Saturday, April 9

It Came From The Cyberzone...

Went around the Cyberzone at Megamall last night. The Nokia 3230 smartphone is already available at the shops for about 22K, which makes it a lot cheaper relatively to phones like the 7610 and 6630 did when they debuted. For that, you get a nice 1.3 Megapixel camera, a big screen, cool multimedia and an FM radio, and more. The form factor's actually a bit odd... it kinda looks like a TV to me, with the scrunched-up keys at the bottom, but it's a cool phone. I winced when I saw displays of the O2 XDA II Mini and the I-mate JAM (which are basically the same)... the smallest PPC phone is already being advertised on TV, and from what I can follow it's pretty popular. Which is GOOD since that will hopefully drive prices down a lot later this year, when I MAY consider upgrading to one. Mmm.

What else... no new games... I am still looking to get a copy of Rise of the Kasai despite some reviews mentioning some faulty AI. I really want this game, so there. Got a copy of EGM, which was pretty cool... but I am reeling from how crappy the DVD of the latest PSM Magazine was. BAH. Well, whatever. I'll try to go to Greenhills this weekend and get me a Clone Wars dvd and a game or two. Oh, how I love my breaktime.
Better Late than Never

Mike Banting and me at Comic Quest.

The first time I met Mike Banting was apparently two years ago, at the C3Con. I do remember him, though I'm horrible with names so I couldn't connect very well faces with names. Anyway, it was during that Con of Cons that I formulated the idea for K.I.A. and started recruiting people like Hai, Wilson Tortosa and Gerry to do stuff for the anthology.
I saw the work of Mike and Chad in their ashcan, and I was particularly struck by an artwork of a martial arts girl they drew. I liked the style and so I e-mailed them, asking them if they would like to join the K.I.A. project. They were very enthusiastic and sent in cool art and pages. All our communications were through e-mail, so it was pretty cool that, almost two years later, with K.I.A. finally a reality, I was able to meet them. Well, at least Mike, since Chad is out of the country. Too bad they missed out on the pizza and chicken and meeting the other Team K.I.A. members, but we'll have another meet and greet someday.

It was really nice to meet such talented and enthusiastic comic people, and to be able to have their talents on board to make stuff like K.I.A. what it is now. Thanks, Mike! Let's all work together again soon.
Old Favorite

Last night, it was just me and Vin, and for dinner we took a drive over to Countryside restaurant over at Katipunan. This place is an institution in the area. No ambience, really- though it does possess a simple, back-to-basics provincial charm- but the barbecue is divine. We ordered our staples- me just simple sticks of pork barbecue, while Vin has his chicken gizzards and pork ears. But the capper for us was the chicken sotanghon soup, which we both loved and first tasted at least a year or two ago. Since that first time we haven’t been able to get an opportunity to order the soup again (it was either not in stock or in one instance, even forgotten), but tonight was a reunion.
The soup had that comforting, strong flavor- may be a bit salty for other people, but we both were getting second and third helpings. Yum. This was something to be savored, since we probably wouldn’t get this meal again anytime soon.

On the television in the common area, we watched the funeral of Pope John Paul II. We talked about stuff both about the Pope and about the world at large. Good things, bad things, weird things. But in the end it was all about that yummy chicken sotanghon soup. If only every problem and argument could be solved or at least forgotten over a meal. Oh well.

Friday, April 8

Tightening Belts

Though K.I.A.'s out, I am still paying for it. The balance for the printing is due at the end of the month, and so I have to cut down costs when I have to. This past week had me paying bills, and more will come next week. But really, things should go smoothly, so long as I minimize extravagant expenditures. So I just have to...

Minimize my morning taxi rides- which come at about Php200 from home to the office

Resist any bloodletting at the Blood Bank that's not a priority title or book

Avoid going to Comic Alley or anime shops and keep my eyes away from any Gashopon figurine sets

Resist getting any DVD sets or splurging on large numbers of anime VCDs

Just following these four items should help get me through the month comfortably enough. I still see myself getting my bare essential comics every week, and maybe a game or two this weekend at Greenhills. After everything's said and done I can finally think about other stuff and maybe even be a Phone Whore again. HOHO! We'll see.
Battle Stations

This whole week has been a bit of a storm of work. It was so busy, I couldn't afford to not come to the office, though a couple of days I was teetering on the precipice of getting sick. Usually I'd come home and stay up for a while, enjoying replays of primetime series on AXN after midnight... but for this whole week I came home, just watched the news and was in bed by midnight. However, this has its drawbacks too. Going to bed early makes me get up early. I'd suddenly bolt up at about 5:30 AM, take a bathroom stop, have a glass of cold water and flop back into bed. Then I'd wake up from the alarm clock groggy and befuddled as if I'd gone to bed at 3 or 4. BAH.

Anyway, thankfully I didn't get totally sick. Taking vitamins helped, and though I felt like a rotting zombie by Wednesday, a couple of pills and some more rest helped a lot. Ya gotta love drugs. Mahahaha!

So by now, I'm almost normal. Still busy though. And that should carry through for several more weeks. Sigh.

