Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Gotta write this down while my memory of yesterday is still fresh. It was a busy and tiring day, but overall a nice, productive one.

Talked briefly to adorable Dr. Margie Holmes over the phone by lunchtime. The lady speaks and laughs in a rapid-fire staccato; I can imagine her smiling and nodding her head like she does on TV. She told me, “you’re very talented”, and my comic book was “so deep”. Aww, I blush. Palakpak-tenga naman ako. Hope to meet her in person soon.

My freelance work for a PR firm brought me to Miriam College, where I interviewed a classical pianist, a violinist, and a conductor during a rehearsal for a concert. Interesting bunch, they were. That took a few hours, as they weren’t there at the same time.

Went to Megamall after, where I bought Rice! Volume 4 at a magazine shop. It’s been available for over a year, but I found out only recently that the black-and-white drawings the publisher commissioned four years ago were used. I went by the pseudonym “Nicolai Mercureo” (which was misspelled as "Nicolao"). There are seven adult-oriented drawings in the issue, including the sample art below (yeah, click it), which I cropped accordingly. It's still available, if you're interested. Danton Remoto, Nelz Agustin, and Raymund Isaac also contributed.

Had a belated birthday dinner with my friend, read a few comics, then went home. I’m tired and sleepyyyy…. G'night, all...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Geek Godlings

(Click image to enlarge)

I recently discovered a pair of funny online comic strips about geeks: Scott Kurtz's PVP is about video game magazine employees, while David Willis' Shortpacked (above) is about toy store employees. Really enjoyable stuff.

Friday, August 26, 2005


So we sent ourselves into our secret exiles ten or so years ago and lived chaste and Christ-like for days, because that was expected and the truth should’ve set them free like it did us, pieces and shades of monochromatic guilt slowly peeling as we shed our tears, and we hated, and we laughed, because life was becoming clearer and our feelings and hearts felt real like they never were before, undying and fleshy, squeezable and pained, while we enjoyed the wet weather beneath crumpled sheets.

The stacks of paper beckoned, while Bavarian cream donuts substituted real food, but there was no money to explain, no questions to play tricks, no thanks to daylight savings time that evolved into daily power failures, and so the lights were out and it was a gift that I was there when school was out and politics seemed simpler, and everything was strange, exciting, smiling in the dark, and no words were needed to buy understanding, or joy, since we lived for the moment, exploring worlds in small rooms, creating them with magic tools, like fools with their magic medication that snapped, crackled, popped their brain cells like bright white milk on pancakes with butter, warm and sweet, plunging in deep and too flustered to dwell on the details as they were happening.

The scenes have changed like we have, like sets of interlocking toy bricks connecting other lives with mine, and yours, which creates this weird community, a bigger picture that demands connecting, overlapping photographs, because the lens can only capture so much, and the bigger picture seems to keep expanding, but, but, but, through it all, through the whirling and the chafing, the beautiful faces and the angry fits, there was, there is, that glowing trust, that inside joke, that secret smile, that special code word, that stolen glance, an inner peace, an excellent thought, a wondrous flight, an enduring touch, a pair of souls that met, that recognized each other, that knew how the future works.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Safety Zone

JLA vs. Avengers (click image to enlarge)
Did this a long time ago. Was eagerly waiting for the crossover. Ah, fanboy fan art.

Speak easy
The fun 2BU journalism workshop, where I was one of the speakers weeks back, was featured in the paper yesterday. Online versions of the articles here and here.

There you go
After days of trying to remember the name of the '90s band that sounded like the Fine Young Cannibals, I finally got it: London Beat. Yay. John and I are happy. Not remembering was making our heads hurt.

"I was driving home the morning after with the taste of you still on my tongue..."
--London Beat, "A Better Love"

Happy Birthday Benedict!
Puzzle-solving McPiglet, the guy who can figure out and completely finish a messed-up Rubik's Cube in less than five minutes, is now a year older.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Team Spirit

Some of my favorite fictional super-groups. In no particular order:

