Wednesday, July 27, 2005

When Lightning Strikes

Eh, busy week so far. Feeling tired and bleh and looking forward to more work 'til Saturday. Anyway, I'm just gonna share a pair of penciled drawings from four years ago:Image hosted by Photobucket.comStorm during her '80s mohawk days. The radical makeover was courtesy of her best friend Yukio.Image hosted by Photobucket.comSuper-speedster Impulse, before he changed his moniker and costumed identity to Kid Flash.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Not Mere Words

I’ve been meaning to list down some of the most creative lines from a few of my favorite songs. McVie’s nice post about his favorites beat me to it. Here’s mine. Great imagery and stories in these brilliant lyrics, too:

“When I was all messed up and I had opera in my head, your love was a light bulb hanging over my bed.”
--U2, “Ultraviolet”

“For a man aged ninety years, no words to waste on sermons, he'd be pleased to answer short and sincere: ‘Girl there's nonsense in all these heaven measures. It's a heathen creed, so your grandma says. The better to live by... drink it all before it's dry!’”
--10,000 Maniacs, “Everyone a Puzzle Lover”

“Dreams of sights, of sleigh rides in seasons, where feelings not reasons, can make you decide. As leaves pour down, splash autumn on gardens, as colder nights harden their moonlit delights. And I love you.”
--Lightning Seeds, “Pure”

“But now old friends are acting strange. They shake their heads, they say I've changed. Well , something's lost but something's gained in living every day. ‘
--Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now”

“Orion's arms are wide enough to hold us both together. Although we're worlds apart, I'd cross the stars for you.”
--Prince and Sheena Easton, “The Arms of Orion”

“I've got money in my pockets. I like the color of my hair. I've got a friend who loves me. Got a house; I've got a car. I've got a good mother, and her voice is what keeps me here.”
--Jann Arden, “Good Mother”

“And I’ve never found a way to say ‘I love you’, but if the chance came by, I would. But way back where I come from, we never mean to bother, we don’t like to make our passions other people’s concern.”
--Dar Williams, “Iowa”

“Give me hope for the children. Give me a worldwide religion. Give me peace in a restless world.”
--Midge Ure, “Dear God”

“Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star? One without a permanent scar? And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?”
--Train, “Drops of Jupiter”

“He wants me, but only part of the time. He wants me, if he can keep me in line.”
--Til Tuesday, “Voices Carry”

“I fall into the water and once more I turn to you. And the crowds were standing, staring, faceless, cutting off my view to you. They start to limply flail their bodies in a twisted mime. And I'm lost inside this tangled web in which I'm lain entwined.”
--Sarah McLachlan, “Vox”

"Come a rumbling, humbling feeling, like things will never, ever be the same. But what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Today I'm strong enough, and anyway, I love the rain."
--Asia, "Days Like These"

“I am not the one who laughs at people's jokes; I just pacify their egos. I am not my house, my car, my songs. They are only stops along my way.”
--Paula Cole, “Me”

Friday, July 22, 2005

Salamat Po, Doktora

Renowned sex therapist and author Dr. Margie Holmes on LNA: "I loved your comic book and have, in fact, started a letter to you telling you about it. Hindi ko mahanap right now, but I want you to know that I think your work is brilliant! And the characters are people you start to care about."

I love you, Dra. Holmes.

It's still available, if you've yet to read it, blog readers. Also, to those who missed owning a copy of Carlo Vergara's National Book Award-nominated One Night in Purgatory, he re-released it in Comic Quest Megamall. Buy now!

Arty Farty

Back in college, one of the few professors who really showed up to teach was Mr. Jimmy Delos Santos, whose Aesthetics and Art Criticism lessons were some of the most memorable ones in my last two years of school. In a nutshell, what I learned from them was, as artists, we basically have the responsibility to always be open to improvement, both in technical and substantial aspects of our craft. The lessons that he imparted mostly focused on the lives and works of influential artists, as well as the progression of several art movements that still influence or delight many of us. As an illustrator himself, he encouraged open-mindedness and originality, and discouraged us from adopting “abstract-abstrakan” (pseudo-abstract art) as a style. This, I still feel, was one of the more important lessons I got from school. We were free to pursue what our minds and hands were itching to do, but at the same time, the professor wanted to instill in us the ability to recognize gimmickry disguised as art. And we were expected not to be complacent in our works ourselves.

I mention this now because among the dozens of cheap comic books I recently bought, there were those that stick out because of bad art and storytelling. Uncanny X-Men # 400, for example, had a few pages drawn by Ashley Wood. He’s obviously inspired by Bill Sienkiewicz style-wise, so one can expect the hazy, scratchy linework that characterizes the pioneer’s work. But what’s disappointing about it was its simplistic and confusing presentation. What happened to Stacy X in one particular page? Why was she screaming? What are those rectangular things near her face? Oh, they’re fingers! Because the dialogue implied that she was captured. But was she tickled into captivity? Poked by those thin, rectangular digits? I really couldn’t tell.

