Manila Accounts 1081: Good Criminals Wear White 1 (felizmenio, mananita, quilantang, mortega) [frances luna III illustration firm]

First of all: the guy on the cover is NOT Stan Lee or Larry King; it’s Tony de Zuniga, one of the institutions of Pinoy komiks who continued to believe in it even when the commerciality died, and continued to support when the indie age emerged.

Second: 1081 Manila Accounts appears to be heavily linked to the Bayan Knights universe, so if (like me) you’re not too well versed with the Sacred Mountain releases, several of the characters will definitely fly over your head. That said, the cameo characters can be understood for the superheroes that they are even without that context.

Third: Read the enclosed mock-up articles, by Alyssa Mortega, and make her happy. They have a bite to them that is only evident if you read them all the way through.

Ahem. Here we go.

This is one of the more highly-anticipated indie releases of this Komikon, having had a preview in the summer and the Indieket.

It not only delivers. It will blow you away.

The foursome introduced in the Binondo Attention Heist are STILL hankering for attention, in a 1972 Manila that has many more important things to think about. They meet on the night of the declaration of Martial Law thinking up yet another outrageous stunt. Unfortunately for them, not only are the Bayan Knights busy fighting crime, they are also busy fighting their own kind. Real justice is left in the hands of…these good criminals!

As someone who isn’t well-versed in Bayan Knights and yet knows the Morion, I found it most refreshing how self-deprecating Wan Mananita was for this story. The Morion, his personal creation, was placed with the antagonists, without being given special place or priority above the other superheroes. He allowed Aaron Felizmenio to let loose on the character, even as the real protagonists were still emphasized.

As with Gwapoman 2000, a good chunk of this story does NOT have the four protags front and center. Instead, their importance is emphasized by their absence, by their NOT being discussed by the other characters. This is a writing device that is hard to pull off in any medium, and yet these guys do it so well.

Lastly it’s so refreshing that these good criminals are so, very, normal. Smart and wily, yes. But very Pinoy, very down-to-earth, and very human. This, in a story filled with flying people with extra powers, is so cool. To see ordinary Pinoys fighting extraordinary ones. It’s the typical Pinoy against-all-odds tale, done with a twist, done well.

There is not much I could still say about the art that you don’t already know. Between Felizmenio and Mananita there is incredible talent enough and plenty. The pacing, the paneling, the blocking, the ‘camera angles’: they are all on a high level without losing the importance of story and character to bring it all together. RH Quilantang’s section of the comic is also rendered so well, with his skill in inking and cross-hatching well on display here.

And oh: that spoof of the Spolarium is so much win.

I have been gushing too much. But the gushing is deserved. This totally deserved the money I was allowed to not pay to get this release.

Follow this series to its end. Without losing its respect for the people and groups who first gave them attention, this story will turn the superhero genre on its head, in a way that could get international, while being totally local.

(Have I given you enough lines to use for another blurb, boys? ^^v)

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8 thoughts on “Manila Accounts 1081: Good Criminals Wear White 1 (felizmenio, mananita, quilantang, mortega) [frances luna III illustration firm]

  1. Hope you can consider posting pictures of the covers or the interiors even. Its a good way to help unfamiliar readers find the books when they see them during conventions 🙂

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