Few works of literature are intentionally made for analysis in the school setting. Eventually good and great pieces make it there. In like manner, komikeros create what resonates in their hearts and minds, and make the best komiks they can.
It is in this one’s humble opinion that some komiks are already worth noticing, worth reading in school settings. None of them set out to be so, but they are stories worth thinking about, with characters worth considering.
Please note that this list will not have the catalog under Anino/Adarna House, Visprint, Meganon, Nautilus, and Haliya. I’ll get to them, there will be a separate list for them. Yes it is best to start with the works they have, some of the best in all of komiks.
This is a list of completely-indie material that will hopefully work for the high school/senior high school level.
– Zona Cero (Faye Villanueva) [Kawangis]
The domain of Intramuros is a colony under Iberia, while the domain of Manuvu remains independent and a thorn to Iberia. Anton Malik, a young talented illustrado and soldier, heads a batallion ordered to launch an attack against Manuvu. But Anton sees and learns things about both the colonizers and the people of Manuvu, which makes him question his allegiances, as well as questions the best use of his strong innate powers. Now a compilation of its four issues, it is thoughtful, thought-provoking exploration of the effects of colonization on all of us, while giving a strong narrative.
– The Graveyard Shift (Chelsea Oreta)
Maya is uprooted from the Philippines by her nurse mother, to live in the US. That is major as it is, but Maya has inherited powers able to deal with demons and monsters, and there are also demons and monsters in the States. A major aspect of the material is the uprooting, the sudden change of environment, and the having to understand these changes as a teenager. The whole series is available in print and online from the author.
– Sagala (Tori Tadiar)
In a planet and country being wooed by an alien race to be its colony, Riel is a sharpshooter who wants to be courtesan for an alien prince, for the stability it provides, while her brother Constantino tries to protect his country and his sister by acting as double agent for the alien colonizers. But said country feels like the Philippines of the Spanish era, and the alien race feels familiar as our former colonizers. In this respect, while giving a good story full of intrigue and good characters, it discusses the fact that our colonization was and is a thing of many factors, many motives.
– Itch (Mich Cervantes)
Aya is a student in a religious school, so many topics related to sexuality are either left undiscussed or unsaid. She is forced to learn things herself, as many teenagers are. This therefore serves as a good talking point for the realities of sexual education in this country, and in certain environments in particular.
– Nagmamahal, Maria Clara (Marian Hukom)
Maria Clara travels in time, and finds herself in modern-day Manila, where a film company is looking for a ‘Maria Clara’ character. In this way, Marianie gives an incredible discourse in how we interpret the concept of ‘Maria Clara’, as well as concepts of femininity and being a female, including the discrepancies and dissonance often present.
– Uy, si Crush! (Richard Mercado/Gaby Taylo)
This series did start about a guy who likes a girl who likes him back, but neither of them want to say it. But focus on the secondary story it runs, about a tall athletic guy who has a long-distance relationship with a former classmate, now uprooted to France. It is one of the smoothest, best rendered stories of a gay relationship while in college, accessible enough to high schoolers.
– It’s More than That (Richard Mercado)
A college-level student muses about himself and his sexuality, and his relationship with an old friend. A quiet discussion of being gay and the acceptance of it, with atmospheric art that is rather easily understood, thus a good talking point about being LGBT in the country.
If you have more suggestions, please send them in.
I’ll try to make a list for college-level students, too. 🙂