Yes, once again December has not only crept up on us but is now busy hurtling past us (really, where does the time go?) leading inevitably to Christmas and the end of the year and of course that means its time to commence our traditional Best of the Year features, where we ask a variety of folks to pick out some of their favourite comics and other works from the last twelve months. The very first person to respond this year was a solid fave of a number of the FPI crew: writer, artist and champion of Filipino comics present and classic, Gerry Alanguilan.
FPI: Can you pick three comics/webcomics/graphic novels which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Gerry: “12″ by Manix Abrera, published by Visprint, Inc.
“Trese: Mass Murders” by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, pubished by Visprint, Inc.
“Asterios Polyp” by David Mazzucchelli
The first two graphic novels were the two that were published here in the Philippines that impressed the hell out of me this 2009. Both were released at the recently held 5th Komikon here in the Philippines last October, and these are the two books that clearly stood out from the rest.
(Trese: Mass Murders by and (c) Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, pubished by Visprint, Inc)
Trese: Mass Murders is Book 3 in a 13-issue series on paranormal detective series that offers massively inventive and clever modern twists to traditional Philippine mythological characters.
(12 by and (c) Manix Abrera)
“12″ is the first graphic novel of all new material by Philippine Daily Inquirer cartoonist Manix Abrera, popular locally for his daily strip Kikomachine Komix.
“12″ tells twelve wordless tales depicting the twisted, poignant, heartbreaking, exhilarating and mind boggling imagination of Manix, who I now consider to be the premier Filipino cartoonist working today, and “12″ as the greatest Filipino graphic novel to be published as of yet.
My third graphic novel choice is “Asterios Polyp” by David Mazzucchelli. This thing is an enigma. It contains a relatively simple story (and probably a deceptively simple one), but told in a dazzlingly stunning array of comic book techniques not possible in other mediums. Mazzucchelli is a genius of the form.
FPI: Can you pick three books which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Gerry: It’s probably cheating, but the “First One Hundred Years of Phlippine Comics and Cartoons” written by Dr. John A. Lent and published by Yonzon Associates and launched at the Philippine International Cartoons, Comics and Animation (PICCA) Festival is probably one I enjoyed most. I say cheating since it’s still comics, but what the hell. For the first time in many years I can finally say that there is a book out there that Filipinos (as well as non-Filipinos) interested in our history of comics can actually go and buy off the shelves.
(cover art for John A Lent’s The First One Hundred Years of Philippine Komiks and Cartoons)
FPI: Can you pick three TV shows and/or movies which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Gerry: “Torchwood: Children of Earth”; Russell T. Davies is a right bastard. I can admire him for being one of the most talented men working in television right now, but I can also hate him for the emotional hell he dragged me through in Torchwood’s third series. An absolutely brilliant and stunning piece of television.
I want to add “Doctor Who” this year, but not much Who stuff this year except the somewhat shallow (but FUN) Planet of the Dead earlier this year, and the excellent Waters of Mars. What I hope to be the best episodes are still yet to be shown later this year so I really can’t tell. But yeah, I’m willing to make a gamble and say right now that The End of Time will be among the greatest things ever.
(David Tennant, Bernard Cribbins and John Simm in a publicity pic for this Christmas’ Doctor Who special and Tennant’s swan song as the Doc: The End of Time, (c) BBC)
“PSYCH”, starring James Roday and Dule Hill. One of the most hysterical and fun shows on TV. No drama, no angst, no heartbreak. Just pure unadulterated laugh out loud fun.
FPI: How did 2009 go for you as a creator? Are you happy with the way you got your work out this year?
Gerry: It’s awesome for me creatively, and I’m very happy where I am now. I’ve finally finished my personal comic book series ELMER after several years. This year I released it as a trade paperback, along with a brand new comic book called “Where Bold Stars Go To Die”, illustrated by Arlan Esmeña.
(who are you calling ‘chicken’?!?! Artwork from Gerry’s quite brilliant and highly recommended Elmer series, (c) Gerry Alanguilan)
I’ve also started inking again for Marvel, once again with my old partner Leinil Francis Yu, so it’s been absolutely terrific.
FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2010?
Gerry: Leinil’s and my run on Ultimate Comics Avengers starting with issue #7, and as inking schedule permits, “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Doctor Rizal”, as well as another project for another company involving Martians, which I had been working for a long time now. I’m throwing that in whenever I catch some extra time.
FPI: Anyone you think is a name we should be watching out for next year?
Gerry: Manix Abrera. He’s a guy very popular in the Philippines right now, but watch out, if ever his “12″ gets published abroad, he’s literally gonna catch fire.
FPI: And one final, special question – since its not only the end of the year approaching but also the end of the decade, is there any comics work you’d especially pick out as one of the best you’ve read this decade?
Gerry: Asterios Polyp. Hands down.
You can keep up with Gerry’s work on his Komikero site, where he posts regularly on his own work and that of other interesting artists and events, including some recent coverage of this year’s San Pablo Comics Festival.
(Gerry enjoying himself at the Second San Pablo Comics Festival, pic borrowed from the coverage of the gig on on his blog)