Friday, April 29, 2005

Fiction Factories

War, war stupid
But this one looked good. I attended the press screening of Kingdom of Heaven at Gateway Mall, Cubao, earlier. It was okay. I’m still absorbing it, actually. In a nutshell: Scruffy-looking Legolas didn’t shoot any arrows, unlike in Troy. But he’s a master swordsman. The costumes looked impressive. Lots of dead people. Nobody really wins.

Diced Padawans
After some amateur detective work (I asked around), I found out that the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith print is in the country already. I will be watching it in a few weeks in an early press preview screening, fingers crossed. This reminds me, it's almost three years ago when I joined a Star Wars art contest by E! Philippines and won a pair of tickets to a special advanced screening of Episode II. Anyway, people have been raving about Episode III, including not-so-silent Kevin Smith, whose spoilerrific review can be seen here (got this from Marco’s blog). Can’t wait to see it.

I live, therefore I pimp
“A sexy yet intellectual comic book that pulls no punches.” Thank you, people of Icon magazine, for this interview, and for giving my (as Boi Bitch called it) baby a thumbs up in the current issue (available now!). And thank you, David Hontiveros, for this: “I really enjoyed Lexy. It's one of the best comics I've read from the local scene.”

Naked New Avengers
This never happens to the JLA. The Avengers were captured by old X-Men villains, who stripped them of their spandex in the latest issue. It’s a funny sequence, superheroes talking about underwear (or lack thereof). Just go read the latest issue. Brian Bendis’ work is slowly growing on me. Hope House of M isn’t anything like the disastrous Avengers Disassembled storyline from last year.

More Shadow La…er, Blacklight artwork
Check out more pages of Blacklight #1, penciled by my bud John T., here.

McPigletron played with my Galactus
He likes it.

Xavier School, circa 2001

Mixed media, May 2001 (Click image) Posted by HelloDrew this a month before Grant Morrison revamped the X-Men four years ago. Interesting characters like Emma Frost, Xorn, Juggernaut, Sage, Angel, Beak and the Stepford Cuckoos have yet to be part of the class picture. I miss some of the major changes from Morrison's run, like the leather uniforms and international X-Corporation teams.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Piano Woman

Isha a.k.a. Peach Abubakar Posted by Hello Talked to her over the phone just now. She'll be at the Marikina Shoe Expo (Araneta Center in Cubao) this Saturday, 6 p.m., to perform a couple of songs as part of the opening of an art shop whose name escapes me at the moment. Noel Cabangon might be performing too. She says it's still tentative at this point.

For future show schedules, please click here. For more info on Isha and her fantastic debut album Time and Again, please click here. O ayan, Buddy, happy ka na?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

God Among the Ruins

Book Sale has been getting and selling back issues of The Advocate for years now, and I buy whenever they have some in their racks. It’s a pro-GLBT mag that keeps up with a lot of gay-related issues all over America, and even the world. It’s very informative and enlightening, as it constantly addresses gay rights and challenges through diverse articles by the witty and well-researched columnists. At 30 to 40 pesos each, an issue of The Advocate is a nice bargain, indeed.

The Dec. 7, 2004 issue is a very good and affecting read, as a number of interviewees talked about the ramifications of George Dubya’s re-election on gay rights. One of the things that stuck with me about the entire ish was the “rants and raves” section, which regularly features quotable quotes by celebs and non-celebs alike. I especially like what talk show host Bill Maher said in the Oct. 24 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Why does someone feel they have to hide (their sexual orientation) their whole life? … The root of that is all from the Bible, from religion. If we didn’t have religion, there wouldn’t be this massive problem with gay people.”

I totally agree. Everybody’s free to worship who or what they want, or not worship at all; faith is always a personal thing. Organized religion, on the other hand, is when things related to worship get unduly complicated. Some Christians, for example, go on a Bible-thumping spree, citing chosen verses that supposedly say that gay relationships are condemned by God (or at least the Christian God). Late last year, there was this anti-gay zealot politician, a guest at GMA 7’s Debate who kept spouting Biblical rules against homosexuality. What he and other people like him conveniently leave out are verses pertaining to barbaric or bizarre customs in the same book that say (and I paraphrase): “If a woman is found guilty of adultery, you can freely stone her to death.” Or, “If a woman just gave birth, she is unclean for X number of days… don’t let her rejoin the community just yet.” If (and really, I question this) these Bible authors were really in touch with God, why do so many things seem to get lost in the translation? Why the stunningly prejudicial laws? Is God that petty and bossy? What's up his cosmic ass?

