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Science, Space, Elementary, my dear Lizzie #WhatsupWednesday

These last few months, I’ve been doing lots of watching, particularly, but not exclusively, on Netflix. Seen just a few flicks, followed/following a few series–old, new, and new-to-me. The thing is, they don’t have a lot of other stuff I want to see, so I actually checked out iFlix last night and saw several of those other stuff. Maybe I’ll keep both accounts, considering that the latter is so much cheaper, actually. I’ll be trying out their month-long free trial.

Anyway, I am sharing my quick reviews again. Read on, friends, but check out the guide below. 

RATINGS GUIDE:

  • Excellent – No doubt that I super love this and would love to continue watching!
  • Good – Very interesting that I wouldn’t want to miss an episode
  • Promising – Interesting that it can keep me glued to my seat and ask for more, but there’s still a chance my interest in it may wane
  • Fair – Entertaining enough to watch to pass the time
  • Undecided – Not consistently interesting that my feelings for it seesaws from almost-LIKE to meh.
  • Bad – NOT recommended WHATSOEVER, for valid reasons

PREVIOUS REVIEWS

Okay, first we discuss some shows mentioned in the last review post. Oh, and another fair warning…

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

IF you have not seen a show mentioned here, feel free to ignore this post if it suits you. Better if you’ll just skip parts instead to avoid the “spoilage”, so to speak…Here goes…

Game of Thrones (GoT)

I finally got to continue with Game of Thrones. So far, I’m done with Season 3. GoT is one big and compelling web of interwoven stories. It is very interesting, if not sometimes gruesome and scandalously unapologetic about the sex, the nudity, and the annoying habit of killing off beloved characters just when the audience are warming up to them.

Nothing prepared me for the betrayal and murder of Robb Stark! I mean, I knew he would die sometime, but it was all so sudden, quick and a really undeserved and meaningless death of a strong character. I also did not expect Lady Catelyn Stark‘s death–I had thought she’d outlive Robb and, at least, get to see her littler kids first–so cruel!

Characters I love and would love to see till the end:

  1. Arya Stark- smart, brave and loyal (so far? we’ll see), and she kicks butts…It would be terrible if the character gets killed off.
  2. Tyrion Lannister I give him the Best Lannister award! His past before the war aside, he’s proven to be intelligent and rather kind-hearted.
  3. Daenerys Stormborn easily almost everyone’s favorite. While the Lannisters, Starks and Baratheons were battling it out and busy tricking one another, she successful gathered thousands of armies to her side. My fearless forecast is she stays until the end.

More comments:

  • I know when sex/nudity is a work of art, and I know when it’s just meant to lure the audience. So save me the for-the-sake-of-art BS. And with the whole Weinstein controversy going on, it’s hard not to be concerned about the actors in such shows, whether they are big stars, bit players or extras.
  • Finally, the fantasy factor! The dragons are bigger, there were white walker sightings, and Melisandre is one intriguing magical character.
  • I’m not spared from spoilers even if I try to avoid them, so I do know about Jon Snow and Daenerys being related (don’t know how yet) and I have this to say: When has incest become accepted as cool??? GoT crossed the line. Nevermind if they end up not related after all. The point is, they think they are, yet they do it, anyway. Protagonists need not be saints, but they don’t have to be that morally questionable either.

RATING: GOOD (It would’ve been EXCELLENT, but I can never truly love a show that troubles me a lot. Still, I’m watching it. Hopefully, it doesn’t completely turn me off.)

Once Upon a Time (OUAT)

It’s been a slow progress that I have only finished the first season of Once Upon a Time. I haven’t even started with any episode from season 2 mainly because I’m busy with GoT and another series. Also, I want to watch most of it with the kids during weekends when I’m not busy.

Thankfully, the storylines were building up, keeping me interested, so I expect to be more entertained by the next season, at least. I do wish that Emma Swan did not finally learn the truth. I feel like the show could have delayed the revelation longer, maybe kept it till the first few season 2 episodes, at least. Maybe the producers were not sure whether they should continue it so they made a sort of open-ended ending, but it would still be an ending of sorts.

I am somehow glad that the antagonists aren’t really such bad people. I do want a better background story for Maleficent in the next seasons. Meanwhile, I have a pretty good idea who the Queen of Hearts actually is.

RATING: GOOD (It’s something the kids and I bond over. Now the youngest wants a Pinocchio costume for Reading Week.)

Dexter

Dexter has ended and, to be honest, it kind of left a hole in my heart. I DIDN’T like the series finale at all! Practically everything was wrong! Practically the whole final season was wrong! As it has ended and I have a lot to say about it, this deserves a whole writeup, so whatever I need to say, I’ll save it.

RATING: Went up to EXCELLENT (I am tempted to change it to GOOD because the ending was AWFUL.)

iZombie

The last time, I said I was willing to try iZombie until its third season. That was before I found out it has only two seasons so far. I also said it needed more oomph. Fortunately, the zombie show did step up the game especially in the season finale. I can’t wait till I get to see the next episodes! It’s light, entertaining, I’m not scared to show it to kids (with my supervision, of course). Needless to say, the rating went up as well. No complaints for now. Long live the zombie!

RATING: Brain-licking GOOD (Also another bonding-worthy series to watch with kids–of course, I make sure to spare them from the very few a-bit-too-steamy-for-kids scenes.)

YouTube channels

As I have mentioned in my previous post, my enthusiasm for watching YouTube channels has started to wane. So what I’m doing is I just take my time.

NEW REVIEWS

Elementary

I am always into mysteries, so I decided I’d try this series out, after all, it’s about the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century. It didn’t disappoint, coming on strong in the first seasons, though I have to say it’s getting a bit less interesting as time goes by. I hope it picks up again.

My comments:

  • Sherlock is incredibly good at what he does. He has great deductive reasoning skills and a big wealth of information in his head. I like hearing bits of trivia when he talks. It does seem too impossible already at times the way he knows almost everything.
  • First woman Watson! And it’s Lucy Liu playing Joan Watson at that. I had to choose which to view first between Elementary and the other series, Sherlock–Lucy won my vote for the show, hands down. She’s natural as Watson, there isn’t time to wonder why Watson is Asian and not a man. It is not really relevant, anyway.
  • First woman Moriarty! That was brilliant as well. I also didn’t realize Moriarty was/is a woman and that she’s both Sherlock’s biggest nemesis and the love of his life. I suspected she was involved somewhat with Moriarty’s group, but not like that.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a possibility for a Holmes-Watson romantic angle. That’s refreshing. Also understandable as that would be too much veering away from the original fictional characters they’re based on.
  • It’s good that they tackled the addiction issue, which is a great flaw on Sherlock’s character. However, I’m in season 4 now and it still plays a big part in his storyline. It’s kind of getting old, to be honest. The writers should lay off it for a while. Sherlock using again at last season’s finale was just very disappointing, rather unnecessary and, really, just a betrayal of the audience that have come to accept him.

RATING: EXCELLENT

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

Apparently, this series was based on the TV movie Lizzie Borden Took an Axwhich was based on actual cases of murder supposedly committed by the real Lizzie Andrew Borden. I haven’t seen the movie, but the series took from where the movie left off. Christina Ricci did so well as Lizzie that the network/producers decided to create The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (let’s call this LBC).

I must say that Christina sure showed how much she’s mastered the art of portraying dark and sinister characters (well, she’s had years of practice). She slayed it, pun intended. Character-wise, I never liked Lizzie. She’s evil and the only person she cared about, in a way, was her sister, mainly because she had a need for the sister. I told myself I would just watch the first season because Lizzie was not a main character anyone could root for. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to as the show was only meant to be for one season…Whew!

More comments:

  • The actual Lizzie was said to have only killed two. Supposedly, as she was acquitted of the crime. LBC took a lot of liberties with their story and took a lot of the lives (some names were actual people back then) than necessary. Now, while things are often open to artistic interpretation, I believe that making Lizzie seem like some kind of sociopath/psychopath was going overboard. Maybe the real Lizzie was a killer, but it didn’t mean she killed many others. If you ask me, it’s a case of character assassination. If they wanted to drastically change things, they could’ve just created a whole new story that would not have Lizzie in it.
  • It is not clear if the Lizzie here was a sociopath or psychopath. Yes, there’s a difference, look it up. She’s cold-hearted and calculating, but she didn’t have a psychopath’s M.O. She just killed those who either stood in her way or those she could use to her advantage. Everybody knew she was some kind of bad; she never really pretended to be normal and likeable, which is characteristic of a psychopath.
  • I am not sure whether to love or hate the modern approach the show took in terms of background music. It really seemed out of place. We’re not watching steam punk, after all.

