Friday, June 10


I turn one year older on Monday, a holiday.

Right now, I'm still at the office, doing overtime. Tomorrow, hopefully if no coups happen, I'll be celebrating with friends at home.

Despite the commotion just a few miles away and the urgent need to finish our stuff into the weekend, AND a damn photoshoot I need to attend tomorrow morning, a teeny bit of my brain is reflecting on my life, what I've done and what I have to be thankful for.

I'm thankful first and foremost for being who I am. Not too great, but not too shabby either. My family is about as perfect as a family a guy could ask for.

A Dad who still cares to give me advice and the occasional lecture and share the daily quip and tidbit and takes the effort to drive me to the bus stop every day because he wants to.

A Mom who has always been there, the bastion of strength and security, with a ready laugh and the ready advice to always pray and be thankful for every thing God has had the great generosity to give me. And who can cook the best damn spaghetti sauce in the world.

A Brother who has always been there. Rival, bulwark, guardian, supporter, friend, kindred techie, sparring partner, confidante and a thousand more things all rolled into one buff package who can beat up any bastard who lays a hand on his little brother.

A Sister who is prim and proper and perfect in everything she does and yet is cool enough to hang with me on occasion and appreciate stuff like Shaider: Ang Pulis Pangkalawakan.

A Home that is truly a Sanctum, a Sanctuary of both peace and noise and laughter and restfulness, fun and familiarity that darn, is a reason why I don't like going too far away or leaving too often.

Friends who are as varied and as special as comics and books themselves. Each with so many wonderful stories, laughter, drama, action and adventure that being with them each is a fountain for creativity and fun every time we meet and meld.

A job that lets me create and think and laugh and complain and fight and feel sadness loss and jubilation and joy, all in the same day yet still give me the leeway to go home and tune off, to enjoy the occasional game, or the chance to think up the next comic book project.

Just the opportunity to be born in the time when LOVELY LOVELY toys like mini-computers, the Internet, CG movies, gaming consoles and pizza delivery exist, in a country though imperfect, lets me indulge in them every now and then.

The talent to think up stories and set them on paper not just in words but in images. The ability to make comics and draw is a skill that is truly an art form. While there were some moments years ago when I wished I could just play the piano instead, being able to put panels on pages is a gift I thank God everyday, even in my own small way.

A body that is healthy, relatively, certainly not comely but at least far from ugly. A brain that is odd and quirky, but ever-looking and ever-hungry for eye candy and brain sugar aplenty. Or anything Blog-worthy.

One year older. A bit wiser. Not any balder. Not really richer. Could be happier, but damn, I'm happy enough.


I'm still at the office, with several of the crew to finish work for a presentation that's due in the middle of next week. As I wait for the materials to be finished and organized by myself into a Powerpoint presentation (after a whirlwind lesson from the Boss), we all listen to a nearby radio about the hubbub that's happening at this very moment.
Appears that the recent events that are basically screaming "COUP! COUP!" are still racing on. Right now, opposition elements and personalities are converging on a safe house somewhere along EDSA to protect a supposed witness that holds vital testimony against the Arroyo Government (apparently the original tapes of the incriminating tape that implicates the Madam President in election fraud).

Want to finish work so we can go home. But will we have a presentation next week with the possibility that we might now have a government working tomorrow?

What a country we live in. Sigh.
Limited Edition

Square Enix has just announced that there will be a limited edition release of the UMD (PSP format) video of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. This LE will include 30 minutes of bonus scenes from the original FFVII. WHOA. Will these scenes be original cinematics from the game, or will they actually be recreated scenes using the updated CG loveliness of the AC flick? DARN, it just boggles the mind to think about the possibilities if the latter is true; the Assault on Shinra Headquarters, Aeris and Cloud's First Meeting, the Introduction of Rufus, the Death of Aeris, the Final Battle against Sephiroth... perhaps all these can be seen in full Advent Children quality... a PERFECT prologue to the game sequel movie.

It's pretty much a cinch that Advent Children will make it here via local anime and gaming shops, if not local dvd shops (and pirates). But I am pretty prepared to shell out the moolah for originals. Heck, I'd buy a PSP for this. Seriously.

I want this sooooo much. I want this more than... more than almost anything else cinematic or game-based. This is what I have to look forward to for the end of the year. Yes, even more than Xbox 360 and Dead or Alive 4. Really. I want this. On my Mini. Playable wherever I go. My. Gosh. Yummy.

Thursday, June 9

Ninjas and Scrolls

Deadly ninja action abound in GONZO's Basilisk.

