Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mga Liberated

Image hosted by Dra. Margie Holmes was telling me, “Oh! You look different from what I imagined!” or something like that, while I was reaching to shake Dr. Mike Tan’s hand (off-photo).

It was an enlightening book launch for A Different Love, as eloquent speakers Doc Margie, Doc Mike, Professor Eric Manalastas and Malou Marin talked about homosexuality in the country last Saturday at Powerbooks Megamall. I was able to ask a question to the panelists through a piece of paper the organizers passed around: “Are there people devoid of sexuality? For example, old maids or maybe nuns. Is it possible to not feel attraction to anyone?”

Dr. Margie enthusiastically responded, “I’ll answer it. It’s such a good comment. It’s possible to be asexual or, as my husband would say, a non-combatant. Actually, there’s a group that says, ‘you should look at us the way you look at alternative sexual lifestyles.’ At the moment, they’re just not interested in having a passionate relationship with anyone. But they’re happy. It doesn’t mean that they’re sick; it doesn’t mean that they’re passionless. It doesn’t mean that they’re just recovering from a painful relationship. It’s just that they’re interested in other things. It’s probably hard for us to understand, but there are people for whom sex, or sexual happiness, is not that strong a drive.”

Interesting. There were participants and stories galore (Dr. Tan explained the difficulty of not being able to visit his partner directly at the hospital without the signatures and consent of his lover's parents; guest Fr. Robert Reyes revealed that the Pope’s new directive to weed out gay seminarians would remove 75% of the roster, etc.). I was also able to have the book signed by Dr. Margie (one of the few people I actually want an autograph of). Dr. Mike also told me that it wouldn’t have been possible twenty years ago to create a comic book like mine, and it wouldn’t have been as well-received, if it were. So my timing was good. Naks.

Talk About Sex Baby

That last part actually allows me to segue to LNA. I’d like to share, again, that people have been reacting nicely to it. I’ve heard stories through friends and siblings how different people have been affected positively by it, and there are blog entries of persons I’ve yet to meet or talk to that praise, critique and recommend it (thank you!). I continue to get grateful emails from (I assume) a mix of young and old readers who share their feelings about it, how they connected with it and who their favorite characters were. Creating it and publishing the book is a gamble that paid off.

There was one weird reaction to it that made me worry a little, though. A sibling’s friend (okay, I’ll be veiling identities at this point to protect certain people) bought a copy months ago and hid it from the prying eyes of his younger brothers and sisters. Sibling’s friend was shocked when his mom showed him the comic book; she caught his Grade 7 sister reading it. Apparently, angsty Grade 7 kid, fan of The O.C., rummaged through his personal belongings and got curious. The mom confronted sibling’s friend in the company of other 20-something pals, who were giggling the whole time. The horrified mom, a devout member of a Catholic offshoot group that rhymes with Bogus Day… o sige na nga, Opus Dei, said, “I tried to read it but I stopped because it was so SHOCKING!!!” Sibling’s friend and pals went, “There was a warning on the cover, Mom. And we’ve all read it!” Friend’s mom: “What? It was confiscated in this house!!!” And the giggling, I was told, continued.

All I can honestly say about it is, parents, please talk to your kids. Discuss sex eventually. You yourselves know that they’ll be getting information from friends, and discussions at Science or Biology class aren’t enough to answer all their questions. It will be hard, I’m sure, to acknowledge that your children aren’t babies you can cuddle anymore. But please do it to make them aware of the changes that they and their bodies are going through, and to let them know that it’s not an embarrassing thing to talk about. Please don’t go ballistic when you catch them beating off. Or if your strapping young man fancies other strapping young men. Or if your pop culture-loving girl is reading something that isn’t about Jesus or Mary (digression: some Bible stories make me recoil sometimes because of the violence and gore). Puberty is a confusing and difficult enough time as it is. Be realistic, but present them with different options.

Looking at my Friendster friends page reminds me of recurring dreams where people I met at different points of my life know each other. It’s weird, having them contained within a list that easily creates bulletpoints of specific periods, both good and bad. The search bar allows me to see old classmates and acquaintances, some of whom aren’t aging gracefully. There are those who’re barely recognizable because they actually look better. Some are starting their own families already. Kewl.

The Marvel Legends Sentinel series arrived Monday. Got Angel (Warren Worthington III) yesterday and Black Panther earlier today. Super-poseably nice.

