Digmaang Salinlahi unang aklat (zamar / various artists) [point zero]

I got my copy for free after bothering the author with myself during this little komiks seminar (a very nice one, by the way). And about time. For quite the longest time I had no idea where to start about this series I keep seeing.

I got this book for asking if John Zamar wanted a Pinoy house style of comics, the way there is a western style (DC, Marvel, etc.) and an eastern style (manga, manhwa, etc.). He said no. Every artist should be free to do their thing, and thus interpret their own way what it means to be a Pinoy komik artist. After going through this, I realize: Digmaang Salinlahi is his personal answer, and the answer of his friends.

The current generation of enkanto and humans have inherited a civil war. Both sides are not too sure how it started, not anymore, even after generations where the two peoples did work together. But the war is at the tipping point, where one people can dominate the other for good, or both can finally find peace. The future rests in the hands of a select group of leaders on both sides, their key fighters, and half-bloods caught in the crossfire.

OH, I don’t deny that this is some of the nicest comic art I’ve seen, the meeting of the Point Zero greats plus their friends. Of course it’s awesome in the layouting, the paneling, the detail work, the inking and finishing, the overall presentation. It’s as pro-grade as it can get in the indie age. It’s the work of people who definitely know what they are doing.

Definitely I do not deny that this is one mean feat of political intrigue PLUS fantasy of the very Pinoy kind. All the important characters are interesting and multi-faceted, all very real and relatable. You understand why each one is on which side, and don’t blame them for their actions. The story immediately immerses us into this world, familiar to us, yet unique to the author.

I did like it, quite a lot. I WILL definitely track this series now, now that I understand how it started. So it is painful to me to be saying the succeeding things.

Because several artists did the various chapters, and each of them have such unique art styles, characters across the chapters are hard to recognize, even if they wear the same clothes. Lumauig is hard to recognize between chapter 2 and 3. So is Idaranggian and Suleiman across the four chapters. Because of this there are points in the whole story that become confusing to the reader of the compiled chapters.

The font used for the initial parts and the character profiles are indeed good-looking but are also somewhat hard to read. In the case of the character profiles, the background design blurred some of the letters.

There are also several points where characters talk and discuss longer than they should, made a little more difficult since the work uses a deep kind of Tagalog. Alternately, since it uses such deep language, it is jarring when it occasionally uses modern transliterations (such as ‘desisyon’ and ‘transportasyon’).

Overall, it is not without its weaknesses, but it is definitely an incredible piece of work by some of the pioneers of this new age. It deserves Visprint wide release, because it definitely deserves a wider audience. This is a battle-cry piece, in more ways than one, and a worthy answer to the search for the new identity.

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