Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year That Was, Apostrophe Thirteen

Pic taken early this year in Singapore. Been a crazy, wonderful year. I thank the communities I'm part of for just being there. Discovered and learned unceasingly. Wrote, drew and, more recently, edited, a lot. Was able to eat, drink, work out, be merry--a lot! I thank the generous people who wanted me to succeed, and who continue to help out. I love you; I thank you; I soak up your cosmic energy. May 2014 be more prosperous, wondrous, fulfilling for all of us. Happy New Year!

13 Gay Comic Book Moments of 2013

(Clockwise from top left) Batwoman proposes to Maggie Sawyer; Kevin Keller’s admirer Paul comes out; Hercules and Howlett reunite; Tong comes out to fellow Moloids; Morph reveals he’s gay; Apollo and Midnighter kiss; Alysia comes out as transgender; Psylocke hooks up with Cluster; Judge Dredd cosplayer Taylor Cook accepts himself; Prodigy kisses Hulkling; Bloodstone gets jealous; Annabelle Riggs kisses Valkyrie; Devon and Kevin become a couple.

Tugging at Art Strings, 2013

It was great to revisit these characters and introduce new ones in the Psychic Love ashcan. Will resume drawing soon!

Got to draw on a couple of these nifty blank covers this year. Thanks so much to those who commissioned. I'm currently finishing pending ones. Some of the finished covers:

Also, thanks to the Tumblr bloggers who share my art, as well as to DeviantArt artists who keep faving stuff in my gallery. 17,300+ favorites to date. My sincere thanks!

Tank Top

Recent profile pic. Admiral Ackbar would be proud. You know, the traps? Never mind. Hehe. Uhm.

Rest, Revelry, Reassurance

Status updates, compiled.

Dec. 9. Escaping before dreamtime. #liquidfreedom
Dec. 9. Compartmentalizing feelings for... stuff... tricky but essential.
Dec. 10.Too tired to attend Hobbit screening. Must get some sleep.
Dec. 11. I'm 40. I like things that I've always liked and never stopped at those. I don't need to conform with what "most people my age" do, or like, or believe in. And I've always hated hive mentality, even when I was much younger.
Dec. 11. There's a mug on my desk; dunno if it's a gift or someone just left it. #clueless
Dec. 11. Third month. Loving it. #actuallyemployed
Dec. 11. Rusty old dumbbells. Icky, but they'll do. #notdrinkingtonight
Dec. 12. Indie Bravo ceremony done! Congrats to the honorees. And congrats to us, Entertainment team!
Dec. 14. Kape, tumalab ka na.
Dec. 17. Bought the thick Life with Archie TPB that has the Kevin Keller wedding last night. Five extra-sized issues. #yaycomics
Dec. 16. Craving a burger. Or anything with cheese. #carnivore
Dec. 17. Got a call from Wil, an old friend who just routinely vanishes, goes incommunicado, then resurfaces years later. Nice hearing from him.
Dec. 17. Insufficient caffeine intake. Sleepy. Oh, my dad said he liked something I wrote. That made me smile.
Dec. 17. Note to self: You need to sleep. Get some effing rest.
Dec. 17. Have yet to watch Smaug. Finally saw Frozen, though. Love it.
Dec. 17. Uncondi-SHO-nal. Ugh. #malingstress #gandavideothough
Dec. 18. This place feels like school. In a good way. And, we get paid. #thankyou
Dec. 19. Note to self: That's enough booze for tonight, late bloomer.
Dec. 19. Feeling sick. Gotta fight it.
Dec.20. Man, that tough teacher in Awkward was Anthony Michael Hall? Whoa.
Dec. 20. Drowsy. Sneezed seven times in a row. #poorfloor
Dec. 21. Got a nice shirt from Jaycee and Gavin. Thanks nga pala sa siopao and dumplings, Allan. Sarap.
Dec. 22. Stuck in traffic yesterday, Dad and I sang along to "I've Never Been to Me." #undressedbykings #subtlewhoring
Dec. 23. Thursday and Friday issues done! Yay, team! #xmasvaycay
Dec. 24. Suddenly, it's Christmas eve. Have fun, people, whichever holiday you celebrate. #peaceonearth
Dec. 24. Cool that two other people from the office finished Advertising Arts at UST.
Dec. 27. Dad's a non-practicing chemical engineer. In the car, he rambled about freon and hybrid cars. All I could say was "Ah." And "Okay."
Dec. 27. ♫♪ You don't know the power that you have with that tear in your hand... ♫♪
Dec. 28. A couple of issues done. Yay, Entertainment team!
Dec. 26. Finally got to watch the sixth season of Doctor Who. Man, that rescue-revenge mission in the "A Good Man Goes to War" episode was so epic, I was in tears by the end of it. Just scene after scene of utter coolness.

