It’s the first of June, which means that in less than two weeks, on June 12, we celebrate Independence Day here in the Philippines. It is an occasion which I, and a growing number of Filipino writers and artists, 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 out myself.
  • 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.

I’ve pretty much given up on coming up with a comprehensive archive of #RP612fic tweets — to give you an idea of how big the celebration has become, here’s a reminder that we were the #1 hashtag in the world for a time last year — but will of course retweet any that catch my eye, from my personal twitter account (@anitero) or the rocketkapre account (@rocketkapre).

I don’t think we can get any bigger this year — though I’ve been wrong before — but I would like to see more #RP612fic illustrations this year. If you’re in a doodling mood during the next week or so, and want to try to get some new eyes on your art, you could do worse than envisioning an alternate Philippines and uploading your art with #RP612fic on June 12. We usually get local news sites compiling choice tweets and artwork with the hashtag, so it could be a good opportunity. I’ll also try to compile artwork with the hashtag. If you’d like to see how artists have contributed before, here’s a gallery of Studio Salimbal artwork from last year.

Aklatan 2013 Map and Reminder

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 6 - 2013

 

Just a reminder everyone: Aklatan 2013, the first All Filipino Book Fair, is tomorrow. We’ll be there with limited stocks of all five currently available Mythspace stories — each comic is PHP 60.00, but you can buy the set of 5 for PHP 240.00. A few copies of Kwentillion will be available too. Here’s a map to our table (but in case there are last minute changes, just look for us — we’ll be there somewhere!)

I’ll be there from the opening at 8 until around 1, and Koi Carreon (Mythspace: Lift Off) and Borg Sinaban (Piladokomiks and the forthcoming Mythspace: Unfurling of Wings) will be there by around 11.

Hope to see you guys there!

Mythspace at Aklatan: The All-Filipino Book Festival

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 2 - 2013

Aklatan, the All-Filipino Book Festival, will be held this Saturday at Alphaland Southgate (you can find a map here), and we’ll have a Rocket Kapre table set up there to sell all available issues of Mythspace. That means if you’re missing Humanity, Black Mark, Devourers of Light, or parts 1 or 2 of Mythspace (or, hey, if you’d just like to buy ‘em again), then we have a date on Saturday.

If you want to see what Mythspace is about before buying, our primer/preview issue, Mythspace #0, is still available for free until September 6, so download away.

I’ll also have a handful of Kwentillion issues for sale as well.

Hope to see you guys there!

Mythspace Komikon 2012 Aftermath

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 30 - 2012

What you see above is the last copy of Mythspace: Liftoff #0 at Komikon 2012, minutes before it too was purchased. Yes, we sold out of our print run, and while that is a mixed blessing usually, we didn’t play it safe with the print run, so sales really did exceed reasonable expectations — we sold almost double what High Society did, and HS was already considered a success for a Komikon indie. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy or spread the word!

A few post Komikon notes and links:

Again, thank you everyone for your support, and the team is now hard at work to ensure we have the complete anthology ready by 2013. I’ll keep updating you on the progress of Mythspace here and on the Facebook page.

Rocket Kapre Featured in the Katipunan Online Magazine

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 23 - 2012

 

A month or two back, a pair of Ateneo students asked if they could interview me for Katipunan, the online magazine of the Guidon, for a feature on Rocket Kapre. It was a particularly busy time, but I always try to make time to spread the word about science fiction and fantasy in the Philippines. I meant what I said in the interview: “I don’t think there’s even been a better time to be involved [in the genre] as either a reader or a writer.”

The article was just published a few days ago, and you can see it here.

One thing though: A couple of the stories mentioned in the original introduction of the article aren’t really connected with Rocket Kapre. I think they reference both Skygypsies and the God Equation — neither I nor RK have any connection with the latter (aside from the fact that I enjoyed the story and admire its author) and while I had a hand in re-publishing Skygypsies as Kwentillion co-editor, strictly speaking that magazine was not a Rocket Kapre project. FYI

Mythspace Mondays: Advance Reviews

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 22 - 2012

For the three Mondays of October before the Komikon, I’ll be talking about my newest comic book project, “Mythspace: Liftoff”. The #0 issue will be available at the Komikon on Oct.27. The first Mysthspace Monday was a look into the concept behind Mythspace, the second was about the way we re-imagined folklore creatures as aliens, and today we feature some advance reviews.

Last week I began to send out digital review copies of Mythspace: Liftoff #0 to bloggers/critics/reviewers, and a few have been kind enough to post their impressions of our zero issue online. So today I’ll let other people do the talking… it should be patently obvious by now that I love what our team has been doing, but does that translate to the impartial reader?

Short answer: YES. (So far!)

