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

Friday, January 20, 2006

Will LOVE Revive the Filipino Comics Industry?

Boy, is my tongue in my cheek right now. I just tried out for the first time the Blog Search function of this blogsite and came across a comment from Sir Reno Maniquis saying that I was wrong in NOT thinking that most Filipino comics creators today are impelled more by economic hardship, and that is why their comics come out irregularly or infrequently, that the reason they do it is not for the money as there are no paying jobs right now for comics publishing, but because of "love" in that they wouldn't want to see the local comics industry "dying".

To check out his full view on the matter he's at: "http://ka-blog.blogspot.com" with the blog entry: "This post is a reaction to the Pinoy Komix Biz article: How do you Revive the Filipino Komix Industry". You will also find there one of the sweetest descriptions given to me by Sir Gerry Alanguilan. And a Happy New Year to you too, Sir Gerry.

First off, it appears that Sir Reno took umbrage at my statement that: "almost every local comics creator takes his precious time in creating his work of art". Take note that I did not say ALL local comics creators. Nor was I charging anybody in particular.

Yet, it amazes me that these two gentlemen came forward with pitchfork and torches in hand, loudly and apoplectically denouncing my statement and claiming that they (and their fellows "whoever" they are) are the exception.

Sir Reno, Sir Gerry, the qualifier "almost" was specifically used in my statement to mean that NOT ALL local comics creators are lackadaisical and that implicitly, only a FEW of them are industrious, capable, experienced, and dedicated to their craft. However, that is not the main idea being expressed in my statement. What is being stated in the main, is that: MAJORITY OR MOST of our local comics creators are LACKADAISICAL. MAJORITY ARE WANNABES. MAJORITY ARE YOUNG, INEXPERIENCED, BOISTEROUS, GROPING IN THE DARK, UNDISCIPLINED, AND TAKING THEIR PRECIOUS TIME.

The statement is plain and clear. If you two gentlemen are the exception, then why are you reacting on impulse like that? The statement is not being directed at you particularly or to those like you. Please read naman. If it wasn't clear to you or you had trouble comprehending what it meant, you could always ASK FIRST what the statement meant instead of immediately blowing off steam.


Or are you objecting to my opinion that most of our local comics creators today are lackadaisical? If so, then please say so and tell me why. Do you agree with the assessment or not? That's the issue in the statement. Are majority of our local comics creators lackadaisical? Do their works appear infrequently or not?

The issue is not WHY their works are infrequent, or WHY they are lackadaisical. The issue is ARE most of today's local comics creators lackadaisical, and ARE their works actually appearing infrequently? Just that, nothing more.

Sir Reno, I am focusing please, on the EFFECT of their actions and not on their personal and individual MOTIVATIONS. The motivations may be sincere and noble such as yours and Sir Gerry's, but if the overall EFFECT is that you don't really get a solid readership, a solid following, a genuine concern, for local comics works because they appear infrequently in the darndest of places beyond the reach of the income class C,D, and E readers, then yes, I stand by my opinion that the local comics scene is indeed in a rut, not diversified, and dull, because ALMOST every local comics creator takes his precious time in creating his work of art. I am attacking the EFFECT that RESULTED from these actions. I am not chastising their individual motivations.

But even then, assuming that sincerity, motivation, and some vague LOVE OF FILIPINO COMICS, had something to do with the issue of reviving the local comics industry. Suppose its an art solution to an art problem. Supposing this sole artistic or nationalistic 'love' powered mainly by active comics creators resulted in the creation of a scant few masterpieces; of local comics garnering critics' circle awards or are adopted into television series, do local comics today comprise at least 5% to 10% of the nation's total publishing output? In Japan, the manga industry comprises 20% of Japan's total publishing output. And that's still a conservative estimate. Could it be that there's more to it than just plain old, tired and true, "love"? When does the incomprehensible romanticism end?

Ever since the demise of the local comics industry in the late 1990s to the present, what has 'love' accomplished so far? Are we any way near the kind of respect we yearn for the local comics medium? So far we only see publicity and public admiration for comics artists working abroad, but not for an industry, a commercial business enterprise of printed comics publications in our country.