Image hosted by Monday evening, Glorietta

Thanks to my friends for the new pics, by the way. Wow. This post is long.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Passed by blue-furred rockstar Ian:

20 random things about me:

1. I’m usually the first (and only) person to report a power failure in our area.
2. I like Christmas trees.
3. I like Halloween.
4. I admire John for yelling at two janitors who were heckling a trannie at the CR.
5. I worry about my health, but I never felt this healthy before.
6. I need a new pair of jeans.
7. I'm still using the old family dictionary, which now has a broken spine and ratty pages.
8. I find comic book sales exciting.
9. I don’t feel deserving of my old Grade 5 Conduct Award.
10. I don’t understand what Bjork is singing about, but she’s very watchable.
11. I have a toy shelf that also houses my (and my brother’s) old, beat-up action figures.
12. Sad episodes of Buffy and Angel are still the most memorable ones for me and Benedict.
13. I’m excited to see Serenity. People've been raving about it.
14. It takes me time to get rid of used-up drawing pens.
15. I think that the moon landing is questionable.
16. I know how heartbreak feels.
17. I call younger people “kids”. Usually in my head.
18. I have faith in the goodness of certain people.
19. A day without listening to my favorite music can be deafening.
20. A friend asked once, "If LNA had live counterparts, who would they look like?" I'd rather have them animated, but let's see. I’d cast the following people as my characters based on their looks alone: Andrew Wolff as Lexy, Karel Marquez as Nance, and Adam David as Argus. I’d like Imago’s Aia to be Nance’s singing voice.

Image hosted by
Argus, Lexy and Nance?


September's nearly over! And it's the middle of the week already. Need to reorganize. Got lots of things to do. I'll be attending the Komikon next month, by the way. Will be on full pimp mode by then. Some local comic book creators will be releasing new stuff on that day too, so I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday last week were great. Was able to rest and de-stress. Really cool. Or hot. Yeah, they were.

Also, after over a year of not caring about Friendster, I finally, impulsively joined. I didn't want to be distracted with it, and I thought it might be a tedious chore, but well, I'm there now. It can be an avenue for different things, I guess. Have to dig out those old invitations.

Need to wake up early again for another job a few hours from now.

UPDATE: GAAAHHHH!!!! The friends on my list vanished! All ten of them! I reported it already, and I noticed a fellow new user is having the same problem, but what the hell happened???

UPDATE, AGAIN (Friday noon): Okay, They're back. One of Friendster's weirder hiccups, I suppose. Whew.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lovely Launches

Check out some new labors of love from really talented people. Support them all, folks!

Arnold Arre’s Mythology Class compilation
Attended Arnold’s cool launch of the remastered, 360-page masterpiece last night. Will finally be able to read it. Congrats to Arnold and Cynthia!

Was able to talk briefly to a bunch of creative people like Elbert, Camy, Jonas, Jac, Ramon, Neva, Robert Magnuson, Ariel Atienza, Karen Kunawicz, Manila Bulletin’s Yonina Chan and Sesame Seed's Ric Gindap (who’s asking if I know people who can share actual accounts of threesomes and orgies for a future issue of Fudge Magazine--interested parties, please send stories or inquiries to him through fudgemag at yahoo dot com!). Benedickie was able to get some piggie sketches, too, and decided to bring me home after my head began to hurt as we left Fully Booked. He also arranged my mixed-up plastic bags of sale comics, some of which he borrowed. Paracetamol seems to be working as I’m typing this.

Margarita Holmes’ A Different Love: Being a Gay Man in the Philippines
Yesterday, Dra. Holmes sent me a copy through her publisher Anvil (thanks po!). It’s an updated version of her well-received book on homosexuality, which, according to her preface, is now “more inclusive”. It’s a collection of her newspaper columns and old and new accounts of letter-senders that talk about the subject in detail. She will have a lecture and panel discussion about gay people in the Philippines with Dr. Mike Tan and Eric Manalastas at Powerbooks Megamall on September 24, 2005, 3 p.m. (I think the revised book might already be available there by that time).

Isha’s second album Katakataka
My friend, recent Palanca Awardee and gifted singer-songwriter Peach (or Pearlsha, or Isha) Abubakar, will be launching her new all-Tagalog album on October 4, 6:30 p.m., at the Podium. I can't wait to listen to this. Her debut album was incredible.

