Saturday, October 5

Dark Angel Alita
Say what you will about actress Jessica Alba. Yeah, she may have only three or so facial expressions (namely smiling, conscious and unconscious) but she's a bonafide star and the prime reason male viewers watch Dark Angel (according to my friend Nikki). But if rumors regarding director James Cameron's interest in doing a live-action Battle Angel Alita movie are true, Jessica has my vote for playing the titular cyborg assassin. Though she's already played an 'angel' character, Jessica is a dead ringer for Alita; take a look at this side-by-side...

Battle Angel Alita is a manga/anime by creator/artist Yukito Kishiro, about an amnesiac cyborg girl with enormous fighting ability. She climbs up from life in the slums of a post-apocalyptic world to become a bounty hunter, sports star, government assassin and eventual savior of the planet. An all-time manga classic and favorite of yours truly.

Friday, October 4

The Stinky Man

I was riding to work this morning on an FX taxi (named so because it's a Tamaraw FX converted to be a taxi- maximum capacity 10 passengers). Traffic was surprisingly light, and I was able to flag down the ride without having to walk all the way up to Katipunan Avenue, where lots of passengers go down. I squeezed into the center seat area, which already had three passengers. Farthest from me at the left-door side was a man who kept coughing in fits. Between us were two women in white (probably nursing students). I sat on the right door side, pretty satisfied in my place.
When we reached St. Joseph Church, one of the women got off. I got down, and both of the women got off. As I waited for the other girl to get back in, she requested that I get in before her since she was getting off nearby. Without any hesitation, I got back into the now-more spacious seating space. I now sat in the middle, between the coughing guy and the woman.
That's when it hit me. The smell. The stink.
The man stank. It was the stink of unwashed body odours, an acrid, sour beyond sour, stale-for-days stink that wafted in waves from the guy. I cringed. I shot a venomous glance at the girl, who probably was gleeful that she was at least one space away from the smelly man. But, as she said, she DID get off in a bit. Once she was gone, I pressed myself against the right door, placing as much space as I could between mysefl and the stinking person.
He stank. Uggh. It was like he was an armpit that grew a body so it could move around letting people smell it. I couldn't tell why... the man didn't look like a bum. I do recall that he was headed towards St. Luke's Hospital, and for a moment I had a thought of horror. He coughed uncontrollably. He stank. Maybe he had some horrible disease. Was it airborne? Could I get it merely by smelling him? Out of habit, I bit my thumb. Oh no... Did I touch anything near him and now got it into my MOUTH?! AAAAAAH!

Eventually, the taxi got to the outskirts of Cubao, and I got off and walked the rest of the way. The smell still clung to my nostrils. Guh. Soon as I walked however, the BO smell soon gave way to the more familiar smells of garbage, urine deposits and canal water. Ahhh. It's gone. Finally.

I hope I never meet another stinky man, but I am a commuter, and these things are a part of life, like it or not.


I have decided on the future of my comic, Angel Ace.
Publishing a comic in the Philippines is expensive, and the returns aren't as great as many think. With the costs of paper and printing increasing with every month, it seems, the viability of solo, independent publishing is not a very viable option. That's why I have decided that the future of Angel and her adventures lies on the Internet.
It's been done before, and quite successfully by other artists (though none come to my mind right now). Anyway, I have to admit that my work on Angel Ace is borne out of my love for telling stories, doing art and sharing it with others. Money is a reality which has limited me greatly ever since I began on the title. So is time. It takes both to be able to sustain a series.

Doing a webcomic has its advantages. The cost is far, far less than actual paper publishing. I can do the pages and art in FULL COLOR. I can upload new pages and updates as I finish them, no longer needing to wait months and months for pages to be done AND publishing funds to be saved. And given that Angel's story is still a long, long, long way off before reaching the foreseeable endgame, a faster way of bringing her story to readers is a must.

Angel Ace Online Adventures is currently in the planning stages. It will most probably be introduced or annoucned within the pages of the next printed Angel Ace comic, and will entail a great re-working of the present Angel Ace website. It won't happen right away, but it will happen.
On the other hand, for those who don't want to download pages or read from a net cafe, pages along with extra content like pinups, art and stuff will be available for sale in CDs at comic stores.