RATING: FAIR

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (a.k.a. CSI: Las Vegas)

I was so glad to have the chance to finish the whole CSI show. It’s one of my fave shows ever. My only problem was Netflix’s offer started with season 13 when I have never seen season 12! So while I expected Dr. Ray Langston leaving (after all, I already knew somebody was going to be the next lead), I wanted to experience that “closure”. Plus, I suddenly found some old faces missing and found new faces whose backgrounds I didn’t have an iota of an idea of.

Anyway, I am both sad and happy about the show. I am sad it’s ended, but I’m happy it ended well. After Warrick Brown‘s death in…whatever season that was, no main character died anymore, as far as I know, so yay! They brought the main characters back in the last episodes and gave everyone a happy finale.

I love that they brought Gil Grissom and Catherine Willows back for it, especially for Grissom and Sara Sidle to mend things and sail off to sea together. Nick Stokes finally got the promotion he’d been hankering for. I was confused whether the show was considering a David Hodges-Morgan Brody-Greg Sanders love triangle thing or not, although in the end, it seemed to be Greg for the win.

No complaints here, except I won’t be able to see the show anymore. However, I am currently trying to see where I might be able to view CSI: Cyber. It’s been canceled, I’ve read, but I’m very much interested to see if I would like it or not.

RATING: EXCELLENT (My interest never wavered!!! I don’t know why I even delayed watching it before.)

Star Trek: Discovery

Yes! About time that I watch me some Star Trek again! It’s very new so I have decided to try and follow on a weekly basis. Certainly, it hasn’t disappointed me yet after four episodes. Great effects! And they definitely upped the ante on the creepy factors (twisted corpses in spaceships, anyone?) Plotlines aren’t bad at all either.

Love that after kicking zombie butts in Walking Dead as Sasha, Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham is now kicking Klingon butts (no offense to Worf as I loved him). She’s brought the tough persona with her, minus the too-much angst, yet still kind of brooding with the tendency to be anti-social. She’s perfect for the role! It’s nice that this show now gives more power to more women (I do want Deanna Troi here somehow, which is probably impossible, given the time setting). Now, for my fearless forecast: Michael will sooner or later replace Capt. Gabriel Lorca as captain, mark my words.

More comments:

  • Why did Michelle Yeoh have to die so soon? She could have given more to the show. And why the H did the show not give Capt. Philippa Georgiou a proper and dignified burial rather than have the Klingons eat her??!!!
  • The Klingons. Their look. No. I prefer the Worf-look. These Klingons do not look like Klingons. Just sayin’.
  • Some have taken issue with it, but I don’t mind the Michael name. Women are now named Joey, Jesse, Alex…so what’s wrong with Michael? My only qualm is, really, “Michael Burnham” doesn’t sound anything near special. And one funny thing: “Georgiou Michael”…Coincidence, for sure.

That’s what I can say about it for now. It’s cool that they have After Trek right after every episode. I watch that as well.

RATING: EXCELLENT

I actually watched the first episode of the series version of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Just one. Suffice it to say, I was not that impressed yet. I’m avoiding it for now, but I promise to go back to it sometime. Also began watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Everyone knows the show and the things that happened, so I will spare you and I by not doing a review of it anymore. My plan is to catch up on shows and/or their episodes that I missed.

Well, I’ve shared my thoughts. Yours?

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My Indieket2017 Stories: Long Time, No See

And I’m back! Correction: I was finally back. I had been meaning to be for quite a long time, I thought it would never happen again. Several missed events after the last one I went to (I can’t even remember what year that was), I was back at Bayanihan Center last August 5, attending Indieket 2017Yaaay!!!

I already made the decision to go maybe two months ago, though I was never really sure I would. Blame it on the many times I had to ditch going due to some reason or another. Valid reasons, I assure you, disappointing to me nonetheless. The ongoing disappointment kind of diminished, also due to a valid reason, so I was happy planning again. Despite several negative things happening weeks before the event, I finally really got to go to this year’s Komikon Indie Market.

In fact, here are my lovely loot:

They look like a lot, but they’re not. Don’t let this shot fool you. There are just a few comics there of different sizes and styles, a pad of stationery, a book mark, one sticker, the event catalog, and the giveaway. The rest are business cards.

The Comicolor covers from Meganon Comics–I got the red one…Image from Meganon’s Facebook page

loooove the giveaway! Upon presenting my ticket, I was surprised to receive, along with the catalog, a thick coloring book that I later found out to be made by the MEGANON COMICS Team. I remember seeing some free-for-first-50-goers or free-while-supply-lasts announcement online, I honestly just didn’t mind it enough. Therefore, I’m so glad I got the freebie!

They call it the Comicolor and based on the image at right, there are two covers. It features works from their different artists such as Puso Negro creator JP Palabon, Strange Natives and Tanod illustrator Jerico Marte, and comic illustrator and digital artist Redge Vicente. What makes it better is that I get to color the pages any way I want! Should I let the kids do some coloring on it, too? Uh…I’ll think about it. They haven’t graduated yet from kids’ coloring books.

Anyway, I really assumed it was a comic book and shoved it in my bag to check later at home. Only on the bus did I find out how wrong I was. Well…technically, it’s still a comic book, I guess.

Maktan 1521 (by Tepai Pascual) is included in Comicolor

Recognize the cover? I was not able to write down what and from whose work this is. Will update

It was still early that there weren’t a lot of comic geeks yet, save from the artists, some of whom were still setting up. I honestly avoided the tables near the entrance, wanting to see works I was more familiar with first. So my real first stop was at the posted set of the same image in various color renditions. It’s a digital coloring contest for Joanah Tinio Calingo‘s Cresci Prophecies.

These were my bets, in random order (Click HERE to see all entries clearly):

The winners were the following: 1st place: Entry 3 – Von Daren Milano, 2nd place: Entry 16 – Rowell Cruz, 3rd place: Entry 2 – Margie Rose SagadracaI’m so surprised that I actually got two guesses right…Congratulations to the winners!

Next that I did was to look for the artists I’m a suki (regular patron) of. Unfortunately, there were only a few of them in attendance. Meanwhile, the Indieket introduces new artists and their works that should help them gain followers as well.

Comic geeks all over

It wasn’t hard to find the Alphario: The World Connection Team. You could see their sign from afar. Too bad the light would not turn on…

I had to think hard about which book to get as I forgot which issues I had already; I did guess right. Also, there were no other Alphario cosplayers unlike before *sad* Creator SPLGum‘s partner, artist Stryler, tried his hand on something else, coming up with his own comics titled Burning Love. Thought I’d buy one and see how I would like it.

Alphario? Hard to miss!

(CLOCKWISE FR. TOP LEFT): Stryler‘s Burning Love, various Alphario wares, Alphario creator SPLGum signs my copy as “SPOT” looks on,  and SPLGum in his Team Skull outfit striking a pose with Pikachu 😉

My Alphario acquisitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearby were the booths allotted for comic book and merchandise stores. If I were an American comics and/or manga collector, I would’ve gone through the many titles (and stuff) they offered. But I’m not, I wouldn’t know what to look for exactly. Moreover, knowing myself, I would be going through everything–I didn’t have time for that. On some other regular day, maybe I would.

I forgot to get the name of this sponsor…Help?

It was announced onstage where to purchase Manix Abrera shirts, so I found the table and finally decided to buy myself a shirt, something I wouldn’t normally do for budgeting reasons. I just could not pass this up. It had been too long since my last Komikon and I wanted to be nicer to and treat myself.

It seemed like it was selling like hotcakes as the woman at the table told her companion they were running out of supplies already. In fact, I think she gave me one of the last–if not the last–shirt of the size I got. The title on the shirt says “Ilang Maaaring Matagpuan sa Komikon” (loosely translated based on content: The People You See at Komikons)

The Manix Abrera shirt . Oh, and that green and round thingy is a sticker that came with the shirt

(LEFT) All the Sulyap Komiks anthologies; (RIGHT) The feature page for Ang Sumpa creator Andoyman in Sulyap 3 (a.k.a. “Ikatlong Sulyap” / Third Glance)

Oh, look, the Sulyap anthologies! Well, I passed those up for now. Besides, Andoyman already gave me a copy of Sulyap 3 and while Ang Sumpa isn’t mine at all, it still gives me pleasure to see it included in the third edition. I feel like a part of it. Well, my name’s there, so yeah, right? Credit by association, ha ha!…I might be actually trying out some things. We’ll see.

