Posts Tagged ‘budjette tan’
underpass by gerry alanguilan, david hontiveros, budjette tan, oliver pulumbarit, ian sta maria, kajo baldisimo
Why I read it…
Trese reminded me that I used to love comics. I wanted to see if I will also enjoy other authors and illustrators from the current crop.
What’s the story?
Is it a glossy magazine? An anthology of edgy music trivia and lyrics? Nah, it’s a collection of four horror stories set in Metro Manila.
In Gerry Alanguilan’s The Sim, a man picks up a SIM card. After inserting it in his cellphone, he receives frantic calls for help. The illustration takes me back to the time newsprint komiks were the vogue in my Manila neighborhood.
In Judas Kiss by David Hontiveros, Budjette Tan, and Oliver Pulumbarit, a murderer has more than murder on his conscience… I think. Very angsty. From purple to green to red to blue to red, the colors added to the visceral impact of the story.
In Katumbas by Hontiveros and Ian Sta Maria, Kadasig is a myth in a shirtless, sword-wielding, muscled warrior form. He hunts a demon who preys on the despair of pedestrians passing through one of Ayala Avenue’s underpass. The drawings were very right for this action story.
In The Clinic, Tan and Baldisimo found another way to place the monsters in our grandmothers’s tales right in the middle of our beloved pop culture icons, like a beauty clinic—staffed by manananggals! Clever of the manananggal, I should think. Who says scary half-women who fly on batlike wings, trailing entrails, wouldn’t have business sense?
Another condenado might be living in the underpass in Ayala. Maybe I should jaywalk until I’m over my funk?
What I liked about it…
The cover. It looks like a Silent Hill version of an underpass. That light at the end of the tunnel? Avoid it. It’s scarier than the dark.
The inversion of our hopes and dreams. In my nightmares, God becomes helpless. In this collection, having hope is senseless. The night terrors are part of the living world.
So what’s to like about that? If I read a horror story, I want to be horrified, duh.
What I didn’t like about it…
I still would have enjoyed these stories even if they were on newsprint. Reading comics these days is so expensive. But then, maybe my grievance has more to do with my own lack of proper respect for graphic novels, as I hardly bat an eye these days spending up to 2K on my book hauls from Fully Booked.
Short stories are nice, but I prefer series. I’d love to see more of Kadasig’s exploits.
The third volume of the popular graphic novel series based on Filipino folklore goes back in time to expand on Alexandra Trese’s origins as well as those of the dagger-wielder’s powerful sidekicks, the Kambal (the Twins). Gorier and edgier, TRESE (13) also finally introduces Anton, Alexandra’s father who died protecting her as she went through the 12 trials, a rite of passage for any aspiring mandirigmang-babaylan (warrior-priestess). For details and more of my impressions on the series, read my previous Trese posts here and here. With this volume, I am satisfied that the series has achieved a neat tie-up to story lines spun from previous volumes, yet apprehensive over the ability of succeeding volumes to live up to the awesome action of Mass Murders (the conclusion was also rather hilarious, a tribute to gaming madness). New premises—the fate of Alexandra’s brothers; her fate; the lost three years, and the ambiguity of her role as mediator between human society and the Underground or as conqueror-destroyer of either world—promise a bigger and more explosive finale or the proverbial carrot on a stick. I hope it’s the later, as I like the idea of an open-ended story. That way the story never ends.
Oh, and in Exhibit 13, my favorite is by Melvin Arciaga.
And, darn it, there goes the binding. VISPRINT, use better glue!!! Or readers will be saying next that someone in your printing press is cheating on the books by using paste for good-quality glue!