Tuesday, April 30, 2013

FCBD and Psychic Love

Psychic Love ashcan. Eight-page preview (sequential pages and character guide). Limited number of copies. Exclusively at the Setting the Record event on Saturday (National Bookstore Quezon Ave.). P40 only!

Guest artists (above) and map to National Bookstore Quezon Ave. (below), drawn by Andrew Villar.

Mind over mind, mind over matters

Sexy and crazy, “Trance” is Danny Boyle’s latest offering, a gritty, head-spinning heist-romance mash-up that challenges its viewers’ preconceived notions. Accessible but audacious, “Trance” is like a twisted, murky reflection of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

The faculties of the mind are the playground of an accomplished hypnotherapist, Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), who must help an injured art auctioneer, Simon (James Mc Avoy). He needs to remember the location of a missing Goya painting; Simon is genuinely suffering from partial amnesia, but is in cahoots with would-be art thieves, led by the violent Franck (Vincent Cassel). Elizabeth discovers the thugs behind Simon’s injuries, but works with them to find the much-coveted masterpiece.

The hypnosis concept is playfully explored, allowing for plenty of opportunities to create layers within layers. The story’s tangles and twists intertwine into a complex tapestry; “Trance’s” chronology is a lovely swirl that uncovers and answers strategically placed clues. Its main characters are likewise multi-faceted; Dawson, McAvoy and Cassel are superb as the uneasy cohorts. It takes the puzzle some time to unravel, but it ultimately rewards, and it rewards well.

“Trance” will be in Philippine cinemas starting May 1.

Passion Forward

Recent status updates.
April 23. Thor 2 teaser trailer. Not Man of Steel-awesome, but it looks like it's going to be fun.
April 23. May midnight screening yata ng Iron Man 3 ngayon. Ehh. Bukas na.
April 23. Iron Man 3. Fun and funny. Makes up for the drabness of the second one.
April 24. Imagine Dragons' "It's Time" in a Smart commercial. Gack.
April 27. Next Saturday is Free Comic Book Day.
April 29. Eleven years and 580 articles later, I'm still thankful and excited to contribute. I dedicate my published newspaper articles to my parents. I hope they're still happy to periodically see my name in ink and to read my thoughts on paper. Thanks, my dear PDI editors.
April 30. Indie comics creator mode. Stapling ashcan pages. Glad the copier's just right, and the operator knew what he was doing. Yes, it'll be out on Saturday.

Love Machinery, Fourteen

Beast and Rachel Summers.
"Yes, Rachel, I brought the original X-Men from the past. Surely, you can understand the concept of changing the present, being from the future."
"Beast, you took them from YOUR past. If one of them dies, we are SO f*cked!"

Speaking of time travel...
Yeah, hexagon hologram! Ninth Doctor turns to Tenth when tilted.

Great Lakes Avengers Assemble! The GLA, a.k.a the Great Lakes X-Men and the Great Lakes Initiative. They debuted in the issue. They eventually inducted Squirrel Girl and Deadpool into their ranks.

No Iron Man spoilers. The comic book version of the Mandarin, late '80s. And yes, he's Asian.
Space cops! L.E.G.I.O.N. (Licensed Extra Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network) was led by Vril Dox, heir of Brainiac and ancestor of Brainiac 5. Only got to read it by the early 2000s; I was able to get about 30-plus random issues from different bargain bins.
JLA-Avengers, 10th anniversary.
"Iron Man 3's out, baby. Hot on the heels of the global hit, The Avengers! How's the DC Cinematic Universe doing, Bats?"
"June. Man of Steel. I expect anxiety attacks."

Darlings and Dragons

Status updates, compiled.
April 18. Saw the first episode of Bates Motel. Have yet to see Hannibal. But what I'm really looking forward to is the newest season of Dexter.
April 18. Makahabol sa gym.
April 18. Ang labo nitong bagong timeline, kulang-kulang at di mabalikan ang lumang post.
April 20. I shoulda stayed longer at last night's event. They were gonna serve alcohol but I had to leave for the gym. Hrmph.
April 21. 14,000 DeviantArt faves. Yay.
April 22. Pinipilit maihabol yung ashcan.             
April 23. The latest GoT. Clapped and cheered at the Daenerys scenes. Leonidas who?
April 23. Enjoyed Danny Boyle's head-spinning Trance. Crazy and sexy, like a twisted, murky reflection of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Well-oiled Marvel machine

Robert Downey, Jr. pleasingly reprises his inventor-adventurer role Tony Stark in “Iron Man 3,” a year after his appearance in the mega-blockbuster “The Avengers.” There’s more of the wisecracking, irrepressible playboy in this third part, as well as more formidable adversaries to confront and trounce. It’s a solid superhero movie, still characteristically playful, which is in sync with the inimitable, fun-loving character.

