Archive for the ‘Features/Interviews’ Category

Alternative Alamat: Expanded Print Edition, Launches on July 25

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 10 - 2014

It’s been a long time coming, but the much-requested print version of Alternative Alamat is heading to bookstores near you — and sooner than you think! The good folks at Visprint are launching it on July 19,   Saturday,   [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] part of a four-title launch that takes place from 11AM to 6PM at Powerbooks, Greenbelt. Not only is this a print edition of Alternative Alamat, but it’s also an EXPANDED edition, with  a new short comic from Andrew Drilon, and a new story from Eliza Victoria, set in the same universe as “Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” I’ve also updated a bit of the bibliography to help with your Philippine mythology research needs.

Of course the rest of the book is still intact, with eleven stories that re-imagine Philippine myths and legends, each preceded by a gorgeous rendition of a Philippine deity by Tabi Po’s Mervin Malonzo. And in case you’ve forgotten what people said about the book when it first came out…

Winner: Best Short Story Anthology, Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards 2012: “Alternative Alamat does for Philippine deities what Neil Gaiman’s American gods did for the lesser-known gods of europe, Asia and Africa. Readers will find that the gods, goddesses and supernatural beings of the Philippines are as fascinating as those of any other nation’s pantheon. By turns shocking, tragic, even malevolent—the beings featured in this collection of stories are given new shape and form in stories that traverse the past and the present of Filipino culture. If myth is said to form a nation’s collective subconscious, then Alternative Alamat gives Filipino readers a much-needed injection of myths that are truly ours, and truly deserving of more widespread attention. Because of this collection, we’ll never view Filipino mythology the same way again.”

One of GMA News Online’s Notable Books from 2011

“[A] treasure trove of Philippine myths and legends reexamined and rendered for modern readers…lyrical…ground-breaking” Angelo Ancheta, Philippines Graphic (December 25, 2011 – January 2, 2012)

OK, if you only read one anthology all year, please let this one be it.” - Jaymee Goh(Scroll all the way down – this post reviews three books.)

“[B]rings Philippine mythology closer to modern readers like no scholarly book of myths possibly could… delightfully diverse.” - Meann Ortiz, The Girl Who Read

“Somehow, I felt that this book and the stories in this collection were mine — mine because I am a Filipino…” -  Tina Matanguihan, One More Page.

“…an excellent work indeed, well done!” – Catherine Batac Walder

“[A] marvelous attempt to gather in one volume some of the finest renditions of Philippine folklore.” - Kristine Ong Muslim (Amazon review)

“Different, but clever. Brilliant.” - Monique, Bookish Little Me

“This anthology came to me late in the year, but rocked my world on most counts. Between the illustrations by Mervin Malonzo and the intelligently done interviews at the back of the book, it was difficult to put this one down…” Katrina Stuart Santiago, Facebook

“I know nothing of Filipino culture, and these stories were all brand new to me. And I loved them!” -Robin Edman, Goodreads.

 

RP612Fic 2014 – Celebrate Independence Day with Twitter Fiction

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 5 - 2014

Next Thursday is June 12, Independence Day here in the Philippines, an occasion which I, and a growing number of Filipino writers, like to commemorate with a little something we call #RP612fic.

For anyone late to the party, here’s all you need to know:

  • What is #RP612fic?It’s Filipino authors coming together on Twitter to create tweet-length stories (130 characters, because you need to leave space for the hashtag) and sending them out into the wild with the #RP612fic hashtag. When the event is over, I’ll collate all submissions into a single post here on the site.
    • What’s a Hashtag? It’s a word/code you put in your tweet after the “#”. It acts as a label of sorts and makes it easier for me to find all participating stories.
  • When does this take place? At least once a year on Independence Day, but sometimes we participate in other events, such as a Blog Action Day. For any compilation or selection post I do, I’ll be looking for stories sent from 6PM on June 11, to 6AM of June 13.
  • What kind of stories should I submit? For Independence Day, I’d love to see alternative history stories, but it’s not like I’m going to tell you to delete your 130 character realist micro fiction opus.
  • What if I’m not on Twitter and I want to participate? Just send me your tweet length stories via rocketkapre[at]gmail.com and I’ll try to tweet them or include them in any  compilations of the stories that I do.
  • I may, time allowing, be doing a “Notable Stories” post, to highlight tweets/stories I found to be, well, noteworthy. The simple fact is, participation grows every year, and while this is a good thing, it’s reached the point that it’s no longer practical for me to compile everything.
  • That being said, I’ll try to throw up a RAW file of all tweets with the #RP612fic hashtag – I say raw because I won’t have the time to separate the actual stories from non-stories, or original tweets from retweets.
  • Artists are also free to participate. Just tell your stories with a single picture instead of a single tweet, and send it out on Twitter, or to my email account, with or without text (but if you put text, keep it to the Twitter limit, which includes the link to your image, if possible.) If you decide to illustrate one of the old RP612fic stories, from my previous compilations, please indicate the username of the original author, as found in the list.

