Sunday, November 29, 2015

The covers of the first three volumes of the Ultraman series reboot!

This isn't the Ultraman that I grew up on as they have rebooted the story for a new generation. Loving it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ang Ilog III variant covers are now available!

After the homage cover to Ang Ilog III what was next? Variant covers naturally! Always wanted to try this out and we have two. The one of the left is from Hulyen while the one on the right is from Ronzkie. Now these variants aren't for sale but will be given away to some loyal customers. In very limited quantities. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

My November Komikon experience

With Ang Ilog artist Rey Asturias sporting our El Vengador Ang Ilog t-shirts.
The recent November Komikon was my third time to participate in a local comics convention. I started in the November Komikon of 2014 then in the 2015 Indieket. 

Every one of them have been exhilarating experiences. You see, quite honestly, I go into every one of them nervous and frightened that I'd lay a big fat egg with no one purchasing them. But thus far and thankfully, I've done well selling about anywhere from 62% to 75% of my stock. 

The cool thing is having customers return to me and follow the stuff I put out. That is the most gratifying of them all. It is possible that people take a chance on them but never like them but many of these customers come back and have become loyal readers and friends. 

I am proud of everything that I put out there. The stories mean a lot to me and are signposts of the different times of my life. I didn't just write them on a whim. There are a lot of personal stories that find their way into the pages.

This last Komikon was especially nervy. I launched five new titles - Ang Ilog 3, Pader, K-Town #1, East of the Sun West of the Moon the prequel, and Dez the preview. Also put out some back issues of Ang Ilog 1 & 2, East of the Sun West of the Moon #1, and Dante. Seven people purchased every one of the new titles. Wow. Seven of them. The rest got a smattering. All in all, I sold 64% of my stock that day (I brought in 225 komiks). And we also had our first ever Ang Ilog t-shirt (featuring El Vengador). We didn't have too many of this. Five pieces to be exact and we sold three! Not bad. Not bad. 

The thing about local conventions is that most fans go right away to the established stars of the industry. So new and small publishers like me not only have to do a lot of promotion but we also have to talk to people to get them to open the browsing copies. That's part of the job and I love it. I get to hear from them as well. 

Someone asked me what title am I most pleased with? It has to be Ang Ilog. It is the first one I put out after all and the storyline is something I first dreamed up when I was about seven years old but of course has been filtered, re-written ad infinitum over the years.

Komikon was fun and exhilarating. Thanks to those who picked up my stuff!

Pics of some of the folks who got my komiks over that wonderful weekend.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Remember them Bazooka Joe bubblegum comics?

Remember Bazooka Joe? That bubblegum comic that featured a few wise-cracking panels of Joe and his friends? I used to collect the bubblegum comics of this and for the life of me, have no idea whatever happened to them.

Here are some samples of these Bazooka Joe bubblegum comics.

The guy with his shirt pulled up to cover the lower half of his face is Mort. I had no idea why that was so or why Joe had an eyepatch. It wasn't until much later that this article from The Onion explained things. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Komiks from Eikon Komiks for Komikon!

Here are the new batch of releases from Eikon Komiks that will be available at Komikon this weekend (Nov. 14-15) at the Bayanihan Center!

We are located at A22 & A35 to the left of the stage!

East of the Sun West of the Moon (prequel), Ang Ilog III, K-Town, Dez preview, and Pader!

East of the Sun and Pader are in fullcolor!

Other komiks available also are from my friend (we work together but have different imprints) Mark Del Rosario. His new book (left) is Resurrect, a Lovecraftian-type of story and Sonata, that came out during the last Indieket (a Vertigo-ish type of story where a goddess visits a struggling musician).

And we have some back issues of previous releases available: Ang Ilog Book One and Book Two.

East of the Sun #1 and Dante #1

Ang Ilog is a historical fantasy set in 1901 sometime after the Americans took over the Philippines. It is set in the Tarlac-Pampanga area and tells the stories of three different sets of characters - Pablo, the son of a former Katipunero, the vigilante known as Lawin, and the Robin Hood-like duo of El Vengador and Gabriela. Drawn in the classic Filipino style by veteran artist Rey Asturias, Ang Ilog is available in English and Filipino. 

East of the Sun West of the Moon is a high fantasy story that tells of the disparate crew of the Iceblik Bluff that embarks on a journey to save a Princess. Sounds familiar? It owes much to JM Barrie of Peter Pan fame, Hayao Miyazaki, Herge, French comics, and George Lucas. The prequel is in full color while #1 is in black and white -- for now. It will be reprinted in full color. Art is by Sandy Gonzaga.

