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

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Ever since the fall of the Roces family komiks monopoly in the mid to late 1990s, one would expect the rise of new, independent and competing komiks publishers with different publishing policies to take its place.

It was naively thought at the time that the mass reading market or "masa" would see a flowering of these new and independent komiks publishers comparable to the mushrooming of numerous and freethinking newspaper tabloids and magazines of the late 1980s that were published after the 1986 EDSA revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

It was thought that Filipino komiks pop culture would blossom anew, with its mass readership still intact and providing a unique local voice for its generation.

What happened

Instead, we find print publishers and potential investors shying away from local komiks publishing. We see these businessmen going into newspapers, textbooks, coloring books, school supplies, printing tagalog romance pocketbooks or reprinting American mainstream comics from Marvel and DC with either English or Tagalog/Filipino translations. 

A few go one better by directly importing the DC and Marvel comic books themselves and selling them at very high prices to the upper income class A and B market in the few urban areas of the Philippines such as Metro Manila. And in a few years they varied the product by importing english translations of Japanese 'manga'.   

Local creative talent on the other hand went on to other careers in media such as animation, or performed outsourced work as pencilers, inkers, colorists of the American (or other) mainstream comics industry

A marginal few however, would go into "self-publishing" that is, photocopy or print a few hundred copies of their U.S. or Japanese mainstream comics inspired magnum-opuses. Some look professional while majority are evidently amateurish. They all have limited circulation with devout cult followings often looking up to Fil-Am comics creators of U.S. comics as 'Gods'.

What went wrong?


Anonymous macoy said...

oist, welkam back aklas! more or less :D

mukhang na-inspire ka sa komikon kahapon ah.

anyways, a few refutations:

pinapairal mo nanaman ang makitid na depinisyon mo ng komiks bilang "masa" komiks. i.e. kung walang masa komiks, walang komiks.

bago na ang panahon... bagamat di natin matutuldukan na di na uubra ang masa-style komiks sa kasalukuyang market, malabo nang may investor na tumaya pa dito. not after the caparas komiks fiasco.

sa nakikita ko, nakailang subok na ng komiks ang summit media (kwentillion, underpass). anjan din yung tiktik na base sa pelikula. anjan din ang indie komiks scene na papalago ng papalago napapansin na ng mainstream (at foreign!) media. so... MERONG industriya. maliit, di organisado, sporadic ang output, pero MERON.

of course, pohteytoe-pohtahto situation tayo malamang dito dahil ayon sa depinisyon mo, hindi bumubuo ng industriya (at malamang hindi maka-pilipino) ang mga nabanggit kong komiks.

binabanggit ko lang para makita mga ibang readers ng blog mo na di black-and-white ang sitwasyon ng pinoy komiks ngayon.

the times are changing friend, your world view is getting left farther and farther behind.

6:58 AM


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