Welcome to the blog/website for EK Gonzales.

Basic writer information and free-website moderator information about me is present within these pages. Also available are a bunch of personal reviews for Filipino indie/semi-indie komiks.

Information/blog posts dedicated to the Jumper Cable Chronicles (under Adarna House) are now at the Jumper Cable Chronicles blog.

If you’re here for the komik reviews, please type in the name of what you’re looking for at the search box to your right. (Reviews here are circa 2010-2013)

Fast updates and heads-up on events: https://www.facebook.com/pinoykomikninja/

More recent reviews:
Komikninja on Instagram (2014-current short reviews with pictures)
PinoyKomikNinja on tumblr (2012-2014 longer-ish reviews)

Enjoy your stay!


I have a ko-fi!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I got a Ko-fi basic account, for whatever such an account may be useful to you. I like how it’s no-pressure. The permanent button is on your right.

Thank you to everybody who have found the blog posts and the IG reviews useful. πŸ™‚

Jumper Cable Chronicles, BOOK ONE (Si Santa Anita)

As you can see from the name of this wordpress site, it was made for a many-years dream to have things for a Jumper Cable series, at least to update when short stories come out. But komiks became an interest, so to keep the blog more active in its earlier days, komiks reviews happened.

Roughly ten years after the first Haya Project story came out in Philippine Genre Stories, this one is very happy to plug a completed long story as published by Adarna House. Translated by the incredible Xi Xuq, who very capably made my English into a very accessible Filipino.

First release will be at the Manila International Book Fair, September 12-16, 2018.

Purchase the book here.

Adana House’s official blog post here.

Further, as this place has clearly now part of komiks history more than it’s about the Jumper Cable series, I’ll be making a different wordpress blog for it. πŸ™‚ Major announcements will be mirrored here.

publisher-indie komiks for schools (college)

Here we discuss the komiks that are printed under a publisher, which makes them a bit easier to find. Maybe start with these, then try finding the rest of komiks during a Komiket or Komikon.

These are suggested as hopefully useful for college discussion.

– Kabuwanan (various female artists) [Haliya]

An anthology created by some of the best komikeras, including Emiliana Kampilan and Hulyen, the anthology presents various situations with women in them, showing their strengths and vulnerabilities.

– Dead Balagtas: Mga Sayaw ng Dagat at Lupa (Emiliana Kampilan) [Anino]

The important work by the creator of the webcomics, tackling LGBT relationships and their acceptance in society, the reality of employment contratualization, the discrimination against activism, the reality of growing up.

– Strange Natives: The Forgotten Memories of a Forgetful Old Woman (Paolo Herras/Jerico Marte)[Meganon]

An old women goes through all her memories, passing through the changes in Philippine history. It is a wonderful and personal exploration of our joint history, through the eyes of one woman.

– Tabi Po series (Mervin Malonzo) [Visprint/Haliya]

The important work by Mervin Malonzo is gritty and does not hold back on blood and human anatomy, but the story of the aswang who lives as the Noli Me Tangere plot moves resonates, in its questioning the over-emphasis we have on Rizaliana, the classism that persists, and our treatment of whoever we think as other.

– Gwapoman 2000: Ang Huling Baraha (Aaron Felizmenio) [Meganon]

A hero fallen from grace now has to fight crime with a salamangkero and a rogue private detective. But before he gets there, the whole work is a good discourse about justice in the country, how it bends for the powerful, and has capacity to ruin the powerless.

– The Mythology Class (Arnold Arre) [Nautilus]

Arguably all of Arnold Arre’s material deserves academic discourse, but his pivotal work is still this, giving us a solid glimpse into Filipino folklore as a group of students try to stop evil forces from consuming the world.

– Elmer (Gerry Alanguilan) [Komikero Publishing]

The Sir Gerry’s important work, about a chicken trying to live in the world of men, which still resonates. Several important topics are given a discourse, including employment discrimination, racism, and classism.

– ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Sa Kalakhang Maynila (Carlo Vergara) [Visprint]

In contrast to the original series, this sequel is better at addressing current problems faced by LGBT in daily life, besides having extra characters and villains. It is also braver about Ada expressing love in general, which makes for better discussion points.

I’m probably forgetting some, so it’s okay to suggest some more titles.

Meganon, Nautilus, and Haliya are independent publishers, and the best way to get their books is to contact them directly. Visprint and Anino/Adarna House titles are easier to find in bookstores, but they’re just a fraction of all the komiks available. Take a chance on one or several, and come back for more.

Take a chance on komiks. There are wonderful stories with wonderful insights always coming out now. Take a chance.

publisher-indie komiks for schools (high school)

Here we discuss the komiks that are printed under a publisher, which makes them a bit easier to find. Maybe start with these, then try finding the rest of komiks during a Komiket or Komikon.

These are suggested as hopefully useful for high school/senior high school.

– Maktan 1521 (Tepai Pascual) [Visprint/Meganon]

A retelling of the events around the battle of Maktan, but in the eyes of Datu Lapu-lapu, his balangay, and the neighboring tribes afraid to go against the Spaniards. It quickly undoes what we have always been told about it, because it is not in the eyes of colonizers, but in the eyes of our own intelligent, driven people.

– Ella Arcangel (Julius Villanueva) [Haliya]

Ella is like Trese, one who protects reality from the supernatural world, but she does this as a poverty-stricken girl in an informal-settler barangay. This reality permeates the whole story, changing how Ella moves and responds to challenges, while protecting her chosen family, while protecting herself against her own family sometimes. It is serious stuff, but can be handled by high schoolers.

– Strange Natives: The Boy with Capiz Eyes (Paolo Herras/Carlorozy Clemente) [Meganon]

A young boy just goes to the province with his parents on vacation, but finds that he has access to a very strange world, and that his relatives have a rather strange supernatural background. Beautifully illustrated work, it is a very impressive adventure that can resonate with young adults.

– Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon comic adaptation (Edgar Calabia Samar/Carljoe Javier/Natasha Ringor) [Anino]

The Janus Silang series is already being read in schools, and some are correctly using the komik version to better understand it. It does not hold back on the horror aspects, but well controls the story being interpreted.

– CAST (Jamie Bautista/Arnold Arre, Elbert Or, other various artists) [Nautilus]

From the early age of indie komiks is the story of a two neighboring high schools trying to make a King Arthur adaptation musical, and the problems that come with it. Still one of the best interpretations of high school life even after around 10 years, copies are still available with the publisher.

I’ll add to this list as I remember. Also please suggest titles that you are aware of.

Meganon, Nautilus, and Haliya are independent publishers, and the best way to get their books is to contact them directly. Visprint and Anino/Adarna House titles are easier to find in bookstores, but they’re just a fraction of all the komiks available. Take a chance on one or several, and come back for more.

Give the new age of komiks a chance.

indie komiks for schools (college) (early 2018)

Most of the komiks coming out are generally for the young adult and adult level, and a good number of them are already worth discussing.

Again, please note that this list will not have the catalog under Anino/Adarna House, Visprint, Meganon, Nautilus, and Haliya. I’ll get to them, there will be a separate list for them. Yes it is best to start with the works they have, some of the best in all of komiks.

This is a list of completely-indie material that will hopefully work for the college level.

– Patay Kung Patay (Mike Alcazaren/Noel Pascual/AJ Bernardo/Josel Nicolas)

Yes it’s about a zombie invasion at a hacienda of a powerful political family, but it is an incredible exploration of the abuse of political power, the reality of political dynasties, the disconnect between the powerful rich and the abused poor and working class. It even attacks the state of news and media in the country.