Yay! I’m feeling better.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Grow and Bloom

I need to be in Makati by 9 in the morning. But I can’t sleep just yet. Wasn’t able to finish a thing that I wanted done by midnight. But it’s okay, I suppose. Things that need doing keep piling up and I can’t say no. To myself. My biggest boss. I gotta survive somehow; the 9 to 5 grind isn’t for me. It’d kill me. Been doing things freelance forever.

I have been encouraged to apply for the reporter job a few times before by the people at the paper, but I just can’t be on-call for breaking news. I really respect them, reporters, 9-to-fivers and doctors. Those jobs just need a different kind of discipline. But I really have been doing different things to keep myself sane and creative since I graduated. Doing just one thing will bore me senseless. And I can’t concentrate only on one task at that span of time.

I may complain about losing sleep and needing a vacation, but hey, I love my life right now. I still worry about the smallest things most of the time (yeah, I’m obsessive, I knew that since I was in college), but I gotta keep it together because I’ve no one to depend on but myself. I love it that I’m able to keep my own hours, usually. I’m glad that I’m Jesus-less, too, because that allows me to do other things on Sundays. I really have no concept of weekends; everyday is a regular day for me. That's fractioned between work, play, and whatever else I need to do.

So yes, I feel lucky to able to do the things I’m doing. To be friends with some of the most analytical people around. To be open to learning new things. To be able to express myself in different ways. To be able to enjoy life, the details of which need not be discussed in this blog. To be able to play shrink to myself, because I want to be more aware of me, how I’m changing and growing past gaining a sense of self.

Session’s over, for now. Off to bed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


“Why do I smile at people who I'd much rather kick in the eye?”
--The Smiths, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”

Nah, I don’t feel like inflicting physical pain on anyone. But the day was just awful that I felt every word of that line. I just felt bummed out overall. Maybe because I’m looking forward to more of the same routines in the next few days. Maybe because I’m reminded of some people I’d rather not think about. My lack of sleep has been contributing to the stress, too.

But I’m a bit better now. There are times when I just want to leave behind my responsibilities and not think about anything or anyone. Maybe one day, I just might. After a few hours transfixed to the monitor, I took a breather from the rote and went out. I actually stayed at the house for a record two days! I just went to a nearby mall. I looked at CDs at the music stores. Was thinking of rewarding myself. But I didn’t feel like spending for that, and I didn’t really see anything I wanted anyway. I still need to save up and pick up some new comics within the week. And the super-thick Mythology Class compilation, too.

Bought myself some indoor slippers. My last pair lasted me a year and a half. Damn, those things are expensive. P 179.75. Also, ate fake meat and flavored tofu. Bought art supplies, had some things photocopied, and went back to work. Listened to some music, talked to friends, and surfed. Discovered a few interesting blogs, too. Maybe I’ll talk about them later. Or not. Eh.

Hmm. I've played Jamie Cullum's calming "All at Sea" a few times now today and just realized that, damn, I need to de-stress on someone's bed. Heh. Whatever.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Moving Forward, Using All My Breath

Inspired by a taggable at Slimwhale’s.

20 years ago…
I was a kid in the ‘80s. Everything felt simple. All I looked forward to were practically the same things I like now. I look at that time with fondness. I was a geeky kid, but I disliked the overachievers. I was getting bored with school, since I was classmates with the same people for three years. Pop culture had an important part in shaping my opinions and hobbies. This was before cable and the internet, so we watched the same things (the occasional American music videos, TODAS, and Newswatch); we listened to the same songs our older siblings adored; we regularly went to the first few McDonald’s outlets. The country’s political situation was chaotic, and as a grade school student, patriotism, love of God, and fortitude were paramount. The cast of political characters back then presented clear, contrasting sides to a conflict, unlike now.

15 years ago…
I was being transformed by a volatile environment filled with healthy competition, inspired people, and stupid peer pressure.

10 years ago…
…is a time I can’t remember clearly, for some reason. Oh, I started drawing a few pages of Dhampyr. But the project was shelved for about a year, and I started to work on it again when I found enough free time.

5 years ago…
Whilce Portacio
trained me for a few months, shortly before he and his family left for the US. This was a big deal for me too because it was free. He had an art school at Megamall called Learn. I was never a part of that, but he saw my persistence in doing art samples and decided to teach me important penciling lessons himself.