When anatomical and facial structures are stylized beyond recognition like that, it just ruins it for me. I’m not a fan of Scott Kolin’s art either—his faces and figures look way too rushed. And he draws several covers and comic books a month. Go figure.

The comics medium has allowed, and continues to allow, diverse art styles. And there have been a number of artists I loathed years ago, like Salvador Larocca (he was Image-y then) and Carlos Pacheco (his figures looked bloopy a decade ago, for some reason), but I now truly admire them and try to learn from their improvements. I hated Ryan Sook’s work before because he was a bad Mignola clone, but I now respect him because he’s proven he can do so much more in Zatanna. They fill out blank pages with dedication and a sense of artistic identity that make the books they worked on worthy of my money.

Buying all those bargain comics also introduced me to a lot of talented newcomers, or artists who’ve been around but deserving of more attention and projects. I look forward to seeing more of them, and reading more superheroic and non-spandex exploits in the hands of very capable creators whose love for their work and the medium are easily evident. More power to all of them. And may they become better artisans that young hopefuls can look up to.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


My super-generous and extra-nice editor Pam Pastor invited me to speak at a Journalism workshop for over 40 high school and college students last Friday afternoon. The campus journalist attendees from all over the country were screened and included in a 3-day activity that featured lecturers like Inquirer publisher Isagani Yambot, reviewer Ruey de Vera, creative editor Tim Yap, lifestyle editors Chelo Banal-Formoso and Pam, contributing writer Me, and a few others.

I wish I had a camera; my name was on the classy tarpaulin banner with the rest of that lineup. I also wanted to take pics of the kids, many of whom were enthusiastic about participating in the discussion (well, some of them were bleary-eyed and succumbing to Red Box’s mega-chilly airconditioning). It was an honor and a pleasure to share and discuss with them. Like a man possessed, I talked for about an hour about interviewing people (celebs and non-celebs) and answered their questions as best as I could. They were smart youngsters, and I don’t doubt that I’ll be working with a bunch of them in the future.

To the students and Pam, thanks so much for this cool, cool experience.

Picky pic
Image hosted by Graaarh

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Preservers (Expanded Roster)

Image hosted by Photobucket.comPencil drawing, June 2000.
One of my old super-teams, comprised of sidekicks and young adventurers. Here's another version of the team.


Image hosted by Photobucket.comStole this pic from Gerry. My friend Amy let out a little shriek, she told me, when she saw this during Ramon de Veyra's slide show for the Gaiman thingy last Monday. Thanks, guys. :)

Tears in TV Heaven

I saw the Angel episode "Shells" again last night over Studio 23 and couldn’t help getting a little teary-eyed as it ended. The last minute was a montage of scenes that focused on Team Angel as they dealt with the death of a dear colleague and friend, Fred (Amy Acker). Her soul was destroyed as her body was inhabited by a resurrected old god, Illyria (also played impressively by Acker). There have been a few memorable scenes from many shows that evoked that same reaction from me, scenes that capture that perfect blend of imagery, words and music. They tugged at my heartstrings then, and are still powerful for me now. Some examples:

1. David Fisher lashes out at a hate crime victim’s funeral (Six Feet Under, “A Private Life"). A Matthew Shepard-esque scenario forces the once-closeted gay man to confront a self-righteous homophobe during the funeral of a young victim.
2. Buffy bids Spike goodbye at the Hellmouth (BtVS, “Chosen”). Seconds before reformed vamp Spike sacrificed himself, Buffy tearfully revealed, “I love you”. Spike replied, smiling: “No you don’t. But thanks for saying it.”
3. Andrew Van de Kamp admits his car accident to his mother (Desperate Housewives, “Anything You Can Do”). One of the most heartbreaking scenes in the series was summed up in one word: “Mama?”
4. Buffy leaves Sunnydale after losing everything (BtVS, “Becoming, Part 2”). She was framed for murder, her mother discovered her secret identity and she was forced to execute an evil lover, so Buffy quit her Slayer duties and left town. Sarah McLachlan’s Full of Grace fit the last few scenes seamlessly.
5. Illyria lies to Wesley (Angel, “Not Fade Away”). Spoiler. During one of the final scenes of the series, Wesley and deceased flame Fred reunite… kind of.
6. Justin gets attacked by a gay-bashing classmate (Queer As Folk (US), Episode 22). After dancing with his boyfriend Brian at the prom, Justin gets beaten to a coma by a baseball bat-wielding bastard.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Dreams and Superpeople

Comics Bargain Junkie
Spent a few hours last Saturday, Sunday, and early today scouring Comic Quest outlets North and Festival for more 30-peso comic books. It’s a good thing the sale ends today, or I’d end up going there again tomorrow. I now have whole runs of spandex-fests like Warlock (by Greg Pak), Invaders, Rawhide Kid and Thor: Godstorm, as well as random issues of New X-Men: Academy X (I like many of these new characters, students mentored by ex-New Mutants Dani Moonstar, Wolfsbane, etc.), JSA, Robin (Spoiler got tortured during War Games!), X-Men Unlimited, Spectre (by DeMatteis), Thanos (guest-starring Galactus!), Strange (by JMS), Spider-Man’s Tangled Web (indie creators do Spidey!), Fantastic Four, JLA: Classified, GLA, Witches, Runaways, and many more. I also bought two PVP issues by Scott Kurtz. Looks interesting.