Spread the word! For those who want to see the previous RP612fic stories, you can check out these links:

#RP612Fic 2013: The Stories

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 4 - 2014

So it’s that time of year again, and I realized that I never did get around to posting a “Notable Stories” list of #RP612fics from 2013. I thought a curated “best of” list would be easier for me to do given the sheer size of #RP612fic nowadays, but that very size made it difficult for me to go through each and every story, and by the time I was through, it was August @_@ So I decided to simply make a raw compilation of all tweets that used the hashtag during the #RP612fic period last year, and put it up before the 2014 edition — which is a week away, so here it is! I say raw because I won’t have the time to separate the actual stories from non-stories, or original tweets from retweets, which also explains why this compilation comes in three PDFs and clocks in at over 250 pages.

Yeah…

Here then is #RP612fic 2013, in all its glory! Gasp in awe, quiver in fear… and get ready for the next round!

Tweets are listed in reverse chronological order, so the earliest tweets (not taking re-tweets into account) are found at the bottom.

#RP612fic Compilation Part 1 (June 11 to around 5:30 pm of June 12)

#RP612fic Compilation Part 2 (To around 9:20 pm of June 12)

#RP612fic Compilation Part 3 (To end of June 12)

Summer Komikon 2014: Studio Salimbal

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 11 - 2014

It’s Summer Komikon tomorrow! We’ll be there as usual, but now under the Studio Salimbal banner. You can find us at table B54, seen above.


We’ll be selling all the first wave of Mythspace comics, for PHP50 each.  No new stories this convention, but we do have something new — our Mini Design Works artbook! The regular version is also PHP50, and the Extra Large version ( you can see the size difference above), pre-signed by all members of Team Mythspace (a rarity, since we’re almost never at the table at the same time!) is PHP200. Only 109 copies of the Extra Large version were made, so snap them up quick!

Aside from the comics, we’ll have prints galore available!  The prints are cheaper if you buy more than one:

=Solo Price=
Large (A3) Prints: 120 PHP
Medium (A4) Prints: 80 PHP
Long (2/3 an A4) Print: 60PHP
Small (Postcard) Prints: 30 PHP

=Promo Price – buy any 2 or more prints, whatever the size=
Large (A3) Prints: 100 PHP
Medium (A4) Prints: 60 PHP
Long (2/3 an A4) Print: 40PHP
Small (Postcard) Prints: 20 PHP

Buy more, get a discount! Don’t let your prints be lonely — and, come on, just look at these things eh? How can you stop at one?

Last but not least: ultra-cute Mythspace: Unfurling of Wings stickers from Borg Sinaban! Full body stickers are PHP40, heads are PHP20.

See you all tomorrow!  Need help getting there? Head here.

 

Review: Abangan – The Best Philippine Komiks 2014

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 11 - 2014

Disclaimers: I’m friends with the editors of Abangan, and Mythspace (my comic, which will be published by Visprint, publisher of Abangan) was one of the komiks solicited by them for the anthology that didn’t make the cut. This review was made possible by a PSF copy provided by the editors.

“Greetings young reader/ target demographic!” says the host of “Spooky Tales of the Here and Now”, a mock television show in comics form, one of the selections included in “Abangan: The Best Philippine Komiks 2014.” The self-awareness is part of the humor of the piece, but the line also brings to mind a question that lingered as I read through the anthology: who is the audience for Abangan?

That kind of question may seem more suitable for a marketing pitch than a review of a creative work, but an anthology is a special sort of beast, particularly one that claims no inherent thematic unity — quite the opposite in fact. In the introduction to the book, the editors state that “[o]ur main goal was to exhibit the range of creative work being done in the field of komiks in terms of genre, style, and medium – we attempted to feature as many genres and as many different styles as we could” and to a large part they have succeeded in that goal, with the admitted caveat that most of the komiks the Editors were exposed to were those available either online or in Metro Manila. An anthology which has both an excerpt from “The Filipino Heroes League” (Paolo Fabregas) and “Blue Dusk” (Mica Agregado) covers a wide spectrum indeed.

Given the stated goal of the editors above, it’s hard to argue with the selections made for the comic. There are two selections illustrated by Rob Cham, but the total page count of those two combined is less than the average of the other selections. Bong Redila’s captioned illustrations may not be considered comics under some definitions of the term, but they do qualify as comics under others, and most readers won’t care about the technicalities, not when the standard of craftsmanship is so high. It’s a standard that is upheld consistently throughout the book, and while there are certain styles and creators represented that I don’t “get”, I’ve heard enough good things about them to know that there are other readers who hold them in high esteem. Abangan reflects not only the wide variety of komiks in the industry, but, through these, the wide variety of readers as well.