– Pasig (Melvin Calingo)

One of the classics of the indie age of komiks, about a futuristic Pasig, people being enslaved and made to fight in ‘sabong’-type battles, and the people fighting to free and help such fighters. Some of the best science fiction in all of indie komiks is in this series, and its discourse about right and wrong when poverty and power are at stake is solid.

– Muros (Paolo Chikiamco/Borg Sinaban) [Studio Salimbal]

Information broker Caloy Loyzaga goes deep into a Manila filled with aliens, trying to find a young alien woman in danger from the underworld and political goons, as well as make sense of his own powers. So it presents a half-futuristic gritty Manila, addressing the fact of the underworld and its political ties, as well as racism in the country in general.

– Windmills (Josel Nicolas)

Josel Nicolas’s semi-autobiography rendered in animal form, it is some of the best heart-openings in komiks, revealing the insecurities of a young adult in love and as an artist, with incredible honesty.

– I’m a Legal Alien (Francis and Patrick Concepcion)

The whole world and the Philippines in particular have had to accept actual humanoid aliens from another planet. But racism is alive and well in the country, we just have different ways of showing it. This series does explore that, by following the life of a middle-aged alien with a son marrying a half-alien.

– Uwian: a wlw anthology (CatGablin)

Made by a collective of newer komikeras, many one-shot stories about women falling in love with other women, a celebration of LGBT relationships, and a wonderful look into the possible future of komiks as held by women creators.

– No Pun Intended (Gio Custodio)

Short and quiet, but directly addressing our current reality of EJK, it moves quietly then hits hard.

– Keith Busilak (Julius Villanueva)

A taxi driver who is an honest supporter of the president has to live life normally, as the world changes around him, as the reality of the unserved promises make him at least consider. It’s a wonderful discourse of the dissonance of all the political messages, of both sides.

– Darwin’s Association of Delicious Evilness (Carlorozy Clemente)

Yes, I know what I’m saying. Darwin is a very bad elementary level boy, who dreams of ruling the school underworld, as it were. But the whole work is presented as accessible to adults, rather than children, along the way discussing power plays in childhood, or presenting adult power plays in the guise of childhood games. It’s about time it’s analyzed for these things.

– Agents of Ambush (Andrew Villar/Sam Velasco)

The sequential newspaper daily story is actually some of the best discourse in komiks about family in the Philippines, the one you are born with and the one you accept. It head-on addresses separation between a couple, the impact on the children, and even the reality of second partners. All this, while Amber Gonzales tries to save the world and everyone she loves.

Also: there are currently many one-shot komiks and zines made by komikeros often in college comic orgs, dealing directly with mental health issues, LGBT issues, feminism, politics, and sexuality. One just needs to go to any Komiket or Komikon and get all of these works, because many of them appear only once.

Give the indie age of komiks a chance. Wonderful stories are being made all the time, wonderful insights are now being made. Give the indies a chance.

indie komiks for schools (high school) (early 2018)

Few works of literature are intentionally made for analysis in the school setting. Eventually good and great pieces make it there. In like manner, komikeros create what resonates in their hearts and minds, and make the best komiks they can.

It is in this one’s humble opinion that some komiks are already worth noticing, worth reading in school settings. None of them set out to be so, but they are stories worth thinking about, with characters worth considering.

Please note that this list will not have the catalog under Anino/Adarna House, Visprint, Meganon, Nautilus, and Haliya. I’ll get to them, there will be a separate list for them. Yes it is best to start with the works they have, some of the best in all of komiks.

This is a list of completely-indie material that will hopefully work for the high school/senior high school level.

– Zona Cero (Faye Villanueva) [Kawangis]

The domain of Intramuros is a colony under Iberia, while the domain of Manuvu remains independent and a thorn to Iberia. Anton Malik, a young talented illustrado and soldier, heads a batallion ordered to launch an attack against Manuvu. But Anton sees and learns things about both the colonizers and the people of Manuvu, which makes him question his allegiances, as well as questions the best use of his strong innate powers. Now a compilation of its four issues, it is thoughtful, thought-provoking exploration of the effects of colonization on all of us, while giving a strong narrative.