Anak TV awardees 'genuine people's choices'

(Published Dec. 27, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

MANILA, Philippines – At the recent Anak TV Awards, the advocacy organization pushing for child-friendly programs honored entertainment and news personalities “worthy of emulation.”

Declared male “Makabata Stars” were actors Richard Yap, Coco Martin, Daniel Padilla, Dingdong Dantes, Ryan Agoncillo and Vic Sotto; news anchors Noli de Castro, Anthony Taberna and Ted Failon; and weatherman Kim Atienza.

Anak TV winners (photo by ICP/Kairosolutions)
Their female counterparts were actors Angel Locsin, Kim Chiu, Jodi Sta. Maria, Judy Ann Santos, Marian Rivera and Kathryn Bernardo; “Maalaala Mo Kaya” host Charo Santos-Concio; reporter Kara David; and news anchors Vicky Morales and Karen Davila.

Locsin told the Inquirer she was thankful for the recognition but she didn’t feel pressured to be a role model. “I don’t intend to be one,” she said in a text message, “[but] I will continue to play credibly every role assigned to me.”

Hall of Famer Arnold Clavio and multiple “Most Admired Female Personality” winner Anne Curtis, who recently figured in separate, widely-publicized incidents, were not among this year’s awardees. Clavio’s controversial treatment of Janet Lim Napoles’ lawyer, Alfred Villamor, drew flak from viewers and netizens, as did Curtis’ reported involvement in a drunken altercation last month.

Mag Cruz Hatol, Anak TV secretary general, said the two controversies might have affected the voting process.

“Clavio and Curtis’ chances during the later polling were hurt by the negative publicity,” he remarked. “They did remarkably well at the start, though, landing in the top 20 but not successfully [breaking into] the ‘magic’ circle.”

Named Makabata Hall of Fame awardees this year, or consistent chart-toppers, were anchors Jessica Soho and Bernadette Sembrano, and singer-actress Sarah Geronimo.

Hatol noted that this year’s winners were chosen by over 2,500 jurors nationwide, representing “a cross-section of Philippine society.”

Soho told the Inquirer by phone: “It feels surreal…  but it’s very reassuring.” Soho had won six times previously. “I’m not really a role model,” she said. “This is a consequence of us appearing on television. I’m in a business that shouldn’t be about us… but I’m always grateful. I try to be level-headed about this. [For me] every week is a struggle. I think about the shows we produce and the audience we connect with.”

Hatol related: “The jurors came from remote islands like Masbate, Camiguin and Romblon; from places as far as Aurora and Zamboanga and as near as Cavite and Bulacan. Among them, we counted teachers, workers, local politicians, parents, priests, Muslims and Evangelicals, NGO (nongoverment organization) officers, soldiers, farmers and others.” 

The selection, he elaborated, could thus be considered authentic “people’s choice” winners.

“Anak TV painstakingly cuts across the breadth of the country, seeking the opinions of a diverse mass of people, but first engaging them lengthily in TV literacy, the crux of the Anak TV advocacy. The winners are personalities that the jurors hold in high esteem, public figures who embody wholesomeness and credibility and who are deemed worthy of emulation by children.”

The Anak TV seal was awarded to several deserving shows, he added. “The single criterion is a question that the jurors ask themselves: ‘Is this program appropriate for the child at home to watch?’ This year, we started with 250 entries; only 101 received the seal.”

Recipients of the Anak TV Seal this year are mostly shows aired by ABS-CBN, PTV, TV5, GMA 7, GMA News TV, IBC, Studio 23, Net 25, Light TV and UNTV. Hatol said these programs receive the prestige that goes with being “true people’s choices” for family-friendly and child-sensitive fare.

“The smaller networks are able to promote their programs more easily because of the recognition,” Hatol said. “Its most prized aspect of the award is the privilege to sport the Anak TV seal, which serves as a guide for parents and caregivers deciding which programs are safe for young audiences to watch.”

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

X-Factor Xmas Party!

X-Factor Xmas Party. Full pencils. Merry Xmas!

Snowflake symmetry

Disney’s new animated flick “Frozen” has two new princesses, siblings Elsa and Anna, whose close bond suddenly ends after the former’s ice powers accidentally causes a terrible injury.

You see, Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), is a cryokinetic, a misunderstood mutant, if you will; she can create ice sculptures and sentient snow creatures, but has little control over them at first. Now literally and figuratively cold, she keeps herself hidden from prying eyes, including her adoring sister’s, lest she hurt them with her elemental gift.

In true Disney fashion, Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) is the spunky, outgoing girl; she’s spontaneous but naïve, which presents its own problems come Elsa’s coronation as queen. And like in other Disney flicks, an assortment of characters becomes involved in the sisters’ grand adventure, which has its intriguing and enjoyable twists and turns.

