Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'm starting a new story this month focusing entirely on Ben, Sr. and speed dating. Read on if you're not sure what this is about:
The rules of speed dating are quite simple. A group of singles gathers at a cafe or similar venue. Armed with a nametag, a scorecard and their sparkling personality, couples are paired up to begin their first date. They are allowed to discuss anything, except their careers, or where the live.

Following seven minutes of conversation, a bell is rung, and the men move on to meet their next date. Think of it as a flirt's version of musical chairs.

Following each date, participants mark on a card whether they would have an interest in meeting their date again. If a mutual interest is noted, speed-dating organizers provide each party with the other's phone number.
It's definitely easier than picking up strangers in a bar and safer than being set up in a blind date. At least you know what your potential date looks like and you get to chat with them to see if you two share something common. Sounds good? It costs more or less P3,000 /session around these parts. By the by, did anyone notice the last time these couple, Henry and Debbie, came out was in last year's Thanksgiving storyline around November?

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Meme time! This one I got from Ganns (who tagged me):

1. Ariel
2. A
3. Iel

1. kartoonista
2. Heffer Wolfe
3. Kuya A

1. Height
2. Beard
3. Eyes

1. Being temperamental
2. Indecisiveness
3. Too much of an introvert

1. Filipino
2. Japanese (though unconfirmed on my father's side)
3. Spanish (also unconfirmed, maybe a wee drop of blood)

1. Being left alone
2. Flying roaches
3. Being lost in the middle of nowhere

1. Pen
2. Sketch pad
3. Book

1. Blue hawaiian polo
2. Khaki pants
3. Black Loft shoes

1. Madness
2. Barbie Almalbis
3. Eurythmics

1. Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak - Leopoldo Silos, Serapio Y. Ramos, Manuel Sr. Villar, Levi Celerio
2. Of All the Things - Dennis Lambert*
3. Give Me A Chance - Ric Segreto

1. Driving on my own
2. Learn Flash animation
3. Learn to use the Mac

1. Communication
2. Respect
3. Fun

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order)
1. The goatee was inspired by a pop group and a rock band.
2. I go clubbing once in a while.
3. I don't drink coffee that much.

1. Stimulating conversations
2. Height
3. Sense of humor

1. Drive
2. Convince people that I'm harmless
3. Drink tea

1. Raising a rodent farm
2. Doing my comic strips
3. Watching people

1. Eat a large sundae at the Ghirardelli Square
2. Go back in time to my high school years
3. Go out and buy the best laptop in the market

1. Assistant Director to Peter Jackson
2. Art teacher

1. Ireland
2. Japan
3. New Zealand

1. John Isaiah
2. Luther Benjamin
3. Cornelia

1. Get married and have a wonderful family
2. Create a graphic novel about the Philippine Revolution starting from 1872-1901
3. Meet Samantha Brown

1. I'm a sucker for romantic comedies.
2. I like watching make-over shows.
3. I'm a mallrat.

1. I have a weakness for sleek gadgets and cars.
2. I'm distant and I'd rather keep things to myself.
3. I don't give a squat about being in style.

1. Daniel (to return the tag, haha!)
2. Jac
3. Patrick

Wish I could include other names in the list, but you know who you are. Just copy the questions and answer it in your blog. Lemme know when you're finished with it.

* Thanks to Jinky who provided the name of the singer. After almost 20 years! Wooohoooooooooo!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Two unrelated editorial works: Batman - The Musical and Tights, camera, action!

I added another link to the list on the left. One of my favorite artists whose works I've been seeing on the covers of New Yorker Magazine and art books ever since forever, Peter De Sève. He didn't have a website before and searching for his name for sample artworks some five years ago has been an exercise in futility, thankfully that has changed. Here's a short bio I copied from his site, apparently he has been busy these past years, illustrating not only for different publications but also for biggie animation studios as well:
De Sève has designed posters for Broadway shows, as well as characters for numerous animated feature films, produced by Disney, Dreamworks, Pixar, and Twentieth Century Fox (Blue Sky Studios). His credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt, Mulan, A Bug's Life, Tarzan, and the box office hit, Ice Age, for which he created all of the characters. In addition to his extensive work in animated feature film, de Sève has provided designs for television commercials, including a Nike spot, titled "Destination Moon," which won a silver Clio award. In 2002, he received the distinguished Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators.
You can see a good bulk of his character designs and other works in his site. Incidentally you'll recall his works is similar to that of another illustrator cum animator back from the 80s whose works came out in MTV, Bill Plympton.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I had a childhood fascination about ghost stories, it was more of the idea of people seeing unusual things than the scare factor was what reeled me in. Though the pull of reading these stories isn't as strong as it was before I took exception to watching The Skeleton Key out of curiosity for what was billed as an "American version of Japanese Horror" and also because of blonde cutie, Kate Hudson. I went in expecting a really good storyline but came out disappointed. It wasn't a ghost story. What it was about is Hoodoo religion and how the pesky and annoying curiosity of the female protagonist who couldn't resist putting around where she shouldn't got her into a lot of trouble. It was the same traditional character in old horror stories where foolhardy people would go in the dark corners of a place instead of waiting for daylight or calling for back up. You know they're asking for it. Even daring trouble to come out and bite them in the tushy.

