Finishing as much of the backlog as possible tonight. This is some of the last of the stash from the Kowtow boys, again my thanks. After this wave will come the stash from the winter Komikon.
Ang Sumpa (Andoyman / GI Federizo) [Andoyman Komiks] — I have only one thing to ask: Where is the rest of this story? Because the primer is so well presented, with great copy, paneling, inking, and art, that it’s a shame I don’t know what happened afterward.
Dino Shogun (Toby Fournier) / Balot (Jonathan del Mundo) [obvious productions] — Dino Shogun is drawn and inked very well, and is also typeset very well. But the story pacing is rather uneven, and the dialogue is too modern for the setting the author gives here, whether you consider the dinosaurs or the Japan era. It’s not about being in an alternate universe: it’s about being convincing. Balot is better paced, and is about a balut vendor whose family problems turn for the violent. The heavy inking style matched with the rectangular paneling suits the story well. The ending is convincing because of the good progression toward it.
Children of the Dam (OJ Orduna / Henry Anima II) [PaperClip Komiks] — Two children share the responsibility of caring for a dam that protects a town. The boy successfully turns out temptations to leave his post, but the girl gives in. This obviously leads to a depressing ending. On the whole the art is done very well, but also feels rather stilted or awkward. This is a very minor gripe, though, in a piece that complements its subject matter nicely.
Komikon Comic Creation Entries (Mel Casipit) [Mukat Comics] — Mel Casipit has improved by leaps and bounds from his humble Mukat beginnings, and this is shown to great effect in the three stories in this anthology, all of which won various places in the Komikon. He can shift between cutesy-comedic and dramatic stories with seeming ease without losing his attention to detail and awareness of pacing. It’s just incredible to see how he keeps honing his craft as the years go by.
Hollyhock (Angelo Tobias) — This is best described as a nightmare given as a comic. Which is not a bad thing, not at all, especially when the nightmare is given as vividly as this. The whole sequence, even in its weirdest twists and turns, is understandable, and does follow a rising action, high point, and a conclusion. The use of digital inking to complement a really good traditional sketching style is put to great effect.
Realm of Dreams: Crimson Night (Lady Storykeeper) [Bokimkatje] — This is a preview issue for the series, and it gives how Aliyah goes about her day working for a funeral parlor director, but really as an odd kind of avenger. I’m probably not giving this summary ample justice, but Lady Storykeeper is still one of the better practitioners of the manga-style, giving it her personal touch clearly seen in the finer details of Mr. M’s extravagant regular costume.
Dragon Kid 3 (Lady Storykeeper) [Bokimkatje] — Keiko is finally starting to assimilate with human life, and getting the better of the it girls who are also the school top bullies. But the other world is still after her, and the new release is Ereberus the wolfman. If you favor the manga style, as I said above, she is one of the better people doing it, with likeable characters and highly competent art.
Guantes: Suganas (Kahlil Baet / Brian Fajardo) [Pulang Punla] — Now this, this is one of the better collabs Kahlil Baet has done, with one of his better stories. And this is one of the things I regretted not getting for myself in the Summer Komikon, after so many good words about it. Shemuel, a boxer with a future, refuses an offer to throw a fight…and gets himself in a whole lot of trouble. But as he completely gives up hope, an otherworldly beautiful being gives him access to a special fighting gauntlet. He soon uses that gauntlet to fight evil, even if evil is sometimes siding with the government. I just wish there was enough budget to release this work in full color, because I’m sure some of the awesomeness of this great art is lost in production, even if the offset printing was rendered well.
Life in Progress volume none (Julius Villanueva) — This is the first author compilation of the comic strips, and not all of them made it into the newspaper. After this publishing companies picked up the series for printing. There is still a nice thing about this being an indie release. And I finally grew to like this series, another barkada comic but with its own personal charm, now that I have many of the strips in close succession. I could only wish it continuing success.