Menzel gives Queen Elsa just the aptly soaring and emotive vocal range, also a fitting metaphor for restraint and power in a seemingly fragile shell. The character is majestic but unsure, and that’s evident in the memorable song numbers.

Bell is a pleasant surprise as the jolly Princess Anna, singing through her predicaments with soothing, playful verve. Anna’s journey resembles most Disney heroines’ initially, but she breaks away from the formula some time into it.

“Frozen” also cleverly deviates from tradition in a couple of ways, while staying universally appealing—those songs are fresh and emotionally resonant, and the themes of family and friendship are given an extra-breezy spin. It’s got all crucial character points covered, stunning in its snowflake-like symmetry, and endearing in its cool spontaneity.

Objectifixation, Nine

Christmas edition!

Hulkling and Wiccan.
"♪ Have yourself a merry little Christmas... make the Yuletide gay...♫"
"No more boyfriends!"

DCU Holiday 2010. Anthro celebrates Solstice; Green Lantern Jon Stewart recalls a tale of Holy Week flagellation in the Philippines; Spectre dispenses justice during the eve of Vernal Equinox. My fave story is the Legion one, where the team investigates and repairs a malfunctioning AI during Holiday (the special day combining all the United Planets' holidays).

Captain America drops by Sersi's place, sees her decorating a tree, and assumes Eternals are religious. "We're not. At least, not by you standards," she says. "But I've never been one to pass on a good reason for a party, Captain. And to paraphrase the old song, it only takes two to party..." She manifests mistletoe above him, and puts her arms on his shoulders. Ever the gentleman, Cap spoils her mood by asking her to be serious, and offers her membership in the Avengers.

I don’t care about the show. And I don’t want to watch it now because of that homophobe. But this is a cute gift. Thanks, Ma'am Joy B!

Daniel Merriweather CD! Got this from the unused/unowned pile at the office.

Game of Thrones Season Two DVD set. Thanks, HBO Asia!

GLX-Mas Special, a 2006 one-shot. The Great Lakes Avengers, during their Great Lakes X-Men phase. Squirrel Girl defeats Thanos; Mr. Immortal and Dinah Soar’s relationship is revealed; Doorman becomes an avatar of Death, a la the Black Racer. Fun, festive issue. Happy Holidays!

Changing audience behavior

(From PDI-Entertainment’s Indie Bravo supplement, published Dec. 9.)


“ABOUT 85 percent of my original vision [for ‘Alagwa’] came out in the film—but surprises and limitations I discovered while shooting molded the film into what it is now,” filmmaker Ian Loreños tells the Inquirer.

His thriller-drama “Alagwa” won best narrative feature at the Guam International Film Festival. The movie was released by Star Cinema in October.

Loreños says making an indie film requires, aside from heart,  a sturdy financial backbone.  “But I love the freedom and the idea that what we’re doing is all passion.”

He has high hopes for the indie film scene. “These small films with big hearts made international audiences take notice. This has changed the behavior of Philippine audiences.”

On being an Indie Bravo! honoree, Loreños enthused: “It’s a dream come true to be recognized for my work right here in my country.” Oliver Pulumbarit

Embracing his heritage

(From PDI-Entertainment’s Indie Bravo supplement, published Dec. 9.)


“Through cinema, we see who we really are,” said Kanakan Balintagos, the filmmaker formerly known as Auraeus Solito (who directed “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros”). Along with the name change— “Kanakan” means “hunter of truth” in Palawanon—comes a renewed sense of purpose.

“My films are the interwoven images of our culture, myth, ritual and modern issues that are threatening this way of life. The ‘Palawan Trilogy’ is not a trilogy of plot, but of thought. ‘Busong (Palawan Fate)’ is Palawan’s philosophy. ‘Baybayin’ (The Palawan Script)’ captures its culture. ‘Sumbang (The Palawan Deluge),’ will present my people’s history.”

The first two parts were recognized in two international film festivals this year. “Busong” won best international indigenous film at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival in New Zealand; “Baybayin” was awarded best indigenous language film at the ImagineNative Film Festival in Canada.

“These two awards are the most important in my career, especially now that I have fully embraced my heritage by using my tribal name,” he said.

“Independent filmmakers realize our visions in full freedom; the disadvantage is, the ratio of speed of ideas to speed of film-financing is not directly proportional,” the filmmaker added.

“Film-financing competitions like the Cinemalaya and Cinema One Originals have given way to more indie productions. A growing regional cinema has empowered filmmakers from remote parts of the country. What we need now is a concrete venue for these films, for the growing audience of this kind of art films. We should produce  DVDs, anthologies and compilations so Filipinos abroad will get to see these great films.”

He lauded the Inquirer: “PDI has given value to our work. It has seen and understood the importance of these times, when Philippine cinema is being recognized around the world. Thank you for seeing the great renaissance of Philippine cinema!” Oliver Pulumbarit

Frozen When Your Heart's Not Open

Got this shirt a couple of weeks back (thanks, Jay!), and finally saw the movie a few days ago. Enjoyed it a lot. Very... cool.

