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Komiks: Ready for a comeback? – Vic Poblete article in Manila Bulletin

image courtesy of Mr. Randy Valiente

article written by: Therese J. Camet, for Manila Bulletin

If kilometric literary pieces bore the heck out of the students, perhaps comics can do the trick to get them back into the reading habit.

After all, reading was nearly everybody’s favorite pastime back in the days when life was still simple and not yet dictated by modern technology.

A forgotten reading material that kept people entertained and occupied during their dull moments, Filipino komiks were once again introduced to the students of De La Salle University Dasmariñas when the school mounted a two-week comic exhibit.

Dubbed “Buhay Komiks,” the exhibit mounted at the school’s library featured the works of Pinoy komiks legend Vic Poblete.

One of his best works was the “Devil Car,” which won as the Best Fantasy Novel in KOMOPEB Awards in 1985.
read more of the article at http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2008/04/02/20080402120774.html

From Illustrating to Writing

A native Caviteño, Mang Vic went to high school at the Ateneo De Manila and took up Fine Arts at the University of Sto. Tomas to pursue his passion for drawing.

Alas, he dropped out of college after second year when he realized that he wasn’t really learning much from his professors. According to him, their professor would bring them outdoors and ask them to draw the statues on campus, which he thought wasn’t really an effective way to learn how to draw.

Believing in the old saying that “experience is the best teacher,” Vic tried his luck at a comic publication where he had the chance to work with some of the best illustrators.

As a result, he came to a conclusion that he’s not a very good artist after all. Still, he didn’t lose hope and gave it a shot.

In 1969, Vic landed a job in another comic publication, this time as a short story writer and an illustrator. Ironically, Vic realized that he could be a better writer than an illustrator, and so he pursued his newly-discovered talent.

“Mas madali para sa’kin magsulat kaysa magdrawing,” says Vic, adding that he found it easier to write than to draw.

The Comics Industry

Vic officially started his career in the komiks industry in 1969 at R.A.R. Publications, which was owned by Mars Ravelo, the author who created our favorite heroine “Darna.”

One of the pioneering employees in the company, Vic was eventually promoted as a managing editor in 1971 (from being a layout artist).

Then again, his promotion didn’t stop him from trying out other companies.

A year later, he transferred to Atlas Publication as a layout artist. Atlas was one of the biggest comic companies at the time, and published the then-popular Pilipino Komiks.

Innately talented, Vic became the company’s art director soon after he joined Atlas.

As an art director, he likewise had the chance to exercise his talent as a komiks novelist.

According to Vic, he made P 3 for one laid-out page of his story, while a page of his drawings earned him five pesos.

“This was considered a good income (at) that time because the exchange rate was just P 2 to a dollar,” he recalls.

“And so, I decided to go on my own and just worked from home. I thought that was a pretty good job because I was earning more than the average employee and I didn’t have to go to the office everyday. I would only go to work to submit my story and pick up my salary,” he continued.

One of the most in-demand comic novelists at that time along with Pablo Gomez, Jim Fernandez, Elena Patron, Nerissa Cabral, Hal Santiago, Gilda Olvidado, Vincent Kua, and Carlo Caparas, Vic penned over 200 serialized komiks novels and hundreds of short stories in both Filipino and English, 13 of which have been turned into movies. Among these were “Shanghai Joe” and “Dancing Masters” in the 70s and “Black Magic,” a fantasy–comedy flick in the 80s with Dolphy and ZsaZsa Padilla.

The Decline of the Industry

Vic’s fame came to an end in the 90s when Filipinos learned how to use the internet and fell in love with high-tech gadgets.

“Many factors conspired to bring the industry down on its knees, which was primarily affected by the advancement of technology,” states Vic.

“The people would rather spend their free time browsing the internet, (sending) text messages, (watching) their favorite teleserye on TV or…pirated DVDs…They’d rather spend their money on (cellphone) load or food than to buy komiks,” he laments.

Thus, the komiks industry started to decline, and many publications closed down, leaving komiks writers and illustrators jobless.

Sad to say, most of these talented writers and artists are unemployed, waiting for opportunity to knock on their doors.

Vic, for instance, spends most of his time at home collecting ideas for future job opportunities.

Among his recent accomplishments was the English adaptation of seven Western literary classics for digital audio-visual media, which was produced in the United States and was released internationally.

Then again, Vic is looking forward to reviving the industry through the help of businessmen and komiks enthusiasts bold enough to venture into the industry and get people back into the habit of komiks reading.

Sounds feasible. After all, veteran komiks writer and acclaimed director Carlo J. Caparas launched his own komiks series last year under Sterling Publishing, and got a lot of positive feedback from readers.



April 3, 2008 - Posted by | interview, komiks |

1 Comment »

  1. You might find this site interesting as it lets you link the Manila Times newspaper cover to your blog http://www.dailynewspapercovers.com/View/Philippines/Manila+Times/

    Comment by Manila Times | April 17, 2008 | Reply

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