Creativity and camaraderie at the 1st Komiket | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

LARA L. Antonio and Che Bantayan present “Love in the Dog Pound.” PHOTOS BY RUEL S. DE VERA


When you flip to a specific page in a comic book, notice how the panels and the elements inside fit perfectly. That is the same situation in the Philippine comics scene—the must-see Komikon being joined by smaller comic conventions, creating a healthy ecosystem of talent and product.

This is certainly the case with Komiket: The 1st Filipino Komiks, Books and Art Market held recently at Centris Elements in Quezon City. The event’s intimate, relaxed feel was a contrast to the raucous, thrill-a-minute vibe at Komikon, whose next convention is on Nov. 14 and 15.


The smaller room at Elements buzzed with an atmosphere of creativity and camaraderie.


Paolo Herras of Meganon Comics and Komiket managing director described the con as providing “readers and art enthusiasts an easy access to these hard-to-find indie komiks and artists,” and, for the organizers, a “small way of giving back to the community that made us who we are today.”


Komiket drew an energetic, diverse and notably young crowd at Elements. Herras said the organizers considered its debut con a success, and “it is still one step to growing the community.” That community saw everything from comic books and prints to T-shirts and plush toys ready to find new homes.


“Komiks is both literature and art, and this unique nature could attract the best of both worlds, bookworms and art enthusiasts alike,” Herras said.


The highlight at Komiket was definitely the launching of Arnold Arre’s graphic novel “Halina Filipina” from Nautilus Comics, with the author present to sign books and meet fans.


“Halina Filipina” marks Arre’s return to comic book writing and illustrating after seven years. “It was like going back to the past,” he said. “I didn’t know I used to write things like this. But things have changed. I’m wiser now, more experienced. It’s like going back to the past and changing stuff.”


PAUL Salonga with his title “Think/Kill”
THE ENERGETIC crowd at Centris Elements



Fans also lined up to get books signed and selfies taken at the Visprint booth, where “Trese” co-creator Budjette Tan and “Kiko Machine” maverick Manix Abrera happily welcomed them.

At the Adarna House booth, Russell Molina was signing copies of his first graphic novel, “Sixty Six.”

There were interesting titles on display from veteran and newbie talents. One such property is Gwendy delos Santos’ World War II drama “Fires and Embers.”


Many titles at Komiket were being unveiled for the first time, most of them products of what’s been dubbed “Komiket University”—the Comic Book Creator’s Workshop which helps prepare aspiring comic creators in all aspects of the business.


Herras said this year’s workshop had students with ages ranging from 14 to 44. “All of them had wonderful stories to tell,” he noted, “with their own pace and timing. We are proud of each and every one.”

PAUL Salonga with his title “Think/Kill”
PAUL Salonga with his title “Think/Kill”


One of the products of the workshop is “Think/Kill,” from former Inquirer editorial assistant Paul Salonga and artist Mong Aya. Salonga took an hour or two at the workshop to think up this violent and mind-bending title about a teacher riding the train.


“I was pretty apprehensive,” he said of his work. “I didn’t know what the reaction would be. It’s not exactly a story for all ages, because there’s a bit of nudity and guts and gore. But I’m glad that people are picking it up and getting into it.”


Another workshop discovery is “Love in the Dog Pound,” from writer Lara L. Antonio and artist Che Bantayan. It talks about a dog named Ringo, and how he wound up in the pound. It is inspired by Bantayan’s late dog Tiny, her current dog Mr. Hutch, and another one, Sammy.


It’s about what an old dog would do to get adopted, Antonio said. It took five revisions, with Bantayan drawing it for a month.


“Love…” is as dog-loving as you can get; proceeds from sales will go to a fund for Mr. Hutch—a five-year-old Siberian Husky—to get a much-needed operation for an enlarged prostate. “He’s never had a girlfriend,” Antonio said. Bantayan’s two-year-old chow-chow Sammy actually makes a cameo in the book.


The new creators at Komiket have something else in common—all of them intend to continue producing comic books, and hoping to appear at Komikon next month.


Aside from bringing komiks fans together, Komiket aims to motivate creators with its Komikstarter Prizes—“a P5,000 reimbursable printing fund to help kickstart their next komiks.”


Herras envisions Komiket as a yearly attraction—and the wave of new work that comes with it. “There are very few comics readers, more so local comics readers, so each and every reader is important,” he said. “We hope they like the komiks they purchased and come back for more in the next Komiket.”

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