If you're one of the peeps who went in to see this movie you might have noticed the driveway going to the old house and the old house itself looking like the one they used in Forrest Gump. But according to some posters in IMDB, it wasn't. Some even provided the address address of the real house used in the latter which isn't even in Louisiana. There are also speculations that there might be a sequel to this movie due to the obvious clues dropped and scattered here and there in the movie. This is probably true if they're also following Japanese tradition of making horror movies revolving around undying antagonists by threes. This we'll have to see but I don't think I'll be watching the succeeding movies, if ever.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"When our ancestors referred to pains and sorrows as God's 'vengeance' upon sin they were not necessarily attributing evil passions to God; they may have been recognising the good element in the idea of retribution. Until the evil man finds evil unmistakably present in his existence, in the form of pain, he is enclosed in illusion. Once pain has roused him, he knows that he is in some way or other 'up against' the real universe: he either rebels (with the possibility of a clearer issue and deeper repentance at some later stage) or else makes some attempt at an adjustment, which, if pursued, will lead him to religion. It is true that neither effect is so certain now as it was in ages when the existence of God (or even of the gods) was more widely known, but even in our own days we see it operating. Even atheists rebel and express, like Hardy and Housman, their rage against God although (or because) He does not, in their view, exist: and other atheists, like Mr Huxley, are driven by suffering to raise the whole problem of existence and to find some way of coming to terms with it which, if not Christian, is almost infinitely superior to fatuous contentment with a profane life. No doubt Pain as God's megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.

"If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We 'have all we want' is a terrible saying when 'all' does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St Augustine says somewhere, 'God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full—there's nowhere for Him to put it.' Or as a friend of mine said, 'We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it.' Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call 'our own life' remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make 'our own life' less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness? It is just here, where God's providence seems at first to be most cruel, that the Divine humility, the stooping down of the Highest, most deserves praise."

* C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 93-94.

Friday, August 26, 2005

This is one of those strips I submitted in the recently released Tabloid Comics by my friend, Reno. It's also another vintage feature dating from way back 1989.

* Tabloid Comics is FREE and can be picked up at Comic Quest, Megamall.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Nothing much was changed from the original strip except for the colors.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I originally planned four panels for this one and due to constraints in space only the first and last panels were published in the paper this week. Which means the second panel is a BONUS! Yay!

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

This is another screenshot from the video of the song, The Sun and the Rain (1983) by the ska group, Madness or "The Magnificent Seven" as they're affectionately called back then by their fans. Paying homage to the gloomy London weather, they make a fun video that shows them dancing in the rain with uniform raincoats, hat, and umbrellas intersected with scenes of a man dressed as a mountain explorer with a lit rocket on his back running down the streets, and all of them dressed in red tights up to their faces playing their instruments inside the ear canal. It doesn't make sense, I know. But most of their videos never did at all. Hehe.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Owing to a couple of... let's say, mature actors starring in the movie, Must Love Dogs, I didn't look forward to prioritizing this over the others. I had a couple of other movies in mind to watch first but this was what my friends picked, so I shrugged my shoulders and went along with it. I could never have been more wrong and glad at the same time by the time the end credits started to roll. If you like to be entertained while getting the same fuzzy feelings you experienced from past movies like You've Got Mail, As Good As It Gets, and Something's Gotta Give then you shouldn't let this one get past you.

The story revolves around Sarah (Diane lane), a forty-something preschool teacher who recently went through an ungly divorce. Her siblings and father rallies to her side offering consolation and pictures of their officemates and friends where she could take her pick of possible replacements. Still smarting from her pain she refused to their offers until her eldest sister, Carol (Elizabeth Perkins) and her youngest sister, Christine (Ali Hillis) prevailed upon her to consider going on dates with the men they picked up for her on the newspaper's classifieds section. The first and only time she did so turned out to be a disaster and a complete embarassment for her so she decided ever more to stay put in the mire of self-pity. At the same time, another aging bachelor, Jake (John Cusack) is undergoing the same pain of as he was recetly left by his longtime girlfriend. Instead of staying in bed in his pajamas, he prevailed on his best friend, Charlie (Ben Zenkman) to indulge in marathon viewings of Doctor Zhivago with him at home. His long-suffering friend tried dragging him to different social events in hopes of snagging him a girlfriend but the breakup has turned him into a love skeptic.