Walked some more and spotted Niño Balita, Espiritista creator, together with the wifey and the cutie baby. I was disappointed, though, not to see a single Espiritista issue laid out anywhere. I did purchase his new work Ang Walang Kasing Bangis na Paglipad ni Cotton! (The Most Awesome Flight of Cotton!…sorry for the not-so-good translation). It probably was not new to others, just to me.

There were nice stationery there, too, for only P20 per pad. I picked a pad that focused on Espiritista characters alone and had the artist sign the first sheet (I honestly think he forgot my name, LOL!!! He didn’t ask, I didn’t give it). I’m not sure if I’m ever going to use any sheet from it as I want to preserve everything, heh.

Also got an artist-drawn bookmark with a nice quote on it. I chose the dragon design, by the way. It says:

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” – G.K. Chesterton

Love the dragon, love the quote–win-win!

A closer look at the merchandise on the Espiritista table

MY loot

Beside his table was that of a young artist, Carl Cervantes. I actually noticed him first before Niño because he was smiling and seemed waiting for me to approach, which I fought the urge to do. As said, my priority were artists I was familiar with. After Niño, though, it didn’t feel right not to talk to the kid as I somehow sensed he was a newbie going through the awkward stage (of being new and learning the ropes…At least, that’s what I thought).

Getting philosophical and even philoso(po)cal with Komikon newbie Carl Cervantes

What’s on Carl’s table?

There were still a few people anyway so I thought of talking to him instead of going back when the place would already be crowded. Besides, aside from looking friendly, he really looked familiar. I told him that and he said if I watched television, he’s an actor in one of the series. He added that he’s in this certain commercial, which I could not remember at that moment until I was on the bus on the way to Makati.

It turned out that I was right. The actor/singer/host (I Googled, okay?) has now added “comics artist” in his resumé. Needless to say, I had him explain his work. His philosophical approach interested me, which made me give his work a shot, after all, I was also there to discover new artists.

Then I went to another new (to me) artist. From the philosophical, I moved to the poetic. I met Brian Vee. From the get-go, he had me at Kung Alam Ko Lang (If I Only Knew). Well, that’s the title of his work. I honestly was attracted to the whole cover design–love the color, the material, the whole aesthetics. It’s what caught my eyes.

Brian Vee with his masterpieces (sorry, the books aren’t shot whole here). Had an interesting conversation with him about them, especially about Kung Alam Ko Lamg

I asked him what it’s about and when he said it’s his message to his mother, I actually asked, “Oh no, is this going to make me cry?” I mean, a message to mom, an if-only title, stars on the cover…I knew already the why. Knowing the pain of losing a parent, I already felt overwhelmed without browsing through the thing. He sheepishly admitted that it could (not that he promised it would). I think he gave me a little background (I say “think” because I’m not sure if he did or if what I remember, I only initially got from reading). All the while, I kept remembering my own mother and tried to gauge my own if-onlys.

Brian said that people found it sad, he had been getting such feedback from others. I could relate to this because back when I was working for a publication, I wrote a poem/ode and a little vignette. I got a similar feedback. Side-story aside, I was really curious, especially when he mentioned being a spoken word artist and having performed Kung Alam Mo Lang onstage. I bought his book mainly because I could relate to him in more ways than one.

Here’s a link to his spoken poetry performance (you can find more from his YouTube channel):

I decided to finally approach a table that was near the entrance. I naturally was drawn to the Pockets Fulla Pillz (PFP) table because of the guy sitting behind it and calling out to people. I decided to try out an issue of Rocketgirl because (1) though it’s an American comic book, it has a Filipina heroine, and (2) PFP CEO Fred “That Guy” Corder was quite the convincing salesman. I could sense the passion he has for what he does.

PFP also produced the really nice art series Don’t Trust the Kitten where you have to find the kitten in the picture that causes the problem. I really liked the copies I saw at the Indieket, but the thing was, I wouldn’t know where to put one at home even if budget allowed it. Next time, maybe. Meanwhile, the girl there was the very talented Alexie Laggui of Laguillotine. Research tells me she did some, if not all, of the images.

Fred “That Guy” Corder, CEO of American publisher Pockets Fulla Pillz that publishes Rocketgirl, which features a Filipina heroine

As suggested by That Guy who’s the Rocketgirl creator, I am starting with this issue so I’ll know the whole background

Next up was the Codename: Bathala and Digmaang Salinlahi (War of Generations) creator Jon Zamar. I admit, I’m not good with faces especially if I don’t get to see a person face-to-face at least twice, even if it’s one of the most popular names in the industry. I assumed it was him in front of me, yet I wasn’t sure. There was no one else with him at the time whom I could silently ask, so without pretense, I asked his name. He said, “I’m Jon,” and I apologized. At least I was honest. And I finally got his autograph, yay!

Looking at the merchandise, I was in a dilemma. I already had the first issue of Bathala. Getting the second issue would  be the next sensible thing to do, right? Wrong. The other set was calling out to me, “Get me! Get me!” Then I left that table carrying a copy of Digmaang Salinlahi instead. In life, you will always have to make tough decisions 😉

Jon Zamar and his works. (BELOW) At left are Codename: Bathala stuff, and then some; at right are the Digmaang Salinlahi books

I walked around again, trying to see what to get next. There were many comics that I couldn’t get them all. I also wanted to meet new female artists, unfortunately, not many caught my attention, while some art were kind of expensive for me. I was then glad to find a table–well, two–that seemed to feature all-female artists. I was under the impression that they were all under the same group, but looking at the venue layout now from the Indieket Facebook page told me that I may be wrong. I will not hazard a guess.

While I only saw female artists here, ComicDojo is NOT an all-girl artists group. What is ComicDojo? It is “a bunch of people who loves comics and would want to help kids and frustrated artists to finally publish their work,” according to artist Gabi Mara

I certainly will check them out again next time!

Gabi Mara holding out my signed copy of her work, Lore

I chose to inquire deeper about the work that got my attention. The title was Lore, and that interested me alright, already setting my expectations high. I liked the drawing as well. Of course, I had creator Gabi Mara  explain the story to me. It was short, still the premise already piqued my interest, I had her signing my copy in no time.

I did feel like she was kind of busy or her mind was preoccupied, that’s why I didn’t press for a longer conversation. She was able to answer me about the group being all-girls and explain a bit, though, except new patrons arrived and needed her attention. I was already happy with my purchase, anyway.

[Ed. This part may have confused you more than it did me. Fortunately, Miss Mara explained it in the comments. She is a new member of an all-girl team called Tequila Tea Party.]

I was ready to go home. Onstage, an artist was being interviewed. I was not listening (sorry) because my mind was on the comics and the time (still had to go back to Makati then head home). However, I noticed two lone tables at one side near the stage and that got me curious. I was especially curious because on one, a textbook-sized comic novel with a glossy, fully-colored cover was on display, being sold at just P100 (just found out it’s already 10-years-old, that’s why maybe). That was a huge come-on to me.

I dared get close and talk to the guy manning the store. He explained the story to me and acknowledged that it’s for mature readers only (read: adult readers). I agreed, just judging from the title: Lexy, Nance & Argus: Sex, Gods, Rock & Roll. Now, normally, I would buy more wholesome stuff to share to my kids, except I couldn’t pass this up as well. Now came the signing part and I awkwardly asked. “Are you the artist?” The guy smiled, amused, and said, “No! He’s that guy onstage!” I think I wanted the ground to swallow me whole then. Note to self: At least, check the name first!

Onstage was Oliver Pulumbarit, writer-editor and occasional comic book artist, one of the three special guests for the Indieket that day. Well, given that it was not the first time I embarrassed myself that day, I just played it cool and chatted with the guy there whose name I was afraid to ask by then, he he. Fortunately, the interview ended soon after and I got my copy signed, then I zoomed out of there 😉

(CLOCKWISE FR. TOP LEFT) The tarpaulin at the lobby clearly shows artist Oliver Pulumbarit as one of the events’ special guests; the interview proper; Lexy, Nance & Argus: Sex, Gods, Rock & Roll; other works and shorter versions; the artist and his work

And THAT was how my Indieket went. Overall, I think it went really well, anecdotes included. I can’t wait for November’s Komikon! By then, I’ll be more ready. Go, Komikon!

Here’s a video from the event, as posted on the Indieket Facebook page. ENJOY!!!

 

All images Copyright © J.Gi Federizo unless otherwise indicated

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I will link to a photo album soon, I’m just trying to decide on something.

For more Komikon-related posts, please go to COMICS TRIPS.

