We're never giving up on Pinoy Comics. Not when established and new artists, writers, and publishers continue to produce stunning works that champion the country's rich and colorful culture and heritage. True, distribution and exposure remain to be quite problematic. But bolstered by the support of fans nationwide, imaginative and undaunted storytellers soldier on to craft thought-provoking creations worthy of local and international acclaim.
Here are five engaging releases that you should include in your pull list, stat!
Jacara Zar # 3
(Edgar Tadeo, Alamat Comics)
Bad-ass warrior Jacara Zar is the most feared and wanted man in all of Zareeba, a multi-race fantasy world ruled by evil Queen Reena. He's your everyday never-surrender hero who delights in battles and revels in the bloodbath that ensues. Jacara Zar, of course, presumably lives by an honorable code that has yet to be revealed. He's beloved and respected by the people and creatures he meets on the fringes of Zareeba, such as the Zeestalians whose appearance will remind you of Yomi from Japanese manga Yu Yu Hakusho (Ghost Fighter). Created by Edgar Tadeo—known for inking a run on Wolverine with Leinil Francis Yu, District X, and Silver Surfer for Marvel Comics—Jacara Zar is a thrilling action-a-panel treat that magnificently comes to life, thanks to Tadeo's superb attention to details. Nowhere is this more evident than in the breathtaking gatefold execution that depicts Jacara Zar's violent run-in with Queen Reena and her men in this terrific must-buy.
Collect if you’re into: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Vikings, the Witcher series
(Lariz Santos, Pinsel Project Studio)
Crooked cops, bloody rooftop encounters in gritty urban settings, stolen secret files, and three irrepressible friends with mad fighting skills and sick hair game. Kulotskieplan is for everyone who’s ever dreamed of growing up with powers and unique abilities as a kid. In the center of this hilarious action caper is Karma, the three-man crew’s curly leader and brawler who’s unafraid to play rough and dirty when pushed too far. He’s ably backed by loyal pals Leroy and D12—the former, a dead shot with a tirador; the latter, an explosives expert with booming punchlines plenty in reserve. Together they banter and barrel their way through the opposition like the colorful characters in Quentin Tarantino films.
Collect if you’re into: Afro Samurai, Naruto, Kick Ass, Pulp Fiction
Patay Kung Patay 1 & 2
(Mike Alcazaren, Noel Pascual, AJ Bernardo; Kwanimation Productions)
Thankfully, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill zombie-horror show. It’s biting social commentary served with generous samplings of blood, guts, and gore. For one, the avenging monsters in this tale of greed, subjugation, and revenge are aggrieved farmers in their former lives, massacred by influential and wealthy landlords with an army of hired goons at their disposal. A mysterious kid in red, with knowledge of arcane Pinoy shamanistic rituals, brings them all back from the dead, paving the way for a revolution of terrifying proportions. Elements of supernatural and crime noir classics permeate Patay Kung Patay—from its pointed socio-political viewpoints to its use of black and red inks to convey dread, helplessness, and suspense a la Frank Miller’s iconic graphic novel Sin City.
Collect if you’re into: The Walking Dead, Fatale, World War Z
(Aaron Felizmenio, Frances Luna II)I
Pangil is a one-shot indie you might want to add to your aswang-centric horror comics collection. It focuses on a sociology professor’s dogged pursuit of the true origins of aswang. In Pangil, Aaron Felizmenio asserts that Ferdinand Magellan’s Portuguese crew helped to propagate in the country a vampire breed called Bruxa, descendants of the aswang we know today. This race remains a quiet menace to this day, feeding on the defenseless and terrorizing mankind from its underground empire. Felizmenio’s traditional illustrations effectively drive the story to its darker, hair-raising end, leaving our protagonist’s ultimate fate a jarring mystery very much deserving of a sequel.
Collect if you’re into: Peque Gallaga’s Sa Piling ng Aswang, Underworld, Trese, and Tabi Po.
(Cero Pedrosa, Lan Medina; Red Alert Comics)
Dream Time is an action-fantasy indie comic that focuses on a rarely explored theme in local comics: dreams. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies whose existence is powered by the nightmares of people who fell under the spell of a cataclysmic event dubbed "The Great Sleep." Unaffected by the phenomenon, Jocas and his team of survivors take it upon themselves to save mankind from extinction. The problem is, simply waking up the dreamers won't stop the madness from happening. For life to go on, Jocas and his gang must become monsters themselves by killing the afflicted without conscience—family and friends be damned.
Collect if you’re into: The Walking Dead, Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide, Alan Moore’s Promethea