Interview with a Komikero

It was not really clear to me what his job description was except he took care of the graphic stuff at the office where we both worked before. It was not easy to place him because he seemed to be the silent, serious type one moment, the office clown the next. We didn’t really hit it off considering that we were both on the creative spectrum of the small company (I was writer-editor). One day at lunch, I overheard him and some others discuss about the drawing or cartooning workshop he was attending and I joined in the discussion.

That was the start of our occasional tête-à-têtes. I got him more interested in the world of forensic science (my interest), he got me more interested in comicbook-making. He shared an idea for a comicbook he wanted to work on, on which he wanted my “forensic” opinion. He started work on it in 2011 and now, our little exchanges have led to a sort-of collaboration. “Sort of” on account of it being his brainchild and his visual artistry. I provided a so-called expertise owing to the fact that I’ve been a forensics-crazy fictionist longer than he has.

But that’s really jumping ahead. Meanwhile, I thought I’d introduce this up-and-coming artist more to the world and take credit for being the first one to interview the guy in case he becomes famous *wink, wink*

andoyman komikero cartoonized

The artist likes to use this supposed cartoonized version of his alter ego, Andoyman Komikero. Image Copyright © Andoyman Komikero

J.Gi: “Andoyman”…Why Andoyman? Why not Andoy, or your nickname Andy?

Andoyman: Andoyman kasi ’yan yung itinawag sa akin nu’ng isa kong kaklase noong college noong humihingi siya ng favor sa akin. (“Andoyman was the name a classmate in college called me by whenever he asked for favors.”)

J.Gi: (So now we know he’s a pushover, but I won’t tell him that, at least not until I post this) How about your alter ego’s “caricature”? What’s with the farmer-look? And why the mask?

Andoyman: Farmer-look, ‘cause it’s simple, and my inspiration before was the picture in my first year high school Filipino book. There was a poem with it titled Takada ni Islaw Palitaw by Lamberto Antonio and that’s my favorite poem. Come to think of it, I just realized its significance. A farmer is hardworking and persevering in planting crops, patiently waiting for months for the harvest. Parang pagko-komiks lang. (“Just like making comics.”) So, for every drawing of panels, of characters, of places, of emotions, of the story on every page, it takes a lot of time, maybe days, weeks, months, years! That’s before you finally finish your comicbook, before you harvest.

As for the mask, I felt lazy drawing the face. Just three circles, voila! You’ve got a face – I mean a mask! At saka di ko lang trip magpakita nang mukha. (“And I’m just not keen on showing my face”)

J.Gi: A-ha!…Shy???!!!!! If you’re so bent on keeping a low-profile identity, what’s up with that current human profile mug? Do you predict it will boost the sales of your comics???

andoyman komikero the artist

The “mug” in question. Hey, his pic, his copyright, okay?

Andoyman: My Facebook profile pic? He he. Just tripping…I do wish it boosts sales of my comics, ha ha!!!

J.Gi: Eeer…Okay…Now, MULTIPLE CHOICE. Many cartoonists/comics artists use aliases…

( ) because it’s cute…aaaww… =>
( ) because they can, so there, nyeh!!!
( ) as defense mechanism in case nobody buys their work and if anybody actually does, he can’t create a viral hate campaign against the artist
( ) I don’t know, I’ve never cared to ask
( ) because coming out publicly will have its dire consequences
( ) kasi trip-trip lang — walang basagan ng trip! (“just for fun – no killjoys!”)

Andoyman: (x) because coming out publicly will have its dire consequences”

J.Gi: Did you already know you were going to make comics when you were young?

Andoyman: Actually, no. My first dream was to become a doctor, then an architect, then an engineer. But all that time, I was already fantasizing about doing a comic novel.

J.Gi: When did you find out you wanted to really do this?

Andoyman: Several months after I graduated from college. The frustration of finding a job related to my course (degree) caused something to snap inside me. It made me cry and feel regret for not trusting the thing I loved to do with all my heart, the thing closest to my heart, and that was doing comics.

J.Gi: Closest to your heart??? HA HA HAAAAA!!!!!! From what I know, girls are the closest to your heart! ;p Has being an artist helped you get the girls?

