A candid and personal examination of the Philippine comics scene from a social, cultural, economic and business point of view.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Creating supply with little or no demand

This is the "Information" age and not the "entertainment" age. In our country particularly where so many people are politically, socially, and economically disenfranchised, their only hope, their primacy weapon in fighting off corruption and exploitation, is knowledge and information. Information that is, of the right kind. And it is this kind of information that is in high demand right now, not entertainment.

With the right kind of information, people would learn how to think, act, and empower themselves. Comics could help initiate and elevate the literacy level of our functionally literate populate by providing information that matters in visual narrative format. And as previously discussed, the costs would be shouldered by financially able companies and associations who have a stake in national development. In this possible set-up, comics creators would be paid a tidy contractual sum prior to their work going to print. Their livelihood would not be dependent anymore on fickle sales figures and discriminating advertisers.

Today's generation of Filipino Komix creators are indeed talented. Their talent lies in a more technical familiarity of the graphic narrative's aspect of telling "entertaining stories". In short, they are oriented and favor more, the entertainment aspect of the comics medium. Unfortuantely, sales and advertising revenue for printed "entertaining" comics, whether local or foreign, pale in comparison to the humoungous revenues generated by other competing "entertainment" media such as television, movies, radio, computer games, animation, the internet, cellfones, and others. In short, today's generation of Filipino Komix creators are not meeting the demand for more information-based content.

The information and education based komix so far produced could certainly benefit from the more modern and refined draftsmanship of today's komix creators who have gained fame and fortune in the United States. Sadly however, their orientation and inclination is more towards the traditional and globalized form of entertainment in comics. In effect, these people are unwittingly creating product with little or diminishing demand. It is--pardon the expression--a tragi-comic situation.

To stress, the demand is in information. If not from individuals then from paying corporations or associations who have a need of disseminating their information to the public. Yet, the supply for this particular demand is scant. This is opportunity in crisis but are today's komix creators up to the task? Do they have the intellectual open-mindedness to learn new things beyond their limited knowledge of art? Only time will tell.


Blogger Gerry Alanguilan said...

I wonder, how did you arrive at your conclusion that there is much more demand for information rather than entertainment? It is true that information is in high demand. The popularity of the Internet certainly bears that out. But I don't see any decline in the demand for entertainment in most mediums, specially film, TV, music etc.

Creating comics that educate, backed by "paying corporations" reek to much of the potential for propaganda that follows an agenda of more powerful people, reducing the comics creator to nothing more than a trumpet, bleating what other people tell him too.

Such a scenario I reject with all the creative freedom I can muster.

I reject making comics purely for entertainment as well. For how can anyone know what any audience truly wants? Do you? Do I? Anyone who knows would be a millionaire tomorrow.

I prefer to make comics that satisfies me first and foremost, following no master but myself. It is indeed a selfish motivation, but it's something that guarantees the creation of something honest and true.

I don't like creating things compromised, diminished and bastardized by factors outside my own creativity.

It is clear that I am not talking from a business point of view as you, but it's just as well. I never make my personal comics to make money, but to channel stories I want to tell. If at the end of the day I don't make money, then that's allright with me. But if I do, then that's great!

And to impugn on a creator's intellectual capacity when they do not concur with your point of view and to presume their limited artistic range simply because we are "just" comic book artists is somewhat insulting and counter productive.

8:24 PM

Blogger aklas isip said...


Thank you for your post. I do hope your strongly worded and impassioned reactions against my article don't dissuade you from visiting again. I can't say that I agree with them totally, but your comments are most, and always, welcome. Thanks again.


9:59 PM


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