The CW180 comics rapid reviews [502 komiks]

(I’m sorry, I’m not sure if it’s 2.5 komiks or the komiks from room 502 or something else, so if I got it wrong please just comment)

Carljoe Javier managed to pull off probably the first formal comic-writing subject with units in the country. Several of the releases at the Indie Tiangge this year are the results. I managed to get four of them. (There are also probably other komiks related to this class but were released with other comic groups, but I am not sure.)

It is appreciated that the mentor allowed them to use whatever format and whatever art style they wanted, as long as they told a coherent story within the given parameters. Javier’s preference for the more alternative comic styles is palpable, but the individual creators were allowed to be themselves. The quality of either the production or the art reflected the newness of the creators and the involved artists (some are familiar names from UP Grail, many are absolute first-timers). However, the mentorship also gave the creators a proper sense of story structure within the comic form. Therefore many mistakes newcomers make regarding scripting, story pacing and panel presentation were corrected at earlier stages. It is hoped that the subject is allowed to continue, and that more writers would benefit from it.

Kapitan Bayaran (Joanne Cesario/Michelle Bacabac) — Albert suddenly has the power to read minds, and his dormmate Miguel sees a business opportunity in him. It’s all fine at the start, and extra money is good, but things suddenly turn ugly, and Albert finds himself in over his head. Both the story and the art style are deceptively simple, but both are unique. Both are rendered and paced well, such that it ends with a nice, bittersweet, satisfying ending. While steeped in the UP college culture, it’s relatable and fun no matter where you are from. It’s smart and bitingly insightful without being condescending. That fact is much appreciated.

Losing Center 1 (AJ Nuque/Clarisse Culla) — A young man arrives in heaven, only to find out that he has lost his heart and needs to find it back on earth before gaining acceptance. The authors promise more parts, therefore this just gives an introduction of the situation. That said, there is sufficient buildup of both the situation and the main character to get us interested and invested. Some of the dialogue was cramped into their speech balloons, and some of the rawness of the illustrations makes the comic half endearing and half annoying. But these are minor problems, and overall the comic is planned well, sufficiently sarcastic about religion without being insulting, and quite likeable.

Goons (Joey Pastrana/Mary and Hinchel Or) — Jesus Leon applies as a goon for Erik Vega’s Illustrious League of Villains, but it seems like everything he knows from the Henchmen manual is wrong, or everybody else is breaking all the rules. The whole thing is filled with jibes at the villain stereotypes, both local and international, and is therefore quite fun that way. But with someone on board this project who works with Gunship Revolution, I think I expected a more refined end-product (better typesetting, better scanning/GIMP-ping, somewhat better pacing), at least more evaluation from its seasoned people. That said, it was quite the fun read, hitting all the stereotypes without losing its sense of humor.

Candido’s Apocalypse (Nick Joaquin adapatation/Cyrene Ela/Natasha Ringor) — Everybody Bobby sees is naked to him. This, of course, makes him irritable, as if Pompoy Morel and his gang don’t have him irritable enough already, and ready to snap. This is based on a Nick Joaquin novella. (a nice summary and background can be found in the review here).. and if more of the Joaquin novels were given the comic treatment, there is a higher chance they will be read more by the non-literary crowd. The visuality of the comic medium strikes home the important aspects of the story, which then makes one interested in reading the original material. This is the strongest release among the output comics, and not because it is an adaptation. The paneling, artwork, and typesetting are all sharp and clean, well-detailed when necessary. The correct decision-making during scripting in what to put in and how emphasized the story well. Therefore the core text did not drag down the visuals, and visuals were used rightly when it would do it best. When nothing else would do, the core text was used and highlighted by itself on a blank black page, giving importance to the prose without losing the visuality. It was worth the added expense for a better final comic presentation, with a color cover and sharp printing/photocopying. I hope high grades were given.

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