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Comics with a ‘K’, please

FOREIGN and western publishing companies such as Detective Comics (DC) and Marvel usually come into our minds when the subject of comics is brought up.

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FOREIGN and western publishing companies such as Detective Comics (DC) and Marvel usually come into our minds when the subject of comics is brought up. The Asian alternative, dubbed as manga (manwha or manhua in the case of Korean or Chinese origin), is also considered and usually accompanied by terms such as “cosplay” and doujinshi. But what about komiks? When it comes to the locally made art form, most people would only be aware of either Pol Medina’s “Pugad Baboy” or Manix Abrera’s “Kikomachine Komix.”

Hidden at the back of Eton Centris in Quezon City, the Komiket (not to be confused with Comiket) seemed a bit nondescript and humble compared to the loud and garish Ozine Fests and other anime conventions usually held in SM Megamall. Modestly furnished booths in neat rows and columns filled the venue, but it still buzzes of curious first-timers, old fans looking out for their favorite writers or artists who may or may not be present for signing or free doodling, and aspiring comic creators themselves.

Perhaps for those who are well-versed in the comic industry might find it odd to see not much mainstream comics or artists, as well as the absence of cosplayers roaming the area. Ultimately, it leads to some leaving the place prematurely, grumbling over a wasted P50, while some stay to give the local indie and small-time comics creators a chance to have a new patron.

So what makes Komiket special?

A whole new world

Komiket, in the easiest definition, is the Filipino Komiks Market, and it’s the first of its kind. Unlike Ozine Fest that caters to the Japanese animanga community, and Comic Con being a mix of both western and eastern comics and other entertainment media, Komiket offers only local publishers, comic creators, and businesses in the arts.

Independent comic publishing companies such as Zero Point, Alamat Comics, Anino Comics, Meganon Comics, and Pelikomiks, just to name a few, were present at the event last April 5 to attract more readers and hopefully garner patrons to help publish more indie comics.

Paolo Herrars, a writer from Meganon Comics and one of the event organizers, shared that he wanted to help make the comics community grow into an industry by setting out to discover new comics creators and helping them meet mainstream publishers.

“We wanted to create another event to give comic creators a chance to meet new readers because this is a different location,” Herras said, commenting on the lack of opportunities these creators have on selling their works.

“And because we’re discovering new writers and new artists, hopefully their friends will also come along as new readers and encourage also people to start reading (Filipino) comics,” he added.

Komiket also hosted contests that can help indie comics creators or ideas be discovered and attract potential publishers, as well as give duly recognition to new comics (categories are: Best Komiks, Best Komiks Artist, Best Komiks Writer, Best Komiks Cover, Best Student Komiks, and a special prize, the Yabang Pinoy Award).

Something new, something old

In commemoration of being heralded as National Artist for the Visual Arts last year, a booth was specially set up for the late Francisco V. Coching, the father of Filipino Comics who had penned more than 50 comics. His son Arnel and wife Filomina were present and gave a short speech on Coching and the comic industry.

Komiket was also a house for signings, excerpt-readings, launching, and sneak peeks into the new and fresh-off-the-press comics and books. Among the esteemed local comic creators present were Manix Abrera, Budjette Tan (“Trese”), and Lyndon Gregorio (“Beerkada”). Rob Cham, one of the younger generations of comic artists who took their trade to the digital level, was also present to launch his new comic, “Light.”

“We have a lot of great writers and artists for everyone else who haven’t tried the local stuff. Just give it a try,” Budjette Tan said. ”It’s not just superheroes unlike what you see in the West so I’m sure they’ll find something interesting for them. They’ll find something they’ll like.”

Meanwhile, Manix Abrera shares that it was “nakakataba ng puso” to see the comics community grow.

”Kung ano talaga ‘yung mahal n’yong gawin, hanggang sa dulo ng mundo, gawin n’yo talaga [‘yun],” Abrera said. “Ang mahirap lang, ‘yung pagsimula. So magsimula ka na; kahit pangit ang gawa, basta masimulan mo na para lumabas na ‘yung mga magagandang magagawa mo.”

“The moment I entered, I felt happy,” Alexandra Reloj, a recent art student graduate said. “It’s not as crowded as Comic Con so it gives me the opportunity to talk to the artists. Seeing these artists in the flesh and willing to talk about their experiences had been inspiring and fun.”

Interested? The second Komiket event, as well as the release of the April 5 launches and other activities, will be on October 3 at Elements in Centris Mall.

 

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Netflix’s Money Heist and its aim to fight for political reform

La Casa de Papel or Money Heist is a Netflix series about a guy called the Professor leading a group of criminals aliased after major cities across the globe to pull off one of the most impossible felonies of all time — robbing the Royal Mint of Spain.

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Photo from Netflix

WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead!

