Monday, November 28, 2005

Art Roots Part 1

My parents lived in a not- so known city in northern Mindanao called Gingoog (pronounced hee-ngo-og). It's better described to Filipinos as the city in between the more known Cagayan de Oro City and Butuan city. I grew up on this area. Learnt so many things in life, And it was i this place where my love for comics was first hatched.

I guess I'd have to thank my public school teacher mother for my earliest influences. She was the one who introduced me to komiks( the filipino term for the local comics). Mama has been buying and reading komiks as far as i can remember. Back then Komiks was the most popular form of entertainment since only the few well- off family can afford television back then(mostly black & white cabinet type) and the other form of entertainment was only the radio.

My father wa very strict with schedules. I guess I got that trait from him. But back then it used to piss the hell out of me because we cannot play outside when the hand of the clock hits six. And I could not stand listening to the horror segments in the radio so i ended up copying things from the stockload of komiks that my mother had. I guess this was even before I started school since I can remember drawing things for my classmates at first grade.

These copying has evolved into a hobby. Whenever I have no homework (well okay, even I had one) I always take a stack of the komiks and just randomly copy the drawings there that I like. And i basically learnt reading too thru this medium. And i like reading it since it was accompanied with nice figures and colourful drawings especially the fantasy- themed stories.

By age 9 I was already making my own komiks, with my own stories using cheap bond papers and ordinary ball-point pen to draw. I fold the papers in half and staple it at the centre before drawing on it. These were later sold or given as gifts to friends and classmates. By this time also I already had "idols", artists that drew the best stories and illustrations that I like best. I always tried swiping them out, copying the exact figures that would fit to my own stories (well my stories were mostly based on these characters too). It was in this age too (1983) that I first had my first encounter with an american comicbook. It was with a classmates who's relatives live in the the US. I cannot forget the first book. It was Fantastic Four by Lee & Kirby. I remembered being so amazed by its style that was so different from the homegrown artists that I idolized at that time. I mean, it doesn't made Redondo or Florese inferior, it's just that it's so fresh to my eyes that I ended up borrowing the book and read it in my home over and over again. This led me to exposure to the great universe of Marvel and DC.

Upon reaching fifth grade I already began to buy, trade, and rent my favourite komiks. Religiously waiting for the next issue (in this case, weekly). The income I had for this will eventually be used to buy the more expensive maerican comics which were only available in big bookstores.I remembered buying titles like Wolverine(Bloodlust) and Captain America and was very influenced by it. The way that in the local komiks, Vic Catan's Jippen: Anti-ninja and Rudy Florese's Exkirmuz became my art bible for a long time.

but the single series that made an impact to me was 1986's Man of Steel by Byrne and Giordano. I busted my Piggy bank to buy the first three issue.

end of part 1