will be launching his first Bakemono High compilation. I’ve known Elbert for a while, and he’s one of the most creative and driven people in Philippine comics, and he graciously agreed to sit down and talk about Bakemono High, his creative process, and comics for younger readers. He also gives us an exclusive: a colored version of a 2 page Bakemono High story that appears in black and white in the compilation.
Q: Thanks for your time Elbert! For those readers who don’t know your work, can you tell us a bit about your work in comics? You’ve certainly amassed quite a body of work through the years.
Sure thing! Let’s see…if I had to put together a bullet list of highlights, it’ll maybe be something like this:
  • Four years in college spent creating and peddling photocopied comics, at a time when there weren’t a lot of venues and opportunities to sell them. I also ran a comics org in Ateneo for a couple years.
  • Convinced my comics literature professor Jamie Bautista to try his hand at making his own comics. He ended up forming Nautilus Comics with me as the first employee, and over the course of a couple years released National Book Award-winning anthologies Siglo: FreedomSiglo: Passion, and the popular teen series Cast. I also contributed to various anthologies.
  • Conducted comics workshops across the country in an attempt to provide aspiring creators with opportunities that weren’t available to me when I was starting out, and eventually opened a comics creation elective in Ateneo.
  • Worked with various publishers like Anvil Publishing, Tahanan Books, Psicom Publishing, Milflores Publishing to try and open the doors for comics.
  • Worked with foreign publishers, from Chuang Yi in Singapore to Archaia Press and Oni Press in the U.S. The most prominent of these is the YALSA-winning Lola: A Ghost Story, which I illustrated for J. Torres.
  • Through all these, I created material across a range of genres too, from superhero stories (Jet Titanium, Super Space Ranger), to adventure stories for young girls (The Many Adventures of Stephanie Smee) to shonen manga-style stories (Card Battler Teks) to this one, Bakemono High.
Q: You’ll be at the Summer Komikon with a compilation of you Bakemono High comic. Again, for those unfamiliar with is K-Zone run, can you tell us what Bakemono High is all about?
Bakemono High is set in a school for monsters, and mostly follows three friends — Max, a vampire who’s a stickler for rules; Chuck, a werewolf who likes adventure almost as much as he likes food; and Amy, a mummy who’s a boy named sort of like a girl and is deathly afraid of everything!
Q: You’ve mentioned that there’s a lot of never-before-seen content in this compilation — around 30%. What can old readers look forward to in these new strips?
I don’t know if that’s a lot, but yeah, there’s some strips there that haven’t been published. If anything though, the biggest thing is that the cover says “book one,” which for me is an inherent promise that there will be a book two. And if all goes well, that’ll be out as soon as October. With 100% new content!

Q: So it’s true then — you’ll be continuing the series in the future?

I plan on continuing the series in the future, and have actually started work on the next book. What I’m discovering is that when it was being serialized in K-Zone, I was restricted to mostly one- to two-page installments, and I wanted to be sure they were self-contained but still be meaty enough story-wise. That meant compressing a lot of material into a small amount of space. With this new format, I’m letting myself — and the stories — breathe a bit more. Bigger panels to show off the art, or even just being able to dwell on the smaller character moments instead of speeding from one plot point to the next. It’s all getting me quite excited and reinvigorated as the creator!
Q: You are both a writer and an artist. Does one role or the other come more naturally to you? Or, perhaps, are they inseparable to you?
They’re actually quite inseparable, and if you look at my notes, whether they’re for comics projects or even for my day-to-day life tasks and work meetings, they’re littered with words and pictures playing with each other. I guess that’s really just how my mind works!
Q: What comics did you read as a child?
I read a lot of Tintin, Archie, Calvin and Hobbes, Dragonball Z, and Funny Komiks! Thinking about it now, that’s actually a healthy range of comics material don’t you think? Haha! It’s like a United Nations of Comics! I want to say it’s by design, that I’m reading Eurocomics beside American comics and newspaper strips beside Japanese and Filipino comics, but really I was just consuming whatever I could get my hands on!
Q: Does anything change, in your artistic process, in creating a book aimed at children, as opposed to one aimed at a more general audience?
I think if anything I tend to think more visually when I’m writing all-ages material. Lots of moments where I would either use a specific image in my head as a starting point for the story, or “This would look cool!”
On the other hand, for some reason, I find that I think more in terms of dialogue when writing more mature stuff. It’s not something I’m really conscious about though; really this is the first time I’ve had to articulate it! Do kids and younger characters just go and do, while adults like to talk things out? Is that how I see things? I don’t know what that says about me!
Q: What advice can you give comics creators in general, and those who want to make stories for children in particular?
In general, I always tell aspiring creators to stop aspiring and start creating. If you want to be a writer, write! If you want to be an artist, draw! The only way you get better at making comics is by keeping on using them. Just like muscles!
As for specific advice…well, it almost doesn’t matter if you’re making stories for kids or for adults: you have to write something that is true to yourself. It may be true to who you are now, or it may be something that is true to the 10-year old you, but it has to be true to some version of you.
I’m not talking about facts, I’m talking perspective. Wiser men have said, “don’t talk down to kids when you’re writing for them,” and that’s true: I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I could tell when some adults were trying to pull my leg, and telling me something that I know just isn’t true! (If you don’t finish your ampalaya, people in Africa will die from hunger!) On the other hand, I also can remember believing in things that were just outright, boldfaced lies, all because I admired or loved the people who said them! (Your school is built on a graveyard and it’s haunted by spooky ghosts!)

Q: What types of stories would you like to see more of, from the local comics industry?

I don’t know what I want to see more of, specifically, because what I really want to see is something I’ve never seen before, something fresh and exciting!

What I’m sure I want to see less of though are fantasy comics with characters wearing bahags and tikbalangs and manananggals. Surely there are more creatures of folklore than that! I realize we have a rich history and tradition of folk literature, and there will always be a place for that, but right now, I’m really just at the point where I want to see the future right here, right now.
And now, an exclusive colored comic preview of Bakemono High!

Cover for Mythspace: Lift Off (Part 2 of 3)

It’s April 1! That means that the Summer Komikon is only 12 days away (nope, not an April Fool’s). On April 13, Team Mythspace will have — barring natural calamity — four new stories to tell. Three of those stories are stand-alone tales (and make sure to check out Mythspace on Facebook for the covers of those stories, later today), but one if part 2 of the Lift Off story that was part of issue #0.

Now, here’s the thing — Mythspace was always intended to be released as a compiled volume of six stories, set in the same universe, with one story Lift Off, being the central piece, and twice as long as most of the others. We want to release Part 2 in order to get feedback, recoup funds, and provide something of a collectible for early supporters (because the final volume may look different from the ashcans we sell at the conventions — those who have Liftoff #1 and #2 will see how Koi has shifted his style.) That being said, it’s likely that part 3 of Lift Off won’t be released as a single issue (unless there’s a huge demand for it) and by next Komikon (in October or November), what we’ll be releasing is the compiled volume.

That being said, I want to gauge how many people would still like to buy a stand-alone copy of Lift Off Part 2, so I can estimate how many we should print, and make sure I reserve your copies. So if you’re interested in Lift Off #2, please leave a comment (with your name) here, at the Facebook page, or email me at mythspace.comic[at] g m a i l . Sorry, we haven’t decided on the price yet.

Also! If you’ve yet to read the first part of Lift Off, and would like to get a copy of Mythspace #0 (where that story can be found),  do also please leave a comment (with your name) here, at the Facebook page, or email me at mythspace.comic[at] g m a i l  — we only have limited copies though! You can see some reviews here and here.

 

Undecided? Have some art from part 2:

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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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