K-Town or Korea Town is about a bunch of Koreans living in Makati who have all these zany adventures where they face manananggals, waiter-ninja, Taho selling Ronin, supernatural hookers, riding-in-tandem holduppers, and more. Drawn by the amazing JM Valenzuela.

Dez is a Goth comic that owes much to the classic indie Goth comic series Gloomcookie by Sarah Valentino and Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin and Princess Ugg). Art is by the talented Ronzkie Pacho Vidal (Sulsi and Karit). A spin-off of Dante (my comic with Niño Balita).

Pader is a mini-graphic novel with Bianca Lesaca about a homeless boy who tells his story via graffiti. 

Dante is about the son of Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx who has retired leaving the duties of transporting the dead to his mischievous and adventurous son. 

Other stuff to look out for in 2016 -- a project with Freely Abrigo, another with superstar artist Harvey Tolibao, the return of Dante and The Incredible and Bizarre Misadventures of Manga Boy (with Niño Balita), and Epika with Rico Rival. We also wrap up Ang Ilog that will end with Book Five and be collected in a director's cut version trade paperback form by November 2016.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Check out my new comic, K-Town

Check out my new comic, K-Town
by rick olivares

Years ago when I used to regularly cover local football, I marvelled at how Stallion Football Club became a much better team when they brought in some Koreans from Central Colleges of the Philippines out of Iloilo. Around that time, K-Pop was taking the world by storm with their seemingly endless supply of boy and girl bands.

Throughout the Philippines, the local Korean population mushroomed. In fact, I was surprised (pleasantly I must admit) to see some street signs in Baguio with their English or Filipino name with the Korean translation below. And watching Filipinos embrace K-Pop was as much as an eye-opener as the AlDub phenomenon. 

It was while I was in Singapore covering the Loyola Meralco Sparks for the Singapore Cup where the germ for K-Town first came to fruition. The Sparks had about four Koreans on the squad and it was interesting to see Phil Younghusband try to speak Korean in that lovely lilting English accent much to the amusement of everyone. The Koreans also tried their hand not only at British culture but also Pinoy fare.

I wondered, what if I switch it around where the Koreans bought into Filipino pop culture? It was possible. After all, I did see that while on a football trip in Malaysia where there were billboards of Marian Rivera everywhere. Her local telenovelas were translated into Malaysian. The beautiful Rivera was probably the most famous actress in Malaysia. 

With that premise, K-Town was born. 

“K-Town” or Korea Town as Barangay Poblacion in Makati is increasingly known is it is home to the largest density of Koreans in the Philippines. The central character of Lee Yong-Sun is somewhat inspired by current Sparks and former Stallion midfielder Lee Joo-Young; one of my fave footballers in the UFL. 

The stories are a mixture of what I love about the Scooby Doo Gang that was reprised in a modern setting by Joss Whedon in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as Fred Chao’s Johnny Hiro character. I love Fred Chao’s work that has a simple and child-like innocence. I hoped to recapture that in K-Town.

Finding the right artist to illustrate K-Town was like a labor for Hercules. The first artist I tapped didn’t get the job done. Then a friend recommended JM Valenzuela to take care of the art chores. I had seen JM’s work on "Kanto Inc.” that hilarious ongoing series is plotted and written by the masterful husband and wife tandem of Taga-Ilog and Joanah Tinio-Calingo. 

JM was weaned on manga and anime but his style is wholly his own with a cartoonist’s flair. He has a gift for expressiveness and amazing layouts. There are similarities to how he did his line work for “Kanto Inc.” but it is also at once different. More refined. Even when he pencils in a guest character from another comic, Tanod (by Parokya ni Edgar guitarist Gab Chee Kee and artist Jerico Marte), JM is faithful to the style of the character but makes sure it blends in seamlessly.

I got in touch with JM and we spoke initially spoke not about “K-Town” but another story that I wanted to do. A few weeks later and going nowhere with the previous “K-Town” artist, I handed the story to JM whose eyes lit up at the story.

And now, “K-Town” is here. Even before it’s pre-release, it has received a stamp of approval from comic book pro Jon Zamar on my Facebook page: “This is a great comic book.”

Well, JM and I do hope so. It features a pair of short stories one of that features a cameo appearance by Pinoy rock superstars Parokya ni Edgar. For sure the next releases will be lengthier and fully flesh out the characters who have grown on both us creators. All I can say it is going to be a fun ride.

Check out “K-Town” and other titles I am releasing in the Eikon Komiks booth (near the stage) of Komikon at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig City this Saturday and Sunday, November 14-15.