Meanwhile, Carol set up an account for Sarah in one of those dating sites. despite her horror with the idea that the description was full of lies, not to mention her college graduation picture was also in there she decided to go with it when dozens of interested parties left phoned in messages wanting to meet her. After going through a lot of unlikely candidates she was starting to entertain the idea that this wasn't working out when her next would be suitor was Jake. He also decided to answer the one and only singles ad at the prodding of Charlie. He was immediately smitten with her looks and personality despite the fact that reality was far from what the site advertised. She didn't feel the same for him and besides there's this other guy she's getting attracted to but couldn't make a move because he's also the father of one of her students. Bob (Dermot Mulroney) is a confessed womanizer who recently got separated from his wife because of his philandering. So what can she do to solve this dilemma especially when Jake is slowly turning out to be something special and Bob is turning out to be such a good flirt? Does she follow her heart or her mind?

The movie follows a couple of turns involving families and friends that teaches her to guard her heart. Real love is something you shouldn't take likely. She learns a lot from the most unlikely people and circumstances but these same lessons are the ones that she was afraid to touch lest she'll be hurt again. But it was only after she owned up to her mistakes did she make up for the lost time, and chase after it she did before it was too late. This made me think to myself that maybe I should also start scanning dating sites to find the one I'd be spending my life with. One of the top qualities I'm looking for, seriously? Must love dogs.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The series of preaching on prayer started with an introduction today earlier in the service that a friend and me attended. It was a real eye-opener, that much I can tell you. Truth be told we all think that praying is such a chore. Most often times we put it off because we don't get what we prayed for, we're too busy, we have to find a quiet spot to pray, preferrably somewhere no one can see us lest they think that we're ooo... "religious" or something ("there goes my social life!"). Another popular reason for not praying, at least for Roman Catholics, is that for prayers to be effective it should be done either inside the church, a chapel, or in front of an altar. I should know that, I spent half of my life in a Catholic school indoctrinated with those things.

It still doesn't cut no matter how many or how valid our excuses may be. True we should at least spend some time alone in a secluded spot talking to God and asking for His grace to guide us through the day but it shouldn't be as long as half an hour or so. One of our most loved Pastors in VCF, Luther Mancao, recently confessed last Sunday that he only spent 5 minutes of his time that morning communing with God. Bible reading and studying of course is an entirely different matter. That's where you spend a lot of sweet time getting whatever you can from your reading (heck, if you can spend a good hour or so reading Tolkien, Rowling, King, or Crichton, it'll be a cinch). Another thing that prayer doesn't require a lot of your time is the fact that you could do it wherever and whatever you're doing. Whether it be at work, in school, while walking, while commuting, while driving, while waiting, playing sports, or just plain ol' relaxing. Don't believe me? How 'bout that example by a nervous royal servant turned author who whispered a quick prayer in the middle of conversing with his royal employer? It's almost but not quite like the same as sending a text message to your friend or loved one in the middle of what you're doing. If you have a relationship with God then you shouldn't see any reason not to talk to Him, right? Another thing that could be of comfort to you if you've already reached the end of your ropes and you don't know if there's still any hope for you, God is a lot closer to you than you'd think.

Anyway, the introductory topic earlier was about the three attitudes we need when praying. It's every simple to do but quite hard to maintain, I tell ya that but that shouldn't discourage you from going through with it:
• Pray boldly. To help his listeners understand what he was talking about, he used the illustration of the midnight caller asking for emergency supplies from his neighbor for an impromptu visitor. The main thing that came to mind when I heard this, that I also shared with my friend, is that you should know your position in Christ with regards to this. But knowing your position is a two-edged sword: it both encourages and humbles you. It encourages you because as an adopted child of God (by way of your repentance and asking Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior) you have every right to ask as a child asks from his or her father. As Jesus reminded his listeners, "If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing--you're at least decent to your own children." And if that's the case he follows, "don't you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?" By virtue of His titles and roles, you can find out why Jesus considers the Holy Spirit to be the best gift He could give a person. Second, knowing your position is a humbling experience because you remember who you are in the face of greatness: Like a tiny speck of dust in front the sun. You can now walk with confidence in knowing both these things.

• Pray persistently. How determined are you for your need? Jesus also adds a bit of a warning in the end of his illustration to His followers who tend to slack in helping and interceding for those who need their help the most.

• Pray expectantly. If you look through every account of promises God gave to his followers in the Bible, you will see that He hasn't been remiss in fulfilling everything He promised He would do. He promised Abraham and Sarah, Samuel's mother, and Samson's parents a child? He gave it to them. He promised to bring up His people from Egypt and Babylon? He did. He promised to take care of them? He still does. Here's part of a written observation concluded by one of his appointed leaders, Joshua:
So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
You know He's very serious when he announced, "... I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." If you don't believe me then go check some of them out in detail. If the once great King of Israel, David assured himself and us that, "GOD always does what he says" how can we not ask and wait expectantly for what we asked for?
I could go on and on and on about prayer but just keep in mind that praying is a two way street of communication between a person and his Friend. It's not enough that you have to make yourself heard but also you have to keep an open ear also for what He has to say to you. Cause you never know, He might have a bigger and better idea and time in mind than what you're asking of Him.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I just got my TPB copy of Superman: Birthright and I'm having a grand time having it. Firstly, because I ran out of copies in the big bookstores before I could get my hands on one; Secondly, it cost me a pretty penny; and thirdly, because it's very well written (Mark Waid rocks!) and the work done by local artists, Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan makes me mighty proud to own a copy.

