With 2009 about to close, I hope 2010 and beyond will see more major Pinoy graphic novels being published. This year had the compiled El Indio (Francisco Coching), the compiled Elmer (Gerry Alanguilan), 12 (Manix Abrera), Underpass (Summit Media), Trese: Mass Murders (Budjette Tan and Ka-Jo Baldisimo), Where Bold Stars Go To Die (Alanguilan and Arlanzandro Esmeña), etc. etc. etc. Compared to previous years, a lot of major comics work. If the publishers of the above are all members of the National Book Development Board, next year's National Book Awards race will prove interesting.
It took a bit over ten years for Pinoy graphic novels to get this far, beginning with Arnold Arre's groundbreaking work on The Mythology Class. Now that book publishers are beginning to dip both feet in the graphic novel medium, it's high time for all you aspiring graphic novelists to pick your brains, hunker over those keyboards and drawing pads, and churn out material.
My personal definition of a graphic novel may not be the same as that of my contemporaries, but you don't have to start with a 140+page behemoth. A 64 to 80-page graphic novella will be a good start as any. This page count is enough to be square-bound for the bookshelf.
Start with a simple story--your epic star-spanning ideas would be good for future works once you get the hang of things. For those who don't already know, I started solo in 2001 with the 56-page One Night In Purgatory. It features only two people and the consequences of their past.
If you're hoping to get the interest of a book publisher, however, it would be advantageous to add a bit of urgency and relevance to your story. Apart, of course, from it being well-written and drawn. There are stories everywhere, from the Ondoy experience to the contact center explosion, from the Ozone tragedy to OFWs. I'm sure One Night In Purgatory wouldn't pass a book publisher's standards, simply because the story leans toward the generic end.
You can spend the next two months (December to January) working on a suitable plot, researching, making a preliminary draft of the script, and developing visuals. The month following (February) can be used for script edits and polishing, plus finalizing the overall visuals. Devote four to five months (March to July) for artwork, lettering and book design.
If you don't have a publisher, there's always the Web. But having your work printed by a professional publishing house is a snazzy reward for many aspiring authors. You may not rake in enough to make a living off of it, but it's a great add-on to the credentials.
All the best!!
image by lusi, sxc.hu