Here’s the new poster and some new details for the new launch date of the expanded Alternative Alamat print edition. It will be on July 25, Friday, from 4PM onwards, at Powerbooks Greenbelt 3 (2nd floor). Here’s the official Facebook event page.I’ve also updated the Book FAQ page to reflect the suggested retail price of PHP250. See you there!
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 o
n 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.”
“[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.
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.
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.)
Let’s kick off Mythspace month with a bang, shall we?
Team Mythspace is proud to announce that a compilation of the initial eight Mythspace issues (six stories in all) has been accepted for publication by none other than Visprint. We are honored to have met the standards of one of the best publishers in the country, and certainly one that cares about comics and speculative fiction. Mythspace Volume 1 is slated for release some time late this year, and we’re very excited to see our stories not only reach a wider audience, but to see our stories together: while each story is meant to stand alone, presenting all six in a single volume was always our goal.
The volume will not only be a compilation, but will feature some changes that we’ll be detailing in future posts, which will also deal with the future of Mythspace, and new projects from the team.We’ll also be having a few contests to celebrate the occasion, with the chance to win some great prizes — including the soon-to-disappear single issues of the series. The Summer Komikon will likely be the last convention that we’ll be selling the individual issues (although the same will still be available in comics stores while stocks last), so if you’re comics completionists, you may want to keep that in mind on April 12.
On behalf of myself, Koi Carreon, Tina Chua, Mico Dimagiba, Jules Gregorio, Paul Quiroga, and Borg Sinaban, thank you to Visprint, and to all our readers and supporters. We have lift off… but that only means the the journey has only begun!
It’s on, you guys! Visprint is, for my money, THE best Philippine print publisher (no bias, I swear), not just when it comes to speculative fiction and comics, but responsiveness to what readers want as well. The warehouse sale is a great way to get their titles at a discount. Here are the price lists. First for comics:
And here’s a map (and here’s the Google Maps version), followed by a few advisories from the good folk at Visprint:
- Wala po kaming sapat na parking space. Residential area ang vicinity ng aming opisina kaya’t hindi po kami makakapag-allot ng parking area sa may mga dala ng sasakyan. Pasensiya na po.
- Hindi po airconditioned ang pagdadausan ng sale. Magdala ng pamaypay, payong at pamalit na damit
- Maging handa po tayo sa matinding init ng araw, o buhos ng ulan (alam niyo naman ang ating weather…)
- Sakali pong magkaroon ng matinding pagbuhos ng ulan, sigurado pong babaha sa lugar namin. Mapipilitan po kaming i-cancel ang sale para sa araw na yun para sa safety nating lahat. Ipo-post po namin dito sa aming FB, bago pa mag-9AM sakaling magkaroon ng biglaang pagbabago sa sched. SAKALI lang naman
- Ine-encourage po namin ang lahat ng mamimili na magdala ng sarili nilang bag para sa kanilang mga bibilhin. Wala po kaming plastic bags sa opisina.
Kala ninyo kayo lang ang excited?
PS: eto po ang mapa ng aming lokasyon para sa mga tam—…este, walang panahon na mag-Google map
* Walking distance lang po mula EDSA, kanto ng Cabrera, papuntang Alcaver. Pramis, konting tumbling lang talaga.
* Sa mga sanay maglakad, walking distance lang din mula sa MRT station papunta sa aming opisina (average of 10mins.) Araw-araw po naming nilalakad ang rutang yan
A big congratulations to Mervin Malonzo, friend of the blog and illustrator of Alternative Alamat, for nabbing a print book contract with Visprint for his aswang opus, Tabi Po. He chronicles his path to publication here. If you want to read the webcomic before the book comes out (it’s in Filipino — there are paid ebook editions in English available on Amazon) then head here. The quality of the comic has always been high, but it’s been improving as it nears its climax, and no, I’m not just saying that because I’ve been helping with the editing
From the Visprint Facebook page:
Come one, come all!!!
Visprint, together with Komikon Inc., is sponsoring this year’s MINI-KOMIKON night for National Book Development Board – Philippines‘s Little Lit Fest
ADMISSION IS FREE!