For a civilized society

(From PDI-Entertainment’s Indie Bravo supplement, published Dec. 9.)


“The Most important quality of ‘Harana’ is its music and the masters who preserved them,” said filmmaker Benito Bautista of his acclaimed documentary.

“The concept was to highlight the quest for the old harana songs, and to discover the masters of that tradition. I made it into a celebration of those masters and their final collaboration with (guitar player) Florante Aguilar.”

Last March, “Harana” won the audience award for documentary at the Center for Asian American Media Film Festival in San Francisco. One of last year’s Indie Bravo honorees, Bautista is grateful for making the cut anew. “I      am joyful and, again, inspired to continue my contribution to Philippine cinema,” Bautista told the Inquirer.

The filmmaker revealed a singular challenge that plagues independent endeavors: “The gathering of financing. We tend to create unique, sometimes untested, concepts for the sake of discussing issues that general audiences may not be ready for. This translates to lower viability for financing and ROI (return of investment).”

But it has inimitable rewards, he added: “Limitless and non-formulaic expressions in the medium, that translate to growth, betterment and a more culturally civilized society.”

Currently working on a project titled “Mumbai Love,” starring Solenn Heussaff and Martin Escudero, Bautista conveyed optimism for the indie scene: “We are heading into another realm of growth for Philippine cinema as our filmmakers tell stories with good intentions, with the aim of crossing regions beyond not only physical boundaries, but also within.” Oliver Pulumbarit

Promoting progressive thinking

(From PDI-Entertainment’s Indie Bravo supplement, published Dec. 9.)

‘Oros (The Coinbearer)’

“As a filmmaker, I wanted my work to be as real as possible and just let the phenomenon and milieu speak for themselves,” relates “Oros (The Coinbearer)” writer-producer-director Paul Sta. Ana.

 “‘Oros’ is a disturbing tale about exploitation that need not be sensationalized,” he explains. “All I did was to be sincere and sensitive in telling the story of these two brothers in the dead-for-rent business.”

Sta. Ana is writer-director of GMA News TV’s docu-drama series, “Wagas.” His previous screenwriting credits include the acclaimed “Huling Pasada” (2008), “Mayohan” (2010) and “Bisperas” (2011). Sta. Ana also wrote for GMA 7’s “Amaya” and “My Husband’s Lover.”

In 2012, he helmed “Oros,” which won best feature at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival in March. The film has been exhibited in nine festivals abroad.

Sta. Ana observes, “The audience of Philippine independent films is steadily growing. Indies are becoming more accessible in terms of venues made available for public screenings.”

Independent cinema encourages progressive thinking, he says. “It allows difficult truths to be revealed and unique styles of visual storytelling to emerge.” Oliver Pulumbarit

Eternally dysfunctional clan reunites in 'The Originals'

(Published Dec. 16, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

The last time a TV vampire spun off his own series was when Angel (David Boreanaz) left “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in 1999. “The Originals,” a new horror-drama series with characters that originally appeared in “The Vampire Diaries,” (TVD) recently replicated this, but its vampire protagonist isn’t like the heroic titular character of “Angel” at all.

For starters, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) was “TVD’s” main villain for several seasons, an indelible antagonist that made the already serious series even more tense, his presence ultimately compounding an already humorless show. 

Klaus Mikaelson is a hybrid—half-vampire, half-werewolf—a menace that kept life for “TVD” heroes perpetually problematic. The town Mystic Falls became a war zone, with Klaus constantly concocting deadly schemes, but he often got outsmarted by his foes.

Doubtless, Morgan is a charming and effective actor, but can his character thrive in this all-different setting in “The Originals”? More importantly, are there sides to him that are still unexplored?

“The Originals” is set in New Orleans, old home of Klaus’ family. He and his siblings are the original, centuries-old vampires. His sentimental brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and reluctant sister Rebekah (Claire Holt) rejoin Klaus for his impending milestone: fatherhood.

Klaus and an erstwhile werewolf lover, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), will be parents to a miracle child (which “Angel” did years ago, incidentally). And speaking of offspring, the slave he once freed and treated like his own child, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), now firmly rules New Orleans as vampire “king.”

The reunion isn’t a happy one; Klaus muscling in on Marcel’s territory unearths buried memories and connections. Rebekah and Marcel used to share an unconsummated attraction that might get rekindled, now that the situation has shifted.

The show is for fans of “The Vampire Diaries,” at least the ones who didn’t tire of the long, repetitive villainy of the Mikaelsons and the unending rivalries. It already has the foreboding tone of the seminal show, but whether or not these reviled old characters can sustain their own series remains to be seen.