– The Graveyard Shift (Chelsea Oreta)

Maya is uprooted from the Philippines by her nurse mother, to live in the US. That is major as it is, but Maya has inherited powers able to deal with demons and monsters, and there are also demons and monsters in the States. A major aspect of the material is the uprooting, the sudden change of environment, and the having to understand these changes as a teenager. The whole series is available in print and online from the author.

– Sagala (Tori Tadiar)

In a planet and country being wooed by an alien race to be its colony, Riel is a sharpshooter who wants to be courtesan for an alien prince, for the stability it provides, while her brother Constantino tries to protect his country and his sister by acting as double agent for the alien colonizers. But said country feels like the Philippines of the Spanish era, and the alien race feels familiar as our former colonizers. In this respect, while giving a good story full of intrigue and good characters, it discusses the fact that our colonization was and is a thing of many factors, many motives.

– Itch (Mich Cervantes)

Aya is a student in a religious school, so many topics related to sexuality are either left undiscussed or unsaid. She is forced to learn things herself, as many teenagers are. This therefore serves as a good talking point for the realities of sexual education in this country, and in certain environments in particular.

– Nagmamahal, Maria Clara (Marian Hukom)

Maria Clara travels in time, and finds herself in modern-day Manila, where a film company is looking for a ‘Maria Clara’ character. In this way, Marianie gives an incredible discourse in how we interpret the concept of ‘Maria Clara’, as well as concepts of femininity and being a female, including the discrepancies and dissonance often present.

– Uy, si Crush! (Richard Mercado/Gaby Taylo)

This series did start about a guy who likes a girl who likes him back, but neither of them want to say it. But focus on the secondary story it runs, about a tall athletic guy who has a long-distance relationship with a former classmate, now uprooted to France. It is one of the smoothest, best rendered stories of a gay relationship while in college, accessible enough to high schoolers.

– It’s More than That (Richard Mercado)

A college-level student muses about himself and his sexuality, and his relationship with an old friend. A quiet discussion of being gay and the acceptance of it, with atmospheric art that is rather easily understood, thus a good talking point about being LGBT in the country.

If you have more suggestions, please send them in.

I’ll try to make a list for college-level students, too. πŸ™‚

The 15 (personal) masterworks of the last 10 years

Hello again.

The earlier list was to the give the important titles that defined the new indie komik age during the last years. You may be wondering why many titles are not included in it.

There is another list for that.

The following are also important to the indie komik age, but for a different reason. They are the titles that push the limits of the genre, providing the most incredible work we have seen during the last ten years. If most of the titles name the veterans of the indie age, it is because they are the ones pushing the limits, for all komikeros after them to follow.

There are some things that I have not read for various reasons, but which are noted to be well-crafted. These include The Courageous Princess series, and Lola:A Ghost Story. For this weakness, I apologize. These titles are still recommended for finding.

Titles named in the earlier list are not repeated here. Again these are not by rank and not by year of publication.

1. Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby (Gerry Alanguilan and Arnold Arre)
Rodski is a super-genius government secret weapon, but even super-genius girls have to love. Showing Arnold Arre at the height of his skill, with a full-color graphic novel that goes through the entire rainbow spectrum through the skilfully-made science-fiction tale that still manages to comment about family and romance, that shows Sir Gerry at the height of his story-making prowess.

2. After Lambana (script Eliza Victoria / art Mervin Malonzo)
When you combine one of the consistent masters of local speculative fiction, with a master of haunting komik art, you have a story that moves beautifully across two worlds, ours and one inhabited by diwata, and a young man that has to find the other world, in order to stay alive.