I already read a fourth of the book months ago when I chanced on an open copy in a bookstore and was hooked. Promised myself I would get a copy the first instance Powerbooks go on sale but at the time I was also in a rush to get TPB copies of Batman: Hush Volumes 1 and 2. Powerbooks were only selling Volume 1 at the time and thought it more convenient to wait until they also have Volume 2 on board. But when Volume 2 arrived, the first volume was nowhere to be found. Eventually got both copies but not after a long hard search (which borders on the insane because nowadays, Fully Booked has loads of both volumes in their shelves!). I would have also wanted to buy the Birthright novel at the Komikero's booth during the last ToyCon but I had to have my hands on the last rare boxed figure of the large Superman Justice League Maquette being sold in one of the booths (this was after I got the Batman and Flash figures and needed the Superman figure to complete my collection).

Back to the Birthright novel, I'm more than halfway through the book and I found myself almost unable to put it down because of the engaging flow of the story and the sympathetic characters that writer, Mark Waid made out of these familiar icons. I'm not a big fan of Smallville (I probably saw just a minute or two of one episode) and the last Superman series that I enjoyed was from way back in the 90s, Lois and Clark. Now not many people know (or realize, for that matter) that the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster come from a Jewish heritage (they're considered part of the 100 Most Influential Jews of All Time). Fewer still, are the people who realize that the character of Superman was intended as a type of Messiah figure whether consciously or unconsciously by the creators themselves. And nowhere has the parallel lines between Superman and Jesus been more apparent than Richard Donner's classic 1978 movie. And if those lines were apparent in that movie, it even comes a lot closer to the Gospel truth in this novel. It comes off as sort of a parable to the whole Gospel itself! Here are a couple of examples, the first face off between Clark and Luthor comes off like the titanic war of wills between Jesus and the devil at the desert (Matthew 4 and Luke 4) and the upcoming war between these two rivals can be likened to the ultimate showdown between Jesus and the devil on top of Calvary! This is one of the best treatments of an existing story I've ever read (almost if not at par with the original fave-rave graphic novel, After Eden). I wish I could have it personally signed by Leinil and Gerry in the upcoming Komikon but I'm still happy just to have it autographed.

Friday, August 19, 2005

This is one of the very first drawings I did for these characters dating back to 1989. They were also went by a different name back in those days too.

I almost forgot about the German Silent Film Festival happening annually at this time of the year in Megamall. I was only able to catch the third movie out of the four that the Goethe Institute has scheduled for the month. This movie is the famoues, Dr Mabuse, Der Spieler, the first part of two movies originally done in 1922. I only have scant knowledge about this movie, all the while I tried to remember where it was I first heard about the name Dr. Mabuse.*

The representative of Goethe Institute made the introduction before the movie started with a "warning" that the feature we were about to watch is around two hours long. I thought it was unusual that a silent film could be that long so I sat back and prepared myself to take in whatever story was to unfold.

Ten minutes into the story I began to regret that I skipped last week's movie instead of this one.

It was one of those movies whose stories start in the middle and nothing makes sense until you get to the half or two-thirds of the film when everything starts to fall into place. Usually. I was bored out of my skull. The movie moved at its own pace with characters popping in with no prior introduction or explanation whatsoever. I'm not gonna recount the story here, just click the link I provided above and read the rave reviews (their reasons for raving over it escapes me still). The only good thing about the whole movie is the unforgettable job actor, Rudolf Klein-Rogge did in the the title role. He certainly ran circles around the two bumbling protagonists running after him.

* The 80s band, Propaganda has a song titled "Dr. Mabuse" in their debut album, A Secret Wish.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Remember back in those days when you were called time and again to the Principal's office for those misdemeanors you're laughing at right now? Haha! Bullies can be fun too after a decade or so.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I drew two versions of the same situation with varying degrees in how the joke was told and though this wasn't what I originally came up with for publication in the paper, it turned out to be the funnier of the two. You can click the image to see the first version of the strip.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
The idea for the Philippine Government to go Federal has been in my mind since way before the election. The idea of course wasn't mine but was brought up first by my younger brother who spent time living in the U.S. and he hardly had to convince me to make me understand that this is exactly what our country needs! One of Philippine Star's OpEd columnists, Jarius Bondoc reveals in his daily column today, GOTCHA that this idea was a long time coming as it was first brought up as early as 1966:
Dr. Salvador Araneta possessed foresight. Anticipating as early as 1922 the formation of Commonwealth rule, he studied constitutional law in Harvard and thus came to the Constitutional Convention of 1934-35 with a complete draft. Again in running for the Con-Con of 1971-72, he proposed a Bayanikasan Constitution with 64 revisions to the old one. Among these: a federal system to be set up in 10 to 20 years. He foresaw even back then a need to explain to Filipinos an alternative to the Manila-centric government and a reasonable time to put it in place.