Dream King in the Mall
, thank you for offering me your Neil Gaiman event pass… sorry that I really couldn’t fit it in my sched. But I’m confident that I’ll meet and chat with the guy one day. Hope someone else was able to use it.

Talk to the Future
I’ve just been asked by one of my editors to talk to a group of high schoolers about interviewing celebrities later this week. I’m scared… and a little excited. We’ll see how that goes. Will talk about it more when things become sure.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Retrieved Memories

Image hosted by Photobucket.comClockwise: My first grade report card, my high school grad pic, my character Bright Blade (now called the Bladesmith) from 1989, me in prom-wear, a Corey Hart concert ticket, and a Linda Hamilton trading card from Terminator 2.

Vinnie of Comic Quest told me last week that old shop members will be getting special prizes if they present their old membership cards as part of their 20th anniversary celebration. I knew I saw mine some time last year, but I couldn’t exactly tell where I put it. So I rummaged through my ever-trusty wooden cabinet, which had gotten really crowded since I last cleaned it up (well, kind of) a year ago.

All sorts of interesting junk, as well as wonderful, forgotten valuables have gathered there through the years, most of them now smelling of a weird mixture of naphthalene balls and newspaper ink. I took the opportunity to sort out the mess, which triggered the recollection of many interesting memories.

I neatly stacked over three years’ worth of newspapers (ones where my articles appeared in), school memorabilia, and a lot of artwork and other paper clutter in separate plastic bags. I discovered old school retreat letters from people whose names I can’t really give faces to anymore. I found decades-old report cards, a box containing around ten medals won from high school art contests (several of them poster and slogan-making competitions) and a mix of good and horrible college thesis plates. There’s a sense of disconnection when I unearthed old love letters, unsent missives, and personal notes that were seemingly written by an altogether different person (well, in a sense, many of us aren’t the same persons we were even just a few months ago, but I digress). I saw ancient pictures of old lovers, friends, acquaintances, and even Manila Bay (for a worthless college subject), tons of photocopied pages of both published and unreleased Alamat projects, original characters drawn on index cards, tryout pages for American companies that went nowhere, a clipping of a prayer to St. Jude, a ton of action figure blister cards, dozens of food delivery receipts, empty foil packs of fantasy trading cards (remember them?), a Corey Hart (Never Surrendeeeerrr!) concert ticket, two cool paintings by John and other stuff that mean nothing to other people.

Wow. My life is simple and I’m generally a quiet person, but looking at these pieces of evidence from my forgotten and not-too-distant past, I'm reminded that I really experienced an assortment of silent upheavals and victories as a teen and beyond, necessary chaos that still shape me into who and what I am now. Sifting through all that really felt strange in good, funny, and even embarrassing ways.

After over an hour of looking, I found a membership card… a Filbar’s card. But it was okay. I was having fun dissecting my different mindsets with every significant object I encountered. I did find my old CQ card eventually, stuck in an old notebook that was pinned down by a couple of VHS tapes and ratty X-Men comic books. I was member # 040.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Mass Wisteria
Ah, I loooove this show. I can identify most with characters Bree (Marcia Cross), Gabrielle (Eva Longoria), and Bree's son Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom). Image hosted by Nice Desperate Housewives site here.

Fantasmagoric Thing
Saw Fantastic Four last Saturday. It was... hmmm... formulaic. Pretty average. Anyway, here's the Human Torch (Chris Evans). Image hosted by
Cheap comics!
Went to CQ North Edsa to deliver copies of LNA last Saturday when I discovered that the shop was having a weekend sale! Yay Vinnie! Benedict and I got a number of old and recent 30-peso superhero books. Wow. What a bargain.

Speaking of superheroes, I ran into Andrew at CQ Mega last Friday and he suggested that I do a spandex-centric story before the year ends. Apparently, he liked the brief Alternaturals sequence in LNA and he wants to see more mainstream action-adventure tales and less social commentaries from the local scene. Just like Benedict. And Vinnie. And Dean. Hmm... we'll see, then.

The Dracqonian Image hosted by Pencil drawing, June 2000
The Dracqonian has been sighted in various Chinatown districts all over the world since the 1970s. The costumed vigilante is rumored to be an ancient dragon of myth trapped in the reanimated body of a slain detective, and is said to relentlessly pursue those who have violently taken the lives of innocents.