This is how I understand the situation. You know the way Gilbert Monsanto has established a Bayan Knights universe, right? It has many authors, many artists, many releases, but one united purpose.
Mythspace is a variation on that. There is one central author: Paolo Chikiamco. He has several stand-alone independent science fiction stories, within one general universe filled with KAAAAPREEES IIIIIIN SPAAAAACE. (What? I like how that concept sounds and reads.) That is, this universe is filled with the stuff of our local legends, not from other lands.
Each independent story will be released as a stand-alone comic, each one rendered by a different comic artist. There will be several that will be released this Summer Komikon. All may be compiled into a TPR volume in the future.
As previously mentioned, Pao has collected some of the better komikeros currently in the business. He is one man willing to pay for good service, and these artists deliver incredibly, driven by a great concept and a great story rather than the commission rates. This surely shows in all the output of the Mythspace team.
Pao gave me early access (thank you!) to some of the releases coming out this Summer Komikon. They will be spoken for below.
Humanity (illustrated by Cristina Rose Chua)
Many generations ago, humans from Earth were abducted by the Kataw and brought to their planet. Over the years they were made into slave labor, living on legends of the old Urt, and the possibility of being delivered by spacemen. Marta and Danny are miners and friends, laughing through the daily hardships, seriously dreaming of freedom and a different future. When a hasty decision suddenly gives them that chance…their choices may separate them.
It’s a little difficult to explain Cristina’s style. It’s kind of like an artist using a calligraphy brush to make comics with, creating a distinct but clear, understandable presentation. Facial expressions on the characters appear well, with just enough comedy to complement Pao’s occasional punch-line scripting. In some places the script or the paneling (or both) stopped too fast, then jumping in too quickly, and the pacing felt off for a few seconds. Otherwise, though, it’s a nice memorable piece, with likeable, cute, very competent art.
Liftoff part 2 (illustrated by Koi Carreon)
Abducted free human skater-boy Ambrosio has agreed to be part of an interplanetary bounty-hunter team (along with a tanggal, a nuno, and a tikbalang). They come to a powerful and dangerous planet to kill off its leader. To pull off their gig, the team disguises themselves as slavers and slave. It was going well until stuff suddenly backfires on them. But Bros may actually get a second chance to prove himself. Just not the way he, or anyone, expected.
This is the continuation of the story in the issue 0 release. Incredible as this sounds, this new chapter is actually a leap better in all aspects than the first one. The snarky snide grins are clear in their intentions as illustrated. The tension in the story is understandable the whole time. The paneling has improved to be more diverse, but more coherent. The backgrounds and foregrounds are well detailed and impressive. Koi has found his personal komik voice, and he’s pulling out all the stops.
Black Mark (illustrated by Paul Quiroga)
Even a planet inhabited completely by nuno has a caste system, with everyone living in various levels and kinds of helms. The political class has been cruel to the ones below, and has caused robot-mechanic Mang to lose his family and lose his community helm. A mysterious woman gives him the offer of the Black Mark, a mission so dangerous it’s suicidal. In return she gives a once-only chance at a glorious revenge.
On display is Pao’s mastery of the short story form, in his ability to introduce around six characters without losing sight of the main character, provide a world-build, a premise, and a good conclusion…in a work that spans roughly 40 komik pages only.
The most impressive among the three highly-impressive releases in its level of detail, Quiroga’s work is also boasts of a unique take on the mecha genre. His robots, the bungis, look derivative of both east and west, creating a distinct new thing, as is the usual way of our people. There are points when the action and speed lines, and some of the panels, become confusing to the reader, but this is such a minor gripe when you’re faced with line art this well-controlled.
We have nothing to talk about. (erm, in Tagalog: Wala tayong pinag-usapan.) You must get these releases. All three are able to stand alone, but they build on each other, so it’s a good idea to get them all. This is the output of a skilled Palanca-winning writer, backed up by incredible artists. The results are nothing short of awesome.