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Kita Kita (I See You) (post-)#MondayReviews

***NOTE: Finally, a totally new review, woohoo!!! And of a really new movie, too 🙂 It’s a review, but I did add a few trivial bits.

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KITA KITA

The first time I saw its trailer, I decided that I wanted to watch Kita Kita. For one thing, it had been a while since I last watched an actual indie film and I am an indie supporter. I’m not really sure it should be called an independent, though, considering that it’s produced by a mainstream film outfit (that does seem past its heyday) and especially by one owned by a very famous, still very-”now” actor. But okay, they say it was made with a low budget, so why not?

Indie or not, the story had me curious so last Sunday, I brought the free ticket I’ve had for months and had a romantic date with myself. (There are perfectly good reasons why I was alone, but they’re not worth discussing, really.) My curiosity over the chosen stars did add much to that decision.

Alessandra de Rossi (a.k.a. Alex) has never headlined a mainstream movie or a regular TV series. However, when it comes to indies, she’s a legit superstar and has been legit since she was in her early teens. Just count the awards she has gotten over the years. I have seen enough of her movies (even wrote a review for one, and this reminds me to post it soon) to know how good she could be.

She has been one of a few stars I admire when it comes to serious acting that when I hear her being part of this or that, I often try to see her when I can. To see her take the lead in a romantic-comedy film kind of intrigued me.

Meanwhile, leading man Empoy Marquez, who usually goes with no last name, is the bigger surprise. He’s a comedian who has been active on both the small and big screens almost always as a supporting character. He probably has had lead roles before, but in single episodes of comedy or fantasy-comedy shows, nothing memorable.

Until this movie, he was never that comedian to watch out for. So imagine my (and other people’s) surprise to find out that of all the comedians to choose from, Empoy got the part. I wondered how he would pull it off given his brand of comedy. However, I think that was really it that made me think I wanted to see him in this movie.

The best reason that made me want to see Kita Kita was the premise of the love story. What is the premise of the story? Well, to start with, the title is short for “Nakikita kita”, in English, “I See You”. It is both a literal and figurative name to give the movie.

Lea is a Filipina working as a tourist guide in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. She experiences heartache while there. In a much bitter fate, she suffers a potentially permanent blindness and loses interest in life, living day-to-day like nothing matters anymore.

Then comes Tonyo, another Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). He begins invading her life by persistently attempting to converse with her daily and bringing her food he’s cooked everyday, even though she snubs him and ignores the food he brings.

They eventually become friends. He asks her to accompany him and be his tourist guide, telling her “I’ll be your eyes.” In the process, he brings back the colors into her life by making her laugh and see the world again through him. Lea starts to go back to being happy and becomes more accepting of her situation without losing hope of ever seeing again, a hope that Tonyo helps bring back. They become so close that it somehow becomes obvious he has feelings for her. On the other hand, she starts “seeing” him in that newer light as well. They become almost-lovers.

Unfortunately, before everything turns out well for them, something happens that neither of them expects.

That’s as far as I will go. I’m not telling any more and giving the story away.

In some ways, you’d think, nah, it’s been done before: blind person meets the love of her life who turns out to be not what she expected. Or maybe she sees again, then in a twisted turn of fate, she dies from something else anyway…

Well, hold your horses. Something bad does happen (conflict is necessary in stories), and maybe a theory in your head does turn out to be correct (mine was), but it’s what you’ll get to find out next that’s going to make a lot more difference in how you see the story.

I love the story. It’s so simple that it’s so beautiful. It’s really got the magic of Filipino indies sans the poverty, sex and even violence common in a lot of them, sometimes exploited in a lot of them, too. It’s an indie that’s a sight for sore eyes–it’s actually aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. None of those slum shots that’s the staple of many Pinoy independent flicks. Not all realities need to be about those because that’s not the only reality we live in. I do feel like the setting could have been here, no need to go anywhere out of the country.

Anyway, another plus is the viewer gets to concentrate on them since save from a few bit players, Alex and Empoy are the only real cast of the film.

I admit, the first few minutes of the movie kind of bored me, but I knew they were necessary. It’s an SOP now in the screenwriting world, at least in the indie films, that I learned before. They had to show shots of how the protagonist functioned in her everyday life, her routines, what she did, etc. It established the scenario, the changes that were about to happen, the disruption in her life. Why only show Lea and not Tonyo was because Tonyo would appear later, just like how new people appear in our lives, no warning.

Good script from Sigrid Bernardo, funny ad libs (usually care of Empoy, you can just tell), nice twist that you don’t completely see coming, and a great way to emphasize that love can both be blind and enlightening at the same time.

Despite Tonyo being stalker-ish and you getting the feeling he knew her long before he approached her, you’d actually root for the guy to get his girl and not feel scared for her. He saw her at her lowest and brought her back. Somehow, she saw him at his lowest, too, and brought him back without knowing it. They saw the real them. Did I just give you a riddle? You’ll find out once you see it.

The acting was so natural and that’s what made viewers love the two actors. It’s underacting, so to speak. It seemed like there was 20% acting and 80% just being Alex and Empoy. So, no disrespect to directors Sigfrid Bernardo and Bb. Joyce Bernal, but I feel the most credit for the acting should go to the film’s stars.

Well, in a way, Alex was acting because she was much tamer here than in real life where she is funnier and rowdier, you’d wonder why drama is her forte. She is no stranger to comedy, but drama brings out the best actress in her. Empoy, on the other hand, was just being Empoy and it worked for him. He’s like the normal guys in our lives who could be funny, caring and lovable regardless of looks and background. His character might not have worked if they had chosen a more handsome (less realistic) and/or non-comedic (awkward) actor. Empoy is definitely the better option.

Alex gives a lot of credit to Empoy. She says her character could have been played by anyone and it would still be the same, unlike Empoy’s. I disagree. Yes, it could have been acted out by anyone well enough, but the chemistry between Lea and Tonyo would probably not have been the same. I’m saying that the Alex-Empoy tandem (now tagged as AlEmpoy, though I’d rather “ship” them as EmLex) fortunately had that obviously perfect on-screen chemistry that made the story work.

I am not entirely sure if it’s suitable to call this love story a romantic comedy. What confuses me more is how Empoy actually succeeded in making women feel those kilig moments. Everyone’s surprised! Now single girls and gays want their Banana, too, ha! #HowtoBeEmpoy . (As for the banana reference, find out for yourself.)

If you haven’t seen Kita Kita yet, catch it now before they stop showing it. I did not waste much time because of that as I did not assume that many would actually go and see it. If you’re living abroad, they will bring this to you (in the US, that I’m sure, at least), so watch out. Don’t speak Filipino? No sweat. They have subtitles. You won’t be disappointed, definitely.

However you will see the ending, I guarantee that you will not leave feeling like you’ve just wasted time and money. In fact, you just might want to see it again. I know I do.

(fr. left) Director Bb. Joyce Bernal, Writer-Director Sigfrid Bernardo, Producer Piolo Pascual (Spring Films), Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy

 

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Have you seen it? What can you say? Share your comments below. You know we love comments 😉

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The Truth in Your Make-believe #atozchallenge2017

Many people, I believe, think that writing fiction is all about the imagination. After all, you cannot write a fictional story without making up something that did not really happen. That’s creative writing, So they’re right, right?

NOT SO MUCH. The fact about creating fiction is you add truth to the make-believe.

Sure, imagination is the major tool to use, but even make-believe needs to be somewhat, well, believable. Say you are working on a science fiction story. Do you simply say the aliens have arrived and then every person or thing on earth starts to float or elevate and you just leave it at that? I think not.

“The world of your story must have its own internal logic, rules and constraints.” (Writers & Artists)

You do not simply assume that readers will assume for themselves that the loss of gravitational pull is mainly due to the alien invasion. Maybe some won’t mind, those who are in it for the sole entertainment. But there are the thinking audience/readers who would mind, whom you could lose as readers because of that. There has to be some kind of scientific way to explain how the aliens do it somehow.

Since we’re on the subject of aliens, anyway, I am reminded of a movie I saw a long time ago, and which book version I got to own and read. It’s called Enemy Mine by Barry B. Longyear.

In it is an alien nicknamed Jerry, who we naturally assume as male based on appearance, voice (in the film), and how the Narrator begins telling the story. Then the earthling (Narrator) Willis Davidge gets a shocking surprise when Jerry announces he/she/it is pregnant. The alien soon gives birth.

Now the writer may have known about asexual reproduction from way back gradeschool, but if he hadn’t, then research certainly helped him use the concept and make the scenario logical enough. If he just left it to readers/viewers to figure out the gender of the alien–and whether hanky-panky between two inter-galactic species was involved–then the readers would most probably be lost. And the writer would have probably lost his patrons.