Still, the eternally dysfunctional family reunion is quite accessible in its first few episodes; the uninitiated can still grasp backstories through indispensable flashbacks. While one may find it difficult to side with the mostly unlikable characters, it consciously veers away from its previous haunts. Hopefully, it will skip the convolution that dreadfully hobbled its predecessor as well.

(“The Originals” airs Tuesdays, 10 p.m. on ETC.)

Baylans Bar

Drawing from 1998. Did this for Jason B's Baylans. A patriot-hipster bar, I think. :)

'No more excuses'

(From PDI-Entertainment’s Indie Bravo supplement, published Dec. 9.)

'Mamay Umeng'

The foremost quality of  ‘Mamay Umeng’ is its charm,” director-screenwriter Dwein Baltazar says. “It is a very meditative film; it will test the viewer’s patience—I take that as a compliment… I am very happy that its final cut is very similar, if not absolutely  faithful, to my original vision.”

In April, “Mamay Umeng,” about an old man pondering the end of his life, won best picture (the “Woosuk Award”) at the Jeonju International Film Festival in South Korea.

Baltazar says “Mamay Umeng” brought unique challenges, but also opportunities: “Independence is a huge advantage; we got to freely maneuver our film in the direction that we wanted, with few restrictions.”

The future has become  “brighter” for indie filmmaking, she points out. “We live in a visual age, where equipment and platforms are household-accessible. This has fueled the growth of Philippine independent film-making. Inspiration is just a click away. There are no more excuses!”

Her inclusion in this Indie Bravo! batch makes her feel at once “honored and humbled,” she says. “It’s a long list, with filmmakers that I look up to. It inspires me to do more and be more.” Oliver Pulumbarit

A taste for the peculiar

(From PDI-Entertainment’s Indie Bravo supplement, published Dec. 9.)

'Mientras Su Durmida (As He Sleeps)'

Sheron Dayoc’s “Mientras Su Durmida (As He Sleeps)” is about the situation of a woman caring for a paralyzed husband which, according to the filmmaker, is akin to “a cage of marriage.”

 “The film deals with perception of ‘morality’ in relation to women’s struggle for identity and freedom,” Dayoc says. “In a traditional and patriarchal society, women are [just] child-bearers, subservient to their husbands.”

“Mientras Su Durmida” won best short at the 2nd International Short Film Festival in Gornji Milanovac, Serbia. The film, Dayoc notes, poses questions that viewers can identify with:  “Is it a sin or immoral for the woman … to leave her husband to find herself and determine her worth?”

Working on the film revealed some truths about the medium, the writer-director says. “The foremost advantage of producing independent films is the freedom to choose peculiar stories [and execute them] with alternative treatment. The greatest challenge is financing.”

Dayoc is elated to be a second-time Indie Bravo! honoree. “I appreciate the fact that, after my older film ‘Halaw’ (2011) PDI is now recognizing my short film,” he said. “I have high regard for the newspaper, for consistently giving recognition to independent filmmakers.” Oliver Pulumbarit

Relentless visionary

(From PDI-Entertainment’s Indie Bravo supplement, published Dec. 9.)

'Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan'

Visionary filmmaker Lav Diaz’s nonconformist ways have challenged viewers and distributors of his socially-aware works, which often run considerably longer than “traditional” movies.

Some of Diaz’s acclaimed films include “Batang West Side,” “Death in the Land of Encantos” and “Melancholia”—all winners in film fests abroad. His most recent victories include the NETPAC Award for “Florentina Hubaldo, CTE” at the Jeonju International Film Festival last year; and the top prize at the Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival for “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” this year.

He observes that the local indie scene continues to show progress: “Bawat region, naglalabas ngayon ng pelikula. May deluge. It shows that maganda ang nangyayari.”

He is currently filming “Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon (From What is Before)” in the Babuyan Islands. It’s a particularly tough shoot, Diaz admits. “Araw-araw, umuulan, ang lamig, maputik!”

One of the original Indie Bravo! honorees in 2010, Diaz acknowledges his inclusion this year: “Mabuhay ang Indie Bravo! It’s another forum for Philippine independent cinema.” Oliver Pulumbarit

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ancient Alien

UST-College of Architecture and Fine Arts, circa 1992. This was taken at the Central Library (I think it was called), newly built at the time. Some of our works were on display for the annual Advertising Arts exhibit. This was an exciting time; after much drama and teenage angst, I found friends, got more motivated with pursuing comic book creation, and finally found focus, overall. Man, was I thin. And look at that head of hair.

Ivy and Harley

And mistletoe! Finally got to draw this. Happy Holidays.


Nov. 2013. At least there are some noticeable changes. :)

Old 'Sleepy' legend, rebooted

(Published Dec. 16, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Washington Irving’s classic characters Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman return and renew their enmity in the horror-action series “Sleepy Hollow,” but it’s not a simple retelling of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” In grand, effects-enhanced fashion, the old foes are magically revived in the present, their unexpected reunion threatening to tear apart the titular New York town.

