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"Wrap-around cover by Romy C. Don"



SIKLAB MAG LAUNCHED AT 2004 TOYCON

On June 27, 2004, the Preview Issue of SIKLAB magazine was launched during the 3rd Phillippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention (TOYCON) held at the SM Megamall 5th level, Megatradehall 3, Ortigas Complex, EDSA, Mandaluyong City.

SIKLAB is an 88 page black and white anthology of original pinoy komiks features in magazine size format (i.e., 8 ½ x 11) combined with feature articles and essays on the pinoy komiks scene. Its target audience is the pinoy komiks enthusiast aged 15 to 50, and is independently published by Turning Point Publications. Such a combination has never been tried before and is probably the first of its kind in pinoy komiks publishing history. It may therefore be properly dubbed as a “collectible” and hence, its launch at the TOYCON.

 

PERSONALITIES AT THE SIKLAB STALL EXHIBIT

The SIKLAB exhibit (stall no. 34) was enlivened by the presence of its most valued contributors foremost of which is pinoy komiks veteran and Palanca T.V. scriptwriting awardee, VINCENT BENJAMIN KUA III. Vincent graciously signed copies at the SIKLAB stall, had some photo sessions with his fans, and was glad to meet people still fondly remember his komiks work. Of late, Vincent has been doing some television work particularly with the ABS-CBN network. Thanks again, Vincent, for honoring us with your presence. The pleasure was all ours.

By the way, check out Vincent’s “creator bios” page on this site and view his 78 pieces of published sequential art taken from the originals still in his possession. Downloading time may take awhile because of the content’s volume but we’re sure it’ll definitely be worth the wait. Trust us.

Another pinoy komiks veteran (and a prolific tagalog writer at that), who joined in the fun was RANDY VALIENTE. Randy was particularly ecstatic when he met Mrs. PILAR VELASQUEZ, widow of the late “Kenkoy” creator and Father of Philippine Komiks, the late TONY VELASQUEZ. Mrs. Velasquez was present at the TOYCON to personally receive a posthumous award on behalf of her late husband which coincided with the launch at the same event of an important publication, a REPRINT actually, of what is possibly the first Filipino comicbook published in 1934—Tony Velasquez’ “Album ng Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy”. The work is a compilation of previously published Kenkoy comic strips that originally appeared in LIWAYWAY Magazine from 1929 to 1934. The award was presented by 2004 TOYCON organizer VIC YAP.

Who engineered this brilliant coup? None other than pinoy komiks collector and auctioneer extraordinaire, DENNIS VILLEGAS. Mind you, this is the first 2004 reprinting of Mr. Velasquez’ work by Dennis’ “Rarekomiks, Inc.” with only 1,200 copies in print. Another collectible. Aside from this, Dennis assured us that he will continue to reprint more rare, out of print, and quality pinoy komiks of the past.

Back to Randy: watch out for his artwork in the IMAGE comic coming out sometime this November, 2004 titled: “RAVEN” written by STACY HARRIS. Hitting the small and independent U.S. comics publishers instead of going first with the big publishers like DC and MARVEL, has indeed paid off. Way to go, Randy. Tsampiyon!

 


MORE SIKLAB CONTRIBUTORS AT THE TOYCON

Also at the Con was SIKLAB contributor, PATRICK BERKENKOTTER, whose painted black and white artwork on the “Seasnake” teaser/sneak preview, garnered favorable response from fans. Yes folks, it was all done by hand and in black and white.

During the Con, Patrick was at the stall likewise signing copies and then taking a break checking out the action figure exhibit all around. Took a while too but when he came back he became the proud owner of a much sought after and rare “Alien” action figure. And he got it at a bargain.

Randy and Patrick by the way, are currently involved with a computer game developer quartered in Makati City: “Ladyluck Digital Entertainment”. They’re part of a team developing this new rpg computer game titled: “WAR OF THE WORLDS”. Check out the company’s website: www.warworlds.com and see for yourself.

BUDDY PARAISO, another SIKLAB contributor was also at the Con. Those familiar with Buddy’s art style will notice that he has tried a totally different approach in the preview issue’s “Maranhig” horror komiks feature. Here, Buddy has tried to adopt a more abstract, expressionistic style of art with some intentionally unrefined linework in keeping with “Maranhig’s” theme of left-wing advocacy. Nice experiment, Buddy. By the way, aside from being a STAR WARS fan, Buddy is also a collector of 1970s giant anime’ robots. So at the Con, Buddy was dealing these really rare robot toys of his.