Andoyman: Hahahaaa…(Editor: Nervous laughter…well, I could imagine nervous laughter…This interview was done via Facebook PMs) I don’t think so. Hehehe… (Editor again: See? Nervous, thus the need for redundancy)

Ako ay may lobo... Art by Andoyman Komikero

While what usually comes to my mind when I hear “komikero” is comedian rather than comics artist, I often find Andoyman’s work quite sentimental. This particular drawn rendition reminds us of our childhood and we sing that time-old children’s song, Ako ay May Lobo. I mean, what regular Filipino kid hasn’t had a balloon escape from his grasp and didn’t feel that innocent sadness upon realizing his loss? Image Copyright © Andoyman Komikero

Philippine justice denied...Art by Andoyman Komikero

Andoyman is not oblivious to political and social ills either, as can be gathered from this panel. Image Copyright © Andoyman Komikero

J.Gi: So what happened to your dreams? to Doctor, Architect or Engineer Andoyman?

Andoyman: I just loved to draw and tell stories. Plus I didn’t like memorizing all those difficult medical terms, or computing numbers…Too troublesome for someone like me. Unlike drawing and writing stories where I am free to explore through imagination, to take an amazing and unexpected journey inside my universe and share the stories I have collected.

J.Gi: I just had to ask as it’s common knowledge that being an artist does not necessarily translate to getting a bigger salary. Di ba, there’s a term called “starving artist.” Do you believe that?

Andoyman: I believe all artists go through that stage. I would like to re-tweet what Sir Pol Medina, Jr. said about that: Magpursigi lang kayo kasi magugutom kayo sa una, tiisin n’yo lang ‘yung gutom nang kaunti, at kung natiis n’yo ‘yun, ibig sabihin may passion kayo sa ginagawa ninyo. (“Keep on persevering though there will be hunger at first, bear with the hunger just a little bit more, and if you are able to bear it, that’s what passion for the craft is really all about.”) And I think every artist should remember what Sir Medina said.

J.Gi: (And I should have remembered to tell you this is WordPress, not Twitter. You don’t ‘re-tweet’ in WordPress, LOL.) Passion! That’s very important. You can’t call yourself an artist if you’re not passionate about your art. In a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest. What rate would you give yourself? How passionate are you about this craft?

Andoyman: Hmnn…To be honest, I give myself a 6 because I’m still not that committed to my passion. I still tend to complain a lot – though I keep it to myself. I’m easily distracted, out-of-focus, and lazy. Hehe. “I am still my problem. XD

J.Gi: You said you love to draw and tell stories. Which do you prefer more? and why?

Andoyman: Creating comics because I love both.

J.Gi: Not fair, playing safe! Okay, let’s rephrase the question. If you were left with no other choices except to draw and to tell stories, which would you choose?

Andoyman: Hahaha.

J.Gi: ‘Cause while they work together, they’re still two different things!

Andoyman: Hmnn…Okay. It would be drawing since it’s my first love.

J.Gi: So you don’t mind doing collaborations with others writing the story instead of yourself?

Palimos ng Kulangot. Story by Ronibats, Art by Andoyman Komikero

This comicbook, “Palimos ng Kulangot,” is a collaboration between Andoyman Komikero, the cartoonist, and Dr. Ronnie Baticulon a.k.a. Ronibats, the storyteller. Click on the link to see and download the comicbook’s PDF for free. Meanwhile, read the whole story HERE,

Andoyman: Yes. For me, it’s exciting. I have actually done my first collaboration with my first idol in writing, Doc Ronibats. We did Palimos ng Kulangot (“Begging for Booger”) and was released and distributed for free during the Summer Komikon, then later posted online, on his website.

J.Gi: (Title is eeew-much., but I did get to read it before and it actually has sense and real meaning. Good thing.) So how did this collaboration happen? From what I understand, he wrote the story long before you drew it.

Andoyman: When I commented on his (Ronibats’) post, he had just gone back to writing again after a long absence from the blog world. Then he said he should create comics and of course, I said yes. It was really unexpected. He asked me what story I wanted to work on and I decided on Palimos ng Kulangot because it was the first story I ever read from peyups.com, how I was introduced to his writing.

J.Gi: Kindred spirits having a mutual understanding…So which is harder, coming out with your own drawn story, or drawing somebody else’s ideas?

