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Monday, March 26, 2012

A Tribute to Childhood and Humble Beginnings: Pilipino Funny Komiks

As one choco milk commercial has said: "Great things start from small beginnings." For our first komiks feature, we will be giving tribute to the komiks that started it all. Not just for me, but for most of the komiks enthusiasts that I know.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:
Pilipino Funny Komiks by Islas Filipinas Publishing Co., Inc.

Pilipino Funny Komiks, more commonly known as "Funny Komiks" or "FK" for short, first made its way into the news stands in the 1978. I got my first copy around 1990, when I was just three years old. My mother and I had a ritual: she would bring home a copy after work on Friday nights. We had this silent agreement that I had to be good the whole week so that I could be guaranteed a copy of Funny Komiks by Friday evening. (I guess that pretty much explains why I have several missing issues. :P)

My entire childhood was devoted to collecting copies of FK, and I had copies dating back to 1990 until I learned recently that the oldest copies had been "accidentally" sold off to the junkshop. (ARGH!!!)

How high is the pile? My dog Cappuchino did the honors of providing the scale.

Unlike other komiks that focus on a single story per issue like most American comics, Funny Komiks is a collection of several stories in one issue. This is similar to the layout of manga magazines from Japan, except each issue of Funny Komiks is about 20-30 pages long. This is the layout that has been long adapted by komiks artists. (How long, I'm not really sure. My mother says that layout has been around since her time so I guess its pretty old.) But because of this format, each story only have three to four pages long of exposure time before giving way to another story, leaving the readers hanging in suspense until the next Friday when the next issue comes out.

Yep. Bitin much, right? And yes, it's not just once did I scream, "OMG!!! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!" mentally (and sometimes, out loud.)

Still, what can you expect for something worth only a few pesos? I used to buy it for P5.00, but I have read from the milestones in their special anniversary issue that their copies used to be priced at 10 centavos!

But this strategy was probably the secret to FK's success as they continued to become one of the bestselling komiks even after the other komiks began to disappear from news stands.

(Salvaged) Pile No. 2: Circa 1995 - 2001

Still, all good things must come to an end. By the time the new millenium started, Funny Komiks began to suffer a decline in sales. I noticed this as lesser and lesser newsstands offered FK until it finally disappeared altogether in 2007 (*). It managed to reappear in 2009 (*) in two succeeding issues but because the look, feel, and theme had changed, it failed to pick up where the old FK had left off.

The stories changed over time, though they continued to evolve together with the changes in the tastes of the generation.

The oldest copy that I have at the time of writing is a Christmas Issue from 1994.
Ad placement for Cetrin Energy Drink not intended.

Not limiting themselves to comedy, Funny Komiks welcomed artists that showcased new content. At the time that mecha cartoons and anime was popular, FK came out with cyborgs in the form of Combatron, Jonax, Viktar Starkid, and Voltek Payb (a comedy parody of the mecha series, specifically Voltes V). As for super heroes, who can forget the rotund Pinoy version of Superman, Super Blag! with his unusual flying pose and his named coined from the sound he made whenever he landed?

When the movie Casper came out in 1995, FK released a new series entitled Bamper which is about a female ghost and the young boy she was guarding. The comedy line did not escape this trend as FK also published localized versions of Tom and Jerry (Tomas and Kulas), Dennis the Menace (Pitit, Eklok), and Planet of the Apes (Planet op di Eyps).

It did not take long for the anime and manga influence to appear in Funny Komiks. Some of the famous titles were Tinay Pinay, AX: Defenders of the Universe, Dragon Force, and Kenji: Hero Warrior. There are more titles under the Funny Komiks name and you can find more information/scanlations of the old and recent stories published in Funny Komiks at Komiklopedia.

With this collection of talented komiks artists, one cannot deny the fact that Funny Komiks became their first or final stepping ground into or out of the komiks industry. Some FK artists now work as illustrators for children's books. Others went to other countries to perfect their craft and make a name abroad. While those who are still part of the local industry continue their struggle and pursuit of their life's work and are now making their mark on the generation of today.