Bayanikasan is a contraction of lakas ng bayan, a strong nation built to protect the rights of each citizen. It could well denote too bayani (hero) and kalikasan (natural resources), aspirations as well of Filipinos. In introducing Araneta’s draft charter, Dr. Alejandro Roces likened him to Pilosopong Tasio who did not write for his generation. Roces noted: "While Dr. Araneta addressed the present generation, to be used in 10 to 20 years, his plan for Tomorrow is ready Today; it is Today that is not ready for his plan of Tomorrow."
You can read more about it here: Constitutional reforms from 30 years back.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Click the images to know more about each title.

Have you been to the Fully Booked Store in Powerplant Mall, Rockwell? I have, last Sunday afternoon. It is HUGE! The biggest bookstore I've seen here in our country which looks more like a museum cum library (National Bookstore doesn't count and its real bookstore arm, Powerbooks kinda has its limits). The art section is cool! Cooler than it was before. The Graphic Novels section is WHOAH! The Theology and Humanities section remained the same. I picked up a couple of titles and vowed to come back for the others. These are the ones that are definitely recommended if you're a curious seeker who wants to swim in the waters of real Christianity beyond the dead rituals of religion, just to see what its all about before making a commitment. The second book is by author Jack Miles who also wrote the 1996 Pulitzer Prize winning book, God: A Biography.

I had higher expectations for Bewitched primarily because the names, Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, and Nora Ephron were attached to project. The premise of the movie was promising especially during the first half where Jack Wyatt (Ferrell) was shown to be much of a spineless jerk whose sagging career was buoyed and supported almost entirely by his agent in contrast with Isabel Bigelow (Kidman) who is shown to be a sweet gal of a witch trying to assert her independence away from her kind. But halfway through the film I found myself yawning and wondering why the ending was taking too long. The appearances of Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine were wonderful but sadly weren't enough to save the film.

Monday, August 15, 2005

This is another screenshot from the video of the song playing right now, It Must Be Love by my favorite British/ska/new wave group Madness. This is one of their most popular and well loved singles which reached the number four position in January, 1982 in the music charts. Originally done by another British singer, Labi Siffre (in December, 1971), they first performed this song in their concert tours and proved to be such a big hit among their audience they had to give in and finally recorded the song. The video shows them singing into an open grave, second vocalist Chas Smash (dressed as a mourner) running in front of a car, members of the band playing guitar underwater in the pool, saxophone playing with killer whales, dressed like bees and Big Bird, etc. Still having the same fun and nuttiness they've always been known for. Incidentally, Labi also makes a cameo appearance in the video as one of the white tuxedo-clad violinists.
We've been getting some serious reactions to the theme of the Komikon 2005 Indie Comics Contest most of which think it's limited only to those studying in UP. So by way of explaining the theme which should encourage out-of-the-box thinking we hereby present the reason for this unusual theme:

This is a scanned image of the rules and regulations the administrators of UP Diliman's Bahay Ng Alumni gave us. Nobody, I repeat, NOBODY knows the real reason for it being banned (including their students).

That's where you guys come in to try and supply the "urban legend" explanation for rule #6!

It could be funny, it could be serious, it could be horrifying, it could be romantic, it could be a tear-jerker, it could be one that borders on sci-fi or fantasy. Just tell us why!

The more you convince us or the wilder it is, the better!

Rules for the indie comics contest can be read here.

The first time I saw the trailer for Crash I thought it was a B-movie with an all star cast. The film was grainy and the film looked as if it was another gab-fest in the making. In short I had no interest in watching it until my brother came home one night last week and started barraging us that we should watch it. The barrage of "watch 'Crash'!" continued the following days ahead and my mom and sister did two days after. They had "nyah... it's ok" reaction but I was still curious why that movie elicited that big a reaction from my brother. I found an opening in my schedule earlier tonight when I saw the last full screening at the nearby mall.

