Summary of books (komikon 2017)

notes - studies

A selection of books from this year's November Komikon.
Four books that overlap with my target audience -- for inspiration.

Also picked up others of the kind I would likely never write. Hope to find surprises and discover blind spots I may have on the genre.

The visual communication is often commendable independent of a clear story.
But favourites have best recall.

Let's have a look.

Two Short Tall Tales
by Elbert Or

visual communication: A
story/message recall: B-

The Amazing True-ish Story of Andres Celestial
The life trajectory of a little boy who has a fascination with a giant robot on TV and dreams of living in that future. As the boy matures, this amazing future does not arrive. He finds himself living an ordinary life, unremarkable, except for his relationship to a girl with whom he lives his present reality.

The Life & Death of Amorsolo Esperanza - Faith Healer of Talinhaga
The story begins at the end of a man's life and jumps backwards and forwards in time to weave together the events that lead to the present moment when he is an old man haunted by his dreams.

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Zyterical Sea
by Albert Isip

visual communication: A+
story/message recall: C-

A visual account of dreams and thought nuggets woven in poetic verse. Wonderful illustrations complement the words used on each page. The abstractness/visual ambiguity renders each illustration a new experience every time you look at it. Zyterical is a word that the author dreamt. Readers are free to ascribe a meaning to it. To me, zyterical sounds like a pairing of sentience and the subconscious.

More from them: | Technotimes

by Andrew Villar

visual communication: B
story/message recall: C+

The story emulates Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise/Before Sunset. We follow a couple on a date for a day in Malate, Manila. Through their conversations and choice of activities we discover their disparate personal backgrounds and where they find common ground.

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ambushbyanvil | ambushcomics

The Kiss of the Demoness
by Gillian Pascasio

visual communication: B
story/message recall: D

This reads more as an introduction to a story -- character driven but lacks character development. It sets up the relationship dynamic between a human and a demon(ess). There are hints about the world they inhabit but not enough information to square the characters in them.

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Stories Without Titles (Vol 2.1)
by Roberto V Wong

visual communication: B
story/message recall: B-

In 2.1 of this second volume of Stories Without Titles we have a small group of soldiers stuck in a quandary. It starts in medias res, breaks the fourth wall by the second page and launches to an exposition about the army's alliance with an alien species against a common enemy. 'Weird' and 'religion/religious' are mentioned twice together when referring to their pact with the aliens. The army deals with force against the enemy. While the pacifist aliens deliver rations using portals through which only food should pass, lest they break treaty. The story ends with the central character getting pushed to a situation that makes him violate this rule.

A high concept story that tells more than it shows. Despite dutifully rendered pages, there is little action happening. Readers will have to visualise a separate story in action through the exposition.

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evaguy01 | eva.guy01

Masarap Magisa (Guisadong Gulay #1)
by Cathy Poblete

visual communication: B-
story/message recall: D

I saw issue two first (by mistake) in the last Indieket. Picked up issue one to fill in the gaps. The panelling is just as interesting as the first. In the second issue the female central character alludes to a past relationship -- the first issue doesn't mention this. Instead we have a slice-of-life compilation of mundane activities and wandering thoughts when living alone. The message is short and hints at a troubled mind or lack of purpose in the main character.

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capo_illy | capo-illy

Shiver (No.1)
by Pelikomiks

visual communication: A
story/message recall: A

There are three short stories in this horror anthology and a few illustrations laid out in key sections of the book. Written with striking visual imagery that makes for a story best told in prose — leaving readers to imagine things spooky.

Writing a summary would snuff its raison d'être of suspense and discovery. Skip the following paragraphs if you would like to read the stories for yourself.

The Good Samaritan
by James Bernardo & Sid Santos

A man on a long night’s drive to the province meets an accident and finds an unconscious man lying on the road. The man is in a bad way with gruesome facial injuries but appears to be alive. The driver decides to take him to the nearest hospital, but along the way he is held back by people roaming in the middle of the road. The crowd's unusual behaviour is soon revealed to be related to the unconscious man he’s taken in the back seat of his car.

