underpass by gerry alanguilan, david hontiveros, budjette tan, oliver pulumbarit, ian sta maria, kajo baldisimo

Posted on April 27, 2010


How I got it…
Through a monito-monita Christmas gift-giving; thanks Mommy Doc Cecille!

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 are 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. Who says scary half-women who fly on bat-like wings, trailing entrails, shouldn’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.

Posted in: filipino, graphic, scary