The Legion- The teen team supreme. The post-Zero Hour cool-and-cute version lasted for ten years, which for me is mostly good, wholesome fun.
X-Men- There are five incarnations that really appealed to me: the pre-Mutant Massacre team, the Legends team (the Australia-based one), the Blue and Gold squads, and the current Faculty version.
Justice League- Morrison’s Big Guns group, which expanded to 14 active members, was a great lineup. I also enjoy the covert JLElite roster, and the large cast of the Justice League Unlimited show.
The Fellowship of the Ring- A dedicated gathering of different races set off on a quest, and their numbers grew to include human, Ent, and undead armies. Kick ass.
WildCATs-Alan Moore wrote two separate groups (the Earth and Kheran units) and created irreparable tension between the members (Zealot is a bigot! Tao is a madman!).
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe Scoobies- Throughout their tenure as protectors of Sunnydale, Buffy’s Scooby Gang was made up of Watchers, good vampires, witches, Slayers-in-waiting, a soldier, and Xander.
Image hosted by Photobucket.comMarauders- The toughest foes of the X-Men, in my opinion. Mr. Sinister dispatched this team of merciless mutant assassins to wipe out hundreds of tunnel-dwelling Morlocks, and they did.
The Rebel Alliance- Luke, Leia, Han, Threepio, Artoo, Ben, Chewie, Lando and Yoda, of course.
Thunderbolts- Reformed bad guys whose teammates include power-hungry Baron Zemo and treacherous Moonstone. ‘Nuff said.
Avengers- The Roger Stern lineup, Steve Englehart's West Coast Avengers, and the Kurt Busiek group were the most fun and iconic groupings for me.
CTU- The anti-terrorist organization of 24 is comprised of quick-thinking agents, and the occasional suspicious character.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com Gotham Knights- Batman’s shifting team has counted Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, Batgirl, Spoiler, Huntress, Catwoman, Orpheus and Azrael among the city’s masked crimefighters.
Team Angel- Angel’s supernatural protectors are a nice mix of thinkers (Fred, Wes), psychics (Cordy, Doyle, Lorne) and muscle (Gunn, Connor, Illyria).
Image hosted by Photobucket.com Runaways- Witty banter and nice balance of powers and personalities. Plus, the concept, heroic kids of supervillains, is being explored cleverly.
The Six- The stars of Villains United are an oddly rostered bunch, but have proven themselves to be a cohesive and efficient strike team.
The Sith- Always two, there are. They manipulated events, a powerful Jedi, and even the Force. They ruled as the Galactic Empire for almost twenty years. Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Quick Thinks, Yesterday

Remember, remember, the fifth of November
John kept reminding me to buy the V for Vendetta trade paperback before the movie comes out. I’m lucky that I got it for 20% less off the regular price at Powerbooks yesterday.

The Puzzler
Helped Benedickie answer a crossword puzzle.

Saw the trailers of Nightwatch, V for Vendetta, and Saw 2. Hope they're good.

’s Mark is gay. Young Avengers Alan Heinberg too. So are his characters, Asgardian and Hulkling.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Just Can't Shake Your Love

After listening to old Wave-themed cassette tapes while working a few hours ago, I felt like listening to, yeah, Debbie Gibson's first two albums. I looked for my old Tiffany tapes, too, but they weren't in the old, dusty plastic bag anymore. Last time I listened to them, I was in high school. Yikes.

But they sang some fun, melodic teenybopper songs. Debbie wrote and produced her own songs (I still like her "Between the Lines"), while Tiffany was popular for her remake of "I Think We're Alone Now" and some co-written ballads ("All This Time" still feels real to me). The two had a "rivalry" that can be likened to the Britney-Christina thing a few years back, as they were the most prominent teen pop artists of the era.

Anyway, the two disappeared from the pop music scene by the '90s. Debbie pursued a Broadway career; Tiffany, if I remember it right (I saw an E! News report about her), eventually recorded a critically acclaimed "mature" pop album about three years ago. Both posed for Playboy. Here's Debbie's interview for the magazine, and Tiffany's cover.

Children, behave.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Betrayal Bites

I really miss this show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer has perhaps the most diverse, metaphor-rich rogues gallery that any primetime hero has ever encountered. The Slayer has fought and trounced hundreds of supernatural bad guys, but throughout her seven seasons on TV, there were the powerful Big Bads, major players in the scheme of things. Some of them were the toughest villains that Buffy had to face, because they were once her friends, lovers and allies. Spike a.k.a. William the Bloody (above) was once a ruthless vampire who later fell in love with her. He was forced to join her group at first, but later assisted them voluntarily. Magic-addicted Willow (right), meanwhile, snapped after her witch lover, Tara, was killed. The once-timid sorceress went on a mystical rampage to avenge her senseless death. The bloodsucker with a soul, Angel (below), was Buffy's first boyfriend. After having sex with her, a curse removed his soul and transformed him into her terrifying tormentor. There were other turncoats: Faith was poised to be the replacement Slayer, but her insecurities led her to side with Sunnydale's evildoers. Occasional werewolf Oz and vengeance demon Anya were also the Slayer's trusted teammates. They have caused considerable damage, but all of them were ultimately redeemed, some of them willingly sacrificing themselves for the salvation of the world. The show's mythology is rich with these conflicted characters, and its redemption aspect permeated its spinoff series, Angel, as well.

