The 15 (personal) masterworks of the last 10 years

Hello again.

The earlier list was to the give the important titles that defined the new indie komik age during the last years. You may be wondering why many titles are not included in it.

There is another list for that.

The following are also important to the indie komik age, but for a different reason. They are the titles that push the limits of the genre, providing the most incredible work we have seen during the last ten years. If most of the titles name the veterans of the indie age, it is because they are the ones pushing the limits, for all komikeros after them to follow.

There are some things that I have not read for various reasons, but which are noted to be well-crafted. These include The Courageous Princess series, and Lola:A Ghost Story. For this weakness, I apologize. These titles are still recommended for finding.

Titles named in the earlier list are not repeated here. Again these are not by rank and not by year of publication.

1. Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby (Gerry Alanguilan and Arnold Arre)
Rodski is a super-genius government secret weapon, but even super-genius girls have to love. Showing Arnold Arre at the height of his skill, with a full-color graphic novel that goes through the entire rainbow spectrum through the skilfully-made science-fiction tale that still manages to comment about family and romance, that shows Sir Gerry at the height of his story-making prowess.

2. After Lambana (script Eliza Victoria / art Mervin Malonzo)
When you combine one of the consistent masters of local speculative fiction, with a master of haunting komik art, you have a story that moves beautifully across two worlds, ours and one inhabited by diwata, and a young man that has to find the other world, in order to stay alive.

3. Light series (Rob Cham)
Light, Lost, and eventually Leaving, push the boundaries of both no-dialogue comics and the alternative, nontraditional comic styles, creating a wonderfully rendered, highly-detailed fantasy world traversed by an unnamed seeker and a warrior friend. This is done in a way accessible to both children and adults, with memorable scenes and characters.

4. Melag (Bong Redila)
A remarkable storyteller in a detailed pen-and-ink style, the anthology compiles his best work of the last few years both local and international. The stories are generally accessible to both children and adults, and wonderfully bend reality until it melds with fantasy, while it addresses such themes as isolation and separation.

5. Skyworld series (Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria)
The series is a story of epic proportions, giving the battle between skygods and aswang, and the half-gods and humans keeping the balance. The level of detail is astounding in each panel and page. And yet the story moves with a even pace, never forgetting its main character even as the war whirls around him.

6. Sixty Six series (Russel Molina and Ian Sta. Maria)
A senior citizen caring for a wife with Alzheimer’s disease suddenly acquires super-powers. While he does go through the expected testing himself for the super powers, the story wonderfully explores how an older person would handle both his new-found strength, and the continuing bitter realities of his elderly daily life. And all of this is delivered with a beautifully slow, even pace, with an incredible level of detail that shows all the emotions and thoughts of its main character.

7. Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon comic adaptation (Edgar Calabia Samar, script Carljoe Javier, art Natasha Ringor)
When the story of a young skilled gamer caught in the crossfire of a massive tiyanak attack is rendered in komik style, it makes the already well-written book even more terrifying, but better presented. Between the excellent piecing of important book concepts and dialogue, and the wonderfully creepy illustrations of all the folklore characters, the result is a well-paced graphic novelization, that makes the story more accessible and better received.

8. Dragon Breed (Elmer and Ma. Cornelia Damaso)
Among the manga-style komiks, the most detailed and most immersive series comes from the creators of Cat’s Trail, in giving the tale of a young soldier who finds himself the awaited powerful dragonslayer. No manga-style komik comes even close to its level of detailed art, while delivering effective world-building and character presentation.

9. Crest Hut Butt Shop issue 4 (Gerry Alanguilan)
The Crest Hut Butt Shop series appeared in the very early years of the indie age, even before there were Komikons, such that even I haven’t seen most of the earlier issues. But one issue was released by Sir Gerry, opening his heart and sharing to the komikero world about his sudden hospitalization, slow and gradual improvement, and all the thoughts and pain that come with chronic illness. It is a quietly beautiful one-shot piece, a testament of rising from pain, and how komiks and love has changed him for the better.

10. Kare-Kare Komiks (Andrew Drilon)
Andrew Drilon is a master of both words and art, and the compilation of his work shows the wide range of his incredible skill in both, giving us imaginative stories that challenge the limits of the nontraditional styles, as well as comics that give profound discussions of interesting concepts. All of this in a detailed, versatile style that changes capably for the occasion.

11. 12:01 (Russel Molina and Kajo Baldisimo)
Giving a poignant short story of the resistance from the Martial Law era, telling the tale of four young people found outside during curfew. It makes the resistance resonate with a new generation, while explaining why exactly that era was NOT what it was made out to be. And all of this is rendered with Kajo’s even pacing with his careful attention to detail.

12. ZsaZsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila (Carlo Vergara)
The ongoing sequel series finds Ada in Manila, while superheroes try to recruit her, other superheroes try to destroy her, both kind of superheroes keep destroying the immediate world of Manila, and real life keeps threatening to break her heart. And all this while showing us how Carlo Vergara has immensely added to his prodigious skill in both scripting and komik-making, while constantly pushing how frank komiks can be about LGBT love and relationships.

13. Kanto Inc. (Melvin Calingo, Joanah Tinio-Calingo, Kilayman)
A nuclear physics graduate gets probably under-employed as a house caretaker, but she finds herself in the the craziest house filled with supernatural things and surrounded by an albularyo, a professor, and a grumpy computer-whiz girl. But the series is one of the most well-detailed among the comedy series, while giving a convincingly crazy story filled with unusual fantastic events, while giving us very lovable and likeable characters.

14. Immortal Wings (script Carlo Jose San Juan / art Rod Espinosa)
An impossible melding of scifi and fantasy concepts, rendered with an incredible detailed full-color art that delivers on said impossible melded scifi and fantasy concepts, creates a wacky adventure that follows a swordswoman as she seeks final vengeance. This creates an incredible 4-issue international series that has been received well in places.

15. The Dark Colony: Mikey Recio and the Secret of the Demon Dungeon (Budjette Tan, JB Tapia, Bow Guerrero)
The list is rounded up by the well-detailed, well-thought battle between humans and the forces of darkness, with a young man caught in the middle, unsure if he wants to be the successor his grandfather wants him to be. A detailed story even filled with notes at the back, but never bogging down the delivery of that tale, wait for more of this series as it comes out.

There are probably a few I am forgetting. Also, this does not miss the fact that incredible work has also happened in comedy and 4-panel komiks (such as Kapitan Tog by Freely Abrigo, Bruno Barbero by Rommel Estanislao, and The Land of the Guardians series by Carlo San Juan), as well as in western-style komiks, manga-style komiks, and the new alternative and nontraditional styles. But these are the series that leave one with jaw slack-open, just admiring everything, challenging everyone to better, greater things.

And because these exist, the next ten years are expected to have even better work.

Come join us and watch this happen.


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