Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wretched Wrenches

I just came from the blogs of Gerry and Zach only to read disappointing news about the latest development in Pinoy comics. Well, it's wonderful conceptually, but the way things have turned out, some monkey has been throwing wrenches at the gears. It's only a matter of time when something really sticks.

The move to reintroduce mass market comics displays a belief that Filipinos can begin to embrace again a medium they had long since forgotten. With a major company backing the effort, with potentially profitable results, it'll only be a matter of time when others follow suit.

However, belief in a product's marketability is different from belief in the product itself. Moreso, the business world (as opposed to the personal convictions of the folks who run it) has not been known to believe in products per se.

To believe in comics is to respect the process behind every story and every page. To believe in comics is to give creators, the heart and soul of every comics work, their due. If a publishing house is genuinely fueled by the love for comics, then ideally there should be a compromise between how much money it earns and the goodwill it generates with creators.

Having worked in corporations large and small for the past 17 years, I know the frustration that comes with the words "there's no budget." It still boggles me how some companies would spend gobs of money for prizes during investors' golf tournaments, and yet give only a fraction of that for employee Christmas parties. One of my friends lamented how, in his failed effort to replace their department's prehistoric digital camera, the executive office acquired a large painting that could've paid for at least two digital SLRs.

Of course, one ought not to solely accuse the biz world for its seeming lack of heart. Business is business, black and white. To fault it for its incapacity for compassion is like expecting me to worship haute couture or join a local Harley biker club.

To do their jobs, comics creators don't need expensive equipment. They can make comics with a ballpoint pen and a paper napkin, supplemented by a smooth work surface and ample lighting. But because they create the product. what they do need is compensation that matches their talent. Income that not only recognizes the creators value, but also is substantial enough to afford the creator a decent full-time living. If the comics creator isn't particularly business-savvy, is allergic to contracts and wanting in negotiating skills, he needs an agent who can shout "Show me the money!" for him. This agent should know the value of talent, and how much it contributes to the whole scheme of things.

Apparently, the story revealed by Gerry and Zach points an accusing finger at the agent--the wrench-wielding monkey. And some of the comics creators in question are already in their prime--the Veterans, who have already experienced unfair treatment over the length of their comics careers.

So you have this unsavory image of a monkey with a utility belt full of wrenches (he having already done some wrenching to create this scenario), leading a group of innocent elders to a sweat shop. The Veterans, having no other steady source of income, choose to follow the monkey so that they can finally have that long overdue annual check up. Maybe they'll be lucky enough to have some cash left over to buy actual food, but that idea exists in the realm of hope.

Now I don't know who this monkey really is. No names have been mentioned, though the little clues lead me to a possible culprit. And so I say, "Bad monkey, bad monkey. It's alright to look like one, but you don't have to act like one."

I may be emotionally jumping the gun here, given that I don't know all the facts, but I have seething disgust for those who benefit greatly from the unjust use of other's efforts.


Anonymous said...

lagay mo po ito sa blog mo...

God bless po...u

Carver said...

ah...okee. :-)


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