It has taken quite an effort before when I launched the Navidad Talk Series where I put under it those thoughts I had during that holiday period they call the Christmas season. And I wished to do it once again, not primarily because I want to put forward again my objections against this severely out-of-place celebration, but for the belief that people tend to have more thoughts all throughout this December month. For that I wish to participate.
San Pablo City first: the Komikero Group here led, I think, by Gerry Alanguilan has just launched the Second San Pablo Comics Festival. It was personally quite a treat already, having only reached the level of comics-reading and not exactly comics-making. For most of the day, together with a cousin’s boyfriend, we were busy doing our artwork entries for the on-the-spot art contest. Eventually this buddy of my mine won in our category but I felt a winner nevertheless, having been treated with books and comics and meeting and actually chatting with some local comic artists. Sir Gil Monsanto is fan-friendly, Sir Gerry was exceptionally amiable and The Great Manix Abrera was downright cool.
I have never realized that comics industry (if I can call it that) in the country is still in the boom (having been spent most of the time poring over literature stuff myself). And although it was on a quite sad note that most of our best artists are doing it for foreign comics art publishing, it is consoling that, despite the heavy influences of the foreign (mostly Western) drawing techniques, most of these artists are conscious to put the comics industry in a Philippine context. Bayan Knights, Boy Ipis, Elmer, are but some of the art works that I saw rendered with a touch of being Filipinos.
On a deeper note, it was observed that most of these groups are still well within the realms of the middle classes. And although I have learned to respect that phrase “art for art’s sake”, I still hold on to my belief that every work should be aimed at something coherent, if not useful. For it render these works into abstractions, things that simply exist seemingly for themselves. And thus I admire those comics that I saw there which had, albeit implicitly, social undertones. Of course, of course, it should not always be like that; it would eventually lead to ‘boring-ness’. But again I say it must be aimed at something coherent.
It would be a year again before those comics-lovers convene again and I look forward in assessing myself if I have been charged enough to support and join in the comics world. Mabuhay ang komiks sa Pilipinas!