The Confession
by Geonard Yleana & Carlo Cruz

A priest who upon closing an emptied church notices a small girl knelt behind the confessional curtain. He takes her confession. The girl lists a number of selfish acts that one would expect from a young child. The priest absolves her sins when she interjects she hasn’t listed them all. As she continues, the list of sins shifts to dark behaviour unheard of children. The priest is taken aback and asks the child to clarify. At which point the child takes on a different tone and the priest notices a change in her appearance. This sets him off and out of the confessional where things get even spookier.

by Geonard Yleana & Carlo Cruz

A female office worker finishes off late in an old building. Due to a recent breakup, she prefers arriving home late and conditioned for jumping straight to bed. Of the three elevators in the building, one is usually in disrepair. On this night, the door with an out-of-order sign opened. The elevator car descends but gets stuck to a halt before reaching ground floor. The emergency call buttons and her mobile phone were of no use. She is struck with terror as she notices a dark figure forming on one side of the wall mirrors of the elevator next to her mirrored reflections. The story concludes with two security guards noticing the floor number descending on the elevator car that was supposedly broken down.

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by Rob Cham

visual communication: A+
story/message recall: A+

Lost continues the story of the two character friends from Light. Let's call them Soft white and Pointy black as this is another fantastic wordless book. The story begins with the two friends setting out with a common goal of finding adventure. They fall through a hole in the ground where they see a colourful pixel cloud.

They get lost inside the pixel cloud. They experience two very different environments and characters. Soft white encounters a shape-shifting creature that taunts him. Pointy black appears stuck in a confined box and the isolation bores him to sleep and dream. Midway through the story, they encounter facsimiles of themselves. Soft white doesn't like what he sees and rejects his facsimile. Pointy black makes friends with his facsimile and they set off to meet other characters of a similar shade.

Soft white continues to search for Pointy black, encountering obstacles along the way. Meanwhile, Pointy black assimilates with his new found friends and their penchant for dangerous activities until they are joined by a new small character -- let's call him/her Pointy white. We then see Soft white pass through a portal that reunites him with Pointy black and is introduced to his friends. Pointy black and Soft white have a moment and then agree to go their separate ways. Soft white travels back home to an empty room. Delicate tale about friendship and divergent views.

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robcham | | robcham

by B. Redilla

visual communication: A+
story/message recall: A

A collection of nine memorable stories. Each one is rooted in the author's formative years and observations of people and environment that surrounded him. Written in Tagalog with a few words in Ilokano and English. Mostly told through wordless illustrations -- whimsical drawings with a clear direction for the reader's gaze. The stories are deeply personal but delivered with an intuitive understanding of others. I still need practice reading in proper Tagalog, but starting to appreciate the craft. The author's notes in the epilogue were a great addition.

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Twin Triangles
by Yuki Akagi, Jarel Navarro & Kael A.

visual communication: C
story/message recall: D

This was a free sampler from one of the collaborators (Yuki Akagi, thank you for a surprise copy!) I’m not well acquainted with manga style comics. I sometimes forget the panels read from right to left. I also took double takes on the characters as they appear to look indistinguishable from one another, which lead me to discover that I need to pay attention to hair. The story is about high school age kids who form a club for their love of manga art and creating manga comics. I wonder what story arc awaits such a premise.

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A Vision Of Dust
by David Hontiveros & Xerx Javier

visual communication: A
story/message recall: B+

A compilation of issues 1-4. It sets the stage for three supernatural beings, whose convergence involves a lot of conflict. The event takes place during Holy Week 2009. We have the archetypal hostile brothers, a tormented devil and a fiery angel, and between them a succubus undergoing a transformation. The character development is griping -- I was invested immediately. The script is calculated and well cared for -- several lines were too amusing to read just once. There are expositions at the end of each chapter that lay out the intricate mythology. Matching up to Biblical proportions, a lot of the begetting flew over my head. This is the only part that was hard to recall -- what tends to happen when you tell more than you show.

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