Ichabod isn’t the meek and awkward fellow depicted previously in Tim Burton’s quirky 1999 film “Sleepy Hollow” or the eerie 1949 Disney cartoon adaptation of the tale. Ichabod here is a handsome soldier and George Washington’s agent, who defeated the nearly impervious and masked Horseman.
Played by English actor Tom Mison, Ichabod is a dashing fighter during the Revolutionary War, a teacher who unknowingly married a good witch, Katrina (Katia Winter). She is responsible for his return over 200 years later.

The Headless Horseman makes his presence known by going on a gory rampage, witnessed by a cop, Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie). Abbie and Ichabod hesitantly work together and figure out the monster’s mission, and are soon faced with the revelation that it is actually Death, one of the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Spectacle-centric and flashy, “Sleepy Hollow” is created by Phillip Iscove (who originally pitched the idea), Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Len Wiseman (whose collaborations include TV shows “Xena,” “Alias,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “Fringe,” and films “Transformers” and “Star Trek”).

 Three episodes into it, the series already has its clear strengths and weaknesses. “Sleepy Hollow” is solid if quite derivative; the show is like a redundant mashup of “Supernatural,” “Angel” and “Grimm,” primarily because it has a different supernatural bogeyman every week.

There is humor, yes, but it’s nowhere near as natural or effective as in those other series. There is Ichabod’s time-displacement situation; he has dopey encounters with modern rules and inventions, but that gets old after a bit. It will hopefully draw humor from other sources, but for now, it’s mostly bleak and heavy, as the protagonists figure out ways to prevent the Horseman from ushering in the end of the world.

Mison and Beharie are competent; their onscreen personas form an unlikely but functional monster-hunting duo. And while the characters they play have backstories riddled with clichés—they even find themselves connected to some ancient doomsday prophecies!—they offer a new spin on the common “contrasting but platonic partners” concept.

Both have yet to become really compelling, and the show needs to make the weekly monster-fighting less predictable, but so far, “Sleepy Hollow” is often visually engaging. It still follows a safe, drawn-out formula, so it should try out new storytelling avenues—creativity-wise, it will benefit from losing its head from time to time.

(“Sleepy Hollow” airs Saturdays, 10:45 p.m. on Fox.)

Fowl connection

Cultural discourse enlivens the funny and flippant “Ang Turkey Man ay Pabo Rin,” about an interracial couple acclimating to each others’ native traditions. The comedy by Randolph Longjas smartly zeroes in on an interesting subject that’s been in the periphery and the national consciousness; while it’s light and quite predictably sitcom-ish, it’s nonetheless a timely and well-timed dissection.   

Tuesday Vargas plays the loud and showy Pinay single mom Cookie, who hits it off immediately with her online lover; Travis Kraft plays the mild-mannered American Matthew (or “Machu,” because, well, he’s macho). 

Matthew and Cookie are smitten with each other, but the quirks in their relationship, primarily the customs that both have grown accustomed to, present challenges that they didn’t expect. Superstitions, hygiene practices, and a turkey dinner—these and more are discussed, quite riotously.  

The mockumentary-style storytelling helps get some points across. Matthew’s thoughts on the language barrier and Cookie’s upbeat personality are enhanced sufficiently because of the interspersed “interviews.” Still, it’s a tight script, and hilarious stuff are woven into the “regular” scenes. Initial doubts on the credibility of this particular “unlikely” pairing aside, the film works in showing the universality of basic desires, and makes the viewer root for the seemingly incompatible and temporary couple.

“Ang Turkey Man ay Pabo Rin” is an Ayala Cinemas exclusive.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Young X-Men, Circa AVX

Young X-Men on a Young Avengers cover, full pencils.

Shirt Tales, Sorta

Recent FB profile pic. Moment between moments, November 2013.

‘Vampire Diaries’ hottie wants to play a superhero

(Published Dec. 9, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

 “I feel like I am constantly learning,” said actor Steven R. McQueen, who plays young vampire hunter Jeremy Gilbert in the hit horror-drama series “The Vampire Diaries.” He told the Inquirer in a recent e-mail interview that acting in the weekly, hour-long show continues to be “very rewarding.”

The grandson of late actor Steve McQueen and the son of actor-producer Chad McQueen, 25-year-old Steven previously appeared in TV shows “Everwood” and “Numbers” and in 2010’s “Piranha 3D.” Steven has been campaigning to play Nightwing, the grown-up Robin, in the TV series “Arrow,” but official word has yet to be announced if he has nabbed the part.

His “TVD” character Jeremy, adoptive brother/biological cousin to main character Elena (Nina Dobrev), continues to undergo supernatural transformations—including seeing ghosts, becoming one himself, and coming back to life. Jeremy was initially a drug-addicted orphan, but the presence of vampires, werewolves, witches and spirits in his hometown forced him to grow up.