Looking back at my copies of Funny Komiks, I feel a sense of nostalgia as I remember how FK was a big part of my childhood. The characters of the stories were my best friends, and the artists and writers my own inspiration to become a komiks artist and writer myself. It might be wishful thinking, but I do hope that Funny Komiks makes another comeback, with the same theme, same feel, and same look. If possible, even the same artists. So that when the time comes, I will be able to pass down the stories of FK to my kids, and so that they too will be wrapped in the same magic that only komiks have.

*sigh*

If only I can tell you all about those stories! Like the time when Tinay Pinay busted out the aliens or when Eklok went caroling with ghosts or when Combatron fought off Mega Death and...

Wait a minute! Why don't I tell you my Top 5 Favorite FK Stories instead?! And I can also share with you links where you can read copies of them online for free!

That means I have to re-read Funny Komiks again... and CHOOSE ONLY FIVE?!

WTF. This is going to be hard. Let me think about this for a sec.

...

For the love of Funny Komiks and OMG!!! Komiks!:
Challenge Accepted Meme image from Photobucket.
Edited using MS Paint. THIS is why I am still a frustrated komiks artist.
(And yes, those are cat ears. Deal with it.)

Ok! It's final! So watch out for my next post!

For now, I'll be taking off my cat ears and fulfill my spiritual duties for the Lenten Season. But I'll be back! And when I do, you better be ready! Because your summer is about to be Komified!

Neko Mimi, over and out!



Footnote:
*approximate year only, based on the observed visibility on newsstands.

The Girl with Cat Ears would like to extend her thanks to Ms. Tarie Sabido of Into the Wardrobe for proofreading this post.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Mystery That is OMG!!! Komiks!




Welcome Komik Fans to OMG!!! Komiks!, where we save the world one komik at a time! I am the Girl with Cat Ears (a.k.a. Neko Mimi), and I will be your guide to the awezumest world of the Filipino komiks!

I'm guessing you have that smug look because I made a typo in my blog name and had to deal with it. Well, I'm sorry if I'm a disappoint but I'm sticking to the word "komiks" instead of "comics" because that's the way it's supposed to be spelled. Because I'm not going to be talking about American comic books like the Sandman, Justice League, X-men or Spawn. I'm talking about Pinoy Komiks, the ones made by Filipinos locally and/or internationally.

The Pinoy Komik industry was not as lame (I'm sorry!) as it is now. Rizal was credited to be one of the first few who wrote komiks back in his time, but the real boom of the komiks in the Philippines was during the 1920 up to the early 2000 where komiks were a mainstream form of entertainment for everyone. It's easy to see why, since there was no Internet then (or people were just starting to overcome their social anxiety with the Interwebs).

Nowadays, with people glued to anything offered online, printed komiks are facing a decline not just in sales but also in audience. But OMG!!! Komiks! is going to change all of that! By reading one komiks at a time, I will save the unappreciated komiks from the clutches of the Recycle Bin of Disappointments and Frustrations and rule the world!!!

*insert canned applause here*

Hahaha. Okay. Maybe *not* exactly like that. But you get the idea. :P

But why komiks? Why not books? Or art? Or maybe food?

It's not because I don't like books, art or food. God knows how much I love these three. Let's just say its my way of paying komiks back. It was through komiks that I learned to read and draw. I've also met a lot of wonderful like minded people who are into komiks like me.

I also want to help komiks artists, writers, and publishers who, having found no financial benefit from creating komiks here in the Philippines, fly off to another country and make their name there. I got nothing against that. They are seeking greener pastures that can't be found here. I think that if we were to support those in the Pinoy Komiks industry,they would have another reason for staying and pursuing their current works.

Sounds like a tall order huh? It is, seeing that the number of indie komiks increase every single convention. But I will do my best to review each and every one of them, even if I'm just going to be a single speck in the interwebs universe.

Whew! Ok. That's it.

Neko Mimi, Over and out!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A New Hero is Born!

Reads komiks and manga faster than a speeding bullet.

Can stand in line for hours to have a komik or manga signed by the author and/or artist.

Able to squeeze the last of her savings just to get her hands on a copy of a komik or manga.


The villain of indie book shops and the mistress of komikons....



She is...


NEKO MIMI !

Saving the world one komik or manga at a time!



Coming soon to the Komikon near you....



Watch out for her misadventures with komik fans and otakus here at OMG!Komiks!

*image courtesy of Tektek Gaia Dream Avatar. Next time I'll make my own.