Your favorite kiddie-comics and young_adult-comics creators will be there! Meet and greet, book signing, comicbook buying, photo ops — It’s just like your usual Komikon, mini version nga lang
Kitakits on May 31, Friday, 5-7PM at the Museo Pambata!
Congratulations to Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo (and Visprint) for their most recent National Book Awards win! Here’s a Press Release from the team, followed by the text of the introduction to the volume from Ruel de Vera. (Also, don’t forget that Budjette and Kajo will be at Alabang Town Center on November 24!)
Trese Book 4: Last Seen After Midnight, written by Budjette Tan, illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo was awarded Best Graphic Literature for 2011 at the National Book Awards.
The award was received by Tan, Baldisimo and their publisher Nida Ramirez of Visprint, Inc.
This is the second time that National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics Circle have recognized and awarded the works of Tan and Baldisimo. Last 2010, Trese Book 3 won the same award.
Trese follows the adventures of paranormal investigator Alexandra Trese. She is the main consultant of the police whenever they encounter crime involving supernatural creatures. In Trese Book 4, she is called to solve the murder of a manananggal, stop a plant elemental from committing a massacre, investigate a case involving a bangungnot, and reveal the secret of the country’s champion prize-fighter.
Ruel de Vera of the Manila Critic Circles, wrote in his introduction for Trese 4: “With each case, Budjette and Kajo raise their levels of artistry to new heights without ever resorting to gimmickry, relying instead on an expertise in the unexpected twist and self-awareness, a feat that transcends the tropical islands Trese originates from. From a cult hit, Trese has now become a true mainstream success—which it deserves—and the next step should be widespread international recognition—which it deserves as well.”
In the past two years, Trese has received much praise from here and abroad.
“Trese continues to impress and surprise, daring to go where no Filipino comic book dare to go,” said Gerry Alanguilan, creator of the award-winning graphic novel Elmer.
Leinil Yu, artist of Marvel’s Indestructible Hulk said, “Trese excites the little child in me which used to believe in the wonders of Filipino folklores, and my adult self who enjoys intelligently written and drawn tales. Budjette and Kajo’s Trese is a gem”
Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Executive Producer of Southland and writer/producer of CSI:New York, had this to say about the graphic novel: “The late Steve Sabol of NFL films once said, ‘Tell me a fact and I’ll remember. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But, tell me a story and it’ll live in my heart forever.’ It is a unique and admirable skill to craft a well told story set in an intriguing world, inhabited by compelling characters. Yet, every time I open a chapter of the Trese saga, I’m blown away by Budjette’s imagination and by Kajo’s imagery. They’ve created a series full of swagger, featuring one of the most dynamic heroines you’ll ever see. Trese is thrilling, engaging and epic.”
“From the first moment I got a glimpse into the world of Alexandra Trese, I was hooked,” said Shanty Harmayn, CEO at Salto Film Company, Producer of the award-wining Indonesia film “Sang Penari” (The Dancer) “It was wonderfully new and exciting, yet somehow familiar as many of the supernatural creatures and their stories were similar to the tales I grew up hearing in Indonesia. With Budjette’s masterful ability to weave a great mystery and Kajo’s beautiful graphic imagery, I look forward to visiting Trese’s world many times over.”
In 2011, after Trese 4 ended up on National Book Store’s Best Seller List, Tan received this email from Neil Gaiman, “So ridiculously proud of you! When I came out all those years ago for the first time, that was what I wanted to see happen… I feel like you and all the smart Filipino writers and artists out there are doing something really brave and powerful, making a whole new wave of Filipino art and story. Well done!”
National Book Awards was held last November 17, 2011 and was presented by The National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics Circle in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The event was held at the Old Senate Session Hall of the National Museum of the Philippines.
TRESE Books 1 to 5 is now available book stores and comic shops nationwide. For more information, visit: www.tresecomics.com
Visprint is set to have its second annual reader’s day on September 8, at the Alphaland Towers. It’s an all day event, and if you’d like an idea of what to expect, check out recordings from last year’s event, provided by Charles Tan. Visprint publishes many of the most charismatic authors I know — including Budjette Tan, Manix Abrera, and Carlo Vergara — and has just published regular Rocket Kapre contributor Eliza Victoria as well, so if you have time, WIT is worth checking out.