Restless after his first Avengers mission, Stark tinkers with new toys, developing new armor designs while reassessing his purpose. The reappearance of an old acquaintance, fellow genius Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), heralds the emergence of indestructible superhumans, threatening both the armored Avenger and devoted girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). A terrorist, the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), also makes his despicable presence felt.

“Iron Man 3’s” Tony Stark is weary but still flippant, although not as quippy as in “The Avengers.” It acknowledges his heroic near-sacrifice in the previous movie, while dealing with the necessary fallout from performing feats with other heroes. It’s mostly him reconnecting and regrouping, an interesting angle to focus on thanks to the tight continuity between Marvel's movies. This third “Iron Man” knows how the character has grown considerably and is anxiously asking himself, “what now?”

“Iron Man 3” is also fun, and manages to avoid the pacing and structure mistakes made by its forgettable second part. Don Cheadle gets to do more; Paltrow gets to do something different. Downey is definitely still enjoyable as Stark. If there’s anything that will rile some viewers, it’s a fakeout involving one of the characters. Still, the complicated sham is forgivable and amusing, thanks to the splendid performance of the actor. 

Bio’s ‘Ghost Story’ features Asian encounters

(Published April 23, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Singer-actress-director Karla Pambid would rather be recognized for her work in the arts instead of her ability to see beings and creatures that most people don’t.

While she doesn’t call it a psychic ability, she has long accepted that her “gift” makes her “more sensitive” than people who don’t have it. Pambid recently appeared on the second season of Bio’s “My Ghost Story Asia,” a weekly series that features three spooky tales from the region per episode.

In Inquirer Entertainment’s exclusive phone interview with Pambid, she clarified that the ability to see ghosts or other entities is innate and cannot be had through other means.

“The ‘gift’ will not present itself unless you’re ready,” she said. “Once you are, it’s just like being made to remember things that you already know. You don’t ‘acquire’ it; it is given. It is not a skill that you hone or practice. You have it or you don’t.”

Pambid cofounded SPIT (Silly People’s Improv Theater) in 2002, and won Cinemalaya’s best supporting actress award in 2010 for her portrayal in the Mark Meily-directed “Donor.”

She is aware of various misconceptions about her unusual ability, and has encountered skepticism from time to time: “Oh, [I’ve been doubted] lots of times. Friends who are not of the same religion and beliefs, and anything that’s not tangible or not agreeable to their beliefs are, for them, the work of the devil. I don’t believe that so, usually I just shut up and stop discussing it with them.”

Having seen some older episodes of “My Ghost Story Asia” has given Pambid a familiarity with the show’s format, as well as insights on things in common with neighboring countries.

“It’s interesting, actually, that they’re doing stories from all over Asia,” she said. “I find it gratifying that [Bio] is doing it. If you are interested, or if you take time to research on the elementals that each Asian country has, there are certain similarities… they have different names in other countries, but they look the same.”

Contacted by Bio to relate some of her hair-raising experiences, Pambid talked onscreen about her supernatural encounters on a tree-lined road near a university, and helped out with the reenactment: “They knew of my experiences on that road, and they asked me to tell them the stories. They needed an assistant director for the shoot here in the Philippines, so I also became that.”

In her segment, she recounted that “elemental guardians,” or horse-headed tikbalangs, would make themselves known to her while she was driving. “I don’t just see. They say ‘hi’ to me… it’s not as creepy as it sounds. Basically, if you know more about the paranormal, [or] at least have an idea of what it is, you won’t be that afraid. It’s kind of fun, actually. It has a fun element.”

As for others with the same gift, Pambid gives them space: “Unless he or she intends to harm others or myself, I let them be and mind my own business—but if any such person opens up to me, we would most probably end up as friends.”

Pambid’s story is one of four Filipino encounters featured on the show. The others are stories from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

(“My Ghost Story Asia” Season 2 airs Thursdays, 9:30 p.m., and Fridays, 11:30 p.m.)             

Summer Toonami
Watch the all-new adventures of Anakin Skywalker and the rest of the Jedi as they fight for peace in “Star Wars: Clone Wars,” weeknights at 6:30 on Cartoon Network. “Dragon Ball Z Kai” follows the escapades of the realm-hopping Goku, airing weekdays at 5:45 p.m. Catch the costumed capers of Robin, Superboy, Kid Flash and other sidekicks on “Young Justice,” starting May 6, 5 p.m. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Love Machinery, Thirteen

The first time Hawkeye and Mockingbird split up, they divided the West Coast Avengers in two. They went on separate missions, but nearly ran into each other during the Evolutionary War.