3. Light series (Rob Cham)
Light, Lost, and eventually Leaving, push the boundaries of both no-dialogue comics and the alternative, nontraditional comic styles, creating a wonderfully rendered, highly-detailed fantasy world traversed by an unnamed seeker and a warrior friend. This is done in a way accessible to both children and adults, with memorable scenes and characters.

4. Melag (Bong Redila)
A remarkable storyteller in a detailed pen-and-ink style, the anthology compiles his best work of the last few years both local and international. The stories are generally accessible to both children and adults, and wonderfully bend reality until it melds with fantasy, while it addresses such themes as isolation and separation.

5. Skyworld series (Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria)
The series is a story of epic proportions, giving the battle between skygods and aswang, and the half-gods and humans keeping the balance. The level of detail is astounding in each panel and page. And yet the story moves with a even pace, never forgetting its main character even as the war whirls around him.

6. Sixty Six series (Russel Molina and Ian Sta. Maria)
A senior citizen caring for a wife with Alzheimer’s disease suddenly acquires super-powers. While he does go through the expected testing himself for the super powers, the story wonderfully explores how an older person would handle both his new-found strength, and the continuing bitter realities of his elderly daily life. And all of this is delivered with a beautifully slow, even pace, with an incredible level of detail that shows all the emotions and thoughts of its main character.

7. Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon comic adaptation (Edgar Calabia Samar, script Carljoe Javier, art Natasha Ringor)
When the story of a young skilled gamer caught in the crossfire of a massive tiyanak attack is rendered in komik style, it makes the already well-written book even more terrifying, but better presented. Between the excellent piecing of important book concepts and dialogue, and the wonderfully creepy illustrations of all the folklore characters, the result is a well-paced graphic novelization, that makes the story more accessible and better received.

8. Dragon Breed (Elmer and Ma. Cornelia Damaso)
Among the manga-style komiks, the most detailed and most immersive series comes from the creators of Cat’s Trail, in giving the tale of a young soldier who finds himself the awaited powerful dragonslayer. No manga-style komik comes even close to its level of detailed art, while delivering effective world-building and character presentation.

9. Crest Hut Butt Shop issue 4 (Gerry Alanguilan)
The Crest Hut Butt Shop series appeared in the very early years of the indie age, even before there were Komikons, such that even I haven’t seen most of the earlier issues. But one issue was released by Sir Gerry, opening his heart and sharing to the komikero world about his sudden hospitalization, slow and gradual improvement, and all the thoughts and pain that come with chronic illness. It is a quietly beautiful one-shot piece, a testament of rising from pain, and how komiks and love has changed him for the better.

10. Kare-Kare Komiks (Andrew Drilon)
Andrew Drilon is a master of both words and art, and the compilation of his work shows the wide range of his incredible skill in both, giving us imaginative stories that challenge the limits of the nontraditional styles, as well as comics that give profound discussions of interesting concepts. All of this in a detailed, versatile style that changes capably for the occasion.

11. 12:01 (Russel Molina and Kajo Baldisimo)
Giving a poignant short story of the resistance from the Martial Law era, telling the tale of four young people found outside during curfew. It makes the resistance resonate with a new generation, while explaining why exactly that era was NOT what it was made out to be. And all of this is rendered with Kajo’s even pacing with his careful attention to detail.

12. ZsaZsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila (Carlo Vergara)
The ongoing sequel series finds Ada in Manila, while superheroes try to recruit her, other superheroes try to destroy her, both kind of superheroes keep destroying the immediate world of Manila, and real life keeps threatening to break her heart. And all this while showing us how Carlo Vergara has immensely added to his prodigious skill in both scripting and komik-making, while constantly pushing how frank komiks can be about LGBT love and relationships.

13. Kanto Inc. (Melvin Calingo, Joanah Tinio-Calingo, Kilayman)
A nuclear physics graduate gets probably under-employed as a house caretaker, but she finds herself in the the craziest house filled with supernatural things and surrounded by an albularyo, a professor, and a grumpy computer-whiz girl. But the series is one of the most well-detailed among the comedy series, while giving a convincingly crazy story filled with unusual fantastic events, while giving us very lovable and likeable characters.

