Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The newspaper stand at the Shaw-Pioneer corner was selling what's left of their batch of Sterling comics. Despite the worn dust-crusted covers, these comics made me whip out P40, and I eagerly carried them home. (Only four of the five titles were available.) This is my first contact with the Caparas babies since their release last month.

I went up to my room, sat on my bed, and excitedly leafed through each one. I smiled.

It was like the eighties again. There's the good, and the not so good. Overall, however, it still felt like the eighties.

And, sadly, that's not good.

I expected much from the printing, given that Sterling has been successful with their greeting cards and stationery, churned out by their up-to-date printing facilities. (When I worked with the company in 1990, their quality was already comparable with the sosyal Hallmark cards.) I've seen better color-printing-on-newsprint from smaller presses. So if the production people say that they're still "learning from the experience," I personally wouldn't buy it. Maybe I just got bad copies.

I can't comment much on the stories, since they're much like the kinds of stories I remember enjoying way back. Very business-as-usual. Plus, the incidental images of gore are still there. (I actually cringed at the image of a man being eaten alive by Kroko, as well as the policeman's skull exploding. Then there's the image of a rapist whose nether regions were being feasted upon by demons. At least, Philippine comics still have that license.) So, it's like picking up from where things had been left off, the intro to a new weaning phase. There's that wish, however, that a slow evolution will take place after a year or so and writers will exercise a little more daring. Familiar territory, but new ground.

Art is a mixed bag. I expected to be wowed, really, and that didn't happen for the most part. I was thinking, since these veteran artists have supposedly been given a chance to finally show what they're capable of, why do the classic works look better still? I don't want to blame the printing, because bad printing can't completely hide otherwise astounding artwork.

Then again, these artists have been out of the loop for a very long time, so perhaps output will improve significantly over the next few months.

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