10th year anniversary reenactment (kinda) of JLA-Avengers. Pic from 2008.
"Avengers Assemble!"
"League Lambaste!"
Book Sale find. It's got exclusive content (Vader and Threepio's journals), but also has two errors (a typo and a wrong photo of baby Leia).

One of my few surviving National Bookstore reprints. Batman versus Gustav DeCobra! Creeped me out when I was eight.

Yummy cakes and stuff, April edition.
Wolfsbane and Shatterstar are fighting over the same guy: Rictor! The pregnant she-wolf walks in on the two, and thinks that Shatterstar is making her ex gay.

Fact, fiction fuse in Cold War tale

(Published April 19, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Often discomfiting, the Cold War drama “The Americans” is about two KGB agents posing as ordinary American spouses in the early 1980s.

Starring Keri Russell (“Felicity”) and Matthew Rhys (“Brothers and Sisters”) as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, “The Americans” mingles fact and fiction, creating compelling scenarios set during the Reagan administration. The spy partners, however, get into unforeseen and unplanned situations, adjusting their operations accordingly to protect their sinister secrets.

The show created by Joe Weisberg (“Damages”) tackles the unconventional rapport between two well-trained and cold-blooded agents who are raising two children unaware of their origins and motivations.

The dynamic gets especially complicated when an FBI agent (Noah Emmerich) moves in next door. The workaholic agent initially suspects something amiss with the neighbors, but dismisses his hunch when he sees no proof of their duplicity.

“The Americans” consistently keeps its pace and ambiance suspenseful. We’re introduced to a seemingly typical couple that blends in as travel agents, expertly hiding their ruthlessness and loyalty to the USSR. But interestingly enough, their relationship with their children is rife with genuine affection, even when the clueless kids are growing up as Americans.

The contradiction extends to Elizabeth and Philip’s fake marriage. Posing as husband and wife for many years doesn’t necessarily give them an actual emotional bond, but in the first three episodes, they start developing—and are finally showing—true feelings for each other.

Those contradictions make “The Americans” an interesting conundrum, although their precarious situation often justifiably perplexes. The spies, despite many likable qualities, often resort to violent or other despicable measures when dealing with innocents. It’s impossible to root for them whenever they cut down unwary threats to their schemes and operations.

Russell, previously famous for the late-1990s “Felicity” role, has long established herself capable of playing characters other than the titular college character. In the JJ Abrams-directed “Mission: Impossible III,” she briefly appeared as a gun-toting but ultimately ill-fated agent. “The Americans” allows her to kick butt again, as well as flex her acting chops. As a KGB spy, she efficiently masquerades, seduces, and does whatever it takes to accomplish her various, seemingly unending goals.

Comparisons to “Homeland” are inevitable, as “The Americans” also harnesses the climate of paranoia imaginatively. But the two are different entities, despite some similar relationship dynamics. And this show essentially binds nostalgia for the era to the disturbing “revelations” of undetected terror, offering a disturbing version of a time when the world seemingly survived tensions unscathed.
(“The Americans” airs Saturdays, 8 p.m. on Jack City.) 

Superman 2013

New 52 version. Happy 75th anniversary, Superman. Thank you, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. 

The Three

Meld, Fabrik, Roksana.
Old drawing, 1998. 11" X 17" cartolina.

Catch Up, Ketchup

Status updates, et cetera.
April 9. Matuto kasing mag-adjust ng notifications o mag-unfriend para sumaya.
April 13. Finally watching season two of Game of Thrones.
April 13. Just suddenly remembered the taste of Tom Sawyer's fried chicken. I miss it.
April 15. Finally finished GoT season two. Enjoyed Daenerys' test. Loved the knight-woman Brienne. And got bored with Jon Snow playing hard to get with the Wildling woman that wanted to jump his bones.
April 15. Saw a few minutes of Robin Dude a few nights ago. Uhm. Yeah.
April 16. Pancit at fried rice. Sarap.
April 17. I'll be at the Setting the Record event on Free Comic Book Day, May 4, at National Bookstore Quezon Avenue. There will be dozens of local comic book creators and card artists. I'm going to sketch on blank covers, sell my ancient comic books (LNA:SGRR and LNA: FA), and some new-ish original art. Hopefully, I'll be able to sell the ashcan-preview of Psychic Love, as well.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Psychic Love Preview

Four-page sneak preview! Probably the only time I’ll post pages from my project Psychic Love: Jim and Ma-An Save the World. It’s PG-13.