Absent at the exhibit and sorely missed were SIKLAB artists ROMY DON and HANNIBAL. Romy left for Dubai last April, 2004 for some overseas contract work and won’t be back for quite some time. Hannibal on the other hand, had to attend to some domestic responsibilities at the time. Oh well. Next time, guys.

Aside from the creative people of SIKLAB, former komiks veterans now animators, came over and hung around swapping stories and exchanged pleasantries. Foremost of the bunch is JUN “Pineapple Man” PENA. Jun actually, helped and managed the distribution of the preview issue, having gained some prior experience on the matter distributing a local music publication: “JM21” and others. Then there’s EDWIN “Bangis” CASILAO. (Boy, these animation guys sure have colorful aliases don’t they?) Edwin also doubled as SIKLAB’s official photographer. Edwin’s shots can be viewed at this site’s photo album section. Edwin by the way, was also our resource person when he convinced AIRA and KAREN, our promo girls for the exhibit, to do our one time gig at the Con. Great work, Edwin. Now THAT’s a hobby. Photography, I mean.

Pinoy animators BJ CABRAL, EMAN PAELMO, ALVIN ESPARES, GILBERT OBAL, and pinoy komiks artist EDISON BILLONES, also came over and hung out at the SIKLAB stall. Some of these guys even brought along their families and had a great time at the Con. Apologies to the other artists who also dropped by unexpectedly but failed to get mention here. Let’s do this again sometime, hear? After all, we’re ALL in the same boat. A boat named TITANIC, that is.

Lest we forget, aspiring cartoonist LICO RELOJ, was his usual jovial self when he hung around the SIKLAB stall. And did you know that this former ‘Muscle Fitness’ magazine model can bake really great, crunchy, home-made chocolate chip cookies? Honest. He’s the Gene Gonzales of the comics world. The culinary community’s loss is certainly pinoy komiks’ gain. *Burp * Yeah, that Lico is one funny guy. Have you seen him do “The Tongue”? Trust us. Your stomach will roll with laughter, but you’ll be wanting to bear your children with someone else. Just kidding, Lico.

Anyway, more surprises came to the SIKLAB booth that day that to just talk about it somehow lessens the impact. Why not see for yourself at this site’s photo album section. You’ll know what we mean. All said, it was the varied interactions with people that made our day at the Con.

 


NEW GUYS ON BOARD

SIKLAB is honored to have with us veteran 1990s pinoy komiks artists DODI SAN JOSE, RODEL NOORA, BING CANSINO, and cartoonist RICHARD PETER DAVID. For more info on these guys, please check out their individual “creator bios” page on this site and view their past and present artworks. Glad to have you around, gentlemen.

For next issue, DODI is working on “BALANG” a horror adventure story written by LAWRENCE MIJARES. RODEL NOORA takes over as artist for ‘DREAMSLAYER” replacing ROMY DON. BING CANSINO is also hard at work on another SIKLAB komiks feature: “SUGO”, also written by LAWRENCE MIJARES. On the other hand, RICHARD PETER (aka RIP) is developing an alternative cartoon komiks feature that he’s keeping mum about for the moment but promises to give us a quick peek once it’s ready.

 

BANKETA BASED PINOY KOMIKS STILL IN TROUBLE

As reported in the SIKLAB Preview Issue, the only Pinoy komiks publisher today of mass-oriented komiks valiantly trying to stay afloat primarily through the old newstand or kiosk (banketa) distribution system has been the Anerto Publishing Corporation's ABANTE line of komiks.

From at least seven “masa”-genre themed titles originally put out, (i.e., Abante Horror, Abante Drama, Abante Action, Abante Thriller, Abante Comedi, Abante Romance, etc.), all were taken out of circulation since July, 2004 with the exception of only one: the erotic and graphic sex oriented “XEREX XAVIERA”. To make matters worse, the days of XEREX’ continued presence in the banketa stalls are numbered.