I like it. No, change that: I love it. Even though I left the theater house with a heavy feeling, disturbed by the scenes I saw the message was there. The movie is about a series of stories that happens in two days told in a non-linear way. Set mostly in East L.A. the stories revolve around the lives of strangers trying to go about their business while inevitably at one point or another their lives would intersect. Or rather, their lives would "crash" against each other. The movie is introduced by way of these unforgettable words by one of the characters pondering their fate after being rear-ended in a deserted highway:
It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In LA, nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.
Conflict arises when these "crashes" happen and because one's sense of security and status quo have been disturbed the basic good that people believe they have suddenly disappear and the worst in them are quickly brought to the surface. Major players in the story are: Dist. Atty Rick and Jean Cabot (Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock) experienced their worst nightmare when they where carjacked by best friends, Anthony and Peter Waters (rapper, Ludacris and Larenz Tate). Rick Cabot is prepping himself to run for public office and the last thing he needs is riling the ire of his would be constituents by being involved in a case against a couple of black people, while Anthony is angry at what he perceives to be racist treatments by Americans including some of those from their own race.

Partners in police work and in their lovelife, Det. Graham Waters (Don Cheadle) and Ria (Jennifer Esposito) struggle against the apparent unfairness by the folks in the local government office to cover up a case involving a black "suspect" against a white undercover cop. Mixed in the mire is Waters' personal problem involving his missing (rebellious) brother and drug addict mom who prefers his brother over him.

A family of Persian immigrants, Farhad (Shaun Toub), his wife, Shereen (Marina Sirtis) and their daughter, Dorri (Bahar Soomekh) struggling against the discriminatory stereotype: Middle Eastern-looking Muslims = Arabs = Terrorists while trying to eke out an earnest living by managing a convenience store. When a faulty backdoor in their store refused to close properly they called in a locksmith to fix it. But after fixing it and finding the fault wasn't in the lock itself but rather the door, he tried to explain this to Farhad, but having his own problems with people in his new home giving him the raw end of the deal he refused to budge and demanded that he fix the door. The resulting argument saw the locksmith, Daniel (Michael Pena) walking away without being paid for his services.

The morning after, Farhad and his wife discovered his ransacked store and spray-painted hate messages on the wall. With the insurance company unable (or unwilling) to cover the damage, Farhad's reaction was to look for the most convenient person to blame, Daniel. Daniel is a Latino locksmith who recently moved his wife and only daughter, Lara (Ashlyn Sanchez) out of a bad neighborhood in hopes of protecting them from indiscriminate shootings.

Sgt. Ryan (Matt Dillon) has been a police officer with the LAPD for 17 years, he's basically a good cop with no bad record. His father (Bruce Kirby) is also a good citizen having helped a lot of the minority find employment in his office before his retirement. But every night both of them couldn't get any sleep because of Ryan's father suffers a lot from painful urination and they couldn't get a correct diagnosis because of some red-tape in their HMO. The person Sgt. Ryan gets in contact with on his pop's medical record is, Shaniqua Johnson (Loretta Devine) a black woman who won't budge outside the system no matter how much Ryan would plead. This results in a personal vendetta against the first black couple he comes across. Enter Cameron (Terrence Dashon Howard), a sitcom director and his lovely wife, Christine (Thandie Newton) who was stopped by Ryan and his reluctant police partner, Officer Hanson (Ryan Phillippe) on a not-so mistaken identity involving the Cabots' stolen SUV. Ryan forces a RUI charge against Cameron (which is false because his wife was the one who was slightly drunk) humiliates them both by forcing an apology under the threat of imprisonment and by molesting his helpless wife in front of him.

This incident almost destroys their marriage and almost gets them killed in separate incidents. Christine's near death experience also forces Sgt. Ryan to rethink his actions the night before thereby redeeming him while Cameron's confrontation with the police also forces Hanson to rethink his position involving black people which in turn got him in trouble later on thereby damning him.

There are a a few more stories in there that need to be heard but would take a lot more space than intended in this blog. The movie's still showing in some theaters and I do recommend that you catch it while you still can. By the way, this was also written and directed by Paul Haggis, the same guy behind the story of the Academy Award winning movie, Million Dollar Baby.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

They're starting a new series starting next Sunday. This isn't going to be one of those boring preachings that doesn't make any sense but rather one that will definitely interest you if you're one of those searching for answers or just plain curious. I'm attending the service in Robinson's Galleria every Sunday morning if anyone's interested in going to listen, just post your contact number in the comments section below. Addresses, and contact numbers of other churches throughout the country can be found here (just click the locations).

Saturday, August 13, 2005

There's this design on one of the shirts being sold by Fig Tree in Megamall that gets to me everytime I see it. The graphic on the shirt is simple but the statement says it all: "Friends Don't Let Friends go to Hell." Which brings to mind a song by a local rock band, Pigs With Pearls about a poor soul's lament because he hadn't heard the Gospel's saving message he's now languishing in the pits of hell all because although his friend shared a lot of things with him he never took the time to share the most important message with him. I forgot the lyrics but the last line in the song goes something like, "After all we've been through I don't think I could ever call you my friend."