“Research is the elixir that reinvigorates your storyline, opens your chapters, and liberates you when you’ve written yourself into a suffocating closet. It makes you an expert in things you know diddley about, and elevates you from a wannabee to an author.” (Writers Write)

Ever wondered how Michael Crichton‘s Jurassic Park would have fared if he hadn’t done research to somehow make readers take into consideration the possibility of dinosaurs in the modern world?

It’s good to make your readers think. However, if it involves neglect on your part to provide more details, that’s where you’re doing it wrong. And we are not talking about sci-fi alone.

Historical fiction definitely requires research that maybe incorporated in your story to make it seem more credible and plausible. You cannot write about the early ’40s without mentioning anything about WWII, no matter how brief. Certainly, you cannot write about WWII itself based on assumptions or hearsay only. You need to add a few hard facts.

Detective stories nowadays seem more interesting when writers include what happens in a crime lab, for instance, or how certain test results lead to solving the mystery. Your detective cannot send the skull of a Jane/John Doe’s severed head to the lab and then have him say later, “Oh, s/he’s been identified as this person or that” without explaining how it is possible through examining dental records. Not all readers may get it.

Meanwhile, well-researched information can help explain how the past can lead someone down the psycho-killer path in suspense-thrillers. Even in fantasy, this could come in handy. If you want to write about creatures in the area where your setting is, research won’t hurt unless you are creating a whole new fictional beast.

All I’m saying is, while there is no limit to the imagination, research can help fuel that imagination and make readers believe you or, at least, your capability as a writer.

“Research, factual accuracy, lays the base for plausible fiction, for it actually enables suspension of disbelief in readers by building their trust.” (The Center for Fiction)

I am not talking about bombarding them with facts after facts to the point of information overload. I’m not talking about spoon-feeding your readers, either. They, too, need to make use of their own imagination. In fact, the main reason people read fiction is it allows them to use this often-neglected ability to imagine in the real world.

The main role of the writer is to tell the story and guide the reader.

“Thorough research instills in the writer enough knowledge to give her real confidence in her material—the kind of confidence that releases her from a need to show off or twist her plots, and frees her to finally sit down and write.” (The Center for Fiction)

 

Do not underestimate the power of research. Consider this advice the next time you write your fiction.

 

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What is your opinion on this? Does research matter? Let’s talk!

R is for “Research”

This piece serves as my Letter R post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

I am creating a page for my A to Z Challenge 2017 posts. Wait for it 😉

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How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way #atozchallenge2017

The written language is most important in writing.Without it, we’d all be like cavemen drawing stories, probably even opinions, on walls, tree trunks, leaves…I imagine there would be much more confusion in this already-confused world.

Of course, there would be the spoken  language, probably mostly grunts coupled with hand gestures. We’d probably be fighting over and over due to sound and gesture misinterpretations. I mean, cave paintings are now art, but isn’t art subject to various interpretations? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in a manner of speaking.

So, without the written language, we’d be so far from the civilized world of today…Well, almost civilized. (Some people do seem to even openly and unabashedly show or express their Neanderthal tendencies.)

A Sense of History and Identity

An uncivilized society with no history, that’s exactly how the country’s Spanish conquerors made the natives, our land’s indigenous people and my ancestors, believe they had. After all, we all used to be made up of tribes that practiced pagan beliefs. For around 400 years, they called us ‘indios’, their colonial and discriminatory racial term for us. The conquistadors made us believe our forefathers were illiterate prior to their arrival. The better to reign over us, right?

“The colonial masters required the native Filipinos to swear allegiance to the Spanish monarch, where before they only had village chieftains called ‘datus;’ to worship a new God, where before they worshipped a whole pantheon of supernatural deities and divinities; to speak a new language, where before they had (and still have) a Babel of tongues; and to alter their work habits, where before they worked within the framework of a subsistence economy.” (Encyclopedia of Southeast Asia: Philippines)

Illiterate with no social identity, though? That was the biggest lie Spain gave us. Before they came barging in, we already had our own ancient writing system, the baybayin, also and more popularly known as alibata.

The Baybayin/Alibata

What is baybayin?

“Baybayin is a pre-Spanish Philippine writing system. It is a member of the Brahmic family and is recorded as being in use in the 16th century. It continued to be used during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines up until the late 19th Century.” (Mandirigma.org)

Pre-Spanish era, we were not yet Filipinos. I say this for the simple reason that Filipinas–the Philippines–was named after Spain’s ruler Haring (King) Felipe once they conquered us. The whole truth was, we were an already-learned people with our own history, as proven by our writing.

“History is impossible without the written word as one would lack context in which to interpret physical evidence from the ancient past. Writing records the lives of a people and so is the first necessary step in the written history of a culture or civilization.” (Ancient.eu, on Writing)

This is our ancient writing system, the Baybayin. Here you see when to make the characters sound with an “e/i” or an “o/u”, all depend on where you put the marks or dots. The cross has a different purpose and was not part of the original system

The Baybayin Advocacy

Back in 2008, when I used to simply call it ‘alibata’, I wrote about it in my old and now defunct first official blog. I said (with some edits here),

Alibata is slowly being re-introduced to Filipinos. A decade or so ago, some began sporting alibata characters, the Philippines’ ancient alphabet, especially as tattoos. Most popular of these is the ‘pa’ character to represent the letter P, to symbolize being ‘Pinoy’, slang word for ‘Filipino’ or ‘Pilipino’. Once in a while, I encounter people wearing shirts bearing some of the characters. In the ’90s, GMA (Channel) 7 came up with the action show titled Pintados. In our ancient times, ‘pintados’ were the tribesmen-warriors called so because they had their bodies painted all over. No, tattooed all over. Anyway, this show took a lot of liberty using alibata characters, but without educating the audience on what they meant…

I think I’ll call myself an Alibata advocate. I’ve been trying to practice it this year and I plan to use it in other things…(I do follow what I’ll call ‘Neo-Alibata‘, though. Old and ‘new’ must meet somewhere.)

It was used in many parts of the country back then, especially in Visayas and Mindanao, so it’s not necessarily Tagalog, our most widely used dialect originating from Luzon. The Spaniards came and forced people to become Christians and the ancient letters began disappearing. The style I’m using isn’t exactly the original. I’m following some changes especially when I’m not writing in Filipino. There are letters in the English alphabet that we don’t have.”

The “Ka” character on a Philippine flag

What I meant by “the style I’m using” was that I was/is following the altered version created by a Spaniard that adds the cross sign to indicate that a character is to be read as a simple consonant–“pa” is simply read as “p”.  Meanwhile, our writing system did not have any R-sound so one of the usual things done, which I follow, was/is to use the “da” or the “la” character instead. I am very partial to the second one because I find it prettier, to be honest. The Mandirigma Research Organization‘s site should be able to tell you much more, so I recommend that you refer to it.

Another popular character, the “Ka”, is another fave of mine. It was used in one of the flags of the Philippine Revolution, by the revolutionary group called Katipunan. Now I know what that image on the flag symbolized.

Check out how I did my name (Jennifer Federizo Enriquez) and my alias (Li’l Dove Feather) respectively using a generator I just found.

Nice, eh? When I wrote the post mentioned above, I actually offered to write readers’ names for them if they requested it in the comments. It was a total hit, I tell you. That second image you see on this post is my handwriting in ali–oops–I mean, baybayin! 

“The term Baybay literally means ‘to spell’ in Tagalog…Some have attributed it the name Alibata, but this name is incorrect. (The term “Alibata” was coined by Paul Rodriguez Verzosa after the arrangement of letters of the Arabic alphabet  alif, ba, ta (alibata), “f” having been eliminated for euphony’s sake.” )…no evidence of the baybayin was ever found in that part of the Philippines and it has absolutely no relationship to the Arabic language. Furthermore, no ancient script native to Southeast Asia followed the Arabic arrangement of letters,…its absence from all historical records indicates that it is a totally modern creation.” (Mandirigma.org)

Like I said, I aim to be a baybayin advocate. In fact, in the story I am working on, the alibata/baybayin is mentioned.

“…It was proof that unlike what the Spaniards claimed, Filipinos were not an uncivilized race before they arrived and conquered. It was only what they made everyone believe.