This doesn't mean that I have given up on publishing printed comics entirely. I still love holding a comic in my hands, so Angel Ace specials and one-shot issues WILL be printed periodically, as I am able to do them. But the main storyline will be online, or on CD format.

A preview of what Angel Ace Online Adventures may be like if and when it appears will be seen with the arrival of the Immacolata comic that I am working on presently.

Someday, Angel Ace, in full color, constantly updated and universally accessible. It will be possible.

Thursday, October 3

Office Foodtripping

I love food. I think this is pretty obvious from the numerous posts here about eating... maybe I should have named this blog Mad With Hunger? Anyway, working in an office nine to six doesn't usually give time for enjoying a good meal. Really. I know a lot of people here in the office who basically go through lunch as a chore. They order meals from someone at the office (either from outside or from a fellow employee who's doing a side job as caterer) or make do with the canteen fare.
I remember some funny 'aliases' they had for cheap food places. One time I heard some guys wanting to eat at The Fort. Turned out they weren't going to Bonifacio's fine restaurants- they meant the building canteen at the fourth floor (The Fourth. Get it?). Another joke is eating at Outback. No, it's not that horribly expensive Aussie joint... just the small carinderias out back, as in, behind the building.
I remember at one time getting addicted to the fried chicken and pork chop from this little tamaraw food kiosk run by a nice old 'lola'. We called the place Kamayan restaurant since granny always handled the chow with her bare hands (the same hands she uses to count money...). For the record though, I never suffered food poisoning, diarhhea or any stomach upset in the time I ate from there. Haven't been there in a long time, but I hear Lola's tamaraw is still there, and still doing brisk business every noon.
For the most part, eating is still an adventure for me. Whenever I can, I walk out of the office at lunch and just let my feet take me wherever they may.

Of course, it usually takes me to the same, usual fast food places anyway. Hey, I said I was an adventurer. I never said I was a daredevil.
A Dessert to DIE FOR...

Well, that's what Mike Simbulan told me we'd get at Chinese restaurant North Park. After a relatively small meal of pintsik prito, sweet and sour pork and asado siopao, we tried the joint's mango tapioca dessert. It's basically a mango shake in a bowl, filled with mango chunks and tapioca (small sago), served chilled. Actually... it was pretty good. Hmm. Aside from taking home memories of that sweet treat, I also took with me a several gaming magazines and the two latest issues of Marvel Comics' Elektra. Pretty good haul.

Wednesday, October 2

The Two Trailers

Warning! Spoilers Ahead!!!

I've just seen the second trailer for the second part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. All I can say is, WOW! TT continues the story of Frodo Baggins and his quest to destroy the One Ring. The great majority of this chapter (and the trailer) deals with the adventures of the other members of the now-broken Fellowship of the Ring. Aragorn, Ghimli and Legolas try to track down the captured Merry and Pippin, and soon find themselves getting mixed up in the brewing war between the Kingdom of Rohan and Saruman's Uruk-Hai armies.
The trailer shows all of these in various scenes which range from full-on battle scenes and quieter moments. New characters include the Rohan royal family (King Theoden, Faramir and Eowyn)and Grima Wormtongue. Gandalf the White is here of course, and there seems to be scenes showing how he became of the new color. If Fellowship impressed us with a cave troll, TT looks to up the ante with Warg wolves, Ents, Oliphants and a certain corrupted hobbit... all are shown tantalizingly in scenes so sinfully short, you'd miss them if you blinked. Surprisingly (or not so), Arwen seems to have a bit of presence in TT, with several scenes with her having a tiff with her father, Agent Smith... er, Elrond.

Anyway, it's awesome! Download the trailer now!!!
A New Heroine...

