Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Komikon haul reviews!

Komikon haul reviews!
by rick olivares

Another Komikon (Saturday, November 15 at the Bayanihan Center in Mandaluyong City) came and went by real quick. I heard there were more new books on sale this time than any other. Being a first time exhibitor for Ang Ilog and Dante, I wasn’t able to go around and get everything I wanted.

As a longtime indie and alternative press/comics fan, I make it a point to read and buy as wide a variety as possible. Despite the handicap of not being able to go around as much as I did in the past, I did get quite a few and these are what I recommend from the new releases!

Ugh #1 by Hulyen
Welcome to the irreverently funny. Perhaps the most fun one I picked up during Komikon. There’s a genius to Hulyen’s wit and sarcasm and the artwork reminds me of the similarly irreverent in Matt Groening’s The Simpsons, Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead, Jin Wicked’s Crap I Drew During My Lunch Break, Jacob Chabot’s The Mighty Skullboy Army, and Maris Wicks’ Duddits to name a few of the alternative stuff I enjoy. The easiest stories to write are those personal experiences or those of people you know. Hulyen makes it a point to present everything in a humorous light and I’d say that is a gift. Twenty pages from this talented creator that’ll have you laughing. Wish Ugh #1 had more pages.

Tanod by Gab Chee Kee and Jerico Marte
Interesting book here. Tanod Donato seems to have some fight in him ala Stick (Matt Murdock’s mentor) of Daredevil. Is there some secret order that Donato belongs to? There’s dark humor here that leaves you intrigued. Marte’s art is a much refined and powerful version of Bart Sears. Strong debut and something I’ll be following for sure.

Mang Jose by Gab Chee Kee and Ace Enriquez
The spin-off from the popular song by Chee Kee’s band, Parokya ni Edgar, comes alive with a superhero literally for hire. Except Mang Jose looks like he’s ready for retirement. And just like the song, there’s an element of humor to the book.

Callous: Bring the Rain By Carlo San Juan
The third installment of the comic strip that showcases a slice of life in the medical profession with a healthy dose of humor. An apple a day can keep the doctor away but with this rip-roaring strip, you look forward to seeing what Doc Carlo has to say on a daily basis. The glossier paper and the landscape format not to mention the recoloring makes this edition, San Juan’s most vibrant work to date. In the last strip, Cal Duck talks to Dr. Rhiann Nicah about the good things in life. Callous: Bring the Rain is one of them.

A Vision of Dust #3 by David Hontiveros and Xerx Javier
A Vision of Dust has been my favorite work by the prolific David Hontiveros. I am not really a fan of supernatural and horror stories but Hontiveros sold me to it a long time ago. What I love about his stories is they make savor every morsel of prose. And more so with the old school feel of Xerx Javier’s pencils that pays homage to past Filipino greats. It adds to the creepiness and sense of foreboding of Lora. Not for the faint of heart but a darn good read.

Fallen Ash #4 by Kimberly Smith and Benjamin Bartolome
During Indieket, I picked up the first three issues of this fantasy series that reminds me of Elfquest and Mouse Guard both of which I am a fan. Akari the fox survives the battle with the snake and now joins Anara on her mission to find out what happened to her husband Ash and what is so rotten about Aldergilt. I like the story but it seems stuck in neutral. I think its time they push this forward as opposed to repetitive scenes with the corrupt council that runs this fantastical city. That gripe aside, this is something I am following keenly.

Starburn #1 by Kelly Bender and Brian Balondo
The Singapore-based comic was a surprise part of the Komikon. I loved those old space-faring stories in the old Guardians of the Galaxy, Omega Men, Legion of the Super-Heroes, and Alien Legion of which I see influences here and there. But perhaps it owes a lot to Joss Whedon’s excellent, late and lamented Firefly.

The crew of the Starburn (that resembles the Serenity) take a job to deliver a package. Unfortunately, it means springing a prisoner from an off world gaol with its own version of a big time Sarlacc Pit. Clearly the Starburn have no compunctions about right and wrong and care only for the money. I wonder how this will eventually play out. Does this bite them back big time? Or will they find serenity (pun intended)?

Balondo’s art is all right. Needs a little work on the perspective and consistency but that comes with experience. And that’s not so bad considering this is his first work. So congratulations to him as well. And to Kelly Bender for pulling this off.

I’m aboard for this.

Work In Progress #4 by Hub Pacheco and Ted Pavon
Reading WIP is like going through a comic book version of the Before Sunrise trilogy. Slacker guy (Eli) goes through life, finds inspiration through a girl he meets but he can never have. But it helps him find the purpose to follow his dreams.

At times, you wonder where the story is going but when you read it as a whole then it is exactly just as Eli and his three other friends debate about when concocting their own comic book – a slice of life story – that is just all to real. Highs and lows with turns that make no sense before they eventually do. And that’s the beauty of WIP. Life’s uncertainty is enough but Ted Pavon’s gorgeously clean art makes it easy to appreciate the story.

The last of the four part series likewise concludes the four color palettes: Cyan for the first issue, magenta for the second, yellow for the third, and black for the fourth (Vertigo recently embarked on something similar but WIP beat them to it by two years).

Other stuff that I got: Mythspace Vol.1, the new edition of Mythology Class, Tabi Po Isyu #2, Maktan 1521 the collected and colored edition, the complete Cresci Prophecies Books One to Four, and Pintura. I will review these others soon!

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