Thank you Buffyworld for the pics.

We Know Them

Got this from Sundial Girl's blog.

Because homophobia is wrong.

I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.
I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.
I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.
We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.
I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.
I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had. I wish they could adopt me.
I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year I will probably be able to walk again.
I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.
We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.
I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.
I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.
I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.
I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.
I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.
I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.
I am the man who died when the paramedics stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.
I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didn’t have to always deal with society hating me.
I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don't believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.
I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love.

Repost this if you believe homophobia is wrong.

Monday, August 15, 2005

X Degrees of Separation

It was a busy Sunday, spent alongside friends and co-workers. I’ve been feeling reflective lately. The past couple of days weren’t long enough for all the other things I wanted to do.

I find it unsurprising that I’m a totally different person from the one I was, say, two years ago. I continue to be shaped by disparate people in varying degrees.

I run into some people I’d rather not, and admire others from a distance. There are those who motivate and inspire me on different levels. I enjoy interacting with them whenever possible. There are those I keep reminding myself to be grateful to. But there are a lot of people I don’t feel any emotional attachment to anymore. There are still those who bait me into their spheres, for whatever reason, I no longer care to understand. I just mind my own business; I have my own life to live. The pain of old failures, heartbreaks and insecurities sometimes resurfaces, but I’ve learned a few tricks to numb it.

I enjoy the warmth and electricity of intimacy. I feel free and loved. And very capable of loving.

Ooh, sunrise. And birds chirping.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Rainy Days and Fridays

ArianaImage hosted by Photobucket.comPaint program, August 2005. Drawn while I was waiting for a phone call.

People Are People

I feel really tired, but I don’t wanna sleep just yet. I’m simultaneously singing along to Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night”, and typing. And surfing. And dancing in my head. I wanna do a lot of things before I sleep, actually. Today felt good. Must be the wet, wild weather.

Horoscope.com describes those whose birthdays fall under the Scorpio sign of the Zodiac as “passionate, vibrant, magnetic, perceptive, emotional, sensual, alert, willful, determined, resourceful, purposeful, directed, dominant, ambitious, fearless, committed, and intense.” But they, apparently, can also be “obsessive, extreme, vengeful, jealous, spiteful, unforgiving, a bully, menacing, possessive, arrogant…”

Interesting. Well, I’m a Scorpio. However, I know people born under other signs who can be described by those specific adjectives. I may not believe in astrology and horoscopes, but yeah, I often find them bizarrely entertaining when those words perfectly describe me, or pertain to certain aspects of my life. It’s intriguing that each sign has extreme contrasts. We all have dark sides.

Dream Comic Books

1. Alex Ross should already start creating and writing his own characters. His renditions of Marvel and DC characters still look great, but I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that he’d eventually move on and create epics using his own creations. He can create a world removed from the Big Two’s visual archetypes. Just look at his Astro City character designs. And the guy has exemplary ideas. It can work. I’ll buy that book.

2-3. Marvel’s New Avengers is a hit, but there are old readers (me included) who are still unimpressed with the title. But the company should cut down on some unnecessary monthlies and cash in on that. Create two new related titles. There are three ongoing X-Men comic books, featuring a team each! The second Avengers team can be called The Mighty Avengers or Avengers West, featuring an LA-based group: Warbird, Thor, Wonder Man, Namorita, Hank Pym, Shroud, Living Lightning and Janie Warlock. The third Avengers title can be called Avengers Beyond or Galactic Avengers, a space-based team composed of Wasp, Moondragon, She-Hulk, Beta Ray Bill, Starfox, Lyja (the Skrull), Nova (Richard Rider), Photon (Monica Rambeau) and Pip the Troll. Think about it: DC has the main JLA, and spinoff teams the Elite and the Superbuddies. And, it really goes without saying, talented creators can make them work. The more, the merrier.

4. More Top Ten by Alan Moore and Gene Ha. I miss them. A different creative team is handling the new mini-series.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Babble and Gab

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This was used in the paper two years back. It accompanied my article, "Where have all the late night talk shows gone?". E! Philippines carried David Letterman's show then, while Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno's shows aired over CNBC Asia every weekend. All three shows just vanished. It left a void in my TV-viewing (or -listening, as sometimes I just tune in while working on something) schedule.

But super-geek Conan, my favorite talk show host, is back nightly on ETC since last year, along with unfunny-comic-but-good-host Jay Leno. Thank you, ETC/Solar! I've been watching Conan since '96. Some of the weirdest and funniest sketch characters that I've enjoyed from the show include the Masturbating Bear, If-Life-Gives-You-Lemons-Make-Lemonade Jesus, and Robert Smigel's Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

Quirky Letterman has yet to resurface. John Stewart's talk show, shown on JackTV, is slowly growing on me, but I can't remember when it's on.