At leat this week's about to end, thank goodness. Looking forward to a pause in the action, even for a little while.

Thursday, April 7


Jeremy posted this COOL K.I.A.-themed strip to celebrate the arrival of his copies. Awesome, Jeremy! So if you haven't gotten your copy of Kai's debut comic yet, take a jaunt down to Comic Quest and grab a copy. Especially since having K.I.A. delivered seems to be pretty dangerous...

K.I.A. Delivery by Jeremy Arambulo.

K.I.A. Vol. 1 - Kai: Indomitable Assassin is now available at Comic Quest, for Php195. Get your copy now!

Wednesday, April 6

More Manga

This is a pleasant surprise. The last time I saw Cherry Blossom High was last, last year, during the C3Con. This project, helmed by Jason, got a bunch of us together (including me, Vin, Dean, Elbert, Hai and Joel Chua) to produce a manga anthology for girls (shoujo manga). Yep, this predates Mango JAM, though admittedly we may be at a disadvantage since NONE of us are girls (at least, I think). Well, it's now out so we hope you give it a shot.
The four stories inside range from Buffy-like supernatural action (Crystal) to fantasy (Clockwork), mystery (Beach Blossoms) to teen romance. The art's pretty good, the stories nice (in a girly way) so check it out!

Jason and Armor Troopers' artist Armand Roy Canlas bring you a one-shot about a youth thrown into a war between magical fighting machines and aliens.

Both of these books are priced at Php80 and can be found exclusively at Comic Quest, your indie comic source! Go get 'em! And a copy of K.I.A. in case you haven't gotten one already. Heh.
Tomb Raider Legend

The New Lara Croft.

Despite a thoroughly horrible second movie (which not even uber-babe Angelina Jolie could make interesting) and lackluster games, Lara Croft is still a hot character, and she's just waiting for that big score to strike it rich again. That just may be the next game, Tomb Raider: Legend, which has been officially announced by Eidos. The game will be a 'return to the roots' for the character and the games, and to support this, original Tomb Raider designer Toby Gard has been brought on board in the development. Supposedly, the new game will return to the 'fundamental exploration and solve' experience which made the first games so addictive.

Thankfully, despite a 'back to basics' theme, the next Tomb Raider won't be featuring the original graphics of the first game. As you can see from the image above, Lara will be a LOT more detailed, featuring lots of spry and sexy new animations and moves, and an arsenal of new tomb-raiding stuff.

Tomb Raider: Legend is set for release on PS2, Xbox and PC. We'll see then if Lara still got the goods.
Ding! Nakakabato!

Angel Locsin takes flight as Darna!

It's been hyped to death in full page print ads on the broadsheets, preceded by TV documentary features and even segments on GMA news. This week, the wait ended for Pinoys as the much-anticipated Darna TV series finally went on air. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch the 30-minute pilot episode, since the show's at the primetime slot in evenings, at a time when I'm out on the road or having dinner at Megamall. Well, the first episode is THE talk of the town right now at the Alamat mailing list, and it's pretty hilarious. I mean, the mailing list is pretty full of comic book people who are VERY fickle and have high standards. Of course you'd expect them to say if crap is crap.

Well, the word on the first Darna episode is pretty clear. It's the same old, same old. Expecting something fresh and new and groundbreaking that will appeal to both masa and comic-book fan alike?

What the hell were you thinking?

We've got the rich vs. poor angle yet again, perpetuating the fact that this tripe really is just for the masa who love rooting for the underdog. Rich people burn down poor people's houses, harrass and oppress them and generally gives a young Narda the reason to kick their asses once she becomes Darna (of course that won't happen since she's a good guy). BAH.

You've got CRYING, SCREAMING, BAWLING and more CRYING. CRY, CRY, CRY. This is a superhero adventure, not a tearjerker drama, DAMN IT. Get the the action!!! Give us strength, give us faith! Don't give us more reasons to hate rich people!

You've got designs of spaceships ripped from Star Wars. Hmm. Maybe Lucasfilm is using Darna to hype Episode III?

You have cheesy acting and cookie-cutter characters. Well, that was pretty much expected.

Darna doesn't even show up in the first episode! Wow, I guess a lot of Angel Locsin fans were disappointed. Heh.

Even in the office, people are saying that so far the first couple of episodes are slow, slow, slow. And I thought our scriptwriters learned something from all those fast-paced and addictive Korean/Mexican series that are gobbling up ratings? Take two steps back...

Anyway, I still want to see an episode, if only so I can rant more effectively. But then, if this is like Mulawin, I'll probably lose interest if nothing but boring dialogue or flirting happens for five minutes straight. Moving on...

Tuesday, April 5

Around the World in 80 Girls

Watched an episode of Oprah which was pretty interesting. It featured segments from all over the world and showed what the life of a 30-year old female was like in countries aside from America. It was pretty fascinating to see and learn stuff like...

Women in Kuwait live like royalty, getting free education, world-class health care and cash gifts from the government. The Kuwaiti woman featured owns her own fleet of luxury cars, has her own home and can shop and buy anything she likes. The only con? She can't vote. Poor baby.