Andoyman: Drawing somebody else’s ideas, because they’re not my own in the first place. Somehow, I’d like that person to be pleased and satisfied with my interpretation of his words, of how I think he sees the story, and I want to give justice to his intentions and story.

J.Gi: What kind of stories do you like to create? I’ve read your first comicbook, FoodCourt, and I thought it mirrored you a bit, the hopeless, shy romantic. Most comics artists draw manga or superheroes nowadays so I thought you would, too.

Andoyman: Yes, Foodcourt is me. About a guy who likes to daydream. I actually can’t see myself doing superheroes and even doing manga. I really want to create a comicbook that I can proudly say is my story, my creation. I prefer to do detective stories, mysteries, unusual love stories, stories for children and for all ages, comedy even though I’m corny, he he,…Stories that, though not necessarily dramatic, touch the hearts of people from all walks of life and make them tear up a bit.

Andoyman Komiks Foodcourt and Sumpa

Andoyman Komikero’s (1) first offering, and (2) well, a teaser of his work in progress

J.Gi: Detective stories, mysteries…I heard you were creating something of the sort? *uh-hurm* Can you tell us about this indie comics that you’ve been posting about for so long, you’re killing us with the suspense???

Andoyman: Ah, yes. It’s about the fictional President of the Philippines who is found dead in his private house with a few capsules of some sort of drug beside him. Everyone thinks he committed suicide. “But did he really commit suicide?” is the question in the mind of the protagonist, an NBI investigator as well as a childhood friend of the president. The mystery gets deeper and darker as he discovers secrets and conspiracies while one by one, his friends and people in power are dying, either through suicide or accidents.

J.Gi: What gave you this idea for a story?

Andoyman: Because of Death Note, I think. Having read it, it inspired me to create something that defines good and bad. My first idea was to have a killer come from an alternate universe, but my comics workshop teacher laughed at it. I changed my whole story’s approach, drew a web diagram of its plot, and voila, that’s it. Then it grew on its own.

J.Gi: What makes this different from the usual stuff you do?

Andoyman: Everything must be logical. The investigation, the crime, the events must be convincing then progressively suspenseful and exciting. This is not a one-shot comics, by the way. What makes it fun is it forces me to think hard and imagine what should happen next. That’s what I love about it, the thinking, the creativity that comes with the imagination. It is hard for a newbie like myself to do something like this, but I love everything about it. I love the challenge it brings.

J.Gi: Will we get to see it soon during comics conventions?

Andoyman: Unfortunately, no. Financial matters. But everyone will be able to read it online soon.

SUMPA cover. Story and Art by Andoyman Komikero, Edited by SuperGi

SUMPA is a detective-mystery comicbook that dares to be different. Story and Art by Andoyman Komikero, Edited by SuperGi. Copyright © Andoyman Komikero

J.Gi: Who influenced you to make you really consider becoming a comics artist?

Andoyman: It was more due to the Shogun Comics that I read and animes I saw when I was a child. It was like, “I want my story to be on comics, and published, and read by people” or “I want my story to be an anime someday.”

J.Gi: Ten years from now, do you see yourself doing comics full-time?

Andoyman: YES.

J.Gi: Do you think the comics industry will continue to improve?

Andoyman: Of course, yes. New talents means new stories and new audiences. It just needs more exposure.

J.Gi: Okay, since I can sense that you’re already sleepy ‘cause I’m clairvoyant that way, last question: what is your biggest, personal dream in this new and exciting endeavor into the world of comics?

Andoyman: To become a full-time comics creator and support myself through my works.

J.Gi: Thanks for the interview and don’t forget me when you’re famous.

Andoyman: Who are you again?

J.Gi: Thanks, Andoyman!…I think.

Andoyman Komikero waves goodbye

Find Andoyman Komikero  here at WordPress. See more of his works at DeviantArt (he used to be at i.ph where he put most of his stuff, but that site closed down) — lately he’s been doing lots of doodling and experimenting with TitusPens. Catch him as well on Facebook, Tumblr, and I think he’s got a Twitter account as well.

Our friend is quite elusive but he does attend comics conventions once in a while.

See you all at this Saturday’s Komikon (October 27, 2012), guys!!!

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