Vice Versa

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No, that wasn't lighted. It must've amused my dad to see his son sort of following in his footsteps in the picture. But he kicked the habit years later. When I graduated from high school, I felt like trying it out. I must've smoked, what, about four cigarettes in my life? Students were allowed to smoke outdoors in our college then, and I felt that it was cool during the time. But my friend John prevented me from picking up and forming the habit.

My memory of it is hazy, but I think we were in one of those gazebos outside the school gymnasium just after our P.E. class. I think he wanted to borrow a pen from me, so I proceeded to clasp the contents of one of my bag pockets. Among the things that I took out were some technical pens and other art tools, a box of matches and two cigarettes, if I'm not mistaken.

John scowled at me and, concerned meddler that he is, took the cigarettes and tore them in half. He scolded me and told me about a relative with a respiratory ailment brought about by smoking. He lighted the matchsticks inside the box, threw it to the ground, and it quickly imploded. I just quietly whimpered, because I knew that he was right. Thank you for that timely intervention, John.

In recent years, a friend and a few relatives, some of whom were never active smokers, were diagnosed with lung cancer and related illnesses. Most of them didn't survive.

With many people getting stricken with painful and costly maladies lately, I've been thinking more about my mortality. I do have my vices... nah, nothing illegal, but I need to watch my diet. I need to eat healthier food. I need to exercise more. I wanna avoid the aggravation of reeling in pain and getting broke from some slow terminal disease.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Just feeling ruminative after a day of doing some repetitive chores. Been feeling a little stressed out by some things at home and work... things will get back to normal soon, I hope. Glad to know that people important to me are around to keep me safe and sane. There's nothing like being reassured that those who care about you can calm you amidst the chaos. Their names and faces become mantras that soothe my mind. I feel blessed.

This blog has been helpful to me, too. I started this early this year, partly because I needed a venue where I can freely plug my comic book, and mostly because it was time that I started sharing my thoughts instead of just reading other people's. The universe revolves around me here. Thank you for visiting my humble corner time and again, people.

The Disabled
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Pencil drawing, Feb. 1999.

A hero who lost his sight, hearing, legs and hand, the cybernetically enhanced Render continues to prove that he is far from helpless.

Gal PowerImage hosted by Photobucket.com They kick evildoer butt.

Comic Book Quote:
"It's easy t'moon over a lost love -- t'fantasize over what might have been, secure in the knowledge that it'll never happen -- it makes a great excuse for not facin' the risks an' demands o' reality." -- Logan to Peter Rasputin, Uncanny X-Men # 183 (July 1984)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

August and Everything After

Busy with the usual stuff. Still need to go on a vay-cay, yadda-yadda. I need more sleep.

Sweetness and Light
Watched Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last Sunday. So weird and funny. I actually watched the original version, Willy Wonka, when I was nine or ten on Beta, but I really can’t remember anything about it. Anyway, Johnny Depp is good, as usual, and the new Oompa Loompas look sinister.

Paneled Pronouncements
After being bombarded with over 200 bought and borrowed 30-peso comic books the past month, I have discovered the following truths:
1. Travis Charest has spawned a multitude of clones despite his absence from mainstream comics for over six years.
2. Jessica Jones of Alias was the telepathic perv Purple Man’s sex slave for eight months.
3. Scott Kurtz’s PVP is almost as hilarious as the similarly nerd-themed Foxtrot newspaper strip.
4. Self-contained short stories in Spider-Man’s Tangled Web, Spider-Man Unlimited, and X-Men Unlimited showcase talented newcomers and established indie creators.
5. Ted McKeever’s Spellcheck character (from Tangled Web), a grammar-obsessed freak, is a hilarious dork.
6. New Thunderbolts Radioactive Man is a scary, vindictive bastard.
7. After all these years, Chris Claremont still writes Kitty Pryde well.
8. Wolverine is an active member of three X-Men teams and is a New Avenger.
9. Mutant godling Franklin Richards doesn’t baby-talk anymore.
10. Greg Pak (Warlock), Bill Rosemann (Deadline) and Dan Slott (Spider-Man-Human Torch) deserve more writing jobs.
11. A stripper, Ginger, called Green Arrow’s son Connor Hawke a “friend of Madonna”.
12. Whenever the JLA and JSA celebrate Thanksgiving together, a pair of idiot villains will get their asses kicked.
13. Pregnant Sue Dibny and Blue Beetle were alive and kicking in the recent JLA Classified arc.
14. Some comic books are so forgettable, they’re not worth shelling out 30 pesos for.
15. Some comic books are just damn good, they make you feel like an excited kid again.