I'm tired but triumphant. Over the past two days I've been doing pages for the comic section of a group project. The comic's main character is Immacolata, a character created by my friend and comics colleague, Dean Alfar.
Imma is described as a tall, fierce and beautiful woman and the embodiment of the strength, anger and power of the Motherland. A mestiza beauty, she is barefoot, as her powers are derived from direct and constant contact with the ground. To invoke her abilities, she need only cry out "Lakas!" (Strength), "Bilis!" (Speed), "Husay!" (Skill) and other similar words. Her only glaring weakness, according to Dean, is her low resistance to magic and witchery. This is not the first appearance of Imma. She first appeared in the pages of The Lost, Dean and Nikki Alfar's first comic project. There, however, she isn't an altogether benign character. Despite this, I fell in love with her so when our group had this new project I volunteered to resurrect the character and put her once again in a hero's role in a new and hopefully continuing series. The comic will be entitled Immacolata: The Fury of Hinirang. Immacolata's design is taken directly from Arnold Arre's original look in The Lost #1's sub-story, but of course in my own somewhat manga-esque style (I am sure Dean won't mind despite his usual aversion to manga). Imma in Hinirang will be a lone wolf character; she is of few words and seldom talks, letting her actions speak for her. She trusts no one (the reasons for which will be revealed as the series goes along) and pretty much fights a one-woman war against anyone who would threaten the balance of nature in Hinirang.
I'm having the time of my life with this endeavor. The kick-ass action is very different from what I usually do in Angel Ace, so it's quite refreshing. The character herself is darker, yet in some ways is somewhat innocent and very compelling... I really hope to let the humanity in Imma show as I the pages pile up.

Immacolata, the Fury of Hinirang, will be hitting readers soon.

Monday, September 30

Ants, 1. MAD Overlord, several hundred.

I finally unplugged my ant-infested scanner from the PC and took a good look. Apparently some material that has been attracting the insects is lodged inside, and they'll just keep coming at it until I get it out. Well, I couldn't figure out how to open up the thing, so I just did it the good, old-fashioned way... by holding it overhead and bitch-slapping the machine to try and dislodge the ants and whatever it is that they're interested in. It actually seemed to work... the grey stuff fell out (though traces remain) along with some ants. Don't know that the material is... it could be dead insects or food matter they dragged in there. It could also be the dust and dirt that gathered inside the scanner which just built up over the months. Anyway, plugged the thing back after a few more rounds and it still worked. Resisted the temptation to just throw it out and get a new scanner. I won't give the six-legged bastards the satisfaction...
I am thinking of taping up the openings, but am a bit worried about overheating the machine. Anyway, they'll probably find a way through. This campaign isn't over... not by a long shot.
One legendary dish to go, please.

A distinct pleasure of staying home is the ability to watch the TV programs you normally miss. I was able to see the tagalog-dubbed Inu Yasha and Samurai X... both suitably horrible, of course. I've watched them all anyway, so it was just a matter of course. Anyway, the best part is seeing the AXN anime, where one of my favorites, Cooking Master Boy, is being replayed.
Actually, I once thought CMB was a crock; I mean, come on... an anime about cooking? With an "evil" cook organization out to rule the world through cooking? WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Well, I still think it's pretty funny, but I've grown to love the show. The main reason why is because the food cooked on the show just makes me SOOO hungry. FYI, the bulk of CMB is all about a young superchef named Liu Mao Hsing and his journey to discover new recipes and find legendary cooking utensils. Instead of swordfights, they have cook-fights, with the winner being the one to transport the taste-judges to higher realms of consciousness through their food.

Among the more fabulous and memorable recipes include a black and white 'panda' tofu dish which self-creates itself through a cooking device with criss-crossed wire; a ball of deep-fried rice that spontaneously explodes into a stew complete with a crispy shell-bowl; a 'Big Bang' dumpling that seems to be made from an entire cow and has the 'tastes of the entire universe; and then there's the 'solid' soup which is served inside a canteloupe container. MMMMmmmm!
Anyway, being a very visual person, I eat a lot when I play or watch or read something appetizing. Aside from episodes of CMB, a favorite program to watch during meals is the Lonely Planet/Globe Trekker specials on food, though sometimes the dishes they show are on the gross side (like lamb eyeball or whole baked marmot rats).