We're all familiar with the famous line first uttered by Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." I've heard of it and admired the truth contained therein but this is the first that line hit home. And because I know and realize that the end is nearer than what most people believe is, to say the least, disturbing, but the fact that I'm not doing anything to make people realize that is what's bothering me. It's bothering to the point of being scared. Scared of the fact that I would be confronted and asked not of what I did but rather what I didn't do. It doesn't come as a surprise to know that everything in this world is not going to get any better than it did in the past decades and as a matter of fact is going to turn worse till it reaches a point that God would have to personally intervene to cut it short or else nobody would survive.

Of course there are other things bothering me these days, this is just one of two that's bothering me a lot and I'll focus on this one till I get an answer on the other one. Although a lot of people profess to believe in God, not a lot put Him in their list of priorities. In fact we all have our priorities screwed up, instead of tending to those that have eternal impact we rush around taking care of those things that won't matter after we're dead. We all like to think that this life isn't all there is to it when it's really not!

On the other (extreme) hand it's also a time of excitement for me. Because God is coming very soon to snatch His own and take them home to be with Him forever. This is what concerns me, I know that time would be a joyous one, a time of great celebration in fact but what about my friends? I don't want to be one of those Christians who turns their faces against those who need it the most. I don't want to be one of those Christians who was given an opportunity to share the greatest news in all history and failed to do so because they were so scared of being ridiculed and embarassed. I don't want to be one of those who don't care about other people at all:
When it comes to the greatest sign for the rapture, I firmly believe apathy is the most reliable indicator of the "blessed hope's" nearness. Because apathy is something of an anti-sign, most people fail to realize how much the Bible talks about this subject.

The Lord Jesus told the disciples several times that
He would come at a time they would not be expecting Him. Paul gave the same warning, telling believers they needed to be ready because the final hours would come like a thief.

The state of apathy is confirmed by the number of emails I receive from frustrated Christians who write me to express how perplexed they are over the general lack of awareness. Here is a sample message:

"I am sad because I have very few people with which I can share this immense joy that we are so close to going home that it is so palatable in the air. I am angry because of the lack of people to share this immense joy with. It is not that the other Christians aren't able to see the time which is at hand. It is that THEY DON'T WANT TO SEE!!!! They are too preoccupied with living in the world, and they don't want to be bothered by the fact that Christ is coming back soon."

I don't get frustrated by the lack of concern. Because apathy is one of the latter-days prophetic indicators, it obviously will increase as we get closer to the end.

With apathy appearing to have reached a saturation point, it would seem reasonable to conclude that we are very near to the rapture. The trick is getting other Christians to realize this fact.

Because time is rapidly running out, we need to ask ourselves, "Am I part of the crowd that is apathetic?" The test of our productivity level is how our lives relate to helping to fulfill the Great Commission.
I know this undertaking would not earn me a lot of new friends in the long run but if this opens the eyes of those who matter the most to the truth of the Message then so be it.

"When we preach on hell, we might at least do it with tears in our eyes." ~ Dwight L. Moody

* Excerpt taken from Todd Strandberg's commentary "The Greatest Sign for the Rapture."

Arrested delinquents were made to lie down on the ground. You can see their legs in between the cops on the right.

Though Rexona (through Unilever) had the bright idea to hold a free concert at the Araneta Coliseum earlier tonight holding it for free proved far from being the right one resulting in a near riot outside the venue. Hundreds of self-styled rebellious young uns dressed in black shirts hung outside the venue probably in hopes of being allowed inside to watch the concert. A few hours of just standing around resulting in frustration and disappointment probably bored them to death that's why they started resorting to petty crime to stir things up. We were inside the Gloria Jeans Coffee shop in front of the place having our Den meeting when the signs of a mini riot started. Police were called in and when it seemed they weren't enough, fire trucks came in just in case these people need to be hosed down.

There are two things that are very wrong here: first of all, Rexona should have announced a limited sitting capacity thing in the concert. That instead of announcing it having a free entrance they should have specifically stated that only the first, let's say, 2,000 people will be admitted in. Or at least make them "pay" for the concert by raffling the entrance by inserting a promo tag in some 2,000 units of their products and only those who have these promo tags can get in. Instead they go and frustrate a lot of people. Second, the police should have herded the hoi polloi from the venue and dispersed them earlier on. What would the people in black benefitted from hanging around the venue anyway? Watch the gates in hopes of getting a peek of the musicians after the event? We left around 11:30 pm and they're still hanging around, trying to out-pose each other with eyeliners, black nails, lipstick, and cigarettes on hand while the manicured landscape the gardeners of Araneta Center suffered a lot under their indiscriminate trampling. I hope the folks of Rexona and Unilever Philippines are happy with the outcome of their event.

Friday, August 12, 2005

This is another oldie from way back 1991 or '92.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hehehe... Now go start clickety-clicking on those names down there.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

The one on the left is the original version I've drawn on paper. The one the right is the final drawing that saw print in the Philippine News this week and online below. Can you spot the difference?

