Where Bold Stars Go to Die (alanguilan / esmena) [komikero publishing]

My earliest remembrance of this title is probably in Komikon 2010, where some eager gentlemen were rather loudly querying, “Do you still have ‘Bold Stars’?” and only belatedly realizing how that sounded. At the time I was still learning the komiks ropes and did not have the nerve for this title. Now I do (don’t ask how or why), and I am grateful for the loan of this book from the Kowtow guys.

Immediately I must say that the work DOES have, well, images of bold stars, and thus has tasteful nudity throughout, as well as in its artist gallery at the end. Therefore this is a NSFW product and requires a mature taste…of having an open mind, not a green one.

Daniel belatedly learns and gets a crush on 1980’s starlet Anna from one of those old videos, slowly descending into a life where he thinks of her and getting to do her, 24/7. This leads him to a state of place and being where the memories of bomba stars of yore go to be either remembered or forgotten.

The awesome master komikero actually steps away from illustrating duties for this one and passes it to his friend Arlanzandro Esmena. A very wise choice, for the work is well served by being a tribute of sorts to the old komiks through Esmena’s classic style (something that won’t happen if he stuck to using his edgier and more modern style). Just the one-page panel with all that incredible scenery is worth the price of admission.

Even if the whole work is about, well, sexual desire, the overall theme is not desire, but the need for love and acceptance. That may be hard to believe in a work this full of unresolved tension and release of hidden urges, but Alanguilan’s script brings that idea across precisely by the end of the story. The ending is bittersweet, but is worth the trip.

The pin-up gallery is a veritable who’s-who of artists, some already departed. I swear the pin-ups don’t make you drool at the women, they make you gasp at the artistry of the illustrations.

On the whole, the work is deserving in its current place as a new classic of the komiks indie age. Come to it with an open mind and acceptance of the female form, appreciating what has been before and what is now, and the merging of both.

Nice review by GMA7 back in 2010 here: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/181118/lifestyle/culture/gerry-alanguilan-romanticizes-dead-bold-stars


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