La Casa de Papel or Money Heist is a Netflix series about a guy called the Professor leading a group of criminals aliased after major cities across the globe to pull off one of the most impossible felonies of all time — robbing the Royal Mint of Spain. The show focuses on how the crew masters their plan, down to the very minute details, to ensure that they can execute it impeccably. It is shown how the Professor implements some rules and ensures that the crew abides by it for the operation to run smoothly, or so he believes. With interesting costumes, catchy tunes, and mind-boggling twists in the story, this show will surely get one easily hooked!

The show has been gaining online buzz recently — from an Instagram filter, tweets from excited fans, to teaser trailers all over the web – there is a built hype for the show especially now that the new season’s premiere has dropped on Netflix today. It has been months since the end of the third season, and everybody’s been anticipating the next series of events. Avid viewers of the show are very much eager to know what happened to our favorite crew, with all of us having a bunch of unanswered questions after that cliff-hanger of a finale left our hearts pounding and jaws dropped. Now we can finally sigh in relief because the answer to all of our questions possibly lies in eight 45-minute episodes. 

Money Heist is one of the most interesting shows of our time since it has a different take on the Heist cinematic genre. The generic formula for films and series in this genre is usually a clever mastermind recruit a group of delinquents with their own respective charms, add a seemingly fool-proof plan into the mix, and voila, you have created a crime film. This show has all of the essential components, but one thing sets them apart from the rest of the other works under the same genre — the group’s ulterior motive, which is evidently not just for personal gain, but for public changes as well. It took the elements of the classic Robin Hood-themed narratives and incorporated it into contemporary societal injustices, which make for an effective series of social enlightenment.

It could be said that the root of these vices is money. Why would an individual dare to stage a heist in the national bank of Spain to win over the sympathy of the masses? The answer lies behind the very reason why they are conducting the robbery. Through the heist, they insinuated the need for redistribution of wealth because of the stark imbalance between the rich and the poor. Besides, they are technically “not stealing” from the bank since they are just producing new bills through the bank’s printers. Additionally, for every bump in the road that the team faces, they still strictly abide by their moral principles to resolve the dilemma. Their means may be questionable, but their goal is quite reasonable.

An essential hallmark of the show is the identical masks the robbers wore in their heists. The Professor made them wear the mask to hide their identities, but his choice of design aims to make a statement. The masks are of Salvador Dalí, a Spanish surrealist artist, whom the protagonists’ philosophies are aligned with. Dalí is a renowned artist, famous for his works and for his protests against society’s capitalistic ideals. The mask symbolizes the people’s resistance to a system that forces them to accept the irrational normalization of social class, which is usually in favor of the elite.

Since the beginning of the show, the song Bella Ciao was heard in varying tempos to denote the highest and lowest points of the storyline. Historically, the song was sung in rallies during the Italian Resistance, with hopes of ending the rule of fascists. The song was actually banned in Northern Italy a few years back and that itself says a lot about its impact. It is still played in modern-day protests, with activists hoping that making a statement and refusing to swallow abysmal ideals dictated by unjust rulers could commence redefinition of unjust societal norms.

With the alarming responses of our own officials towards a national crisis, shows like these ignite our passion to fight for political reform. It empowers us to make a stand against tyranny and to also break free from the oppressive societal standards that the opportunistic upper class sets. Bella ciao!

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10 things you probably have encountered in an online class

Ever since online classes have been rampant in UST, we have noticed some interesting phenomena that happens in almost every class. These vary from each situation so if you have encountered some of these, you’re most likely going to relate!

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

A decade ago, suspension of classes were a big nuisance especially to the pace of the academic year. This is because we did not really have a platform that was capable of holding more than 20 persons in a call. However, with the advancement of technology, it has paved the way to conduct classes online without the fear of falling behind the schedule.

Ever since online classes have been rampant in UST, we have noticed some interesting phenomena that happens in almost every class. These vary from each situation so if you have encountered some of these, you’re most likely going to relate! The following are the 10 things you probably have encountered in an online class.

1.  A dog

Your dog or your blockmate’s dog have probably taken the spotlight in this one. Cue the “aww!”s and the “your dog is so cute!” to inform people there’s a new member in your block.

2. Some bedroom noises

These bedroom noises vary in category. It could be your newborn sibling crying in the background or your sibling groaning as they stretch before they get out of bed. It could also be your neighbour’s feel good music that’s blasting on full volume. (What did you think the noises were going to be?)

3. Your mom’s voice in the background

You’re probably familiar with the sentence, “Anak! Nakalimutan mo nanaman maghugas ng pinggan!”. This is your cue to quickly wash the dishes or to ask your brother or your sister to do it for you. Just don’t forget it the next time.

4. The sound of vehicles driving past your house

It’s 9o’clock in the morning and everyone is still sleeping. Your professor is rambling about the adjusted schedule because of the suspension of classes. Everything was silent until you hear that loud “VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM” that broke that silence you thought you had. A notification. Your blockmate typed, “Kaninong tricycle ‘yun?”.

