Let us start off by saying this about one of the two editors for Kwentillion: the man is one of the staunchest fans of Tegen Toppa Gurren Lagann. That insane anime masterpiece which reminds us that anyone, absolutely anyone, no matter how small and insignificant, when given enough support and inspiration, has the potential to pierce the heavens, overcome the universe, and RAW RAW FIGHT THE POW-AH.
He brings that drive to this endeavor.
Way too many have probably said that this could not be done, that it would not sell, that it would not work. And yet initial sales are already proving the naysayers wrong. It turns out that many have also been silently waiting and hoping. We are thankful to Summit for believing.
Kwentillion does not aim to be the K-zone for young adults, nor does it aim to be the Candy for geeks. It aims to be a story and comics magazine, by Pinoys and for Pinoys. Kinda like Asimov’s for young adults, I guess.
The editorial immediately hints that the magazine will eventually open for submissions. The chosen selections set the bar they want to keep, and that bar is HIGH. This is not to scare anyone, but to challenge. (Enough of the Komikon Indie Tiangge authors are already in the caliber fit for the mag.) Because the Pinoy komikero and writer can do it, and these editors believe.
I actually like the balance of comics, fiction, and articles. The font used, while small, is very readable. Generally the layout for the text-heavy pages are easy on the eyes, though I tend to take a deep breath staring at the text wall I’m about to face.
Eventually I do want them to feature at least one multi-issue comic over several issues of the magazine, probably as the last one out of three every 2 months. Preferably these would be those who have already made names for themselves in earlier Komikons and deserve better public awareness.
Now for the individual comics (because quite frankly Andrew Drilon’s anything written or drawn leaves me too speechless to properly review, thus I won’t even attempt for The Origin of Spin-Man):
High Society (Chikiamco/Buena) has already been reviewed elsewhere and will no longer be covered by this review. Short version: I like it so very much. The shift from half-page-size to the current page-size only improved on it.
The Last Datu (Tan/Baldisimo): In a futuristic/fantastic dystopian world the daughter of a human datu and an enkanta has to fight her way to find answers, and maybe save her world from complete destruction by netherworldly invaders. What I most appreciated is that fact that it’s not about the world Budjette made and Kajo fleshed out, though that is very intriguing. It’s about the main character, finding her answers and her heritage, and thus, finding her place in the world, no matter how painful it will be to know. Kajo brings his incredible line art and paneling to the piece, which stands out so well since it utilizes more lighted or daytime scenes as compare to the Trese series.
Poso Maximo: A Fair Trade (Robert Magnuson): There’s something strange in your neighborhood. Who you gonna call? This World War II vet Poso Maximo who can’t make sunny-side-up eggs to save his life and keeps a monster menagerie in his house. For a fee he will get rid of whatever stalks your toilets and/or makes noises under your bed. This gives one such commission by a little boy with a bad toilet-monster problem. Since Magnuson is a veteran of children’s books, the comic comes out very adorable and cute, while trusting in the intelligence of the readers to understand much of the no-dialogue panels. Poso Maximo comes out very likeable, interesting, and memorable, even in the one-shot comic given here.
Sky Gypsies (Dimacali/Bumanglag): Just, OHEMGEE. Atahah Kalluman, thank you for making this comic exist. Professional-comics-grade, highly-detailed pen-and-inking abound in this work. Paneling is beyond competent, it’s worth international publication. The story itself is also awe-inspiring, highly believable and well-delivered. In the space-bound future, foreigners are still taking advantage of our countrymen as cheap labor. In this case, the Sama-Laut of the Badjao tribes are now used as space fishermen/miners for rare interplanetary minerals. But the father-and-son team given here remind us of why we’re Pinoy and why no people, no matter how rich and powerful, can completely own us. It is so completely sci-fi, and yet so completely native Pinoy. It is a major injustice to this work why it has no international presence.
On the whole, it’s a strong first release, and we could only want more. I hope that my fellow countrymen do not disappoint Budjette and Pao, by giving them more awesome work to release.