 

The most recent is from none other than Noel Pascual, the co-creator of the wonderful Crime Fighting Call Center Agents comic. Here’s an excerpt from his review, the full text of which is here:

Koi Carreon’s art is amazing. As I was browsing through the pages the first time, it’s the character design that really stood out. There’s quite a bit of a manga influence in there but the human characters— from the lead character to the secondary characters (especially the secondary characters!)— all look quite Pinoy. In a story dealing with Pinoy myths, that goes a long way when it comes to adding to the overall effectiveness of the piece.

The plotting really works, going from flashback to present day without confusing the reader. The scenes picked enhance the drama of the story without crossing into melodrama. The rebellious teen who is our lead also doesn’t come close to crossing the line into being an unsympathetic character. Chikiamco also manages to provide his life history without sounding like it’s being done for the sake of dumping info onto the reader. In Liftoff as well as in the other stories, we get a sense that this is a fully realized world, with one element resonating with the next.

The first one is from EK over at Jumper Cable:

“Collectively the comics are all presented on a professional level rarely seen outside of the Sacred Mountain, Komikero, Gunship Revolution, and Point Zero groups. Some of the best inking and detail work among the recent komiks releases are here — and I’ve just seen partial results. The typesetting for the dialogue balloons are grammar-corrected and nearly faultless. The paneling is also professional, at par with the best of the Western comics.

On the script level, the two presented stories are as unique from each other as adobo and sinigang, even if they are made by the same cook. Be assured that there is much variety expected among the six presented stories, that it would not be boring even if they were all from the same writer. Both given stories are paced without a glitch, with a clear understanding of writing in general and the comic medium in particular. The author’s hand in the development process is also visible. There is almost no useless panel, and it is clear that the illustrators understand what to illustrate and how.”

The second is from Francis at Hawkersmag.com:

“Just enough information is given about the main character, Ambrosio, leaving a lot of room for speculation and anticipation of what’s to come.

Although I tend to stray a bit away from angst-ridden teenagers, reasons for Ambrosio’s anger are justified, and it would be interesting to see how his character has changed now that his whole worldview has turned itself over.

There is scarce dialogue, which makes for very efficient story-telling. Chikiamco’s dialogue does what it is intended to do: move the plot forward and reveal character. It doesn’t get in the way of the action and suspense that spills throughout the pages, and that’s a very good thing when it comes to pacing.”

Thanks to both EK and Francis! We’d love for you all to come by the Rocket Kapre booth this coming Saturday and see for yourselves what Mythspace is all about. If you post your reviews online, let us know and we’ll link to them here on the site.

See you all on Saturday!

Mythspace Monday: The Aliens of Mythspace

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 15 - 2012

For the next three Mondays of October, I’ll be talking about my newest comic book project, “Mythspace: Liftoff”. The #0 issue will be available at the Komikon on Oct.27.

The first Mysthspace Monday was a look into the concept behind Mythspace, and today we go a little into the world building.

I wanted to take some time here to talk about how we re-imagined some of the classic Philippine folklore monsters for the science fiction setting of Mythspace.It also gives me the opportunity to show off some art from Team Mythspace — not that I ever need much of an excuse to do that.

A Kapre and a Human. Art by Koi Carreon.

The Kapre:

“He is as tall as the tree beside which he stands…

His skin is rough, dark, and hairy…

He appears under a new moon and a soft shower.

He smokes a big cigar that doesn’t grow shorter.”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” by Maximo D. Ramos

In Mythspace, the Kapre are the ultimate commandos, equipped with stealth technology and the ability to safely inhale toxins, which helps them minimize the smoke emissions of their projectile weapons. The Kapres are few in number after their home planet was destroyed, but it is known that there is a sizeable contingent on Earth, watching humanity as it sleeps.

Nuno Concept Art by Paul Quiroga

The Nuno:

“The Tagalogs call him matanda sa punso and nuno.

Matanda sa punso means ‘old man of the anthill.’

Nuno means ‘grandfather’ or ‘old man’…

His shirt and pants are red, and he wears a salakot…”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” by Maximo D. Ramos

The Mythspace Nuno stem from a combination of the traits of the traditional Nuno and the Dwende. The Nuno are divided not along racial lines, but along political lines, with factions permanently tinting their skins to symbolize their affiliations. The most important object for a Nuno is his or her “Helm”, which symbolizes that they are worthy of piloting a personal mobile suit, usually called a Bungis.

Early Bungis design, with Nuno pilot to scale, by Paul Quiroga

The Bungis:

“The lives deep in a dark forest.

He looks like a big man but with one eye.

A long tusk sticks out of each side of his mouth.

His name means he is always smirking.”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” by Maximo D. Ramos

It’s easy to see why the Bungis-class mecha of the Nuno were mistaken for one-eyed giants by our ancestors. While coming in a variety of designs, most feature a prominent glass cockpit for the Nuno occupant, and from a distance it does appear to be a gigantic eye. Most humans who found themselves close enough to a Bungis to verify their first impressions did not live to disseminate that information.