How would you describe Jeremy's growth in the five years that you have portrayed him on the show?
He went from being young and rebellious to taking charge and control of his life, and trying to protect the people he loves. I hope he continues to become stronger.

Your character was killed and was revived a few times. How do you feel about Jeremy's supernatural transformations?
Against (the vampire) Silas, that’s the only time he truly feels like a supernatural creature because Silas’ powers don’t work on any of the hunters. Being a hunter is like having adrenaline running constantly through your body, like being at the peak of human performance.

How would you describe the rapport of the “TVD” cast members, five years later?
I started when I was 19 years old and they are my family. Ian (Somerhalder) and Paul (Wesley) have really looked out for me throughout the years; they’ve been like big brothers to me. I can genuinely say if I ever needed to talk to someone I could call anyone on the cast.

Describe your fitness regimen.
It changes all the time. I try to work out seven days a week, eat chicken and vegetables and a little bit of dark chocolate here and there. I try to keep active. If I don’t feel like being in the gym I can switch up my routine and go paddle boarding with Zach (Roerig). I have a good group of guys that I hang out with in my gym and we either lift or kick box or just find ways to keep the body in motion.

Name some of your biggest artistic influences.
Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Downey Jr., Sean Penn… the list goes on and on. Non-actors, I’d say anybody who’s dedicated themselves to a particular art--one person who comes to mind is [legendary 1600s swordsman] Miyamoto Musashi.

How would you describe the show's fans?
We participate in conventions all over the world where fans come to see us and interact with us face to face, and that’s a really rewarding feeling. It’s really cool. They are so dedicated!

Was it difficult to strike out on your own, since you came from a family of actors?
The fun thing about acting is there is no way to perfect it. You learn more and more every day.  For my journey, I’ve had a great experience of being on a TV show and filming with new directors and new actors week to week.  It’s one of those things you just go for, you hop in with both feet, and it’s been very rewarding so far.

What are your dream roles?
I’ve always wanted to play a superhero. I hear they are making a new “Star Wars.” That would be cool too.

(Season Five of “The Vampire Diaries” airs Saturdays, 6 p.m., and Tuesdays, 8 p.m. on ETC.)

'Bonnie and Clyde' on History, Lifetime

“Clyde Barrow was such a famous historical person but I found myself not knowing who he really was a person,” actor Emile Hirsch said about his latest role during a teleconference for the miniseries “Bonnie and Clyde.”

“The more I learned, the more fascinated I was,” he told Asian reporters.

Hirsch, 28, started his acting career 15 years ago. His film credits include “Lords of Dogtown,” “Into the Wild,” and “Speed Racer.” He had smaller parts in subsequent projects “Milk” and “Savages.”

To portray the notorious American outlaw, Hirsch said his research included reading books, viewing documentaries and using his imagination. He skipped the 1967 movie, which starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

“I purposely avoided the Beatty version because I think he’s a very good actor,” Hirsch said. “To watch his performance might influence mine or set me on a different direction that, maybe, I wouldn’t have gone to on my own.”

His iteration of Clyde, he added, is “more serious and darker.” Holliday Grainger plays Clyde’s lover and partner, Bonnie Parker. The cast also includes award-winning actors Holly Hunter and William Hurt. Excerpts from the interview:

How did you strike a balance between accuracy and interpretation? 
I wanted to play it as accurately as I could. I wanted to kind of try to give them a version of who Clyde was but not necessarily… evil, from what I learned. I wanted to not just capture, but create a character, use this horrible past to create something that I thought would be compelling to watch. 

Was “glamorization” of the historical killers discussed?
As far as glamorizing crime, I don’t know. I mean, there’s no doubt that in the end, they pay for their crimes. Going out the way they did, I feel that by the end of it, all the glamor’s kinda gone… Our version has Clyde wishing he could take it all back. In that way, there’s a [focus on] morality happening instead of just glamorization.

How would you describe your career path, transitioning from movies to this project?
I feel really lucky, with all the opportunities that I’ve been given. I feel excited to do something different, like this miniseries on television. Technology is evolving so rapidly, [allowing us to] do things that haven’t been done before—three networks in the US will be simultaneously airing this.

The way that the film market is changing, television is starting to get better and better. In a lot of the circles I’ve been in… everyone’s talking about the TV shows they love [and are] religiously following! It was a little intimidating at first, because I’ve never done it, but it was also exciting to branch out. It was a chance to explore a character in a bigger way. It’s longer than a feature film so I took my time and let the performance be more of like a slow burn, as opposed to this big explosion!

(“Bonnie and Clyde” will air Monday and Tuesday, 9 p.m. on History and Lifetime.)

LNA Alternapopped

Thanks to Archie for the "soundtrack" to LNA's first arc!