Maya had scoffed at that in a conversation saying, ‘Ha! I was learning my A-Ba-Ka-Da loooooong before I met any of them. My father taught me that and his father taught him, and so on. If I had my way, I’d put learning alibata in the grade school curricula.’ She would, too, knowing her. In fact, her journal notebook was filled with things always written in alibata, one way to keep most people away, ironically.” (MAYA [CHAPTER 2: DEAD AIR, Scene 4])

The point made regarding including the writing system in the school curricula is definitely my opinion. And time may come that I shall write a whole story in our beloved baybayin. I can’t wait for other Filipinos to do the same (although there are those who have been incorporating it in their comic books). After all, according to the Mandirigma site, Baybayin was noted by the Spanish priest Pedro Chirino in 1604 and Antonio de Morga in 1609 to be known by most, and was generally used for personal writings, poetry, etc.”

Our literary world has suffered for centuries and it’s time to bring back pride for what we can do and continue our history!…But for now, you can bet that the writing system will figure more in my story’s chapters to come. We always start somewhere.

Meanwhile, here are samples I personally made:

If you found this blog’s landing page, this surely welcomed you

If memory serves me right, this was my first attempt at doing baybayin. I mixed images and using a mouse with an unsteady hand, I tried to write down my alias, Li’l Dove. Though the “B” didn’t look that right, I think it was okay because the effect I was going for was a “smokey” effect

For my then blog, I made this for fun. The girl was supposed to be me, only with better hair and with earrings (well, only one visible) when I am not the type to often wear them. I spelled out “kopi kat” in baybayin and added a personal logo I created

 

These were just some of the many names I spelled out in baybayin, as requested. I have deleted the others

My own personal logo, in various renditions. It honestly does not strictly follow the writing system’s spelling rules. I’ve just stylized my logo. The above character, yet another one of my favorites, says “G” (meaning me, Gi); the one below says “pi” because no matter what happens, I’m proud to be Pinoy!

 

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I hope you enjoyed that one and learned a thing or two! Come back on Monday for the next A to Z post! Maybe I’ll have something nice again for you again 😉

By the way, all rights reserved to me, J.Gi Federizo, except for images and quotes that are linked to the right sources. I had original sources in 2008 as well, but the links are gone, and Mandirigma.org shares enough and proper information already, so my thanks to the whole research organization.

Also, DISCLAIMER: This post does not aim to spread hate against Spain or any other country. We are not accountable for whatever bad deeds our forebears did during their time.

A is for “Alibata”, otherwise known as “Baybayin”.

This piece serves as my Letter A post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

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Komikon for Dummies

komikon-official-event-cover-photo Last Saturday, August 2, was 2014’s Indieket Day or the Independent Komiks Market event of the local Komikon, the Philippines’ own comics convention. Indieket  is the second of three bigger Komikon events held annually, the other two being the Summer Komikon (keyword: summer) and the regular one usually held November or December (my friend Sherwin The Kraken tries to call it the Winter Komikon, nevermind that we have no winter). Other often smaller but equally special conventions happen in provinces once in a while, too, like in Cebu, Baguio and, recently, Iloilo.

I’ve been attending these three Komikons a few years now and *BIG SIGH* last Saturday, I was absent. For the first time after I began patronizing the once-again blooming comics industry, I missed an event. *MORE SIGHS* For more personal reasons that can actually be elaborated some other time, I stayed home instead and got busy.

Well, comics-related events have been around for quite a while before I discovered one, but I do believe I can say that I am now credible enough to share what I know. So since I have not been sharing my experiences in the more recent events, I thought I’d come up with this post. If you’re a Komikon dummy like I was, read on. This can help you on your first–or your next–Komikon experience.

The Dos-and-Don’ts Guide for Komikon Dummies

To the uninitiated, lemme explain. The occasion is for comics artists to showcase their works and for enthusiasts to take advantage of this. Rarely do you encounter dozens of artists and creators crammed in one place, so good for you. Here, you will find both newbie creators and more seasoned ones — take your pick. Okay, let’s start…

bayanihan-center-pasig-facade

The Bayanihan Center. Credits belong to BayanihanEventsCenter.com.ph

1. KNOW the venue. Sounds duh, but it’s great advice coming from experience. Around two years ago, my officemates and I were to attend a Gaming, Toys, Manga/Anime and Cosplay Convention or GTMACCON (this is not Komikon, but just to drive a point…). We were a big enough bunch who came from Makati and went somewhere in UP Diliman to attend. We waited on university grounds until it was way beyond schedule and it seemed the place wasn’t even going to open. Finally, I texted comics guy Andoyman, asking where the exact venue was as someone got stuck with the wrong info that got disseminated to us.

Lo and behold! We were not even close! To add insult to injury, the venue was just in Makati, WHERE WE CAME FROM…Wow, mali (wrong). GTMACCON: Go To MAling Comics CONvention. The usual venue for the Komikon, by the way, is the Bayanihan Center located at the Unilab Compound in Pasig. 

2. Come early. It’s not like you’re going to be thrown out of the event or anything if you come in the afternoon. But it has been observed that the Summer Komikon and the “Winter” one tend to draw a big crowd. You’ll want to be one of the first to see the various merchandise, talk to the artists and ask for autographs and/or photographs. If you’re lucky, some artists do give their own simple freebies like little snacks, stickers, etcetera, as a form of appreciation. Better be there before supplies end.

inside-komikon-main-hall

It’s one, big geeky event, can’t you tell? This is the main hall where Komikon is always held, but you can imagine how it must have looked like at the entrance. Image copyright belongs to Jonas Diego

The organizers do give away freebies also right at the event entrance (not the building entrance, but where you are allowed entry after paying P100 for your ticket). Don’t expect too much, though. This is not Oprah or Ellen. Sometimes, sponsors put up booths/tables like 711 that once gave away free Slurpee and commemorative Lord of the Rings tumblers.

indieket-2013-catalog

There’s Tico Limosinero’s boy robot Neox together with Elbert Or‘s Chuck the Bakemono High werecub (extreme right), Ikos Komiks’ Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal‘s Asul from her work Sulsi at 6 o’clock and Michael David’s own ‘kikiam’ renditions of Chuck and Asul

Oh, and at times, they give away catalogs with lots of free space on them where you can ask artists to draw something for you for free (do buy something first, please!). You can do that throughout the day, but being early means you’ll have more time to approach more artists for it, plus they won’t be too tired already to draw anything. 

3. Don’t be a snob. If you look down on local comics based on them being, well, local, this is not the event for you. Either you beat it, pal, or give local comics a chance. There are ways, though, to get your fix of foreign ones by visiting booths of edition sellers like Comic Odyssey that has somehow become a sort of fixture, so to speak, in Komikon events because I see them there every time.

Meanwhile, we know you most probably know the creators of Kiko Machine, Pugad Baboy, Kubori Kikiam and the likes. These guys get the longest lines of people wanting to buy their products for some great photo-ops and autograph-signing with their idols. BUT the Komikon is mainly one giant showcase of newer talents. It won’t hurt to get to know them and their works. It’s actually fun to be “there” when a comic book is just starting and to gradually see it grow, so to speak.

By the way, while the Indieket gives much more chance for new creators by giving them the spotlight, on other Komikons, they are provided a separate area called the Indie Tiangge. It’s a sort of rite of passage before they are finally allowed to make it big….Er, well, before they are allowed to take space at the  main activity area, that is. Some not-so-new ones are there as well simply because they are new participants of the event.  There are various factors considered but I’m not an authority on that, ergo, I leave it to you to interview anyone there. Make sure, though, to pay the Tiangge a visit. Not because they’re there, they are not worth a look. That’s not how it works. You’ll never know what treasure lies undiscovered in that room.

espiritista-comics

I encountered the Espiritista, its first-ever of the series by Niño Balita, at the Summer Komikon 2013 Indie Tiangge and I have been happily following his creation…Congrats to him and the Mrs. Espiritista–I mean–Mrs. Irene Balita, by the way!!!  They just exchanged I-Dos a few months ago 🙂

drop-dead-dangerous

I also first found Drop Dead Dangerous at the Indie Tiangge and I have been hooked ever since. Story by Chad Cabrera, art by Mike Banting

4. Have ka-ching, will buy. Sure, no one will send you away for “window shopping”. But the point of being there is to purchase, at the least, one or two comics. You don’t have to have a lot of moolah, believe me, I know. It’s one big decision-making exercise. A limited budget can still buy you more or less a dozen titles. A lot of them are priced from as low as P30, even P20. That’s already a steal, considering it’s art and the labor of one’s love. Of course, for such a price, do not expect a thick, glossy, full-colored edition. Generally, you’ll get photocopied versions, or limitedly colored ones, at least. But if you’re any good at choosing your comics, you can get clear, respectable-looking ones. Inexpensive doesn’t necessarily have to mean cheap.