Then you’ll get arguments that, no, the Bible is not a science book; it’s not updated to reflect modern-day culture, laws and so on. But, wait, isn’t that hypocritical when you cite it as the be-all and end-all of “God’s words”? You either accept it wholly or not at all. To pick one line that suits whatever agenda you have and ignoring badly written parts of it just smacks of hypocrisy and bigotry.

So if you’re gay, and the beloved leader of your Church unflinchingly declares that you are part of an influential “ideology of evil”, please get out of that religious group. You are not welcome. Your sexuality is a mockery to your Creator. Leave, and don’t look back. Don’t give them undue strength by being part of their numbers. They are preaching against you. God, apparently, isn’t gender-blind.

If you or any of your loved ones are gay, please find the strength to voice out against bigotry, whether it’s caused by religion or not. If you consider yourself straight, please question the rules laid out before you. You know something’s amiss. Stop just following and start analyzing. Yes, that may be too much hard work, but someone’s life may depend on it. You may be helping out people on the road to self-destruction. Ultimately, it’s you who makes a difference. And wouldn’t your Higher Power, whoever or whatever that may be, want that? Isn't that the right thing to do, regardless?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Assembling Manual

Mixed media, March 2005 Posted by Hello This is one of a few column illustrations I did for the current issue of Manual (April 2005). Also contributing are old Alamat-ers David Hontiveros (he wrote entertainment articles), Budjette Tan (he wrote a short story) and Bow Guerrero (he did a drawing that accompanies Budj's work).

Friday, April 22, 2005

Out of Body Experience

These days, when I look at my old written and illustrated works, I often surprise myself. I’m sure other creative people have experienced this. There are times when I find myself removed from the things I’ve done that I'm either pleasantly surprised or recoiling from works I’ve done in the past. I unearthed a ton of old photocopies of artwork months back and I was amazed to recall, not so suddenly, that I was responsible for them.

Perhaps it’s because I’m so concerned with the here and now that I forget. Old drawings or articles are outlets of the moment that I don’t really recall the intricacies of the process. It’s like snapping from a trance and moving on. I ask myself, “What the fuck was I thinking?” whenever I see something cringe-worthy, or, “Wow, I did this?” when I see something I like that I don’t remember doing.

I rarely congratulate myself, I guess. I used to be very competitive with others back in college; hell, I probably still am. But now it’s more of a personal, unspoken thing where I’m on a constant lookout for improvement. I did a comic book thesis, Dark Utopia, as a graduation requirement over a decade ago, and even then, I only liked a handful of the 75-plus pages I drew. Whenever I see those plates, I just shudder, but am also impressed with the decent ones nevertheless. Same with some written stuff I’ve rediscovered on bundles of scratch papers and old notebooks, or old published works.

It’s a strange but interesting feeling when, for instance, Benedict says a line from my comic book (Lexy...) word-for-word, or when I open the same book and I suddenly remember John telling me years ago to primarily focus on the story and characterization while I was conceptualizing. It’s like I’m déjà vu’ed into the mindset and sensory settings of the time. I don’t think aloud about things like artistic attitude or balls I’ve developed throughout the years, I suppose. So looking at my works from a distance, at certain opportunities that are rare these days, I’m barraged, amazed, and sometimes baffled that I’m capable of things.

And these things, I love doing. Sometimes I still have to take a moment to realize that, yeah, I got talents. And I’m still learning and growing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Quick Thinks

1) After two months since the 7-character set was released, I was finally able to build a Marvel Legends Galactus figure at the regular department store price.

2) Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead is involving, creepy and depressing, if a bit predictable at times.

3) The new pope kinda looks like a certain Sith Lord.

4) I like the new band Milk n Money from the Graduation Day CD. Vocalist sounds like the middle sister of the Session Road frontwoman and Isha Abubakar.

5) I want some ice cream.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Peace Train Sounding Louder

Non-stop work, I’ve gotten to know these last couple of years, can prove quite stressful on many levels. The past several months have been a blur, and yet, I’ve avoided mental shutdown, because of things I like that distract me, and friends who have been very generous with me.

It was only about four months ago that I co-published and launched my own comic book, and I am still discovering that the project requires much attention, marketing and constant pimping on my part. Well, the work has gotten easier, because people have been telling me that it’s been selling itself, or word-of-mouth is doing its part, and it’s gotten generally good reception. But I’ve yet to talk to other shop owners, as I’ve been a bit sidetracked by the nature of my daily freelance work. I’ve accepted this nature long ago, and am working hard to keep everything workable for everyone. And I hope to get things that need doing done soon, I hope. I want more people to read my work.

The daily grind is complex enough without my personal crap getting in the way. I do my damnedest to separate all my work from whatever angsts and dissatisfactions I have with whomever, or whatever. And if such crap happens, it’s really difficult to make sense of a work day. These distractions happen sometimes, admittedly, because of my own fault.