In a news item appearing in the PHILIPPINE STAR newspaper, dated, September 29, 2004, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in coordination with the Newspaper, Magazine and Comics Dealers Association of the Philippines (NMCDAP) have started their “Newspaper Rack Project”. The project’s aim is threefold: eliminate the sale of printed pornographic or smut materials in newsstand racks and kiosks all over Metro Manila, replace the old “latag” system, and regulate the vending and distribution of newspapers, magazines and komiks along the whole stretch of EDSA.

Under the project, registered members of the NMCDAP comprised of dealers and registered vendors, will be obligated to display for sale only those newspapers, tabloids, magazines and komiks that in their view, do not promote “pornography”. Guidelines on this matter have been finalized by both the MMDA and NMCDAP.

It is no secret that sales of Manila’s broadsheets or mainstream newspapers have dwindled over the past years due in part to heavy competition from sex-oriented magazines, tabloids and komiks (such as XEREX XAVIERA), that notoriously take up much rack space in the newstands and kiosks of Metro Manila. The MMDA and NMCDAP hopes that their Newspaper Rack Project, will totally eliminate competition from these “pornographic” or sex-oriented publications by finally depriving them of rack space.

The NMCDAP officers are the following: RAMON TAPALES, President, BOY LUMAYNO, 1st Vice President, CARLITO CORRO, 2nd Vice President, BABY ANGELES, 3rd Vice President, RODORA DE VERA, Secretary, ALEX CELESTE, Treasurer, JHUN GAGABOAN, business manager, EDWARD AQUINO, Public Relations Officer, and directors ESTHER CORRAL and ERNING GALOS.

 

THE PINOY KOMIK AND TODAY’S PREVAILING MARKET SCENARIO

Comicbooks on sale in the Philippine retail trade market today are dominated by American and Japanese comics that are either licensed properties (i.e., Summit Publications’ “Witch”, Atlas Publications’ “Cartoon Network”, Psicom’s “Batman” “Justice League”, “Superman”, “Looney Tunes” and “Teen Titans”) and unlicensed imported comics titles. The unlicensed imported comics from America and Japan are regularly sold at FILBAR’s, Comicquest, Comic Alley, Booksale, and other non-banketa establishments.

On the other hand, original Filipino komiks titles found in the local comics retail market are still scant. Hardly an industry. The prominent and regular few being those comprised of Pol Medina’s “Pugad Baboy” (a compilation of newspaper cartoon strips), Mango Comics’ “Mwahaha” (a MAD inspired humor satire magazine) and Darna (a revived and revamped classic 1950s superheroine) CCCom’s “Culture Crash” and LC Questor Corporation's Questor Extreme Mangamania (two japanese manga inspired publications). The traditional banketa-format tagalog komiks published by Atlas Publications now appear only twice a month with reduced circulation and fewer titles, is sold primarily at all National Bookstore branches.

With the seemingly unchanging adherence to conventional types of genres, formats, and few innovative publishers venturing into the field, one wonders what the future holds for the few pinoy komiks titles currently being distributed in the local retail trade market. To comprehend such consequences, one must glimpse the said market’s ongoing development.

In an article report by Dennis D. Estopace appearing in the October 20, 2004 issue of “TODAY” Newspaper, entitled: “The Future of Retail”, he cites an ACNielsen study on retail and shopper trends finding that, shoppers within the Asia region are continuing to shift their spending from traditional to modern stores.

In Greater Manila particularly, modern trade hit between 57 to 59 percent when compared to 2002 data. The newspaper report also noted the observation of Tom Banguis, President of AB Communications, a Philippine ad agency, stating that before, Filipinos generally spent their Sundays going from one place to another like the market, the church, restaurant, park and/or cinema. Nowadays, Filipinos congregate and go to one place where all these attractions (and then some) can be found: the shopping mall.

With this observed shift in preference, it was further found that the consumer base in the Philippines is expanding and becoming more demanding or sophisticated, due in large part to the ongoing Globalization trend.

Robert S. Claudio, founder of the Toby’s Sports retail stores, as well as vice chairman and past president of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), was also cited as having observed that the Philippine retail trade market is growing at a rate of 15 percent to 20 percent annually for the past three years, and is still the biggest contributor to the Philippines’ gross domestic product at 37% . Last year, total retail sales in shopping malls hovered in the Php 1.8 billion mark and is expected to rise to Php 2.5 billion in 2008.