Oh, well. Can't have a legendary dish I suppose. I'll just have to settle for a pizza or something. Now what was that delivery number again..?
Sanctum Sanitarium

I stayed at home today. I guess the whole Brainstorming Session I attended last week took its toll and I have to rest to recover from the signs of a flu. Throat's got a clog, and I feel weak all over. Can't miss any more days so I'll probably go back to work tomorrow on the button.
The ant incursion in my scanner's been routed... seemingly. Numbers are on their side, but I have superweapons... now I feel like the NOD commander Kane from Command and Conquer. Hahahahaha.... Die, fools... DIE... Hahahahaha... HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

It's a good thing my room's a neat place to stay, so I can coop up in here a long time.
It's not the most airy of places: only one wall has a window, which is placed against the wind so I never feel cool breezes normally. To make sure I don't live in a sauna, my mom gave me an airconditioner last year so I can turn into a fridge in a few minutes (the smaller the room, the faster the cool!). Anyway, the room's an anime fan/gamer dude bachelor haven. The otherwise white, featureless walls are covered with anime posters (sexy babes and fighting action aplenty). A couple of walls are lined with spaces filled with comics and gaming magazines (my game magazine collection ranges from when I was in high school to the present... from the days of Super NES). Another wall has DVDs and VCDs, 75 percent of which are anime, the rest are the random movie. Squeezed in are various knick-knacks like models and action figures on display, and music and PC CDs. The heart of the room is my entertainment system, which has a 25-inch TV, which is attached to: A DVD system with speakers, a Playstation 2, a Dreamcast, a VHS player, a VCD player and an Xbox. Software for all of them are within easy reach. Lastly, my PC is squeezed in so I can color artwork, write, play the odd PC game and surf... and blog, of course.
The only things really missing are a private phone line, a small fridge, a toilet, a gun rack (with guns) and an escape elevator. But then again, if I had those things, I'd never leave... I'd probably just send out minions to do my bidding... but I don't think my friends would get along with the minions. Some things, like friendship, have to be done by yourself.

I think I'll settle for a nice fat bean bag and the usual junk food cache. There are still worlds outside to conquer.

Well. I think my fever's down. Back to work tomorrow, looks like. Damn.
Ants in my... THE HELL?!?!

Okay, I've had ants go into places where the sun never shines. Of course, I mean my clothes drawers. From there of course they went into my clothes, and then to my...
Well, I've been told that when you have a lot of ants swarming around in your house, it's good luck. I think it even means you're going to be in the money someday soon. For once, I don't care. I stare at ants and just get tingles going up my spine (or ants, as the case may be because I'm wearing a shirt or jeans that have scores of the little buggers). So they go... to ant heaven. I sop them up in wet tissue paper and that's that.

Anyway, you'll never believe where I found the latest nest. Yep, a NEST. Or at least, a nest in the making. I found it in my scanner. IN the scanner. Not around, over or under... INSIDE the darn thing. It's amazing but I'm not about to call Believe it or Not. I know I've eaten sometimes while working at the computer, but I've never eaten over the scanner. Why the little bugs decided to build a base inside is beyond me. Anyway, I feel a bit like Ronny Cox's evil corporate boss character in Total Recall. I want these pests out of my planet.

AAARRGH! How many of them ARE there?!?

Sunday, September 29


Last Saturday I spent the evening with Mike and Jason at Comic Quest. We watched Mike's latest acquisition, a DVD of Vandread: Second Stage (Vandread is an anime about a universe where men and women have become separate races; the DVD Mike has contains the first episodes of the second season). Of course, I already have the entire series but it was good to see the animation in DVD quality (though it was not so good hearing the god-awful english dub). Anyway, what was really cool was seeing the trailer previews for other anime releases.
The coolest trailer was the preview of Hellsing, from GONZO, my favorite anime production house. Hellsing is all about the adventures of the Hellsing Institute; a mysterious organization which combats supernatural, undead threats to society. The Institute is led by Integra Van Hellsing, who is probably descended from the classic vampire hunter lineage. The organization's strongest agent is Alucard, who is ironically himself an immensely powerful vampire. The trailer was quite excellently put together, with lots of cool, sinister images and lots of bloody action. I already have several episodes of this on VCD, but I dismissed it as being an average series when I got tired of watching after a couple of parts... the trailer was so good that now I want to get the whole series.

