Last Saturday, a special event for all comic aficionados, called “Summer KomiKon 2012” was held at Bayanihan Center Unilab Compound, Pasig City. The entrance ticket cost one hundred pesos (PhP 100), which includes a free event poster, newsletter, and post card. During the event, the latest comic book releases, not only from the well-established publishers but also from the small independent comic book creators, were launched. Famous comic book creators were present and were willing to sign autographs and allowed spectators to have souvenir pictures taken with them. Finally, discount and bargain comic books were also available for sale.

According to Mr. Ariel Atienza (President), Summer KomiKon started seven years ago (2005) and has already held seven regular (every November) Komikon Conventions and three Summer (every May) Komikon Conventions. In the past, they had some difficulties in trying to look for sponsors and participants, but because of the event’s continuous and constant success, sponsors are now coming in. Every year, the number of visitors increases and based on their latest ticket sale, they almost reached around two thousand (2,000) participants.

This is a gathering of all comic writers, readers and artists from different walks of life. All of them enthusiastically learned about the Filipino’s contribution in the local and international scene. A good example is the late Mr. Tony DeZuniga, who co-created DC Comics’ fictional character Jonah Hex. This fictional character is admired by many young Filipino artists. Another example is Mr. Leinil Francis Yu, who is building his name and good reputation as an excellent comic artist. He is now involved in a special project of Mr. Mark Millar, entitled“Super Crooks.”

Mr. Millar also graced the occasion with his presence. He also happens to be in Manila, promoting his latest comic book, “Superior.” He is one of the best comic book writers in modern times, and to prove it, two of his best works were already turned into live action movies, specifically “Kick-Ass” and “Wanted.” Some lucky comic book fans won an autographed copy of his latest work, which is “Super Crooks.” In an interview, he humbly states that “Filipinos are good artists,”. Alsom he mentioned that based on his record sale, the Philippines has more comic buyers than New York. It shows that our country has a lot ofcomic book lovers.

With the influx ofdifferent types of media and modern forms of recreation, the younger generation tend to forget or do not even know our very own original comic book heroes like Darna, Captain Barbell and Lastikman. They tend to mistake them as Wonder Woman, Superman and Plastic Man, respectively. Even our classic literature super heroes and mythological characters like Lam-ang and the Tikbalangs are now forgotten and unknown. That is the reason why some of our story tellers come up with ‘rebooted’ versions of these characters in a modern set up like “The Lam-Ang Experiment” and “Pintakasi Graphic Novel.”

Some people say that the Filipino comic book industry started dying after the 1997 economic crisis, because there was a scarcity in the market for these types of products. This event wants to prove that this form of art is still present, for as as long as there are stories to tell, there is the comic book that will show you the beautiful pictures behind the words.

Manila REviews writer, Kim, with Pol Medina

Thank you to Tony DeZuniga for his legacy.You will always be remembered and loved by all. Keep on reading Komiks, for this a part of our Filipino culture and heritage. Keep the spirit alive for our next generations of readers and story tellers. Hope to see you again this October.

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