Women in Mexico don't diet or watch their weight since Mexican men love curves. Unfortunately for the tequila-drinking, siesta-taking Mexicanas, infidelity is rampant and the law heavily skewed in favor of the philandering males.

Women in England are very available since there are 4 women for every man.

Women in Australia have to take lots of sun block since Down Under is the Skin Cancer capital of the world...

Women in Brazil work more on their bodies and beauty treatments than much anything else.

As for women in The Philippines, our local lasses are personified on the episode by model Angel Aquino, who talked about how we Pinoys enjoy breaks like merienda, and how we love our coffee (we have 67 Starbucks!).

It's not all sweet and light though; women in Iraq have to contend with the danger of rape, murder and the constant lack of order and basic necessities like electricity and water. Good thing some women can pack an AK-47 to defend themselves.

The climax of the show was the feature of a 30-year old woman in Ghana, where a terrible act of genocide almost massacred an entire race of people. The woman survived and escaped the murderous militia that killed her entire family, and went on to become a mother to her child and two adopted orphans. Oprah finished the show by having the woman on her show and granting her most fervent wish- to attend college.

Wow. I should watch this show more often. Heh.

Monday, April 4

Local Comic Buzz

Over pizza and chicken during the K.I.A. Meet and Greet, I was able to chat with old and new friends, and learn about stuff that's going to happen in the future. Well, since the people I chatted with are all Komikeros and grafictionists, the range of predictions is limited to this arena. Sorry, no Lottery combinations.

Anyway, Arnold Arre is working on a gaggle of stuff, including a collaboration with Lastikman scribe Gerry Alanguilan for a super spin-off title starring their new heroine Atomika, a remastered edition of his classic Mythology Class complete with all-new scenes, fleshing-out of character and other goodies (think the Star Wars sequels but a LOT better acting and no Jar Jar Binks) and the mysterious Martial Law Babies book.

Dean Alfar has been teased into taking out his first, though as yet incomplete, comic project, The Lost from the back burner and hopefully into the light as a trade paperback/collected release.

Jennyson Rosero showed off his lovely lovely No Man's Land manga from international publisher Seven Seas, and we can probably look forward to at least several more issues of this Witchcraft meets Wild West title. More BABES, Jen! More BABES!!!

Marvin del Mundo and Michael Seludo are still working on Ignition Comix, their cool anthology comic-zine, with issue 3 on the way.

While he was conspicuously absent during the Meet and Greet, Baylans master Jason Banico has secured the release of a couple of Psicom-published local manga comics- the teeny-bopper anthology Cherry Blossom High (which the gang worked on), and the fantasy-mecha adventure Mystic Machine Maharlika.

As for what's next for me? The beginnings of the next volume of K.I.A. is already being worked out in my head. What about Angel Ace? I am trying to work out how to keep both characters running, if not both books. We'll see what comes out... suffice to say, Kai and Angel are forever linked, and you can never really have one without the other... at least not for too long. Flip book? Cross-over? Somehow, someway, I'll make it work. I guess only time will tell. Heh. Yeah, I AM a tease.
The Week After

Ah. It's Monday again.

In the storm of releasing K.I.A. and holding the Meet and Greet, I wasn't able to give much attention to other stuff. Well, that's going to change since the book is out there already and it's all a matter of maintenance from now on. Not as hectic, but I should keep myself on my toes to keep promoting the book and hopefully get word around.

But thankfully, this also means I can get back to my regular scheduled blogging. Heh.

Anyway, of course while I was busy with the comic, the world mourned or rejoiced at the passing of Pope John Paul II. I have never been a really religious person, but the Papa was a good man, a great man, and he was the only Pope I've ever known. I remember reading the comics about his life when I was in elementary school, remembered the times that he visited here, rolling around in the Pope Mobile. I remember that terrifying assassination attempt, and his conciliatory meeting afterwards with his would-be murderer. He was always there, and now he's gone back to God. We'll probably never see another one quite like him.

Oh well. Life goes on.

Sunday, April 3

Meet and Greet

Team K.I.A. at Shakey's.

Today is one of those days that reminds me why I do comics. It's the opportunity to meet and work with great people like the wonderful guys and gals that helped me put together K.I.A. This day wasn't really a Launch for the comic, but just a way for me to thank all these people who gave art and words freely to make the project work. Over pizza, chicken and iced tea at Shakey's Megamall, we chatted the afternoon away and enjoyed each others' company. It was with great pleasure that I passed around everyone's complimentary copies of the book, and had these artists sign one copy for posterity.

The best thing about the K.I.A. cover is that there are lots of space to sign!

Jonas and his new copy of K.I.A.

My only regret was that several members weren't able to make it, but I'm sure they were with us in spirit. Another regret was not taking more videos, since my O2 XDA II takes pretty good clips. Anyway, I took a whole bunch of pics, which I posted at My Phlog. Check them out!

Again, thanks to everyone who came, and a BIG thanks to Camille Portugal who was invaluable to making these last few days happen smoothly. Thank you thank you thank you, Cams!

Cams put the whole day together. Yay!

Let's do it all again sometime! WOOHOO!!!