Hehe. Just another example of me changing things later on because I didn't see how crowded it was going to get once I put in the dialogue.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

This was a lot of fun to do. Remember what I said the last time I was having problems coming up with new ideas for this strip? Well I'm going back the old "continuity" route. At least then I don't have to wring my brain to come up with something uproariously funny.

Jay's remark in the last panel was reminiscent of the way some Fil-Am friends and nephews of mine would try to ape Filipino words they heard on the fly. Just in case you're wondering.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I'm a lot slower than I want to be in updating this blog. At least I should be updating this thing once a day. Now in case you stumbled here expecting something new and it turns out to be another one of those days then may I suggest that you go over to my old blog and read the old entries to while your time away. Watch out for the newer entries, things get a lot darker and angsty around those parts.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Here are screenshots from This is a screenshot from the video of featured artist of the month and top fave band of all time, Madness. Although they're more known for their hit single from the 80s, "Our House," thei're a great singles band and it's such a pity their success in their native England hasn't crossed over to the U.S. and here in our shores. What isn't common knowledge is that they've predated local band, Parokya Ni Edgar in acting nutty in their videos. This band made a big impact on shaping my views on the comedic.

Here are a couple of screenshots taken from the videos of the song you're hearing now and the one from last week:

First up is Michael Caine. Somewhat serious in tone which reflects the other side of the band, the so-called dark English mood. Reeling from the recent departure of band leader and chief songwriter, Mike Barson who moved to Holland or Switzerland with his wife around 1983 or '84, the video is devoid of the trademark nutty flavor they're famous for. The vid pays homage to the old Michael Caine movies by way of making a sort of narrative about an undercover agent and his rivals chasing him around watching his every move.

This is from the video of the song playing last week in this blog, Uncle Sam. This came from the album after El Barso's departure they seemed to have recovered well enough in this one and are back to their old form. Devoid of fancy-schmancy special effects the vid shows them having fun playing with miniatures, turning a quiet neighborhood into a makeshift warzone complete with old school movie explosions (ie. no fire, just a lot of smoke) and an Assault Amphibian Vehicle they set sailing on London's River Thames. This video is a lot of fun to watch if only to see them doing something they really love doing, making complete fools of themselves.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Never mind the stiff pants and crappy designed shoes, I'm posting this full figure drawing of Jay Ibarra for the purposes of preserving and showing you all how much spontaneous pencil construction is lost when it's cleaned up.

* This will be used as part of the background in this week's West Side strip.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Shortly after watching the extended version of The Return of the King at home with some friends earlier I rushed to the theaters to meet another friend to watch Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I haven't had the chance to watch the earlier version so I had nothing to compare it with. Expectations weren't particularly high for this movie so I enjoyed it. It was a notch higher than the director's earlier works as this was very cartoonish and it was astonishing to watch actor Johnny Depp disappear into another role. I didn't like the song numbers though, I almost grimaced whenever one of those songs started in each particular moment and the preachy scene between Charlie and his family. Aside from that though it was a fun ride watching the chocolate factory, the glass elevator ride, the displaced building where Willy Wonka's father resides, the spoofing of old movie clichés showing different flags of the world superimposed on the protagonist to signify his or her travel, and the momentary lapse of reason whenever flasbacks occur. It was all candy as far as the eye can see and though it was, like I said before, a fun ride I wouldn't be taking it again as once is already enough.

* * Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

Click image if you're having problems reading the text.

Submit 3 copies of your entry to:
132 A Narra Street, Project 3,
Quezon City, Philippines

Criteria for Judging:
• 40% Visual narrative
- Knowledge and application of the visual language of comics.

• 30% Story
- Concept and integration of the given theme in a cohesive and entertaining tale.

• 20% Presentation
- Expertise in comic book production. This includes legibility, quality of reproduction, and overall tech savvy.

• 10% Overall impact
- This refers to how all of the elements unite to form a solid comic book.
For more info just send your inquiries to komikon@gmail.com

More details coming!

Friday, August 05, 2005

This gives me another idea about basketball players.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

One for the last page that didn't make the cut.

I hate how this turned out. Looks like a Sandman reject.

This one's nice but I settled on a particular style of artwork in the middle of the whole thing.

This too. It wouldn't be able to sustain this style anyway.

One more page to go and I'm homefree. These are some artworks that I made before I dived fulltime into the project. I can't find any use for them other than post it here for posterity or something.

Still busy. Sorry I haven't been able to recreate the old CLASS strip for today. I promise to come up with it next week but to make up for the lack I thought of playing an old game called, "Spot the Difference."

These are two versions of the same strip, the black and white version above was the one that saw print in Philippine News this week and the colored version below it is the one I edited earlier today because I was unhappy with the way it was originally drawn. There are around ten differences between the two and it's up to you to find out which ones. Answers should be posted in the comments section below, the first person to answer correctly will be given a "kiriban" prize of sorts (which will be a first for me).

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

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