Congratulations to the organizers of this year's Komikon! Next year, please!
I arrived at the UP Bahay ng Alumni a little past three in the afternoon. After paying 50 bucks and getting my arm stamped at the entrance, I stepped into the venue and smiled. It looked like there were more people compared to last year.
The superstars and the usual suspects were there. Chatted with Ed Tadeo, Wilson Tortosa, Taga-Ilog, Lyndon Gregorio, Tobie Abad, Marco Dimaano; said hello to Ryan Orosco, Ariel Atienza, Jac Ting Lim, Ryan Toledo, etc. etc. There were new comics from Gerry Alanguilan, Gilbert Monsanto, the Kubori Kikiam team, Budjette Tan, Nautilus Comics, and other indie groups. Because I had arrived late and had to take my post, I wasn't able to get a lot of what was available nor make the rounds. (If I failed to to mention others, so so sorry.) To those who gave me freebies (you know who you are), you guys are too sweet--thank you.
I didn't expect to sign a lot of books this year since, well, the Zaturnnah book has been out forever with nary a follow-up. So I thank those who took the time to have their books signed, and to those who bought.
I was nervous when I was called onstage for a short interview, since I had never ever been on any comics convention stage, ever. I will admit that standing there, with the digicams flashing and the people attentively watching, was far more uneasing than those times I'd perform on the theater stage. If you had been there, now you know why I had my hand on the microphone stand for most of the time. I needed to hold on to something.
One question stood out, the seemingly trite "any advice to those who want to get published" question. Because, seriously, I feel that comics creators would benefit from proposing their projects to publishers first before thinking of self-publishing. If a publisher agrees to a project, then a comics creator can breathe easier, money- and distribution-wise. They can focus more on creating and less on logistics.
So my advice consisted of 1) believing in oneself; and 2) loading up on the chutzpah, short of being overbearing and arrogant. If a comics creator has completed a project and wants to get it published and distributed, there's nothing to lose in making a proposal. Rejection is one of the consequences, and must be expected and dealt with gracefully. I've submitted my work to Marvel and DC and have been rejected or ignored more than once. I was of course saddened at first, but that feeling was quickly replaced by, "Okay, so I now know that my style doesn't work for them. That's cool. Maybe I can do something to improve."
(Glasshouse's David Campiti was roaming the premises. Nasindak ako. Heheheh.)
Interestingly, another book publisher approached me and asked if I had any comics stuff that I could propose to them. If I were to stick to that ultimate dream of making comics full-time, then this was one sign of growing opportunity. In case my current publisher had its hands full, I could bring a new book to a new publisher. While I've been getting friendly advice to strike while the iron is hot, I want to take my time with this. I've plotted out a plan, and circumstances will dictate whether I'd go for it.
Before the event ended, Gerry took me aside and interviewed me for one of his YouTube posts, and I hope it looks good and doesn't appear like I'm shouting out my answers. There was loud music playing courtesy of the guest band, and I needed to hear myself speak.
He asked me how I felt about the media attention Zaturnnah has been getting, with the movie and all. In a nutshell, I said that while I'm very grateful for the movie deal, getting the book out in the first place was much more exciting and fulfilling. At the end of the day as a comics creator, that was the whole point.
(Gerry, kapag pangit ako sa video, magmamakaawa ako sa 'yo. Or else, may nga kilala akong mga manok na nagsasalita.)