Komiket 2016: Indie Comics for the Win
The rocket has been launched. Comic book artists, book lovers, and even romance writers gathered in Komiket 2016 (Filipino Komiks, Books, & Art Market) at Elements Centris in Quezon City. The whole venue buzzed with activity as comics fans and geeks moved from one booth to another. Lots of merchandise were sold – from books and self-published indie comics and zines, to toys, stickers, and even cupcakes!
I was lucky to be part of the third Komiket – the first two were in April and October 2015. Along with other members of AYUN! Komiks, we launched our latest issues and bought comics and kitschy items from other artists and exhibitors.
Komiket 2016 Awards
Though I attended the two-day event in October, this was my first time to witness the Komiket Awards, which recognized the best comic books launched at the convention. The panel of judges consisted of three great writers and artists: Arnold Arre, author of the award-winning graphic novel Mythology Class; Ruel De Vera, columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer; and Ricky Lee, mentor to hundreds of scriptwriters and the winner of the 2013 Gawad Urian Lifetime Achievement Award.
After careful deliberation, the Komiket Awards jury finally revealed the cream of the crop – Mich Cervantes, author of Itch, for Best Writer; and Jose Victor Fuentecilla and Arjohn Perdon, artists of Agila, for Best Artist and Best Student Komiks.
JC Panlilio, author and creator of the self-published indie comics Agila, said Komiket is one of the best local comics conventions. He had been to Komiket in the past, but this was his first time as an exhibitor.
“The concept of Agila is pretty simple but unique. It’s the story of a college professor who came upon a mysterious wooden mask that grants him the power of flight. With it, he’s trying to balance his superhero career, his work, and his personal life,” he explained.
They have already released their second issue, and Agila 3 is a work in progress. What is definite is that JC and his friends will keep publishing indie comics as often as they can work on them.
Feelings for Sale
Another new thing at the Komiket was the #romanceclass table, where locally and independently published romance novellas were sold for PHP150 to PHP200. Most of these works were the products of bestselling author Mina V. Esguerra’s online workshops — #romanceclass2013, SparkNA, BuqoYA, and Strangelit. I bought two of the Strangelit novellas – Majesty and The ‘Forget You’ Brew – and I went home giddy, excited to read them.
Jay E. Tria, author of Majesty and Blossom among Flowers, said it was her first time to join Komiket, and she was so glad she did. “[There were] so many beautiful things created by talented people. I went around the venue twice, picking up things here and there. The second round is where I lost all my money, ha-ha. But I was very happy with my haul. My favorites are the UGH comics by Hulyen, that Jon Snow sticker, and, of course, my #romanceclass books,” she said over email.
Paper Planes Back Home and The ‘Forget You’ Brew author Tara Frejas, on the other hand, found the experience fun. “It was amazing to see all that talent from a mostly young crowd. I got to meet Manix Abrera, whose humor I love, so that was awesome,” she added.
Great Feedback for Komiket 2016
I asked them about how attendees and “con veterans” responded to the books sold at their table, Jay described them as surprised (in a good way). Tara also said that they came to Komiket not expecting much because the crowd was not exactly their target market.
“I think they responded to our covers and our ‘Feels for Sale’ sign. Our books with illustrations as covers did better than books with photo covers, and in hindsight that makes sense given the crowd. It was an experiment, but all in all, we’re happy with the results!” Jay said, euphoria still evident in her.
The next Komiket is still several months from now. Meanwhile, the #romanceclass team is polishing their sales hooks, while the rest of us are working on our next issues. The Komiket Committee is indeed blasting off to greater heights, supporting and contributing to the ever-evolving local indie comics industry. They did a wonderful job with Komiket 2016!
Author Criselda Santos is also the creator of “The Lolita Chronicles: AWOL to Remember,” which was released at Komiket.