Young Tan’gal heroine, early design, by Borg Sinaban

A fully mature “Sixth”, from “An Unfurling of Wings”. Art by Borg Sinaban.

The Tan’gal:

“She is called manananggal by the Tagalogs.

Her name means that she can drop off part of her body.

Her name comes from the Malay word tanggal, ‘to drop off’…

She flies with her arms which she turns into wings.”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” by Maximo D. Ramos

Mythspace’s version of the “manananggal” combines the characteristics of the different self-segmenters in our folklore (the part of the woman-monster which grows wings and flies varies–in some reports, for instance, it’s just the head and spine) into a single entity characterized by an incredible healing factor and a mysterious symbiotic relationship with winged creatures that live within them. The Tan’gal go through distinct phases of maturity, and there is a great difference between a Tan’gal in his or her second decade, and one in his or her fifth.

 

Cover Reveal: Mythspace: Liftoff #0

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 11 - 2012

I couldn’t wait until the next Mythspace Monday, so here’s the cover for Mythspace: Liftoff #0 by the inestimable Koi Carreon. It’s still subject to change, but at the moment, I wouldn’t change a thing. We revealed it last night for those who are part of the official Mythspace Facebook page, so come join us there if you’d like more news about Mythspace, as well as exclusive art.

Mythspace Monday: What is Mythspace?

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 8 - 2012

“You are wise to doubt the tales of your youth…
… but all myths, all monsters, are founded on truth.”

For the next three Mondays of October, I’ll be talking about my newest comic book project, “Mythspace: Liftoff”. The #0 issue will be available at the Komikon on Oct.27.

Back in 2009, when I was first thinking up a name for the blog/imprint, I wanted to have a name that would contain elements of both science fiction and fantasy, while also drawing upon my Filipino heritage. That’s how “Rocket Kapre” was born, and while it started out as just a name, the image that the joining of those two words summoned up within me was so novel, so fun, that the seed of a story was planted inside me. I’d seen our folklore monsters used in modern urban settings, and re-imagined pasts, but I’d never seen them used in a straight up science fiction setting.

Sample page from Borg Sinaban

The more I thought about the idea of “Tikbalangs in Spaaaace”, the more I liked it. I’d read somewhere before that the idea of aliens had, in some ways, taken the place of the monsters from folklore in modern day narratives, and the thought of these monsters, in turn, “usurping” the position of aliens in science fiction, appealed to my sense of reverse colonization.

Nuno concept art from Paul Quiroga

So I did some world building on the side, while working on other projects. Fast forward to 2011, where Koi Carreon, creator of “Marco’s Delivery Service”, approached me with an offer: he had a group of talented artists who wanted to do a science fiction anthology, and they were wondering if I’d be able to help? A chorus of rocket kapres and space tikbalangs screamed “Yes!”

Teaser art from Cristina Rose Chua

That’s how Team Mythspace was born, with myself handling sole writing duties and collaborating with six of the most talented artists I know: Koi Carreon, Borg Sinaban, Jules Gregorio, Mico Dimagiba, Cristina Rose Chua, Paul Quiroga. Mythspace: Liftoff is an anthology, the first of many we hope, of stories that will explore a universe where monsters such as the Nuno, Manananggal, Kapre, and Kataw are in fact alien races with technology far more advanced than are own, each of them players in a galactic power struggle that has humans squarely in the crossfire.

Laho Warlord concept art by Jules Gregorio

While we’re planning to launch the complete anthology next year, at this month’s Komikon (Oct. 27, Bayanihan Center) we will be making Mythspace #0 available. This zero issue will have the first part of the two longest stories in the anthology– Borg’s “An Unfurling of Wings” and the titular “Liftoff” story from Koi–as well as preview pages from the other 4 stories, and excerpts from a special “diary” that we  may not have the space to include in the final anthology. So not only will you get an advance look at “Mythspace: Liftoff”, but material that will not be available anywhere else.

Preview art from Koi Carreon.

For the next few Mondays, I’ll be talking more about Mythspace. If you’d like more regular updates, please visit our Facebook page — I’ll be uploading content there more frequently as we get closer to the Komikon.

 

Kapre concept art from Mico Dimagiba.

 

 

 

Tina Matanguihan Reviews “Alternative Alamat”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 2 - 2012

Reviews of “Alternative Alamat” are starting to trickle in (we were in the Philippines Graphic last week), and I’m happy to say that so far they’ve been of the positive variety. The latest comes from Tina Matanguihan (One More Page, PinoyWriMos) and she gives it a 5/5. You can read the full review at her book blog or on Goodreads, but let me just say that when I reached the part where Tina goes “I felt that this book and the stories in this collection were mine”, my head swelled to the size of the Lion’s Head at Kennon Road.

As always, remember that you can purchase Alternative Alamat at any of the following vendors:

TAG CLOUD

Sponsors

About Me

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.

Photos

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