14. Immortal Wings (script Carlo Jose San Juan / art Rod Espinosa)
An impossible melding of scifi and fantasy concepts, rendered with an incredible detailed full-color art that delivers on said impossible melded scifi and fantasy concepts, creates a wacky adventure that follows a swordswoman as she seeks final vengeance. This creates an incredible 4-issue international series that has been received well in places.

15. The Dark Colony: Mikey Recio and the Secret of the Demon Dungeon (Budjette Tan, JB Tapia, Bow Guerrero)
The list is rounded up by the well-detailed, well-thought battle between humans and the forces of darkness, with a young man caught in the middle, unsure if he wants to be the successor his grandfather wants him to be. A detailed story even filled with notes at the back, but never bogging down the delivery of that tale, wait for more of this series as it comes out.

There are probably a few I am forgetting. Also, this does not miss the fact that incredible work has also happened in comedy and 4-panel komiks (such as Kapitan Tog by Freely Abrigo, Bruno Barbero by Rommel Estanislao, and The Land of the Guardians series by Carlo San Juan), as well as in western-style komiks, manga-style komiks, and the new alternative and nontraditional styles. But these are the series that leave one with jaw slack-open, just admiring everything, challenging everyone to better, greater things.

And because these exist, the next ten years are expected to have even better work.

Come join us and watch this happen.

The (personal) 16 important komiks of the last 10 years

Long time no see. It’s just that this needed doing.

In the spirit of #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy, this unworthy one will hope to give a short list of important titles and series that have defined the new indie age of komiks, the one that rose from the ashes of the ‘golden age’, the one fostered by the Alamat group (so cool now, btw, that they are now literally legends) and the Culture Crash group, the one that has fanned the flames for a new generation of komikeros.

The new indie age of komiks is no longer defined by one consistent, regular style. It is now many voices, many thoughts, many dreams, and thus many styles and modes of creation. The spectrum runs from 4-panel comedy series, manga-inspired styles, western-comic-inspired styles, to feminist, LGBT-positive, and politically-charged alternative works. There is no one style that defines the whole. There are many that represent what komiks is now.

One thing is true for all: They are all Filipinos, proud to be, eager to show it to the world, ready to shout it to everyone. They will also call out what is wrong or problematic in the world, and that is also being a proud Filipino.

Unfortunately I could not stop at 12. Thus this stops at 16 names.

The given titles are in random order, not by rank and not by year of appearance. Also I remind that there are many, many, many other komiks not mentioned here, but are also good, important work for all of komiks. (Also there are no pictures. I’ll get on that slowly.)

Such known classics of the indie age that are The Mythology Class, ZsaZsa Zaturnnah, Elmer, Pasig, Digmaang Salinlahi, Kubori Kikiam, Cat’s Trail, and CAST are not repeated in this list. They are from the early 2000’s and past the last 10 years. But yes, they are still the respected classics that they now are, and they still deserve to be sought out and read and honored.

You may also be wondering why incredible things like After Eden, After Lambana, Light and Lost, Rodski Patotski Ang Dalagang Baby, Halina Filipina, Dragon Breed (under Black Ink), Kare-Kare Komiks, and Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady as a komik are not in this list. Yes, they are very noteworthy works, and yes they are also important, go find them, OH PLEASE go find them. But there is other groundbreaking work, and they are shown here.

1. 14 (Manix Abrera)
By the rock-star famous (also former rock star) komikero most known for the Kikomachine series, it is a no-dialogue trip into a fantasy world on the 13th floor of a strange condo. It is the most fantastic use of the no-dialogue format of komiks, the best representative to date, and some of Abrera’s most beautiful, highly-detailed work to date.