What's this? A dark, bloody and supernatural-themed ninja action series NOT from Studio Madhouse? How can it be? Well, believe it, otakus. Basilisk is one of the three latest releases from the GONZO workshops (the other two being Speedgrapher and Trinity Blood) and so far it is delicious.
Set in feudal age Japan, Basilisk: The Koga Ninja Scrolls chronicles how the Shogun, Ieyasu Tokugawa, schemes to choose his successor by re-starting an age-old blood feud between two clans of deadly, super-powered ninja; the Koga and the Iga. For the past decades these two factions have been held apart by an uneasy peace, but now, that peace is broken. Each of the clans is aligned with a claimant to the throne- ten ninja have been selected from each clan, and these 20 warriors must engage in battles to the death. For the winner, 1000 years of good fortune and support from the ruling shogunate. For the losers... annihalation.

This isn't your usual ninja anime- it's really along more of the lines of the classic Ninja Scroll, with deadly and often grotesque superhuman abilities taking precedence over ordinary swords and shuriken. Here, the character designs rule the day with mostly UGLY men and several very comely women. There is much scheming and conspiracy along with the open ninja combat, so this looks to be very interesting. Adding a bit of spice is the fact that the supposed leaders of both clans- Gennosuke of the Koga and Oboro of the Iga- are very much in love with each other. A sort of twisted Romeo and Juliet tale. But will it end terribly? Or will somehow love triumph?

Well, the only thing for certain is that a lot of ninja blood will be shed before this new title is over. Darn, it's my new guilty pleasure series of the season. Check it out at your local anime dealers.
New Warriors GO

Night Thrasher, Namorita, Nova, Speedball and Microbe make up the new New Warriors team.

I've been a fan of the original series which came out years ago in the mid-90s (so WHY is it still called 'NEW' after all these years still baffles me), with an impressive 60+ issue run. I kinda got turned off when it just felt too contrived during it's half-hearted second series run (along with the fact that they suddenly had Altlantean babe Namorita quit wearing bikinis all the time) and I just turned off.

Well, the Warriors are back for the 2000s, and they're off to a nice start in my opinion. The 6-issue limited series by writer Zeb Wells and artist Skottie Young takes several of the original Warriors (Masked avenger Night Thrasher, happy-go-lucky Speedball, Atlantean Princess Namorita (who's blue and bikini-clad for this one) and super-strong Nova), adds in a big but unexpectedly meek newcomer named Microbe (who is described as a 'germ empath'... go figure) and has the reformed team fighting crime in the context of a 'reality TV show'.
The schtick is, while the Avengers and the Fantastic Four and the X-men face off with big villains in big city America, there's no one to take out super-powered threats in the suburds, in the small town United States and in the salt of the earth confines of middle America. So this is where this group of somewhat second-string heroes come in... to fight supervillains who hide out where the big heroes don't bother to go.

The whole idea is apparently set forward by Thrasher, who felt that the backers behind the reality TV show have the cash to fund their crusade against crime. A cop-out and selling out? Well, that's how Namorita (the title's resident babe and the devil's advocate to the whole affair from the get-go) feels at the start, but after the Warriors take out their first villains and actually see their efforts pay off , it looks like the new TV superteam is on the air for the duration.

Personally, I like it. The first issue's script is nicely done, with the characters each showing off their personalities very well. It didn't come off as cold or as obnoxious as you'd think, and the heroes felt familiar and likeable... just as I hoped it would be, coming back to this title. There is a bit of parody in the side of the reality TV show schtick, but overall it's very sober and a nice read. Skottie Young's art, while cartoony in look, is gorgeous, and shows off action and movement excellently. There are even nice humorous panels that actually do seem to move like a cartoon, which is good.

All in all, I felt like I watched an episode of a New Warriors cartoon- like a Marvel version of Teen Titans GO, and that's really a good thing. With cool art and action, good characterizations and a quirky storyline, the latest incarnation of these second string heroes is pretty first rate. I'm just sad that there will probably be a lot of comic fans, particularly old New Warriors fans, who may reject the new treatment. Which is a pity since I'd rather have this new take than no New Warriors at all. So let's all support this cool new title and hopefully a more regular series will follow after. Hope, hope!

Tuesday, June 7

Creative Summit

I just spent most of the day at the 1st Creative Summit organized by the Creative Guild of the Philippines. It was a morning and afternoon of sitting in the New World Hotel ballroom, listening to various speakers talk about the state of local advertising, the need for even more creativity in the ever-more-demanding times, and our country's prospects in winning in international ad competitions.

The predominant topic was how our local advertising is, to put it quite bluntly, still a ways off. We're fettered by a lot of things, not the least of which are difficult clients, the difficult economic situation and a whole host of other problems. Sad to say, we're very much behind countries like Thailand, whose cutting-edge advertising rises above much of the Asian ad landscape in terms of international acclaim. All was not gloom and doom, however. There were words of encouragement, of challenge and of course optimism for the hope that someday, Filipino admakers will find a voice that we can be proud of and win us Clios and Golden Lions aplenty.