Half-Pinay Vanessa White jazzes up Brit girl band

(Published April 10, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

“It’s really flattering,” said Filipino-British singer Vanessa White, about being compared with vocal powerhouses Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey.

White, 23, is the youngest member of the British girl band The Saturdays. She talked about her career and the group’s new reality series, “Chasing The Saturdays” during a recent teleconference with Asian publications.

“My mom is from Davao,” White revealed. “She’s a nurse and I have a younger sister. My family and I try to go to the Philippines often. I’ve been there quite a few times. I like going back whenever I can—usually at Christmastime. I want to visit Boracay again.”

Together since 2007, the five-member group is being touted as the next Spice Girls.

After four hit albums, members of The Saturdays welcome the comparison and are “enjoying the pressure,” hoping for even a fraction of the iconic ’90s girl group’s success.

White added, however: “At the end of the day we are The Saturdays. We’re not trying to be anyone else. We really hope to go international.”

According to White, “Chasing The Saturdays” is an unscripted reality series that shows the group’s typical work routines. Apart from the show biz aspect, it shows bits and pieces of the members’ personal lives.

“I’m a bit of a private person, but what is seen on the show is very real and we want everyone to see what exactly goes on,” she said.

Being together for many years has developed the group’s sisterly dynamic: “We get [along] very well; we’re really lucky. That’s the key. I think the ingredients to our success are that we don’t argue, we’re always there for each other, and we’re supportive of one another.”

Aside from “Chasing The Saturdays,” White and the rest of the group are promoting “Chase,” their latest hit album. She expressed interest in touring and performing in Asia, eventually.

She also described herself as The Saturdays’ party girl: “My role in the group is, I like to go and have a good time! So, if anyone is in the mood for a party, you know I am always in the mood!”

A fan of Sharon Cuneta, Aiza Seguerra and Charice, White appeared in the West End productions of “The Lion King” and “The King and I” when she was a child.

But she revealed that her actual singing influences include someone she’s close to: “Well, each of us [has] different influences. My greatest influence was actually at home. My mother was a singer. My family encouraged me from a young age, so I grew up and lived in that way!”

(“Chasing The Saturdays” airs on Sundays, 10 p.m. on E! Philippines.) 

Only Time Can Melt the Ice Cream Clown

Status updates compiled.

April 3. Glad that self-righteous, homophobic blogger removed me from his blog list. I rarely drop by his site, but I feel icky whenever I visit it. It's like he dirties up my cookie folder and history as well.
April 3. The first GI Joe movie was terrible... so I'm not rushing to watch the sequel.
April 3. The controversial Havok speech in Uncanny Avengers has sparked an endless debate, understandably. But when people say "it's just a comic book," or "it's just a story," it's like the medium or its issues shouldn't be taken seriously. I hate that.
April 4. "Your love is better than ice cream." Singing that in my head while eating a cup of yummy, yummy ice cream, oddly enough.
April 5. Holy f*ck, must stop wasting time and draw a new page.
April 5. Ugh, the heat. Can't wait for this season to be over.
April 5. Frustration makes you want to punch a wall, but you're too sensible to do it.
April 6. Channel-surfing last night. Ended up leaving Geordie Shore in the background. They kept referring to a guy's thing as a parsnip.
April 6. Sometimes, I just want to stay in bed and not care.
April 6. Newest Community episode. Funny. Damn.
April 7. I need a fricking drink.

Deities Duel

Long-haired Superman versus armored Thor. Supes is swatting Thor with a tank in the first panel. Practice page from 1998. 

Old Shop Window

Filbar's Glorietta, 1993. We took pictures of various shop exteriors for our Window Display subject. "Wedding of the Century" makes me snicker; Scott cheated on Jean years later. As for the store, it played a big part in my comic book reading and collection. I bought a lot of comics from its many branches through the years.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Fishing 'Off the Hook' way

(Published April 1, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

“I’m obsessed with learning and experiencing things,” said “Off the Hook: Extreme Catches” host Eric Young in a recent teleconference to promote the Animal Planet show.

The professional wrestler and outdoor adventurer described himself as an “amateur fisherman,” but that isn’t stopping him from actively pursuing the activity. He enthused: “I’m passionate about it; I love to learn about it. I’ve been that way my whole life and this show has really opened that up for me. I’ve camped, canoed and kayaked all over North America and this fishing show opens up all kinds of new adventures for me!”