2. Maktan 1521 (Tepai Pascual)
The work that definitively drew the line between manga-styled komiks (of which there are still many), and komiks that are fully and completely Pinoy in heart and soul, just with manga leanings, it re-imagines the arrival of the Spanish colonizers through the eyes of the Cebu tribes that fought against them. After this series appeared, there started a consistent mindshift toward a komiks that is Pinoy in heart and soul, no longer copying from Japan, but being an entity of itself.

3. Strange Natives 2: The Forgotten Memories of a Forgetful Woman (script Paolo Herras / art Jerico Marte)
An old woman looks back on her colorful life that passes through a world war, occupations by two foreign nations, the arrival of martial law, and the re-coming of democracy. One of the most beautiful long works in recent time, with a well-timed powerful script, combined with a highly-detailed wonderful distinct art style. One of the few stand-alone graphic novels, and a wonderful trip into our recent history.

4. Itch (Mich Cervantes)
A powerful one-issue komik in the alternative styles, and one of the best representatives of the nontraditional komik art styles, it is a quiet but piercingly insightful discourse about sexual education in this country, especially the lack of it, as hidden in religion-run schools.

5. Dead Balagtas (Emiliana Kampilan)
One of the longer-running webcomics, and still the most piercing and penetrating in its insight into both our history and our present, through its well-defined, well-detailed, well-timed panel anecdotes into Philippine history.

6. Tabi Po series (Mervin Malonzo)
One of the few rare full-color webcomics then graphic novel series, using a watercolor haunting style, giving us a rewrite of the Noli and Fili through the eyes of a group of aswang. Along the way it is a piercing observation of how we treat the other among us as a culture, both historically and in the present.

7. Trese series (script Budjette Tan / art Kajo Baldisimo)
OF COURSE one cannot be making a list like this and not name them, the work that best defines the indie age, that started with its inception and continues to best define indie komiks for the whole, in its mastery of story delivery and art presentation. The continuing adventures of Alexandra Trese protector of Manila, with her two confidants and bodyguards the Kambal, it is also a powerful feminist statement, that a series can be spearheaded by a woman and totally, completely succeed.

8. Agents of Ambush series (Andrew Villar and Sam Velasco)
And because Trese exists, Amber Gonzales, Agent Ambush, continues to thrive in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as a long-running sequential-story series about secret agents with family problems while saving the world and fighting interplanetary foes. Its focus is family, both the one you are born with and the one you accept in your life, and this is done in a very Filipino way, the best way we know how to live…just with spaceships and strange locales.

9. Windmills (Josel Nicolas)
One of the finest representatives of the alternative-comic styles, the semi-autobiographical, animal-personified heart-opening of its creator, revealing college life and lost love, is a totally heart-felt observation of life and maybe depression, seen in every panel in its painful honesty. It also defines every alternative-type komik that deals in these themes, whether the new breed accepts that fact or not.

10. Mythspace volume 1 (script Paolo Chikiamco / art Koi Carreon, Borg Sinaban, Cristina Rose Chua, Jules Gregorio, Paul Quiroga)
Notoriously but proudly known as the ‘Tikbalangs in Space!’ series, it is that and more, rendered by some of the best komik artists of one mini-generation, giving a science fiction world with a completely Filipino culture and mindset at the helm. You did not know you needed science fiction without a western lens until you saw this, and this delivers in spades.

11. Patay Kung Patay series (Mike Alcazaren, Noel Pascual, AJ Bernardo with Josel Nicolas)
It is not Crime Fighting Call Center Agents (but also find it), even if that is also an incredible series that introduced us to the powerhouse duo of Noel Pascual and AJ Bernardo. But Patay Kung Patay is leagues more powerful and more terrifying, as the story of the zombie invasion that decimated a political clan and its hacienda. It is a strong observation against the rich and powerful of this country, and the deep-seated need to have justice against them sometimes. It is also some of the best of the grittiest art in all of komiks, strong and dynamic in every panel.

