Everyone tries to write Watchmen the first time around. Cop to it, kids. We all want our first foray into the world of comics to be loud. To be a hit. And I don’t blame you. Who doesn’t want to be the guy who came out of nowhere and just punched everyone in the face with something awesome? It’s not wrong to want that, but it is harmful to hope for it and, by extension, pin your tragically fragile comic creator self-esteem on what may very well be a shitty Original Graphic Novel.

My friend Matt and I are currently bringing a year’s worth of scripts for INSTRUMENTS to a close. The process is done via skype… with beers… so it’s not the smoothest of creative processes. I currently have about 90% of the first issue completely drawn and toned (we’re planning to release it black and white), so all that’s needed for a proper pitch is the clean script for the first year’s worth of monthly issues. You read that right: the first year. And therein lies the rub — What are the odds of a coupla nobodies getting a publisher to commit to an entire year’s worth of monthlies? Granted of course that our story is mind-numbingly awesome (Who else is gonna say it, asshole?), our operation can’t exactly hinge on the script alone when Image, Boom, Avatar, or whoever else can’t tell us apart from a dead dog’s cock now can it? They don’t know who the hell we are.

So I start small.

I’ve got a bunch of solos I’ve been meaning to start fleshing out, script-wise. I can’t pull off ICELANDER with less than eight issues, so that’s out. JOHNNY BEASTLING only needs six for the first arc, but I really really really don’t want to have to use it until I know I can write it well. THREE BLIND MICE needs more research. So that just leaves the pirate story…

Let’s call it ALL HANDS for now. And let’s say it’s what Lovecraft wanted to see when he watched Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harryhausen was right beside him, stealing his popcorn. (I draw comics, were you really looking for a profound metaphor there?)  But the best part is it works as a one-shot.  An oversized one-shot, sure, but much easier to sell than a twelve-issue maxi-series written by two drunken nerds.

So that’s going on. I wish I could say I arrived at this decision to write a pirate story via logical reasoning, but the fact is it’s nothing but what I’m calling a resultant… I don’t know… mental state? Gestalt?… of a series of strange coincidences. Take from that what you will.

::: ::: ::: Keeping it Relevant Department ::: ::: :::

MASK of MANOLO #2 is experiencing logistical hitches. More on that as I get news.

Page layouts for HORROR PROJECT are coming along nicely. Thumbnails are being a bit of a challenge, but live and learn I suppose.

Tomorrow will be about reading JENNY STRANGE scripts for Zuda.

OVERTHROW #1 is done and done. All that’s left is the cover concepts before we take it to pitch. Justin suggested I study some old posters and go all Soviet Propaganda on everyone’s asses, so that should be fun. See?

soviet31 soviet2 soviet11

Just the Tip

Got a fair amount of work sorted out this week, schedule-wise, which (and you gotta give me this, at least) is no small feat, given that it’s Christmas time.  I may not be the most disciplined guy around when it comes to sticking to time tables, but god damn it I can juggle like you wouldn’t believe.

Also, I’m a douche.

But anyway…

Promised myself I’d put a real effort into getting more indies in 2008, and I think I’ve pretty much succeeded, on the most part.  Tail end of 2007 saw me get that Cebulski project, my first gig, through a ridiculously coincidental series of events — one of those right-place-right-time type deals — so ridiculous in fact that it involves my quitting law school, my working in a call center, and even a messy break-up some two-three years ago.  Shit you not.  It’s a Bendis plot, is what it is.  But you only get lucky once, right?  So this year had me working for it.  And well… I like to think I tried hard enough.

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Didn’t make it into Marvel just yet, but they know my name… that’s as good a start as any, I suppose.

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To my three returning readers, here’s some stuff to watch out for: My first solo book, The MASK of MANOLO, from Patchwork comics should be hitting the stands within the next month or so.  Alveraz and the gang are cranking out the proofs and working through the Christmas season to make sure Slominski and I start polluting the scene early next year.

First issue of OVERTHROW! is just about wrapped up; As I’m writing this, I’m finalizing the inks for the last page… with my feet.  Took longer than I care to admit, but Justin’s been a real sport about it.  Of course, he’s probably just lulling me into a false sense of security before he strikes.  The book goes to pitch early next year, so we’re both holding on to our skirts about that.

First few pages of the yet unnamable horror project are beginning to zygotize in my thought-peach.  It’s a bit of a departure from my super hero and modern fantasy stuff, so it’s taking a bit of doing.  I’m to expect a box of reference material in the mail, a cheery package of crime scene photos from Victorian London (hint, hint), but it’s Christmas… so yeah, that’ll have to wait I guess.  The script is in though, and it’s a mean mother.  Like OVERTHROW!, this will probably go to pitch early next year as well.