Objectifixation, Eight

WildCATs/X-Men , by Scott Lobdell and Jim Lee. '60s-era Marvel Girl and Grifter team up and share a kiss. Mr. Sinister also manages to get her DNA sample, and Zealot offers to train Grifter.
Nightcrawler and Havok.
"Unglaublich! It feels great to be back, mein freund! What have you been doing lately?"
"Telling people we're all the same. Um, inside."

Three-issue series David Hontiveros gave me for my birthday in '95, by Kurt Busiek and Neil Vokes. I gotta read this again.

The Legion, during its wholesome and cutesy (but still kinda sexy) phase. The teammates spend some time at the beach. Late '90s.

Kevin Keller, the Archie-verse's first gay boy. He and the misunderstood guy, Devon Walters, became a couple this year. Kevin ultimately ended up with someone else in the future timelines (yep, plural) of the series Life of Archie.

Sunspot punching a girl. Actually, in the story, she (Julie Power, a.k.a. Molecula) was disguised as a tall monster.
"I know who I want to take me home.”

Shattered Image, circa 1997. The miniseries got rid of the Extreme sub-universe. Pretty unmemorable, but I still love that Kingdom Come homage cover by Travis Charest.
Shadowcat and Cannonball, thankful.
"I'm thankful for the chance to mentor the original X-Men, even though bringing them to the present is a royally dumb idea." "Ah'm thankful for Lila. And Boom Boom. And Dani. And Smasher."

A Long Time Ago, in a City Quite Far Away

1993, I think. Pretending to work on a study of the Home Along Da Riles movie poster. Our classmate Melo actually let us stay at his workstation in ABS-CBN when a bunch of us dropped by. That's his stuff. Really hardworking guy. He still works there!

Enormity, Incorporated

Updates and everything in between.

Nov. 28. Drinking and being merry.
Nov. 29. Worky worky. Coffee soon.
Nov. 29. Happier with Avengers Arena ending than Infinity's. Latter is still a good read though.
Nov. 30. Tingly. Drinking solo ain't such a sad sport. Now, to watch SHIELD. Hehe
Dec. 3. Trying real hard not to think about the enormity of everything. Damn, where's my beer.
Dec. 3. Our head editor on my muscles: "Who knew?" :D
Dec. 3. I'm smiling. Pardon me for being vague. I just... heh. #whoahoho
Dec. 3. Man, four hours of sleep, then coffee. Noticeably giddy, I think.
Dec. 3. Note to self: Slow down, Orly. Grab some shut-eye.
Dec. 3. Desk is a mess, but clutter reminds me of my room. :D #workingnormally
Dec. 4. Crunch time. Still waiting for responses to email. I am so drinking when this day is over. #boozerelaxesme
Dec. 4. Four hours of sleep but Energizer Bunny-ing since noon. Coffee made me fricking giddy, among other things. Interesting, revelatory day.
Dec. 4. Struggled for words, excised unnecessary bits, wrestled with flow. #editingstuff
Dec. 5. Vodka'd up. Mellow. Stress-free.
Dec. 5. Vodka after a good work day.
Dec. 5. Successfully avoided eye contact with a 20something dude while waiting at the bus stop last night. Thanks, but no. :)
Dec.6. Smiling after my mom reminded me to watch my alcohol intake. I feel like a rebellious teenager. #thanksmom
Dec. 6. A few weeks of 2013 left.
Dec. 7. Project Wide Awake, a.k.a. I'm rested enough to work after a liquored-up nap.
Dec. 8. Hey, old bed. I missed ya. #bodyaches
Dec. 9. Pick up a copy of today's Philippine Daily Inquirer and check out our annual Indie Bravo supplement. 28 filmmakers in this year's roster.
Dec. 9. Busy, bizzy.
Dec. 9. PDI anniversary buffet! Yum.
Dec. 9. Finally understanding the meaning of "ngarag." Feels great to be more involved than usual, though.
Dec. 9. Aahhh! Just got a Daniel Merriweather CD. #nothingsgonnachange
Dec. 10. Whew. Nakaraos. Senior editors were away for a couple of hours (and our desk ed was absent and recuperating) so I was asked to assemble an issue. Got through it with a lot of help. I was a tad frantic, but thankfully, the atmosphere was festive (everybody got to eat; it was PDI's anniversary!). I had some edited articles by the time the other eds got there. And they still worked even after a busy time at the Indie Bravo screening. So it was inspiring. Good, exhausting, funny day.
Dec. 10. PDI 28th anniversary. I've got a lot of nice memories that center on my affiliation with the paper, and new ones that are currently being made. I think one event that stands out is the talk we had in 2005 for some college students. I was one of the speakers (the roster included Pam Pastor, Ruey De Vera, Isagani Yambot, etc.). I do hope that those kids turned out fine and are actively pursuing related careers.