12. The Hotdog Prince series (Francis Martelino)
The longest consistently running comedy/action series about an ordinary lazy boy who loses his nose to an entity named the Hotdog Prince definitely is absurd, but makes an incredible coherent sense. Even more than Carlo Clemente’s Darwin’s Association series (which is also good, find it), it is the representative of the action-type komiks rendered in the manga-inspired style. That does not mean, even for a second, that it is manga. It is solidly, hilariously, powerfully Filipino in every line and fiber and crazy shouting match.

13. Gwapoman 2000: Ang Huling Baraha (Aaron Felizmenio)
Edgardo Liwayway is a hero fallen from grace, now forced to work with a salamangkero nemesis and a rogue private investigator as a team. Yes there is a roughness to this work, but it needs more credit than it gets, one of the better presentations of komiks as a whole, with a highly detailed style, with sharp insights into the state of justice in this country.

14. The Filipino Heroes League (Paolo Fabregas)
Head-on addressing the OFW situation of the country, and the lack of resources left in the country as a result, and yet with people working for the country despite that lack of resources, while it is framed through the superhero genre, it is well-drawn, well-paced look at those realities, and gives a dream that penetrates those realities to give hope for things that could be done. Among the superhero genre komiks, it is also the most coherent, as well as one of the most Pinoy. That is, it is the one that draws the line between those that are western-inspired, and those that are Pinoy with western-comic leanings.

15. Kalayaan series (Gio Paredes)
Granted there are other superhero komik series that may have better art and better execution. But the adventures of superhero Kalayaan remains and continues, through all the years of the new indie age, and continues to inspire those who prefer these kinds of stories. Kalayaan himself is a superhero with heart, both for his country and for his immediate family, and he is never afraid to show it to all, which makes him very human, and very Pinoy.

16. Private Iris series (Jamie Bautista and Arnold Arre)
This, the Kuting Magiting series (by Robert Magnuson, also find them), and the Pilandokomiks (by Borg Sinaban) are the gateway komiks that children have into this new world of komiks, and Private Iris is one of the long-standing ones in English. Among the three mentioned, this is the one that reveals to school-age children, especially from private schools, about this new komiks world, and for that it is very important. Of itself the adventures of a smart and observant girl detective is a wonderful addition to literature.

These are but a small fraction of all the komiks that have been made in the last ten years. Such signposts of the age, like the 4-panel Callous comics (by Dr.Carlo San Juan), all the works by Rommel Estanislao and Freely Abrigo, new 4-panels by Gio Guiao (of Lakan and Makisig) and Ramark Masangkay (Opismeyts), the social media frontiers penetrated by Toto Madayag (of Libreng Komiks), the quiet comedy and serious work of Mel Casipit (notorious for #cheesyfit), the gothic material by Patrick Enrique, the groundbreaking work of Ligaya komiks (by new breed creators Addie Onday and Faye Bergonia), the slow and steady but culturally-adept work by Faye Villanueva, the beautiful work by Natasha Ringor for the Janus Silang komik adaptation, the continuing awesome work by the Alamat veterans (like Skyworld and the David Hontiveros creations), the continuing 4-panel pillars that are Beerkada, Pugad Baboy, Kikomachine, and others…these haven’t even been mentioned, but are also as important.

Many, many more are being made, shown at every Komikon, Indieket, Komiket, and other local events.

Please, please join us. There is a whole universe of komiks now to explore, many styles and many themes and many formats to enjoy. Come and see what we know, what we are all excited to find.

Expendable on #JustWritePH


Activated semi-short story Expendable has been included in the For Justice bundle, one of five bundles from the JustWritePH seminar (responsible people given above). Buqo is the publishing sponsor of the event. The other stories included are another fantasy and two detective stories, so…can’t go wrong. πŸ™‚

Please support the other bundles as well, which have romance in various levels and kinds, slice-of-life, and fantasy (and a steampunk story, I understand). ^^v