And just who are these new, expanding and sophisticated customers that frequent the shopping malls all over the country? The report quotes Mr. Claudio as saying: “We have a focus market of 15-35 year old customers. That’s why we need to apply new technology because we didn’t stay with our focus market who grew up in our 26 years of existence but who are now 50 years old today.”

The newspaper report also forecast that small retail stores and businesses will have to innovate themselves and their products if they are to survive the ongoing shopping mall phenomenon. Mylene Abiva Sison, Agora awards president, and chief executive of Felta Multi-Media Inc., was quoted as justifying the scenario in this light: “Because money is scarce, consumers would have a hard time parting with it; hence, businessmen should not cut costs but reinvent themselves or further innovate their products.”

In this expanding retail market it was also observed that products with strong consumer preference were those fueled by technology. Specifically, technology that innovate the product. Even more specifically, products that embody the attributes of all other products. Tom Banguis elaborates: “What used to be separate products have been connected in one or in one place." He then cites as examples mobile phones that have cameras and PDA features, and shampoos that also act as conditioners with hot-oil treatment.

Banguis further elaborated on the manner of expansion to be adopted by small retail businesses in order to survive: “Likewise, we would see more retail companies merging or locking into one another—converging—because the big guys are striking alliances.” Who are the big guys? None other than the shopping malls which are ultimately one grand alliance of retail specialty stores.

In light of the prevailing market scenario, how then will the lowly printed pinoy komik survive? How will it innovate? How will it ally or fuse with another product (or business) in order to survive? Will such an alliance or fusion be fueled by technology? What kind of technology? Will it ever make such alliance or fusion in the first place? Even more crucial, will the pinoy komiks of today ever improve and innovate its content if it is to cater to an expanding and sophisticated market of today’s discriminating 15 to 35 year old adults? Only time will tell and yet, time may be running out.

If the pinoy komiks being published today do not seriously re-examine itself and its surroundings, it may someday just find itself as a forgotten, if not ignored, quaint artifact of history displayed unobtrusively in some obscure museum. The scary part of this is, it may be on its way already.

 

WHEN’S THE NEXT SIKLAB ISSUE COMING OUT?

A second SIKLAB preview issue was originally planned to come out this November, 2004 but along the way, a terrific new idea came to the fore quite suddenly and unexpectedly. The concept actually, has been tried before especially in American comics, but whose potential, we believe, has not been fully explored especially in the Filipino komiks scene. At present, the idea has caught the active members of SIKLAB on fire, especially its publisher who is coordinating the whole thing since August of this year.

Principal players are hard at work right now, plotting, scheming and laying down the groundwork, as original plans were set aside in order to give way to this new concept. It’s a gamble for sure and everybody involved is on unchartered territory right now. But despite some production drawbacks, the gang is deadset on delivering an entirely new product.

As of this writing, its too early to divulge the details of this secret project until all production kinks have been ironed out.. Rest assured, everyone concerned will be pleasantly surprised once the proper foundation has been laid. So, please watch this site for developments. We’re almost there. The new face of Filipino komiks will most definitely be worth the wait. But we’re not leaving you empty-handed either. Here’s something to whet your appetites…

 

COMING IN THE NEXT SIKLAB

Interview with pinoy komiks legend HAL SANTIAGO, how he began as a comics artist, his encounters and anecdotes about Nestor Leonidez, Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Jim Fernandez, Carlo Caparas, Tony Velasquez, how he witnessed the last days of pinoy komiks at GASI,and his insights on the fall of "traditional" pinoy komiks. Also, present ATLAS Komiks editor, Ms. TERI BAGALSO, and 1980s-1990s komiks writer NOEL STO. DOMINGO,recall the sweatshop komiks producing days of the 1980s, the fall of pinoy "traditional" komiks in the 1990s, and what to expect from the new management of ATLAS Komiks. And of course, there's this...


"Painting by Hannibal"

 

And more surprises.

 

 
   
       
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For general inquiries please e-mail: "siklab2go@hotmail.com" or this site.
All content copyright © 2004 TURNING POINT PUBLICATIONS and their respective copyright owners.
SIKLAB and its logos are © 2004 TURNING POINT PUBLICATIONS, site designed by Chicco Gachalian.

Last update: Friday, November 5, 2004 8:13 PM