andoyman-ang-sumpa

Andoyman’s Ang Sumpa is one of those inexpensive comics that do not disappoint visually. And, no, I am not just saying that because I know him nor does it have to do with me being somehow a part of it. Shameless plug, though: DO GET YOUR COPIES!!!

macoy-school-run

Finally got to buy from the artist who likes to be simply called Macoy my own copies of School Run! He’s got various titles for you to choose from and the prices do vary based on thickness. The illustrations are fun and I like his storytelling

ikos-komiks

The Ikos Komiks table is one stop I never forget to do. They are a group of three artists with different styles in drawing and storytelling. In this pic are the aforementioned Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal (left) and Anino Karimlan (right). In-between is (the missing) Ray Vidal‘s Lola Lourdes whose stories and poems I get to read every time as they give away copies of her own brand of art — Thanks po for the autograph!!!

freely-abrigo-kulas

This one from Freely Abrigo, his Kulas, could be bought at just P30 with a fully-colored, little glossy cover

Also, I have stumbled upon inexpensive comics that have much better stories and illustrations than some pricier, glossier ones. It’s not just about getting your money’s worth when obviously, you can get much more satisfaction with still the least possible expense. If you do have more money to spare, then by all means, go for more gold! Maybe you’d like to purchase other comics-inspired merchandise, too, such as posters, stickers, plushies, beanie hats, keychains…You can even have works commissioned.

5.  Choose wisely. It’s another decision-making exercise. If you don’t know the artist/creator in front of you and can’t tell by just looking that you’d like to purchase, browse through a copy. If the premise does not interest you whatsoever, or the storytelling is bad, or the supposed humor is lacking, or the drawings either leave much to be desired or are totally horrendous (that totally happens), put the copy down and walk away.

FUM-manga

Sherwin The Kraken (guy in middle) has really gotten to be a FUM fan so he never misses to visit their table. These are your FUM peeps, folks! He’s got all their comic mag editions, I think, not much encouraging needed

Try not to engage or be pulled to engage in a conversation with the artist unless you sincerely would really like to learn more about the comic book. Just saying, because that would be the more humane thing to do than to put his hopes up and have him waste time and energy trying to convince you when you’re not even buying.

On a more positive note, it’s a win-win situation, whether you buy or not. If you don’t, you don’t end up with something you don’t want. If you do, at least you’ve helped someone and maybe given him inspiration to do better next time. 

6. Pay more attention. Enthusiasts are expected to walk around the area sizing up comics and getting to know the people behind the comics. By all means, do that. But you might also want to pay attention to the stage and what they announce over the microphone once in a while. Why? The organizers have prepared more stuff and surprises for you: Contests. Interviews with well-known international Pinoy artists like Whilce Portacio of X-Men fame. Featured guests, like those from the Macoy comics-based indie film ANG MASKOT. Even surprise wedding proposals!!! Also, talks and film showings are sometimes held in other rooms.

international-Filipino-artists

International Guests!!!

film-showings

Self-explanatory.

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Andoyman with Ang Maskot bird-guy Ketchup Eusebio. Pic courtesy of Andoyman

I also say pay attention because being a much-attended event, it has gotten the attention of bad elements as well and there have been unfortunate cases of loss of valuables. Take care of your things and, as signs always say, “Please do not leave your valuables unattended.” 

7. Don’t expect a food fair. Don’t go around complaining where the food stalls are–it’s not a food fair. There is a designated area for a limited bunch of food to buy so find out where it is. There may be  a hotdog-eating game happening onstage so if you’re also up to it, why not??? (hint: it normally happens pre-lunch period). Some participants actually give away little snacks so it pays to be early before they run out. Some do get to sell munchies at stalls outside the main Komikon area. However, if you really want fuller meals, just have your wrist stamped for re-entry later and get out of the venue. There are fastfood and regular restos around.

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Once in a while, there are little snacks you can get your hands on. For a price, though. But, boy, do they look yummy….(DISCLAIMER: I’m not endorsing anything)

8. Expect cosplayers. Encounters with comic characters in the flesh are quite possible so get your cameras ready. The Komikon is often attended by cosplayers who are either there for fun or are representing artists’ creations, like the famous Amber from Ambush and Dennis and his pal from Alphario: The World Connection. Do not expect many of them, though. It’s not a cosplay event after all.    

alphario-characters

Creator SPLGum as Dennis Blake (sitting) and friend Wilhansen Li as the character Senjo Tamura. Photo credits to SPLGum and whoever took this pic

9. Join contests. It can be as simple as the aforementioned eating contest, or raffles the organizers or artists themselves are holding, or a meet-and-greet with well-known international artists, or an actual video game at someone’s booth. Whatever the organizers and its participants’ clever minds can think of! My Komikon buddy Sherwin actually joined a create-your-character thing sponsored by Filbar’s. His and the other competitors’ works were simply amazing!

10. ENJOY!!! Totally self-explanatory, right? I just saved the best for last 🙂

Well, I hope I’ve given you ideas, you Komikon newbies. There could be lots more I have not covered, but I’ll let you discover those for yourselves. That’s part of enjoying the whole Komikon experience. Meanwhile, here are some more random but nice pics I haven’t shared before. Forgive the layout, I am editing it (there are still stuff that I don’t understand in WordPress…), and will add links soon.

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Very cool Planeswalker cards that were actually just give-aways. I got Ajani, Chandra, Jace, Liliana and Tezzeret. You can’t really play them (like I’d even know how), but they’re nice souvenirs and the art is whoah!!! Digital art by Allen Geneta

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Cute Manosaur cartoon by Elbert Or on my catalog

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Just had to post ’cause I really like this shot. Photo credits to SPLGum and whoever took this pic

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Sherwin’s winning pose for Alphario’s Pose with Spot contest (well, I forgot the name of the contest, too, hee…)

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I won for the most number of Facebook Likes category mainly because I begged and forced people–I mean, I looked so convincing…uhm, yeah…

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I wasn’t EVER going to buy posters as my main goal was to buy comics, but when I saw this at Allen Geneta’s table, I knew I just HAD to have a copy. Recognize these ninjutsu-trained amphibians? Click HERE for a closer look

me-as-stitch

First time to wear one of those beanie hats at an event. My Komikon buddy was right, it was liberating, he he…That was the nearest to cosplaying in public that I could get, if that’s even cosplaying. But hey, notice my colors? 😉

plushies-for-sale

So…plushies…!!!!

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So cuuuuteee!!!!

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The new Gerry Alanguilan book….I honestly have not bought a copy yet and have not read any part of it. I hope it’s just as good as his Elmer and Wasted

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The Sulsi main characters. Got my complete set already, woohoo!!!

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“Yes, I’m shameless. So sue me.”

mb pose4               See you next Komikon…I PROMISE!!!!!

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Thanks so much just for dropping by and I hope you got even the tiniest bit of new info. For more Komikon-related posts, please go to COMICS TRIPS.

Hello, Blogging, my old friend

These last weeks, it’s been like the zest for life was zapped out of me…Okay, that maybe exaggerated and over-dramatic, and it’s not like I’m the YOLO type of person either. For some reason, though, I was too uninspired to do things I believed I should have been doing.

It’s not even depression. It’s like…I just allowed myself to wallow in the mundane goings-on of life. Sort of. My brains were always thinking, mind you. But in a figurative sense, I had no energy for anything, except maybe for watching TV series, at least. Doesn’t mean there weren’t notable events in my life. There were a few, some even worth mentioning. I could just save the stories for the rainy days–No, wait. These are the rainy days. Here anyway.

Okay, I have to break this phase, so I’ll share some. Where have I been or what have I been doing these last weeks? What’s new?

Through the Reading Glasses

Alright, here’s something new:

My eyes! My eyes!

Notice anything? If your answer is I’m not perfect anymore, you’re right, HA!!! My eyesight isn’t as normal as it used to be, and as I used to brag about, anymore.

My visual acuity used to be 20/20 for the longest time, now it’s 20/25. Or is it 25/20? Sorry, I have yet to understand this kind of thing, but based on what I’ve read, 20/25 could be the right one.

Anyway, these are actually just reading glasses, no need yet for the more serious glasses, thank goodness. My peripheral awareness or side vision still seems excellent. The kids are surprised that I see what they’re doing even when I’m not exactly looking, he he.

And Binge-watching is My Game-o

After fighting walkers a.k.a. zombies in The Walking Dead, Sonequa Martin-Green now fights Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery

I watch whole TV series and a few movies every now and then. I just actually nerd-ed out earlier on Star Trek: Discovery then continued to After Trek where they discussed episode 3.