It's a metaphor.

These are all collabs though.  Should devote some real time to properly scripting my solo OGNs this year as well.  INSTRUMENTS is chugging along nicely with Matt being sober most of the time these days, so that’s cool.  Speaking of personal projects though…

The Horror Classics series is on hold until I get a proper foot-hold on the books i’m whored out to, timeframe-wise.  Though I really should get back to that soon, coz the scary faces in the noggin aren’t exactly helping me relax much on my downtime.

I quit my office job precisely so I wouldn’t have to deal with scary faces anymore, right?


So yeah, it’s been more or less a pretty good year.  Dark Knight kicked ass, Obama won the election, and I drew a gutted elephant.

Here’s to 2009.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


Was chatting with a friend into the next dawn’s embryonic stages the other day.  And awed by my deceptive lucidity at such an hour, she asked me just what my regular schedule was like.  So I replied with as honest an answer as I could give under the circumstances — I laughed.

Since I started doing this comic-drawing-thing professionally (and I use the term professionally as loosely as possible), my body clock has gone to shit.  Especially now, since I’m in the homestretch of Overthrow #1.

But anyway… for no other reason than to shut Rey Siasar up (the fuckface who has been asking me to update the site), here’s what a typical workday is like, schedule-wise, but minus specific time brackets… coz that’s just silly.  This was Wednesday:

  • Wake up at 10 a.m. and stare blankly into ceiling for half an hour, asking the Forces That Control All why I’m not Mike Mignola and Reon Kadena isn’t to my immediate left reading one of my Hellboy trades and loving it.
  • Wander into the living room for coffee, what’s left of breakfast, and some CNN.  Because I’m mature like that.
  • (Toggle MTV)
  • Play with the dog before lunch, since this is the only time of day we’re equally filthy.  Then I go back in the house, hit the bathroom, and get all clean and relatively civilized.  Dog maintains his freedom.
  • Afternoon work sees me checking favorite forums, blogs, and comic news sites, but not before  I check my blog stats and Deviant Art comments so that my frail artist ego can have its daily handjob.  Then I read a coupla comic books to swipe from just to warm my shit up and pop a movie in to watch while I work.  Tweet.

transmetcarlito*** Wednesday had me re-reading a Transmet trade with Carlito’s Way as background noise.  The combo was strangely therapeutic.

  • Emails.
  • Mid-afternoon sees me reviewing scripts, thumbnailing some pages, and pacing around my room figuring shit out, asking myself what I’ve gotten myself into.  Laughing from time to time at the fact that I’ve fooled them all.
  • Walk the dog and do some loose sketching with the nephew.  Hands down my favorite part of the day, especially since that Spanish girl down the road started walking her beagles.
  • She has nice puppies.  BAM!
  • When I get over my hate for the blank page (yes, I still do), drawing the panel borders in helps me breathe a little easier, and actual work starts.  By dinner time I usually have a comic-looking page with some sketchy figures drawn in.
  • After dinner to early dawn hours = real work.

And the cycle begins anew the following day (or later that same day).  None can match the absolute glam of it.

Someone send me some strippers.

Playlist Meme

Kinda old this, but I feel like avoiding the work desk just a bit longer, so hey!  Why the fuck not???

Here are the instructions:
1. Open up the music player on your computer.
2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
3. Hit the “shuffle” button.
4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. No skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It’s time for total musical honesty.

1.)  That’s Just the Way It Is (Bruce Hornsby)
2.)  Enchanted (Patrick Wolf)
3.)  Man on the Moon (R.E.M.)
4.)  Last Letter (One Day as a Lion)
5.)  Tired of Saving Souls (Neverending White Lights)
6.)  Please Don’t Tell Her (Jason Mraz)
7.)  The Fastest Guitar Alive (Roy Orbison)
8.)  Shopping (Duncan Sheik)
9.)  Faust Arp (Radiohead)
10.) Burning Man (Third Eye Blind)

So yeah, that tharr list is a peek at my work soundtrack.  Needs more Britney.

Tagging Justin Jordan, Gerry Alanguilan, Alex Cipriano, Heather Harris, and Massacre Mike to do the same in their blogs.  Leave a link in the comments if you feel like wasting time and doing this as well, fuckers.  That is… if you haven’t already done this.  I’ve a feeling Justin has.  At work no less.