Anyway, as we were headed off to Aku near Greenhills for dinner, I rambled on about a new idea for a comic or something. It would be something like Warlands, where vampires are a true race alongside humans. But instead of being hostile to daylight people, the majority of the vampire race prefers to live peaceably; blood is created at large factories from animals or even made from normal human DNA. No one has taken warm blood from a living human's veins in centuries... it's against the Law. But sometimes, a renegade will murder a sentient being to sate an ancient bloodlust, and the secret is that warm blood gives certain vampires extreme powers and strength. The temptation to revel in power is very, very strong.
To combat the threat, a special corps of vampire cops and agents hunt down any who would break the Law. They're the Bloodhounds and they're the Night's Finest.

It's probably not the most original and there are dozens of vampire stories out there. I think there's even a vampire movie with cops called The Breed starring Bai Ling available at Astrovision. Whatever. Just had to put this down somewhere. Who knows, maybe I'll get into it if and when I ever take a break from doing my manga about a girl who can fly.
Advertising Guy. Will Work For Food

Never, ever work for peanuts. Whenever possible, always ask for a full meal.

My ad agency job is in the Creative Department. That means I'm one of the wiseguys who think up what comes out in the commercials you see on TV, print and radio, and even on top of toilet lids (someday, there will be ads there too... if there aren't already). The week before last I was asked by my group head to join this brainstorming session (brainstorming, for the uninformed with ad lingo, is when you throw ideas around with other people to come up with something new) with other creative teams from several other countries. The thing would run for a week, and entailed me and several of my officemates to spend most of the day at a hotel thinking about stuff to sell products.

The good news was, there would be free food for the whole week. The bad? No free time. Well, not much. The bulk of the hours in every day from Monday to Friday would be spent swapping thoughts with guys and gals from Indonesia and Taiwan.

Okay, the food. The best part of the days were the dinners, where we'd go out and treat our guests to the best restaurants we could think of. We at at Ima for Filipino food, Mati's at Rockwell for Greek cuisine, Rog's at Malate for Middle Eastern flavor, Twist at Minggoy's and Via Mare for Spanish fare and continental delicacies. Adobo flakes. Greek pita with various spreads. Paella. Couscous and lamb. Yum.

On the bad side though, the hotel lunches were horrid. Okay, I exaggerate. The soup and bread appetizers were great. The soups were lovely. The main courses were bland though and served mainly as stomach filling so we wouldn't keel over while thinking. Finally, the desserts were all variations of one dessert. If I ever see another Creme Brullete again, I will scream. Well, I knew what I was getting into when I signed up.

Well, for the most part the whole thing went smoothly. We got a lot of ideas, pleased the bosses and made progress that boded well for the follow-up projects. Furthermore, we made friends with the out-of-towners and even had some fun.
Our lives were going back to normal, and I came to realize that I missed my little spot at our darkened Manila ad agency office. I missed the monotonous routine of office life, with the endless pretensions of work and illusions of being busy to earn my daily pay. Ahh. It would all be back this week.

Now isn't that twisted? Heheh.

I finally did it. Got a blog. Well, actually, a friend got me a blog. Almost everyone else has one, so why not me too? I am of course a groupie and not possessed of the most conviction in the world, but I do love to think and write and express myself in ways even if it also includes just gritting my teeth at the craziness I see everyday when I go to work, play or whatever it is that I am doing at the time.

Okay, WHO am I?

The name's Marc. The rest of my name spells out MAD, hence my blog title. Stark Raving? A lot of people I know would say so. Who am I to say no? I work in an advertising agency in the day, and in the night hang out with a troupe of talented people which include several awarded writers, authors and artists. We think up of stuff like stories for comics and books and anything to share the whispers in our brains to the lot of the world.
But along with the artistic side there's also my fanboy-gamer dude-pack rat side; the side that is addicted to animated films and Japanese anime, videogames and pretty much anything burned onto a CD, DVDs and magazines and the odd toy or knick-knack that I come across. How could these two sides exist harmoniously in one body?

They can't. That's why I'm MAD. Stark, raving... MAD.

Glad to be here.