The birth of new cool: Indieket
by rick olivares
Creating and publishing one’s comics — or “komiks” in the vernacular — is a dream. Given the technology and affordability to self-publish affords opportunities to those with dreams of making it big in the four-colored or black and white world.
Two Indieket veterans are Tepai Pascual and Carlo San Juan.
“I used to print and publish my own komiks for myself,” related Pascual who has since produced works like Maktan 1521 and Noodle Boy among many other top-selling books. When the time came to sell her works to others, the bespectacled Pascual had to battle worry fits. “What I was nervous about was where to sell my komiks and if anyone was going to buy them. If no one did, should I continue making them?”
San Juan is a medical doctor by profession but comic books have been a lifelong passion. Some of his biggest inspirations are Charles Schultz’ classic Peanuts and Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” strips. Along with Bill Masterson’s excellent “Calvin and Hobbes,” they all inspired San Juan to write and draw his world of Callous Comics that tells of humorous anecdotes about life in the medical profession through the point of view of a doctor and an anthropomorphic duck.
"Our komiks were ashcan types pa. Black and white cover and everything else,” added Pascual whose first published work was “Mark9verse47.”
“To print colored covers for us at that time meant death to our wallets. We printed 20 copies each for two chapters. So we had 40 copies of comics to sell. We didn't really think of getting back the money or if we're going to earn from it. We just wanted to sell our comics so that random people could read them. Our dream was simple. Let people buy and read our comics. And when somebody picks up our comics and smiles, that's already treasure for us.”
“I introduced myself and my comic strip (comic strips are a different discipline unto themselves as they feature anywhere from one to four panels of story and art) through the indie tables,” shared San Juan of his baptism of fire during the first Indieket last 2012. “I was a beginner at that time and I was able to gauge the reception of my comic’s premise and the effectiveness of my marketing efforts. Being a total newbie, it was a great place to meet colleagues both old and new at this and the networking yielded some great advice and ideas."
"On our first day as independent comic creators, we didn't even get our own booth,” admitted Tepai of her Indieket debut. "I'm a member of the Comics Organization in UP, the UP Lunarock. They had a booth there so I jumped in and put my comics there. At around noon, we sold all of our copies. I had to run to UP Shopping Center just to print more copies of our comics. All in all, we were able to sell 60 copies. So on our next Comic Con, we printed 120 copies! We sold all of them in 2 days. At first I didn't know if we could to sell more than 60 copies, but we did and up until know, I'm still in awe. How did we do it? We don't know. We just did.”
San Juan too found success with "Callous the Comic Strip Series: Chocolate Chip Wishes and Caffeine Dreams." In the Summer Komikon of 2012, I was the top-seller in the indie tiangge and won a free exhibitor table in the following Komikon. It made me feel like I was ready to take the next step in being a professional cartoonist.”
According to event organizers, this year’s Indieket will play host to the most number of exhibitors in its four-year history. Two halls at the Bayanihan Center are going to be utilized for the event.
Said event co-founder Jon Zamar, "If you are going to Indieket you can expect great local creators and great local komiks. It is a celebration of local creators. And more often than not this is where you get your first look at them and their creations."
Summed up Pascual, "We joined the first Indieket in 2013. It's smaller than Komikon but what I like about it is the intimacy of the sellers and buyers. I like how it's toned down and It's just being a simple selling venue for komiks. No gimmicks. No foreign stuff. Just local works and a whole lot of fun."
Tickets to the fourth Indieket can be purchased at P100 each at Comic Odyssey at Robinson’s Galleria and Fullybooked BGC as well as the gates of the Bayanihan Center (Unilab compound) on event day, August 15.