The Thick of Things

“That’s crazy!” was one of the first things my high school classmates at Sacred Heart School for Boys told me when I said I’d be doing indies with some college artists.  Wasn’t as into sports as much as a lot of my friends wanted to think, and wasn’t at all excited when that Dreamcast-thing started making its rounds.  I was the comics nerd in the crew.  Sure, we’d hike over to the all-girls school down the avenue practically every day and engage in ill shit, but when the sun went down… we all still went home and played with our toys.  Take that any way y’all want, heh.  The year was 1999, and I was about fifteen.

Somehow got a graphic design teacher at a local university to take a look at my art — I had recently finished a personal project re-telling the origin of the Thundercats (yes, I was that kid) — and after giving me some constructive crits, he extended an invitation to join a gathering his students were planning.  My old man took me to the meeting, probably worried that the college boys would give the geeky high schooler a hard time.  Turns out the lot of them were worlds geekier than I was.  This was Sukol, my very first taste of the local comics scene.  This is where I met artists before they even became artists, if that makes any sense.  Looking back now, I feel somewhat humbled by it.

Tyke Villalonga (the teacher) was there, giving some last-minute project notes to Alexander Cruz.  To the right of the lecture hall, Michael Dizon, John Paul Vicedo, and Ian Areola were making fun of Vinzon Ngo’s (Bleedman) art.  He deserved every bit of it, the bastard.  A whole bunch of artists were there, but names were never one of my strong points (Right, ladies?).

sukolWhat started out as a gathering of artists eventually became a movement, and we ended up releasing a monthly black-and-white comic, funded by our respectively meager allowances.  We gave these pamphlets out for free, and we didn’t care about ROIs and any of that “responsible” crap coz they were just too much fun to do, and the energy one got from being among fellow artists was just electric.  It didn’t last though.  Eventually some people decided they didn’t care about it anymore, others decided to pickaxe their own way into stardom solo, and the rest sort of just evaporated into creative limbo.  My title, Twilight (yeah… yeah…), which was very Battle Chasers-inspired, sank like a brick.

Then college came around and I went from private catholic school to state uni to take up Political Science; Don’t know if it was pride or a denial thing, but I couldn’t stop what I had already gotten to do.   Somehow convinced myself that this is what I wanted to do, so I kept at it and migrated to Popcorn Comics, a publication apparently inspired by Sukol’s efforts but with wider distribution and actual advertising, owing mostly to Warren Tan’s extensive connections.  But the best part was that the artists actually got paid this time.  This is where I learned became aware of the value of staying on deadline.  I was getting paid to do comics at seventeen.  Shit didn’t get any more real than that.  and here I met Leandro Panganiban, Lloyd Limbaga, James Neish, and Harvey motherfuckin’ Tolibao.  Icelander, my “story” essentially about cavemen fighting aliens (yes, I was a fuckin’ prodigy) saw the light of day.pcThat ended too though, because apparently the market just wasn’t healthy enough for local books, what with people still being burned out by the nineties stunts.   So college went into full swing, and naturally that was a whole different experience in itself… and I may talk about it in the future.  Still, Sukol and Popcorn were both intensely formative experiences for me though — both as a person and as an artist.

My high school friends were right, it was crazy… but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.

City Mouse

Writing on a laptop at a coffeeshop in Serendra. Humid day at the fort. For those confused, I’m in Manila. The capital of the Philippines. I live in Cebu, widely considered to be the Pinoy counterpart of Chicago… if this place was New York. And no, the American capital is not Washington. Pop.

Cousins and in-laws are either getting started on holiday shopping or talking about how shitty school or work was. I have a pile of trade paperbacks stacked up under an overpriced cappuccino. I honestly can’t decide whether I love this city, despise this city, or both. I’m a country mouse, and a homebody to boot. Jurassic 5 is the soundtrack for the early evening. Rap.

The comic shops are things of beauty though. Back home I normally get my monthlies from a friend Viking Alex and I call Creepy Comics Guy, but I’m here… so it’s literally like being let loose in a hen house. Screw the fox, I feel like a wolf. Cut to two days ago, EJ and I stalked between the shelves at FullyBooked and ranted about which runs were great or sucked shit. A few of the store’s regulars stared at us like we actually knew what we were talking about. Rock.

I shouldn’t stay long though. Too easy to get spoiled here. Too easy to get drunk. Too easy to hide. Too easy to get lost. So here I’ll mangle Luhrmann’s song and say Come to the big city but leave before it makes you soft. Jazz.

My coffee’s getting cold. The gang’s getting ready to move now.

And these comics won’t read themselves.