3 years ago…
Doug Miers
of Comics Conspiracy offered me a two-pager, The Cancer Killer. I also began writing comic book reviews for MTV Ink. This was the same time that Sir Louie Camino, then-editor of a popular broadsheet's entertainment section, encouraged me to keep sending him reviews and articles. I began meeting a number of interesting people through my different jobs. The LNA strip in Pulp wrapped up by September of that year, too.

1 year ago…
…it was busy. Very busy.

This year…
…is happening way too quick. Pretty decent, though. More people becoming acquainted with my work through this blog and my comic book.

… wasn’t too bad. Did things as required.

Last night…
I was a zombie. I only had about two hours sleep.

The sun will come out.

Next year…
It’s hard to see. I don’t have precognition or a time machine. It’s unmapped, as far as I’m concerned.

5-10 years from now…
The world will be destroyed by invading aliens in 2012. Resistance is freaking futile.
Image hosted by Taken last week.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Feeling quite energized and creative… am harnessing the influx of ideas to my sketchpad/notebook. The muses are kind tonight.

Anyway, just a few things:

Comics lovers!
The Komikon 2005 event is on October 22. I think I’ll be attending it. There’ll be local comics and creators galore. Check out the organizers’ blog for more information.

Emma Frost
is in everything big this month… aside from Astonishing X-Men, she’s got major appearances in House of M and New Avengers. Writers love her.

Those gorgeous McFarlane toys... I’m not a fan of the gory stuff, or the limited articulation, but the Dragon action figures (and some comics- and movie-related stuff) are just beautiful. I check them out at the toy shops whenever I can. I recently bought the ultra-detailed Mandarin Spawn, which is now cheaper by P 200.

Controversial Billy and Teddy
“…You’re not an Asgardian, you’re a warlock. Plus, you need a name that won’t become a national joke when the press finds out about you and Teddy.”
--Kate to Billy/Asgardian, Young Avengers # 6 (Teddy is their teammate Hulkling)

Monday, September 05, 2005

82 Songstresses

Yep, I’m obsessive. Drew these around the time I was making myself mix tapes (tapes!) inspired by Sarah McLachlan’s all-female Lilith Fair. These are some of the most reference-intensive 11” X 17” drawings I’ve ever done. I had no internet connection then, so I gathered magazines, newspaper photos, album covers, and even VHS tapes containing music videos (which I paused to copy two artists' faces). I feel like doing a new one… someday. Clickety click.

41 Women Who Rock, Sept. 1998 (pen and ink)

41 More Women Who Rock, May 2000 (pen and ink)

Not Mere Words, Too…

“Promises mean everything when you're little, and the world's so big. I just don't understand how you can smile with all those tears in your eyes when you tell me, ‘everything is wonderful now’.”
--Everclear, “Wonderful”

”We got loud guitars and big suspicions, great big guns and small ambitions. And we still argue over who is God.”
--Sheryl Crow, “It’s Hard to Make a Stand”.

“But you like the taste of danger, it shines like sugar on your lips, and you like to stand in the line of fire just to show you can shoot straight from your hip. There must be a thousand things you would die for. I can hardly think of two.”
--Indigo Girls, “Mystery”

“So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table, finding faith and common ground the best that they were able. And just before the meal was served, hands were held and prayers were said, sending hope for peace on earth to all their gods and goddesses.”
--Dar Williams, “The Christians and the Pagans”

“Take the hero's place and the hero's name; manufacture spiels for a stranger's sake. Oh, you bitch for truth and you damn well know you're fake.”
--Imago, “Otherwise”

“Sunset sailing on April skies. Bloodshot fire clouds in her eyes. I can't say what I might believe, but if God made you, he's in love with me.”
--Five for Fighting, “If God Made You”

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Nick Manabat (1972-1995)

Image hosted by (Nick's sketch of Maul, above; unfinished Cybernary drawing, below)

He lost a terrible battle with lymphoma ten years ago. He would have been 33 tomorrow, Sept. 2, had he survived.

There are just some people, regardless of their proximity to your life, who challenge you to do better. Nick Manabat was one of those persons for me. The quiet, soft-spoken guy was an artistic genius. And it wasn’t just me that he affected positively. My friends from Lakan, who love comic books, and art in general, immediately knew that he was a gifted yet humble person. His tremendous talent made us aspire to be better artists and thinkers. Whenever I look at his works, they still make me smile. And gasp. Or vice versa.

Thanks for inspiring us, Nick!