Other titles include the mini-graphic novel “Pader” with Bianca Lesaca, “Ang Ilog” book three with veteran artist Rey Asturias, the JM Barrie-Hayao Miyazaki-Herge-inspired “East of the Sun West of the Moon” that was illustrated by Sandy Gonzaga, and “Dez” with Ronzkie Pacho Vidal.

Friday, November 6, 2015

New releases from Eikon Komiks!

New stuff from me this coming Komikon!
by rick olivares

This coming November 14 and 15, 2015, I will be attending my third Komikon as an exhibitor.

I will be unveiling five new komiks under my personal imprint, Eikon Komiks, — Ang Ilog Book Three, East of the Sun West of the Moon prequel, K-Town #1, and a mini-graphic novel, Pader — during Komikon; the most I have done as a couple were delayed in their release during the August Indieket.

In my long career as a journalist, I have covered the police beat, written in the lifestyle and features section, ghosted on a few columns regarding politics and the high society life, reported on social issues from climate change to tragedies such as Payatas. It is in sports, however, where I cut my eyeteeth. The reward too, was writing several books that have done quite well. 

While that is a tremendous accomplishment, my dream as a youngster was to write and draw for the American comic book market. The closest I have ever gotten to a page in any of them was seeing my letter printed in 12 comics so far. 

And even as a youngster, I started making my own comics. Small ones that you were proud of as a kid but make you gnash your teeth in shame now.  

Nowadays, it is more than ticking off items on my bucket list. It is making good on those dreams.

Now back to the titles… why the uncommonly large number of releases?

Truthfully, two of them were supposed to be released during the last Indieket — Ang Ilog Book Three and K-Town. Since they finally caught up in terms of production. So it isn’t so bad.

Ang Ilog Book Three, illustrated by veteran comic artist Rey F. Asturias, gives way to the vigilnte Lawin and the duo of El Vangador and Gabriela who do battle with some old foes of theirs who have gotten a supernatural boost. Rey used to draw for Atlas and GASI back in the day and did some ink assists on some DC Comics back in the early 1980s. Ang Ilog is a five-part historical fantasy that takes place in 1901 not soon after the Americans replaced the Spanish as 

East of the Sun, written by Sandy Gonzaga, (the prequel) provides some of the backstory to this fantasy story of how the crew of the Iceblink Bluff got together. This high fantasy story pays homage to the works of JM Barrie (who wrote the story of Peter Pan), Hayao Miyazaki (who directed and wrote the acclaimed animated films like Nausicaa, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke to name a few), Tin Tin creator Herge, Star Wars creator, George Lucas, and the Norwegian fairy tale of the same name. I wrote this more than a decade ago while living in New York City and wrote long parts of it at Central Park. I completed the five-part story in Paris, France.

There is a strong European influence to the story and was produced in a very Bande Dessinee manner. 

Pader, is a mini-graphic novel that owes its story to a real life series of incidents that took place some 12 years ago while working in a school in Brooklyn. The original story was about young boy named Maurice who told his life in a series of graffiti scrawls along Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn. When I moved back to the Philippines, I re-calibrated it to a local setting. It is a combination of art and photography with moving and sensitive illustrations by newcomer Bianca Lesaca.

K-Town is a Korean version of the famed Scooby Doo Gang except it is set in Barangay Poblacion, Makati, that is home to the largest concentration of Koreans in the Philippines. Naturally, it is a wacky and hilarious tale as drawn by veteran illustrator JM Valenzuela.

The last is a mini-comic of a few pages of an upcoming comic titled, Dez, as drawn by the talented Ronzkie Pacho Vidal who writes and illustrates the magnificent Sulsi and Karit komiks. This one has more of a Gothic bent and owes its inspirations to Sarah Valentino and Ted Naifeh’s indie Goth classic, Gloomcookie.

Hopefully, you can check out these titles and more at the Eikon Komiks tables at the Komikon this November 14 and 15 at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig City.

With Rey Asturias finishing up Ang Ilog Book Three

Met up with my Ang Ilog artist Rey Asturias at Coffeebean Gateway this morning to iron out the remaining pages for Ang Ilog #3.

Check out some of Tito Rey's old stuff from the 1980s!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Picked up some art from Freely Abrigo at the Halloween Comicfest

Picked up an illustration of Spider-Man by artist Freely Abrigo at the Halloween Comicfest at Fullybooked, BGC. He's got a style that is reminiscent of Chris Eliopoulos and Skottie Young. Very playful and fun.

Spider-Man being one of my three favorite comic book heroes of all time, this piece struck me. So now it is in my collection.