While the debate rages whether we do have a komiks industry back or we just have Komikons, some komikeros, part of both the industry age and the indie age, have been finding solutions to the problem. One of these is a collaboration with the publisher of the Precious Hearts Romance book line. This created Black Ink, a line of affordable small-book-length komiks. The goal, of course, is to show that a new age has come, but still maintain good prices that anyone interested can get without breaking banks. If you’re thinking that it looks like the PHR books, or that they are exclusively mushy romantic stuff, both are wrong assumptions. This book is a good example. Since I’m not particularly a fan of the vampire genre, I gave this one a try for starters.
No one was expected to survive a horrific plane crash induced by manananggal, but six people did. One of them is Lawrence, and he survives it like nothing happened. But soon he starts changing for the weird, and becomes something like a bird-man. He also starts seeing creatures he doesn’t know, and gets involved with fighting them, against his will or comprehension.
As a product of a writer and an illustrator who come from the old and the new, this is a good combination of the knowledge from both. There is a professionalism here and a presence of the classic-komiks style that is impressive. There is also an understanding of the newer forms of paneling and presentation, as well as great use of current technology. This results in a product familiar to those used to classic-komiks, but will also draw in those familiar with the indie age.
The pacing dragged a bit in some places, as they slowed down to take advantage of the higher number of pages, but this is not a major complaint. Generally this was used so we could better understand the character and his circumstance. The story is also not directly aimed at a ‘masa’ audience, and this may or may not work to their advantage.
Overall one can only wish success for the Black Ink line, such as more and diverse titles. It’s a good idea, and I do hope it helps spark the formal return of the industry.