But whatever drama happens—and I use the word “drama” as an over-simplification—I still have to grin and bear it, and do my own thing. It’s just so emotionally sapping to be disappointed and worried about people whose feelings I may have hurt, for whatever reason. Honestly, that’s one of the worst feelings ever, to have people you consider friends disappointed in you or vice-versa.

At this point in my life, I’m still learning how to communicate with people. And it’s good that my different jobs help me with that. There are unspoken politics when it comes to relationships that eventually need to be discussed and analyzed. There are people I regret being intimate with, but that’s just the way things evolve into, I suppose. There are problems I’d rather forget if I’ve done all I can to solve them. I move on when it suits me. I’m learning not to be vulnerable anymore.

Sometimes, though, I need to remind myself. And that’s why I’m writing about this now. Life is so short and fleeting and it just gets doubly stressful when scrutiny eats you up on a personal level. There will be more compromises to discuss and challenges to endure and surpass; I don’t doubt that. But I’m hoping, now that I have this tiny breather from work, that I’ll be given a break. I desperately need it.

Morgon the Stygian

Pencil drawing, March 1999 Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Jumbled Thought of the Minute

Got tons of things to do but all I really wanna do is go on a vacation somewhere cool because my self-imposed hiatus never happened 'cause freelance works just pop up and I can’t disappoint people I work with since they know I’m perfect for the job and all that so here I am blogging instead of making an organized list of things to do for the next week or so and I just wanna sleep and read and write and draw and eat and exercise more ‘cause I need to lose weight and be comfy again in my clothes like I’m comfy without them yeah and oh god I wanna swim even for only an hour and laugh and not worry ‘bout any real-world concerns like saving money and deadlines and I’m just feeling tense and horny and damn I wanna plow but I can’t right now 'cause I need to work again so I’ll have money to spend and squander at SM...

I Chose Two

Swiped this music quiz thingie from boi_bitch:

Choose a band/artist and answer only in SONG TITLES by that band: 10,000 Maniacs and Dar Williams
Are you male or female: Starman; When I Was a Boy
Describe yourself: Like the Weather; Party Generation
How do some people feel about you: Headstrong; Family
How do you feel about yourself: Gun Shy; Better Things
Describe your ex-b.f./g.f.: Few and Far Between; The Christians and the Pagans
Describe your current b.f./g.f: Everyone a Puzzle Lover; My Friends
Describe where you want to be: Eden; Spring Street
Describe what you want to be: Candy Everybody Wants; The One Who Knows
Describe how you live: I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You; Closer to Me
Describe how you love: Scorpio Rising; And a God Descended
Share a few words of wisdom: Let the Mystery Be; The World’s Not Falling Apart

Sneak Peeker

Image Comics' Blacklight #1 interior page, penciled by John Toledo and inked by Marc Deering. Available this June. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Killer New Wave

It's in music stores now, finally. Got myself a copy of The Killers' Hot Fuss album earlier. Whether you're a seasoned or recent New Wave listener, you should check this out, pronto. Been seeing the cool video for their first single the past couple of weeks. I've listened to the CD twice now, and for me, the band sounds like a strange but very audible cross between Modern English, The Cure, and Blue Zoo. Their melodies are very infectious and their lyrics are offbeat, both typically endearing New Wave traits. Very catchy stuff.

"Jealousy, turning saints into the sea. Swimming through sick lullabies. Choking on your alibis. But it's just the price I pay. Destiny is calling me. Open up my eager eyes, 'cause I'm Mr. Brightside!"
--The Killers, Mr. Brightside


Pencil drawing, 2000 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Fun Stories + Purty Pitchers = Yay!

Been reading a lot of borrowed comics lately. I immensely enjoyed Brian Vaughan's awesome Runaways, four issues of Dan Slott’s entertaining She-Hulk, and Linda Medley’s magical and feelgood Castle Waiting. These are some of the most creative titles I’ve read in a while. Thanks, McPiglet, for lending these memorable gems.

I’m on a self-imposed hiatus, which will probably last for a few days; I’m just relaxing and planning, and catching up on music, comics and TV stuff. I need a real vacation. Haven’t had one in years. And it’s so hot, I just wanna dip myself in a pool or tub filled with ice during the day.

Oh, before I forget, thank you to Niño Mark Sablan for including Lexy, Nance & Argus in his recommended gay reads last Wednesday in the 2BU section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. His brief blurb: "Eye-friendly drawings plus nod-inducing lines equals applause!" Thank you Mark! That's a very nice equation.

