Are you looking for your next read? Make sure to check out the local komiks scene. Here, we share our favorite Filipino comics, both old and new.
Alandal by J. Philip Ignacio (writer), Alex Niño (illustrator), Lorraine Marie Garcia Barte (lettering)
Synopsis: The komik is set in Islas Filipinas in 1774. Sabina, the twelve year old daughter of a Spanish conquistador in exile, gets abducted by Iranun pirates and taken to the island of Jolo. Once there, Sabina discovers her true identity, as the granddaughter of the Sultan of Sulu. There, she meets a mysterious swordsman named Alandal. Alandal is noted for marking the return of Niño. He is a legendary illustrator nominated for the Eisner Hall of Fame, the comics industry’s equivalent to the Academy Awards. Niño is also one of the Filipino illustrators to have worked with both Marvel and DC.
Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan
Synopsis: Elmer is a window into a world where chickens have suddenly acquired the intelligence and consciousness of humans, where they can now consider themselves a race no different than browns, black, or whites. Recognizing themselves to be sentient, the inexplicably evolved chickens push to attain rights for themselves as the newest members of the human race. Alanguilan made a name for himself illustrating for Marvel and DC Comics.
Tabi Po Isyu 1-3 by Mervin Malonzo
Synopsis: A young man wakes inside a hollow of a tree in the middle of a forest with no memory of who he is or where he’s from or even how to speak. The only things he knows for sure are the image of a young woman he sees every time he closes his eyes, and the maddeningly painful hunger that grows inside his navel-less belly… a hunger for flesh… and blood…
Ang Kagila-Gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah and Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila by Carlo Vergara
Synopsis: Zsazsa Zaturnnah tells the story of Ada, a cynical resident of a small provincial town, who gains superhuman abilities through a stone that falls from the heavens. With the ability to transform into the voluptuous and powerful Zaturnnah, Ada defends his hometown from dangerous otherworldly threats.
Synopsis: After defeating a giant frog, a horde of zombies, and the extraterrestrial Amazonista, small-town beautician Ada begins a new chapter by moving to the big city with hunky Dodong, and taking up residence in the old house of his friend Gwyneth. Not only does earning his keep prove more difficult, Ada also finds himself dealing with a haunting past, the return of the Zaturnnah stone, new enemies and allies, startling revelations, true confessions, and the prospect of a new–and complicated–romance. Can Ada survive a place that seeks to wear out his mind, his body… and his heart?
Tarantadong Kalbo Vols. 1-3 by Kevin Eric Raymundo
Synopsis: Cited as one of the best books of 2020, Tarantadong Kalbo features an irreverent bald protagonist who gives razor-sharp social commentary. There are three volumes to date, along with Baby TK, where Raymundo shares funny stories about growing up in the ’90s.
Twinkle, Twinkle by Tori Tadiar
Synopsis: The city glitters at night: tranvias run up and down wide streets, arcades and hotels are swarmed with celebrities, and theaters attract droves to see stars perform on the silver screen and onstage.
Twins Alta and Signa work at the theaters until dawn, day in and day out. It’s a grind until the next starfall, when they break their routine and use a magical ability to see and catch falling stars, hoping to sell the stardust off to a mysterious patron. But when up-and-coming singer Hanan is catapulted into starsom, the twins are pulled into the orbit of Manila’s star-studded nightlife and discover that catching falling stars is a lot more than they bargained for.
Doobiedoo Asks by Bambi Eloriaga-Amago (writer) and Roland Amago (illustrator)
Synopsis: Doobiedoo asks funny (and pun-ny!) questions. One day, he asks Mom and Dad a rather unusual one: “What is wrong with me?” Determined to help Doobie out, they discover he is on the autism spectrum. But how can first-time parents overcome unexpected challenges to help their son gain the confidence to succeed in school, and go back to being the happy, pun-ny boy everyone loves? Doobiedoo Asks is a semi-autobiographical story for all parents and kids to enjoy.
Trese Vols. 1-7 by Budjette Tan (writer) and Kajo Baldisimo (illustrator)
Synopsis: When the sun sets in the city of Manila, don’t you dare make a wrong turn and end up in that dimly-lit side of the metro, where aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where kapre are the kingpins of crime, and engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions. When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.
The Mythology Class by Arnold Arre
Synopsis: The story centers on University of the Philippines Anthropology student Nicole Lacson, a girl who holds a passionate love for Filipino myths passed down from her grandfather. Together with a motley assortment of companions, she meets the mysterious Mrs. Enkanta and races to recapture enkanto who have escaped and are causing havoc in the human world. The story also references historical and mythological Filipino heroes like Kubin, Sulayman and Lam-ang.
Dante, Damian, and Pascal: The Pusang Kalye
Synopsis: A collection of comical anecdotes about the life of a policeman named Dante, his partner and tricycle driver named Damian, and their wisecracking attitude-giving cat named Pascal.
Dead Balagtas Tomo 1: Mgs Sayaw ng Dagat at Lupa by Emiliana Kampilan
Synopsis: Dead Balagtas is the first and most creative comics about the long and colorful history of the Philippines. In this first volume, a wise babaylan tells the story of the birth of the universe from the passionate love between Tungkung Langit and Laon Sina. Witness the rise of the continents, the clash of oceans, and the romance of sea and earth—forces that shaped and continue to mold our home and nation, the Philippines.
Nang Mainlove Ako sa Isang Sakristan by Richard Mercado
Synopsis: 17-year-old boys Francis and Didoy got caught kissing at the back of the subdivision chapel. Out of shock, the two boys decide to escape humiliation on a journey they’ll likely never forget.
14 by Manix Abrera
Synopsis: 14 is the second silent graphic novel created by Manix Abrera. It tells the story of a human who mysteriously discovers the 13th floor of his building and finds himself in the middle of a storytelling session among different mythological creatures of Philippine folklore. Together with a partying crowd of supernatural beings, he listens to stories narrated by creatures such as the manananggal, diwata, tikbalang, kapre, tiyanak, and even by a white lady and a doppelganger. This graphic novel is Abrera’s first work to achieve a National Book Award (category: Wordless Graphic Literature) in 2015, awarded by the National Book Development Board and Manila Critics Circle.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below!
Do you have a story for the WhenInManila.com Team? Email us at email@example.com or send us a direct message at WhenInManila.com Facebook Page. Interact with the team and join the WhenInManila.com Community at WIM Squad. Join our Viber group to be updated with the latest news!