I am enjoying myself (will probably post my next set of quick reviews in a day or two). It’s pretty much the only thing that makes me enjoy my weekdays. The funny thing is, if not suspense-thrillers or horror flicks, I actually just watch predictable and silly teen/tween flicks. Yes, guilty as charged–I mean–as confessed. That’s one side of me you didn’t know until this fateful day. Don’t spread it around, alright?

NoTube

My YouTube-viewing has considerably waned. For some reason, just like vloggers noticeably starting to get tired of vlogging, I was noticeably starting to get tired of watching vlogs. So sometimes, I skipped days of viewing, which was good because it somehow “rejuvenated” me into watching again on some other days. I try not to overdo anymore.

Face-to-Tweet

Facebook now often tires me, too. Sometimes, people tire me. I am also prone to be somewhat depressed about certain things I see there, so I have been lying low. Not totally ignoring Facebook, just…not totally giving it much of my time. I have been having this love-hate relationship with it anyway. Surprisingly, I’ve become more into Twitter. Go figure. I think it’s because it’s less personal and there’s less disappointment with people I actually know.

No Relations and Old Relations

In the past weeks, I have had a falling-out with someone, lost a close relation, and found old friends.

I do not  regret the falling-out. Maybe it’s good that it’s happened. I have somehow rid myself of toxic. She’s still there, but I won’t allow myself to be caught again in such a parasitic relationship. I have often needed and received help from kind people, but there has never been any selfish intention of feeding off them just because I can. I know how to show my appreciation.

With the second, there was also a falling-out for more than a year. Honestly, I am not sure if “falling-out” is even the right word. I had never felt trusted, and that’s how far of an explanation I will give. I sincerely wanted us to be closer. Circumstances and differences did not give me enough chance to do this. After the “falling-out”, I stayed away. Even during her illness, which I was initially unaware of. With what was then going on, I felt that a visit from me would be unwelcome and may cause more rifts, so I still stayed away. Until I heard the bad news, that she passed away.

In an ironic twist, people were talking and being chummy again. If you knew the whole background of my story, you’d use the word “ironic”, too. Things have become better. So far. I hope I am mistaken, but this could again be just the calm before the next years of storm.

After years of searching, I finally found two of the three former acquaintances I had been looking for on Facebook. I never expected the change in one, which was actually good, and I have yet to see any changes from the other. I am still looking for the third and I don’t know why no one seems to care to know if she still exists, which is sad. care.

Celebrate Good Times

Happy 7th Anniversary to The End Justifies the Journey! I was expecting a notification in September. I became too uninspired, I forgot to look. So yeah, I missed the notif. But hey, I’m happy to still be here 🙂

Alright, I’ve broken the phase now, I’ll try to keep it broken. Please stick with me, okay? Oh, and so many thanks to everyone who has become my new follower and the visitors who have contributed to my statistics. Frankly, I was surprised that people had been visiting while I was away. In the world of blogging, that’s actually a good thing 🙂

Love is…

It’s about time for me to do this. Many months ago, C. E. Robinson (thanks, C.E.!!!) over at Before Sundown nominated me for…

The Spread the Love Challenge (Award)

The first and main instruction was/is to “Write ten four-word sentences about what love means to me.” Honestly, I thought it would be easy, but believe me, I tried and tried to come up with my ten items, but I could never finish the list until I stopped. I mean, it’s so easy to just come up with one, but would it really reflect how I felt/feel? Sometimes, I take things very seriously, even something like this. After all, I want this blog to be a reflection of my journey.

The matter remained unresolved, then one day, maybe sometime in June or July, I was suddenly inspired. Not having pen and paper at the time, I typed them down on my phone and saved my list as draft. The list had been there since. Well, until now.

I decided to post this. So much has been going on in this world that have been letting me down lately that I thought I’d like to brighten up the day a li’l bit. Here goes…

  1. “Write ten four-word sentences about what love means to me.”

LOVE…

…comes from God

…must be half-blind

…is sincerely kind

…binds the family

…strengthens a country

…should beget peace

…is never selfish

…fights for freedom

…signifies true humanity

…is noble sacrifice

2. “Share your favorite quote/poem on love.”

There are so many quotes about love that I have seen/read in my life. I don’t particularly have a favorite. If it resonates with me, then I’m good. However, I think this famous quote from the most famous book sums it all up:

3. “Nominate a few bloggers for the same.”

I nominate everyone who gets to read this. It’s your call if you’d like to accept it. As I said, “Love fights for freedom.” The decision is all yours, not mine 🙂

 

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What is love to you, though? Give us an idea and comment down below. Let’s talk about it. Maybe we can learn a thing or two from you still 😉

Wil is Sick

To be honest, I hadn’t been watching Wil Dasovich‘s current vlogs lately. Some things got my attention more, plus I was thinking he was just doing clickbait with the “sick” thing (don’t get mad at me as he and friend Daniel Marsh always do that and admit to that). I was planning on checking out missed posts and binging on them one of these days, which is what I usually do in YouTube.

I did keep checking out if Wil had new posts and because they were all about sick, sick, sick, I ignored them at first although I was curious what it was about. The last time I watched him vlog about sickness was when he was abroad. He and his friends wouldn’t mention what he was sick about and were kind of joking about it, saying it was embarrassing, I assumed it was something like diarrhea or UTI.

Okay, so I checked out his channel today and the title of his newest vlog stunned me. I felt that this time, he’s serious. Admittedly, I read the comments first and indeed, wow, it is serious. This time, this is not about creating drama “para sa vlog” (for the vlog). It’s real life. I don’t think he’d be joking about something like this.

It’s cancer. I don’t know what kind. He did not say in the video. But whatever kind, cancer is a serious matter. It is something I would never wish on anybody. It is something that suddenly makes you reflect on your life more–what have you done with your life? have you done any good for anybody? do you not regret, at least, one thing in your life? These are questions we need to think about considering that even someone seemingly as healthy and obviously fit as Wil could get something like cancer.

I am sharing his video here. Don’t worry, it’s a nice and relevant video. There’s a bit of a sad part, but he’s not going to be all weepy about it. In fact, he encourages everyone to LIVE!!! I don’t really know him, of course, but I think Wil is a decent young man who just wants to enjoy his life. I wouldn’t be surprised if he beats this thing.

Okay, he says you can help out by clicking on the thumbs-up sign and subscribing. That’s how he earns from YouTube, guys. I suggest not skipping the ad as it helps vloggers more when we don’t. He also encourages people to share the vid, so I am sharing it through this post, which will be automatically posted on my Facebook page and Twitter feeds. Also, he didn’t mention it, but if you want to help him out more, he sells merchandise at Tsongandtsonggo.com. Maybe you could try and give the site a visit.

 

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UPDATE: His friends recently created #1MforWil to grant his wish and help. “1M” does not refer to an amount of money, but to his dream of reaching 1M channel subscribers. Well, he has not asked for any financial assistance exactly, but number of subscribers does affect a YouTuber’s earnings from vlogging. So if you can’t help financially, maybe subscribing to his channel won’t hurt you, rather that may help him with whatever assistance he needs.

I’m a Writer!!! (post)-#MondayMemoirs

I wasn’t planning on posting a #MondayMemoirs especially because it’s past Monday, but I had been re-reading and reactivating blog posts. As you can see from the image, at the Blog Archive section, I had been working on my 2004-2005 posts. Then I got it in my head to see what I posted on August 22, 2005. THIS below was the result.

Granted that the date was the 21st, but in the post, it said “I am now the Editorial Assistant/Writer for a magazine! I start tomorrow!” That means that today, 12 years ago, I officially became a professional writer! Isn’t that a very good reason to reminisce, celebrate and be thankful for???

Being a writer may not be a lucrative job, but I feel so lucky that I get to do what I love 🙂

The Art of Komikonation #atozchallenge2015

Since the Indieket is coming, I am reblogging this. It’s missing a pic, I just found out, but will fix soon…

The End Justifies the Journey

If there is one thing that I have come to realize in my adult life, it’s that I’m a late-bloomer in a lot of things. I need not go into more (read: boring) details about it, but in relation to my topic of the day, it is only now, in my later years, did I realize that I really, actually love comics.

K of A to ZI don’t have hundreds in my collection, not yet anyway, nor do I have any of those cherished and expensive first editions of famous American comics or Japanese manga. I didn’t start collecting until several years ago when I learned from artist Jonas Diego that we actually hold local conventions now. Komikons, they have called these local gatherings, and they have successfully put “komikon” in the modern Filipino dictionary.

By that time, I was already aware that I could draw a little. Well, sketch, really. Learning about…

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