Tuesday, May 26

Tintin in Las Islas Filipinas

Woke up yesterday with the weird compulsion to get all the Tintin adventure books. There are 24 books (not counting "Tintin in Thailand" hehe ) and I've read a handful of them but now only have the moon books (Destination Moon, Explorers on the Moon).

Then I go online and the web leads me to this site that maps the travels of the boy reporter. I looked for the moon and found the Philippines. Tintin passed through the South China sea en route to Nanking and Shanghai. I wonder what sort of adventure he would have had if he landed on our shores instead.

Saturday, May 16

At the Komikon Summer Fiesta

Went to the Komikon late in the afternoon. Was planning to live tweet but mobile's battery died early. Managed to get a handful of local titles: Cadre: Amerikanong Hilaw, Baboy, The Girl Who Turned Into a Fish, and Ang Maskot. I'm liking the latter very very much. Very clean, tight panel planning, enjoyable and endearing story. Loved the set of bloopers in the end. Sushyal yung little bird. Hehehe.

Don't have time right now for a full review. But I peeked at the creator's blog and he describes the process how he made "Ang Maskot" in Adobe Illustrator. Would love to see more from this particular writer/artist.

Also picked up Wonderlost # 1 in one of the sale bins.The blurb says it's a cross between Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Mean Girls. Browsed a couple of the stories already. It's all about growing up in that hazy, romantic time called the '80s, full of U2 circa Joshua Tree references. The biggest pull for me was that these are autobiographical stories. Very interesting so far. Searched Cebulski's blog and found out there's been a #2. Will be on the lookout for that one.

Then there's "I Saw It: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima" (aka "Ore wa mita") by Keiji Nakazawa. It's subtitled "A Survivor's True Story," and Last Gasp tells us that Nakazawa wrote and drew this comic book in 1972 about his own life and experience in Hiroshima before, during, and after the atomic bombing. It's a single-issue comic, but his editor encouraged him to expand it into a long form work, which is how we got Barefoot Gen. In it, he rages not only against the bomb, but also at the militarists who led Japan into war. The artwork reminds me of Simba the White Lion crossed with Voltes V. Best of all, I got it for twenty pesos. :)

It was also announced that there will be another Komikon around October, and this time in a bigger venue. That means will just have enough time to read and recover from this event. Here's hoping that will have more finds (and funds to buy the finds) later this year.

Wednesday, May 13

A Universe of Stories

Finished reading Marvel 1602, the 8-part series in which Neil Gaiman reimagines the Marvel Universe. But it's really not just a reimagining or a simple what if (think DC's Other Worlds), but something that will still fit in the current Marvel universe.

The premise: it is the last days of Queen Elizabeth's reign. The ides of March bring inclement weather, and not just the umbrella-requiring kind--lizards and fire--enough to make people think of the Apocalypse. There's threat from James VI of Scotland in the north. The Spanish Inquisition seeks "witchbreeds," people and creatures with suprapowers, and burn them at the stakes. There is a "school for the sons of gentlefolk" run by a Spaniard called Carolus Javier, who is bald, has no use of his legs, and has a page named John Grey. And oh, there's also Peter Parquah who's forever having close encounters with spiders but never bitten. It's 1602, but the Age of Heroes has started 400 years early. Something called a "Forerunner" came from the future and caused all this to happen out of sync with time and space. It has to be stopped--or returned where it came from--so that the universe will exist as it should.

I like how the story is peopled by recognizable characters from the Marvel pantheon--which Gaiman says come from no later than the 1969 catalogue, as there are many Marvel heroes. The same things happen in 1602 as they happened 400 years later. It doesn't feel too forced, and it only shows that the dilemmas felt in present times can somehow still fit in that past where science and magic live side by side.

The panel excerpt comes from issue # 7, and the witchbreeds are on their to the New World. Richard Reed was thankful for the time he spent in Otto Von Doom's dungeons. There were no "distractions" and he "was able to reduce many things to their fundamental principles." The others thought that he had discovered how to turn lead into gold. But Reed says it is the principles of stories which he had discovered, as stories give him hope. They live in a universe where they are given a chance to exist. The Flame Man contradicts him--stories end, all tales end, and it is how they will also end. But the Thing is curious about the transmutations. He wants his humanity to be restored, as he has been "a monster too long." Reed, in all his wisdom replies, that yes, a cure is possible in the natural sciences. "But the laws of story would suggest that no cure can last for very long. For in the end, alas, [you] are so much more interesting and satisfying as you are."

For me that captures the rationale for the entire series, as with the immediate sequel "1602: New World." It is possible to "treat" this monstrosity, these witchbreeds in the past and make "corrections" on the mistakes we now know as history. But then again, perhaps it won't be as interesting.