Sir Reno, Sir Gerry, some of us are not insensitive to what the few and exceptional local comics creators among us have achieved or are trying to achieve. But--and I hope you don't get me wrong--its not enough. Love and art are not enough. Its part of a big problem that's not essentially an art problem. Of course the comics writer and artist have a role to play, but they're not going to be the only players. Right now, as I see it from visiting other local comics blogs out there, the same old imbalance in favor of "art" is everywhere. Business-minded people and believe it or not, some OFWS who want to start a local comics firm, are at a loss on whether to risk their hard-earned money whenever they see the contorted funny faces of young comics creators on the monitor screen. "Are they dependable?" they ask. "Is this a joke?", they think. "Bakit parang hindi Pilipino ang gawa?", they wonder. Sheepishly, you grope for an answer: "E sir, they're having fun. They "love" kasi what they're doing. Pambata talaga ngayon ang comics e."

I'm sorry. So they've been juggling more important jobs to pay the bill, money is scarce, etc. etc. Okey. We get the sob story. We commisserate. We sympathize totally. Its great though that those few local comics were published. But hey, no follow-up. No matter. The readers after all, don't care about those sob stories. The reality is, they leave you behind if you don't give their next fix. So you jump several years today and you look around the globalized media landscape around us and ask: Where are we now? HAS LOVE REVIVED THE LOCAL COMICS INDUSTRY?

Tina Turner has a better question: WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nabasa ko po ang article na ito. Very intresting. Please keep it up whoever you are. I strongly recommended it to some of my friends. Wag po ninyo pansinin ang mga bumabatikos sa inyo. Lalong lalo na po sa mga walang alam nkundi ang gumamit ng "gago" at wala naman talagang laman ang kanilang sinasabi. Tama po kayo, marami po tayong mga komiks artist na hanggang "art" lang at panay emosyon ang alam. Ang importante po ay ang laman ng inyong sinasabi. Personally, wala akong pakialam kung sino pa kayo basta't may punto at hindi naman libelous sa isang tao ang inyong MGA hinahayag sa blog 'nyo. More power po kung sino ka man: sir/ma'am AKLAS ISIP.

4:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ako po ay nagsisimula pa lamang dito (sa pagkokomiks) at kasalukuyang gumagawa ng aking comic book na hopefully eh maging (graphic) novel (dko lang alam pagpublish nway saka na yun pagtapos na)... sa akin pong palagay sa inyong cnabi eh , ang mga comic artist ngayon ay naimpluwensyahan ng panahon at istilo na nakapaloob dito (manga, western, european, etc) at ang mabisang paraan na masabing ito ay may tatak ng pagka pilipino ay ilagay ang mga elemento ng mga pagiging pilipino hal. ang mga kwento ni lola basyang na mdyo aksyon, mga fiesta na biglang nagkagulo dahil my gangfight diba noypi ang dating marami pa at alam kong hindi naman pinababayaan ng mga magagaling natin yan ngalang pgdating lang talaga s presyuhan (ng komiks) gaya ng sabi mo eh kelangan kahit pano ay dapat may trabaho ka para mabili mo, sa mga gumagawa naman.. kung may pera kang pang produce eh madaling sabihin na gawin ito dahil sa pagibig at kung ikaw naman ay nagbabakasakali at walang gaanong resources- nagiipon eh maituturing pa ring love kaso with depression kc hindi mo alam kung tatangkilikin ba (dahil kinakain ang iyong oras)ngunit sa isang banda kung ito ang kakain ng iyong oras ay sulit dahil ito naman ang gusto mong gawin..cguro kahit na medyo hindi ganong kabuhay ang komiks sa atin (dahil sa namamatay na nga raw) eh nandyan naman ang mga independent ngalang sana magbigay din cla ng puwang sa mga baguhan lalo na yung mga walang kakilala o contact (gaya ko)..sa aking palagay ay may punto ka at kelangan pa rin natin ito ipilit na buhayin dahil meron tayong sariling istilo ngunit dapat sa paraan na ang makikinabang ng malaki ay tayo unang una ang pilipino...mabuhay ka AKLAS ISIP...(parang super hero un name mo)

12:47 PM


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