End of pimpage, for now. Back to more reading. Yay!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Embracing the Dark Side

I enjoyed the new Clone Wars animated series Benedict showed me so much that I couldn’t help it: I bought a few Revenge of the Sith action figures when I saw them at the mall this afternoon. I have General Grievous, Emperor Palpatine (with lightsabre), Shaak Ti, and Mace Windu. The Jedi-killing General Grievous can hold four lightsabers at once (theoretically, he can hold five… if you watch it ‘til the end, you’ll know what I mean). I also love Shaak Ti! She is one ass-kicking Jedi. Anyway, the toys aren’t as articulate or sturdy as any of the superhero/fantasy action figure lines today, but they’re just as damn expensive. And yeah, I’m weak, so I bought a few anyway. I still have some of the worn-out figures from the eighties, which were really popular with collectors back when the original trilogy was released in the country. They really look like relics now compared to their improved counterparts. I remember nagging my mom periodically to buy me Return of the Jedi toys, which were selling at an expensive 29 pesos each back then at Mini Dau in Parañaque. But they were worth it for me; I had fun recreating scenes and making up new ones with the characters that I had. And yes, these days, I'm still the toy geek. I open my toys and play with them (I don't do sound effects and battle scenes all afternoon anymore, though), and later display them in my humble, dust-gathering toy shelf.

Back to the cartoons: Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars is airing this week over Cartoon Network Asia, I think. The five remaining chapters are longer per installment (slightly over ten minutes each), and it focuses on Anakin’s Skywalker’s recent acceptance to Jedi Knighthood. It leads directly to Episode III: Revenge of the Sith next month. The action scenes are, to quote Anakin in Chapter 21, “Impressive. Most impressive!”. The young Jedi’s ominous vision in the final chapter was also nicely done. I like how Anakin looked with the temporary blue tatoos. The distracting thing about this shirtless look, though, as Benedict also pointed out, is Anakin's armpit hair. Weird-looking brown tufts, they were.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Simpler times. :) Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Turning Points

Regret some intimacies. Regret regrets. Two lovers sharing one man.
Different needs, same goals. Be happy; be free. Be who you wanna be.
No tears are wasted. Stop showing vulnerability. Stop.
Stop, and you’ll see clearly. Hidden lives, no apologies.
Apologize until you’re not sorry. Sorry that things get cheap.
Cheap and downright sad. Dramas go bad, but this disaster’s averted.
Thank you for sharing. Sharing’s good. Orgasms for everybody.
Yummy, wild, drunk and free.

Purpleblur II

Pencil drawing, March 2005 Posted by Hello Mystery spygirl Purpleblur has hypervelocity powers and martial arts skills that have proven useful in many covert missions. She has allied herself with the Cavalry, the Dozen Dynamos, and the Masked Maestros in the past, and is rumored to be one of the original Purpleblur's suprahuman descendants.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Darkstar? Umbra? Blacklight!

Blacklight # 1. Available this June! Posted by Hello My pal John Toledo drew this. It's a new series from Image Comics. Reserve your copy at your favorite comic shop, now! Vinnie of Comic Quest, and Felix of Druid's Keep, please get the title. :) To view a larger version of the cover, click here.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Saturday Fun Machine

Went to Comic Quest Megamall last night to get Countdown to Infinite Crisis, the latest issues of Astonishing X-Men and Legion of Super Heroes, and Marco Dimaano’s newly launched book K.I.A. (Kai: Indomitable Assassin). It was cool to behold all those creative people at the launch together: Marco, Arnold and Cynthia Arre, Dean, Vinnie, Elbert, Jac, Jonas, Benedict, Camille Portugal, Joel Chua, and David Hontiveros! As a comics person, it's really gratifying to know that these writers and artists are doing different, inspired things for the love of the medium and related art forms.

Chatted a bit with Arnold about LNA. The guy generously gave nice comments about it again (Argus is his fave character!). Also talked a bit with Marco and later Jac, who had me draw the Kai character on a piece of paper with the other guests’ renditions. Benedict got some pig sketches too.

Was able to watch the new Clone Wars ep later, and I had Benedict take pics of me for my blog profile, both decent and silly ones.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Valhallan Maiden

Pencil drawing, April 2000 (Click image to enlarge) Posted by Hello Warrior goddess Gunn of the Valkyrjas’ tremendous physical and precognitive powers were halved after being exiled on Earth. But instead of returning to her homerealm when offered the chance, the Valhallan Maiden opted to fight alongside noble mortal fighters similar to those she used to bring to the haven of slain heroes.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Infernal Heat

It was so hot earlier today, or technically, yesterday. Ugh. Was drowsy for most of the afternoon and evening. Rambling... will probably rewrite this post later today. Or not.

Was part of a previously unannounced 30-minute round-table interview with Simple Plan (they're quite funny), and later, the planned interview with Avril Lavigne (she was okay) that lasted for about ten minutes.