For the lack of better title, for the lack of words that would encapsulate the first ever Iloilo Comic Con and my first ever con too.
A little bit of Con back story, I was a part of Buzznet before and all my friends from the US are annually gathering in San Diego for the original Comic Con. I was too jealous looking at their photos. All of them beaming from ear to ear, posing with their favorite artists, illustrators and comic book writers. And even celebrities. One of my friends from Australia has this Facebook album of Stan Lee, Patrick Stewart etc making duckfaces with her.
Since, I am from the Philippines, I have almost zero chances of meeting these people, save for the fact that Neil Gaiman hosts a yearly event with Fully Booked. That event I cant go to since I’m from outside Manila. Long story short, I have been waiting for a gathering like this.
A week before the event I received a message inviting me to co-host the event. I said yes in a heartbeat. And why would an inexperienced, shy person with inherent stage freight dive off the cliff to host an event that will most likely be attended by hundred of people.
Iloilo Comic Con is not in itself like the San Diego Comic Con, it might be a small convention with guests artists who contributes for Marvel, DC, Vertigo, etc etc. But they are also the Filipino artists I have grown to. I know Stephen Segovia not because of Amazing Spider-man but because of Tomas en Kulas which me and my brother so lovingly read as little kids. Manix Abrera though I find his works a little bit korni, I find them relatable in an odd way. (Wait relatable is not a real word?). Gerry Alanguilan whom I’ve just known later on through friend recommendations and his online cult following. And of course the infamous Carlo Pagulayan. These artists are certainly inspirations.
The highlight of my con was when the organizer patted my back and lead me to a man wearing a white shirt. His back was on me. And when he turned, it was Mr. Alanguilan and I did not know what to say. I mean I always don’t know what to say when I’m happy. Also the reason why this blog will probably suck. I said something about something I could not remember. And then proceeded to asking him about his out of print comic book Wasted. Then we talk a little then I ran to get my copy of Elmer to have it signed only to find out I dont have a pen. Of course artists always hold their pens, it’s their lifeline. Good thing Mr. Alanguilan had a pen. And then I thanked him and gathered my breath.
Wasted inspired me in so many levels. I have always wanted to write but my writing has been crippled by the notion that what I’m writing is so selfish. How does this benefit to others? Isn’t making an impact one of the many goals of writing? With Wasted, it only seemed like the artist is following his mind. Not even his imagination. It was purely that flow you feel when you are inside the creative process. It is channeling your inner feelings and even demons. For the most part even Mr. Alanguilan has admitted that it is indeed autobiographical. During the panel I asked him if this a good idea. And as far as I can remember his answer went somehow on the negative part of it. His friends noticed that some of the characters are based on them and that might not be a good thing. But reading between his words, writing an autobiographical work is unavoidable.
My point about the whole thing is it is your work in the first place not others, does that not make it autobiographical in itself? The effective part of this whole streamwriting/drawing technique is that when the audience read/see the work, that surreal flow of imagery is transferred to them. It is when real art happens. It is transcendental. No matter how mundane that art is. I mean we won’t be going around killing people because of our romantic frustrations but we might have thought of that at some point of our lives. By putting it to art, it is no longer a repression. And that begins art as true expression. And Wasted has sure damn lots of expressions in it.
I had a blast getting photographs taken with the artists which i normally don’t do with concerts. This is an event that is worthy of all the humiliations, the long queues, the hassles of the program changes, this is the kind of excitement we live for.
As co-host, I closed the program with “May the force be with you.” It might be a cliched line but it was very appropriate. Till next year Iloilo Comic Con!
Manix Abrera signing Kiko Machine Komiks. He signs and draws different characters for each copy. I salute you Sir.
Who smiles bigger? Me with Manix Abrera. Our lines during college will always go this way “Can I borrow your Kiko Machine?”
My friend Michael, wanted to surprise his girlfriend Sam, with a signed copy of Kiko Machine I joked Manix should write something like “Don’t let him go.” Which he graciously did.
I like that vicious stare on my shirt is. With the organizers and the local artists after the panel.
Serious business. This photo might be copyrighted, The photographer owns it.