I do wish that there had been introductions to the pieces, something to contextualize their inclusion. This is particularly true with regard to the excerpts, as some invariably fail to accurately represent their source material: the main cast of FHL is absent from its excerpt, for instance, and the “Sixty-Six” excerpt leaves out the super-power element entirely. Additional commentary would also help explain apparent oddities, such as the “Dead Balagtas” strips being in English rather than Filipino. (It turns out they were translated in preparation for a possible international edition of Abangan, but I learned this because I asked one of the editors directly, which is not going to be an option for most.)

In a way, the selections constitute a sort of mini-Komikon: it’s easy to imagine yourself weaving through the throng at the Bayanihan Center, and passing these stories as you move from one table to another. As long as you enjoy stories, the Komikon is worth the trip — comics newbies with an open mind are sure to find something that will draw them in, and chances are that even ardent fans will find something new and splendid (“Para Fierra” was that for me, and the web-only “Dead Balagtas” may be that for many). The same smorgasbord virtues are present in the Abangan anthology, particularly because the anthology also includes some previously unpublished work.

Of course, also like a visit to Komikon, the entry fee covers both work you’ll enjoy, and work you won’t. It’s the rare reader for whom all the selections in the anthology will have the same appeal. Just as Komikon is worth visiting, I can tell you that Abangan is worth reading. But whether Abangan’s merits make it worth purchasing the book, will depend entirely on what sort of reader you are — hence, why a discussion of Abangan’s audience is relevant.

If you’re new to komiks, and interested in the medium, then I wholeheartedly recommend buying a copy of Abangan. The sheer variety of komiks available, as well as the relative rarity of most komiks, can make it a difficult field to navigate. In Abangan, you have a curated, high quality, ready-made, starters kit.

If you’re a komiks reader who only buys a particular genre of komiks, or those of a particular creator, but would like to expand your horizons, I once again recommend that you buy a copy of Abangan. The reasons are much the same as those for new readers, since beyond your comics comfort zone, you are a new reader.

If you’re the avid komiks reader, the type who already has copies of most of these stories in their original forms, then it simply becomes a matter of two things: disposable income, and production quality. The first is pretty self-explanatory. As for the second… In the introduction, the editors say that one of the reasons to buy the book is that “it looks great on display on your shelves,” and while that may seem to be a bit of a throw-away line, it’s in fact one of the reasons this project is important.

Self-publishing is still the norm in the industry, and that means that efforts are made to keep printing costs as low as possible. The result is that most comics are photocopied, slim, ashcan issues that do not lend themselves to shelving or display or permanent ownership. Yet the ephemeral quality of the physical komiks is often at odds with the quality of their contents, and it’s important for the professionalization of the industry that more komiks are published in forms that do these stories justice.

Good komiks deserve respect, and a place on our shelves. Abangan understands that, and endeavors to make its readers understand as well.

 

 

 

Mythspace: Devourers of Light – Painted Artwork

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 12 - 2014

While in terms of page count, the Lift Off story will be receiving the most extensive art improvements in Mythspace Volume 1, Jules Gregorio‘s “Devourers of Light” is a close second. In fact, Jules will, in effect, be changing the medium of the artwork, as he’ll be replacing his inked pieces with a greyscale watercolored version that looks fantastic. Jules is an awesome painter, and while it wasn’t feasible to do redo Devourers in color (that would have meant doing all the stories in color, which would have pushed the compilation — and, more importantly, future stories — back by many months) we wanted to showcase that talent.

Of course, for Jules’ next project, maybe we’ll do it in color from the start… but that’s for another day. For now, look forward to the improved Devourers of Light in Mythspace Volume 1, coming in late 2014 from Visprint.

Mythspace: Lift Off – Redrawn

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 10 - 2014

I mentioned before that the upcoming Mythspace Volume 1 from Visprint will not be a straight compilation of the existing eight issues. Art touch ups will be done for most of the stories, but by far the most extensive changes will occur in Lift Off, drawn by Koi Carreon. Those who have the single issues will see that Koi’s style changes from Part 1 to Part 2, and he’s redrawing Part 1 in his new style, and also adding little details and modifications to Parts 2 and 3 (now that he has a more relaxed deadline). Above is an example of the change, both in style and in detail, featuring the first encounter between Bros the human and Jrakan the Kapre. (Or Spaaaaace Kapre, as he is lovingly known.)

New Mythspace Titles at Komikon 2013 + Mythspace Week 2013

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 12 - 2013

Updating the first Mega Mythspace Mondays post now that we have the official covers for all three of the new issues we’ll be rolling out at this Saturday’s Komikon. We’re also holding Mythspace Week at the Facebook page, where we’ll be uploading something per day until the Komikon on the 16th. Come on by if you haven’t already!