But don't count on it being anytime soon.

Anyway, I picked up a tidbit or two and it was nice to listen to some good speakers and gawk at some cool ads. The food was also pretty good, and I got to bring home a souvenir bag! (I went all the way to the Creative Summit and all I got was...)

Well, tomorrow will no doubt see me back in The Salt Mines and hopefully mining away a bit wiser from what I have learned. I hope.

Monday, June 6

Next Attractions

With Sin City and Episode III over and done with, there are still a couple of VERY promising films to look forward to in my month of June.
I've been excited over Mr. and Mrs. Smith ever since I saw the first poster and read the delicious premise. Angelina Jolie as an elite femme fatale assassin? SOLD! Anyway, got to see a couple of featurettes and 'Making Of' shows on TV recently, and it just reinforces my liking for this flick. The scenes look great, from the sexy tango/frisking scene to the 'War of the Roses'-like brawl in the house. The Director has Bourne Identity in his resume', so I'm assuming this will kick butt in terms of action. And did I say Angelina Jolie is in it? Damn. This comes in THIS WEEK. Gotta catch it.

Next week will be THE biggie for comic book fans: Batman Begins looks like a winner. I've been seeing the trailers and noting with satisfaction that they don't reveal too much about the film's action and plot, aside from the general direction that this is Batman Reinvented- a ground-up re-telling of the Bruce Wayne story. Christian Bale is a pretty intense actor and I generally like his work... this early, I can tell he'll probably blow all the past Batman performances away. This has promise coming out of its big bat ears, so I'm pumped to watch this.

Ah. This is good. More popcorn! Slaves! POPCORN!

Just watched something from the window of our office overlooking the street. Several floors down on the ground there was a bit of commotion. From our perch we observed dozens of policemen, including a SWAT team, milling about and taking into custody several men. The prisoners were led handcuffed into a van and they drove off. As you'd expect with something out of the ordinary, there were onlookers aplenty gawking to see what the heck was going on.
What just happened? Who knows. Maybe the men were bank robbers or wanted criminals (they'd have to be pretty dangerous to warrant a SWAT team on their arses). Maybe they just stole wheelbarrows from the nearby construction site. Eh. Whatever.

Hey, we get our entertainment wherever and whenever we can. Moving on, moving on.

Sunday, June 5


Finally got to watch Sin City on the big screen. I took a jaunt over to Gateway Mall in Cubao and came to a surprisingly crowded theater. I killed time a bit with merienda and browsing at the local Fully Booked (nice), then got set to watch a graphic novel turned into film.
The good news is that the film looks gorgeous on the big screen, with the cool imagery of black and white panels translated into moving pictures simply awesome. The bad news is that the film has gone through some GHASTLY censoring. Knowing what I know and having seen the uncut film, I am pretty appalled. I guess the best way to see this is on a super-clear DVD, in the comfort of your own Sanctums. Sigh. On the brighter news, the audience took in the comic book movie pretty well, laughing at the few intentional laughs and taking in all the ultraviolence in hand. Of course, the best part of the movie is The Long Goodbye, followed by Big Fat Kill. I just couldn't bear to watch Yellow Bastard again and walked out as it came on.

Well, fans of the Sin City probably know that there will be more black-and-white goodness will be coming in the near future... Sin City 2 has been given a green signal, and will reportedly include A Dame To Kill For, which will bring back Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen) and Marv (Mickey Rourke) together for a lot of sex and killing. Expect that maybe next year or early 2007. Till then, there's the Sin City dvd to look forward to later this year, with a trunkload of extras. Hoho!
Rising Angel

My prayers have been answered.


One of my favorite comics, the recently-cancelled Fallen Angel is coming BACK! Well, it's not 100 percent sure, apparently, but is in the upper 90s. Anyway, here's a snippet from FA's creator/writer Peter David's post on his blog about the return of his hooded femme fatale...

We had wanted to wait on an announcement to have the final contracts signed (they're not) and having sample artwork from the new artist (we don't). But Bob Wayne just announced at the Wizard Philly Con that "Fallen Angel" is going to IDW, so the timing ship has just sailed from the harbor.

So yeah, "Fallen Angel" will be relaunching in December (we hope) from IDW. The first storyline will reveal the Angel's true origin and, thus, will be an ideal jumping on point for anyone who hasn't read it until now.

More details will be available shortly in a detailed interview on Newsarama.


FYI, IDW Publishing specializes in predominantly horror titles, such as the Silent Hill comic adaptations. They're not what you'd call huge like Marvel or DC, but they do quite a bit of stuff... and Fallen Angel should be one of their big sellers given the very supportive fan base that is just waiting to pounce on the book's return.