5. The neighborhood chicken

No one in your house is awake yet to cook breakfast and you’re 10 minutes late to your online class. You’re hungry and sleepy but you are determined you’ll focus on this class you need to catch up on. You sit down with your laptop, head propped by your arm to try to stay awake. Then suddenly, you hear a faint cock-a-doodle-doo from your speaker. A notification. Your professor typed, “Guys, sorry, wag kayo mag-alala. Ipriprito ko na yun mamaya.”.

6. A comfort room break

The waterworks are on duty today but you’re unsure if your strict professor would allow you to go to the comfort room to release whatever your body needs to let go of. It’s funny how we still have to ask even when comfort is at our disposal a few steps away. Imagine what it’s like for your blockmate who often needs the toilet. 

7. Your younger sibling who keeps on crying

If it’s not your mom, it’s most likely your younger brother or sister who’s making the noise. You should probably check on them right now though. I assume they need something or someone.

8. The teleserye your lola is watching

It’s 10 in the morning and you are in your living room. Suddenly, your lola picks up the television remote control to watch her favourite teleserye. She hands you the remote control to raise the volume higher. Don’t worry. It’ll just be an hour of your time everyday. Just wear your earphones. It’ll be over soon!

9. Your blockmate who’s often M.I.A.

Better call them now. You definitely don’t want them to miss another class.

10. Conversations that are best kept on Messenger

It’s best to keep your block’s conversations in another messaging app. I know you know what I mean. 

We all have different practices in our face-to-face class as well as in online classes. However, in the midst of the distances from our second home – our school – let us not forget the reason why we do this: to learn and to later on serve our country. 

Lastly, use your time productively and don’t forget to wake up your blockmate!

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Ilaw ng Tahanan, Sagisag ng Lansangan: Rage Against Feminine Archetypes

Comical as it seems, it has become so indoctrinated in the narrative of what it means to be a woman, that essentially it has become a means to favor and please the men in our society—to put it simply, the feminine archetype is a catalyst for the patriarchy.

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

A natural beauty, she was. Daisy-fresh. Frail and delicate, with her small frame and timid silence. Her hair constantly smelled of vanilla, and she had a smile that came with her almost effortless grace. She is painfully soft-spoken. Her cheeks resembled that of the skin of a peach—supple, smooth, tinging coral. And above all that she had eyes that could lure you in. It was almost as if she knew the kind of beauty she held, but not enough to be flaunting it.

Here is an example of a misrepresented woman as shown by the ideal woman trope. In literature, we see her as Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby; in film, Summer from 500 Days of Summer. Women in fiction, yes, but still prototypes of the ideal woman, told from the account of a man, that sooner or later, serve to cater to the male gaze.

This is the feminine archetype, contemporarily known as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl or the Femme Fatale: the idea that a woman, in all her precious glory, should be of natural, flawless beauty—none of that cake on the face, none of those fillers and such. She should be modest, otherwise if she is vulgar she is an embarrassment. She should attend to her husband like a real woman, whatever that is supposed to mean, because it is her responsibility to do so. She should be dainty! If she must fix herself up she must do so without going overboard. 

But this is relevant… exactly how?

These templates of the ‘perfect woman’ teaches young girls and the children who may come to identify as girls, beyond reasonable standards to live up to, furthermore decentering from their freedom of expression and identity. Comical as it seems, it has become so indoctrinated in the narrative of what it means to be a woman, that essentially it has become a means to favor and please the men in our society—to put it simply, the feminine archetype is a catalyst for the patriarchy.

This continues to be a challenge for contemporary feminists as it has been for their predecessors. Years upon years of uprisings and nth wave feminism movements helped established the New Woman, who, on this day and age, in contrast to the feminine archetype, is no longer soft-spoken, doe-eyed, or motherly—but resisting, self-sustaining, and non-conforming. She is tenacious, and is unafraid to bring her revolution to the streets, like all other female activists that preceded, but the objective is not to discredit them.

This is to introduce an entirely new breadth of feminists who willingly engage in activism in and out of the streets, who challenge the still-in-existence feminine archetype, who fight against those who continue to disparage women, and most importantly, to empower those who need empowering. Women and their eagerness to champion equal rights have prevailed even in social media platforms—a brand new kind of solidarity that cuts through the one-dimensionality of the digital world, which is now without limitation in addressing a variety of sociopolitical issues.

The feminine archetype is but a small part of a bigger issue that continues to misrepresent women as charming, frail, and subordinate—much like in movies and literature—which in turn contributes to, and may even elevate to a great deal of oppression and abuse. Once we value other women as much as we do those in our lives, once we acknowledge that some women might not even be female at birth, and that some may not even appear to be women, we perpetuate intersectionality and a mindset that more often than not, empowerment is more important than power.

 

Happy Women’s month to the cis-females, the transwomen, those who identify as women, women of color, female activists, women who were rape and sexual abuse victims, women who are victims of social injustices, comfort women, and all the other women in the world.

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