 

MYTHSPACE: LIFT OFF (Part 3 of 3)

by Koi Carreon and Paolo Chikiamco (60 pesos)

Genre: Action / Young Adult / Space Opera / Hoverboarding

The Finale of Lift Off! Bros Magkalas is dead… or, at least, he should be. Instead, he has an alien artifact in his chest, and power beyond his wildest dreams. But will that be enough to dake down the battleship of a Laho warlord, even with the help of some unlikely allies?

Only one way to find out…

 

 

MYTHSPACE: UNCOMMON GROUND

by Mico Dimagiba and Paolo Chikiamco (60 pesos)

Genre: Noir / Science Fiction / Awkward Alliances

It’s tough being a detective on a planet of shapeshifters. But Inquest Haskra’s life takes a turn for the worse when he’s hired by a Laho to find a missing jewel, and prevent the onset of civil war. But does Haskra really want to help a member of the race that destroyed his home planet?

 

MYTHSPACE: UNFURLING of WINGS

by Borg Sinaban and Paolo Chikiamco (60 pesos)

Genre: Young Adult / Heist / Science Fiction / Coming of Age / Detachable Limbs

Ri-En, Books, and Zu are orphans who eke out a living in the slums of an aging space station, under the protection of their mentor, Ka-Ang. But Ka-Ang’s health is deteriorating, and the three friends hatch a desperate plan to save him — one which places them on a collision course with the station’s worst criminal gang, as well as one of the dreaded, immortal, Sixths.

 

 

 

 

Mega Mythspace Monday (November 4)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 4 - 2013

Two Mondays until Komikon! Two Mondays until Komikon! That means only two weeks until you can get your hands on the final issues of the first wave of Mythspace titles! It also means that today is another Mega Monday, with previews from all three new issues slated for this Komikon: Unfurling of Wings (teen heist!), Uncommon Ground (space kapre detective!) and Lift Off part 3 (the finale!). For today, our previews will have a theme — can you guess what it is?

Inquest Haskra (Kapre) versus Commander Ragan (Laho).

Mythspace: Uncommon Ground by Mico Dimagiba and Paolo Chikiamco

Zo (Nuno) vs. Books (Human) vs. Ri-En(Tan’gal).

Mythspace: Unfurling of Wings by Borg Sinaban and Paolo Chikiamco

Winter (Tyho — currently in a Tkblng form) vs Va-lis-ya (Tan’gal).

Mythspace: Lift Off (Part 3) by Koi Carreon and Paolo Chikiamco

Mega Mythspace Monday (October 28)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 28 - 2013

There are only three Mondays left until the Komikon! So the next three Mythspace Mondays will be something special, with a preview page from each of the three newest Mythspace titles: Unfurling of Wings, Uncommon Ground, and the finale of Lift Off!

Here’s the (tentative) cover for Lift Off part 3 by Koi Carreon!

Title: Mythspace: Lift Off (3 of 3)
Creator: Koi Carreon and Paolo Chikiamco
Type: Singles
Price: 60
Promo: Part 3 of Lift Off! Bros Magkalas is dead… or, at least, he should be. Instead, he has an alien artifact embedded in his chest, and power beyond his wildest dreams. But will that – and a few unlikely allies — be enough to take down the battleship of a Laho warlord? There’s only one way to find out.

Here’s a page from Mythspace: Unfurling of Wings by Borg Sinaban, with the main characters of the story. What’s it about? Here’s a description:

Title: Mythspace: Unfurling of Wings
Creator: Borg Sinaban and Paolo Chikiamco
Type: Singles
Price: 60
Promo: A sci-fi reimagining of Philippine folklore! Ri-En, Books, and Zu are orphans who eke out a living in the slums of an aging space station, under the protection of their mentor Ka-Ang. But Ka-Ang’s health is deteriorating, and the three friends hatch a desperate plan to save him – one which places them on a collision course with the station’s worst criminal gang, as well as one of the dreaded, immortal, Sixths.

Space Kapre Detective? Why the hell not?

Here’s Inquest Haskra, from Uncommon Ground (drawn by Mico Dimagiba), laying down the law for his “client.” Don’t hassle Haskra you guys…

Title: Mythspace: Uncommon Ground
Creator: Mico Dimagiba and Paolo Chikiamco
Type: Singles
Price: 60
Promo: A sci-fi reimagining of Philippine folklore! It’s tough being a detective on a planet of shapeshifters. But Inquest Haskra’s life takes a turn for the worse when he’s hired by a Laho to find a missing jewel, and prevent the onset of civil war. But does Haskra really want to help a member of the race that destroyed his home planet?

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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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