Aspiring fishermen or anglers can learn about resourcefulness and discipline by watching “Off the Hook,” Young added. “I think the No. 1 thing is just [learning] to be patient. The fish are the ones that are usually in control. You’ve got to put your time in to catch fish… There are a lot of factors that go into it like weather, wind, sun and all that stuff, so just be patient and try as many different styles of fishing as you can. [And in] every episode that we’ve done, we’ve tried a different style. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of fishing!”

The host described “Off The Hook” as a program that shows people a variety of lesser-known but “fun” techniques, including catching sharks with herring-filled pantyhose. While doing the show, Young learned the difference between breeds of sharks and their disparate “personalities.”

“I learned that each fish is completely different,” he said. “A black-tip shark is methodical and plotting; a blue shark is very, very relaxed and laid-back. But a mako shark is super aggressive, and you can just tell by the way they swim in the water. When you see it coming up the chum line, it’s looking at you, it’s hungry and it’s ready to take something out. It’s a very interesting thing!”

Having fished in numerous locations, Young has discovered common traits among seasoned fishermen from different areas: “We’ve traveled all over North America and the one thing I definitely notice everywhere we go, fishermen are some of the most tenacious people I’ve met in my life. They just will not give up. They work hard. They’re up at 3 in the morning; they go to bed late… they’re tireless workers but they’re all kind-hearted people. The small communities that we’re in are often very close-knit families, everyone knows everyone, and everyone’s really friendly.”

The fishing expedition brought him and the show’s crew to North Carolina, California, and Florida, among other places. Young revealed that his wrestling background helped prepare him for the 12-part series.

“It’s made me very comfortable in front of a camera,” he said. “Pro wrestling is a world where you don’t get second chances, it’s often live or you have one take to do what you’re doing so it’s helped me that way. Also, you have to be durable and tough; a lot of these fishing styles are very, very physical and very tough on your body… I consider myself a pretty durable person and it’s a good thing because the show would be very difficult to do for somebody who couldn’t handle a beating!”

“Off the Hook: Extreme Catches” airs Mondays, 9 p.m., on Animal Planet.

Young and Married
MTV Asia’s new documentary series “Young and Married” follows a few young American couples a year after their honeymoons. The show airs Sundays, 9 p.m.

Golden Boy
“Golden Boy” stars Theo James as Walter Clark, a beat cop promoted to commissioner. It airs Sundays, 10 p.m., on Jack City.


Dr. Strange and Dr. Fate, crossing dimensions with the help of a... I dunno, a fish-fowl. Old practice page from 1996. 

Love Machinery, Twelve

Havok and Wolfsbane.
"Please, don't call us mutants!"
"Wow, Alex, self-hating much? Thanks for simplifying our struggles! You really do fit in with that 'We have mutant friends' team. Can't believe I had a crush on you."

"It is the right thought: 'There really should be light.'" One of Alan Moore's most memorable superhero stories. Majestic and a few fellow immortals (a smart strain of syphilis, a vampire, and the Wandering Jew, among others) witness the end of the universe, and take part in its re-creation.

Bought this around summer, two decades ago. Brilliant, beautiful issue.

Wilson Fisk versus Sam Burke.
"Is that the last doughnut? Damn you, Burke!"

The messiah-like Adam Warlock was crucified, died, resurrected, and eventually ascended to supreme godhood. He split his power, a.k.a. the Infinity Gems, among his chosen allies.

Summer 1993. The Nick Manabat-illustrated Cybernary, flip side to Deathblow # 1, blew my mind. It's 20 years old!

Empathy, Emphasis

Status updates, blah blah.

March 27. Daming tao sa supermarket.
March 28. I'm enjoying writing an old character again--Jaime/Jim the psychic--ten years after I created him. I originally intended for him to die in the original comic book, just to emphasize the irony of his situation (he couldn't precisely predict his own demise), but I liked him enough that I changed his fate at the last minute. Now, it's his story, and he's joined by new characters, which are growing before my eyes--and some of them are driving me to drink!--and it's all exciting. I'll keep doing this in the background when I'm not working. It's a story I really want to tell.
March 30. Read 10 pages of the "Don't call us mutants" thread on CBR. Wow, it's 80+ pages.
March 31. To those watching the Walking Dead season finale early tomorrow, please don't post spoilers.
March 31. Rereading Uncanny X-Men # 188, where Rachel Summers told Nightcrawler, "You can't give up. The X-Men ARE important! Not because you're super-heroes, but because you're MUTANT super-heroes!"
March 31. Not a Christian, but I really like Jars of Clay... and they're here right now in the Philippines?! Whut?!