Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What is mainstream Pinoy comics?

There's a discussion over at Randy's blog about "mainstream" and "indie" media. It's an interesting topic.

I look at mainstream and indie from a business model side and a content side. As far as business models go, I think mainstream is the realm of the larger companies who have their tried-and-tested methods of developing and distributing their products. Indie producers, I believe, are generally those who don't like, if not abhor, the serpentine methods of their sturdier counterparts, prompting them to forge their own path toward recognition.

As far as content goes, I think mainstream is akin to pop, while indie is related to alternative. This contrast has been fluid, particularly within the music scene, where formerly alternative acts have been embraced by the mainstream audience.

So while the characteristics of the business models have not changed much, the characteristics of the content has.

The upcoming P10 comics are by definition part of the mainstream business model. A large company is publishing these comics, using their mouth-watering Heidelberg four-color monoliths, and most probably will be tapping its thick distribution muscle to hurl the output across as many outlets as possible.

But what about the content?

I think it's too early to tell what mainstream Filipino comics is, or has become, considering that the newsstand version of the medium has been out of the loop for over a decade. The last major move of the local comics companies, at least what I remember, was using glossy paper as cover stock. A number of the stories were even drawn in crude Image-style, since that was the trend in the US superhero comics scene in the early 90s.

But during the komiks lull from the mid-90s until today, the psyche of the Filipino when it comes to media has changed. There's mass market mobile services, mass market internet, mass market cable television, movie piracy, reality television, millionaire game shows, the mushrooming of malls and cineplexes, video games, cheaper electronics, call centers, the anime explosion, Chinovelas, Koreanovelas, teleseryes, fantaseryes, globalization, etc. The stories may not have changed much, but the methods, language and the sensibilities have.

Question is: how much have these milestones affected the tastes of the Filipino mass market when it comes to entertainment? (As an example: during the Read-or-Die seminar series held last Sunday, panelists Prof. Glady Gimena and Maia Jose--both romance novelists-- agreed that romance novels written in Taglish have been selling well.) And if there is a significant change, how can this be translated into comics stories that can capture the attention of this transformed audience? Moreover, have the producers done their homework, or will they rely on the "classic" way of presenting Filipino comics?

We'll find out this September. The P10 komiks are on their way.


Majel said...

Hi there :) Found your blog while lurking in others. See you soon?

_davenport_ said...

Grabe i miss Funny komiks.. Hi there bloghopping mula kay rice gurl..

during 90's (im 26 now)..mabenta ang komiks nung elementary ako...noon kasi madaling i-classify ang mga tao--student, may trabaho, batugan at maybahay.

to answer your question, i think mahihirapan sila, kasi parang alang specified market...

napansin ko lang ang mass ay may tendency na sumunod sa isang trend na i-sinet ng isang grupo..halimbawa before ang friendster (not so sure) ay halos para lang sa mga cono, until the general masses catch up and acquire it as their own.

i think that happens in history, a certain group of individuals or people, using this or doing that, after years the masses catch up (i.e. denim pants, sanitary napkins etc)

sa ngaun ang pinacommon na trendsetter ay media. sila ang nag-seset kung ano ang in at hindi.. akala ng iba ito na ang norm ngaun at mahirap ng baguhin. hayun dami nila pera.

Kagaya na lang music videos, tv, radio at billboards charts ang nagdedecide kung sino ang mag-totop one. TV rin nagdedecide kung ano dapat ang headlines, same case sa newspapers..

Buti na lang daw lumabas ang itunes at ipod, tao na ang pumupili ng kung ano ang gusto nilang pakinggan.

and cheers to blogging and Youtube!

Ala lang.


Those people should have a goal, something like a cultural revival that would endures the time, not reviving an old market. Sigh.

Carver said...

majel! Hello dear. :)

davenport... Interesting insight. Parang 'yung sinabi d'on sa Devil Wears Prada. Meryl Streep's monologue about the turquoise belt. :-)

In most cases, I agree that media slaps trends onto the mass market's collective minds. But then again, the market doesn't always pick them up, resulting in a few duds here and there.

I also agree with your point about the lack of a specific market. Mahirap talaga kung isasabog ang produkto sa kung saan-saan at bahala na kung sino ang pumik-ap.


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