The works of the new breed of Pinoy comic book storytellers.

by Rick Olivares |

In comic book geek-dom parlance, “pull list” refers to the list a comic specialty shop provides to its loyal customers that allows them to pre-order what they want.

With all the buzz surrounding the new releases at Indieket (Independent Komiks Market), the second biggest comics convention of the year, I made a checklist of the books I planned on purchasing.

This is the third year of Indieket, the middle of the three huge Komikons held annually in Metro Manila, and personally, I thought that it reinforced the positive growth of the market.

And it was a fun day for those who love the medium as there were some really terrific books available.

If you missed them this past weekend, you can still track them down at your nearest comic book specialty shop or the next Komikon this coming November!

Here’s what I wholeheartedly recommend (aside from the re-issues of Arnold Arre’s Trip to Tagaytay and Martial Law Babies):

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Tip the Waiter by Elbert Or

One of the best cartoonists in the country serves up an actual collection of witticisms, snarky and humorous comments (or veiled complaints), and sketches on actual receipts or paper placements about dining in various establishments around the metropolis. If you like Banksy’s Wall and Piece, then you should pick up Elbert Or’s Tip the Waiter. As you go through it, you’ll realize you’re smiling, nodding, and then thinking of your own “tips.”

If this inspires you, dining outside will never be the same again. Bring a pen or pencil with you the next time you eat out.

Sumpa by Paolo Herras and Brent Sabas

A god of the pre-colonial days walks the earth with a mage who is either cursed or blessed with the ability to battle dark magic. If you’re a fan of Hellblazer and the television series Supernatural, you’ll love this book. It also has the one of the best cover concepts ever.

Crest Hut Butt Shop #4 by Gerry Alanguilan

With all the superhero, supernatural or manga-themed books out in the market, it is always refreshing to read a story that is about life or something like that. If Wasted (also by the masterful Alanguilan), for all its anger and violence, brought a tear to your eye after its tragic conclusion, this latest issue of Crest Hut Butt Shop will do the same.

The best story ideas always come from real life and experiences.

Bleak by Avery Hipol and Sherwin Uy

It’s (the television hit series) Falling Skies over the Philippines. We have been inundated by all these extinction event stories in all sorts of genres and media whether from natural disasters, wars or viruses. The trick has been devising new, creative and horrible ways of destroying the human race. Alien invasion has been nothing new since H.G. Wells, but it remains captivating nonetheless.

You see, the underlying theme of all these extinction event stories is hope. The local military doesn’t have the hardware to deal with separatist rebels how much more aliens? So it would be interesting to see how good ole Filipino ingenuity will save the day.

Karit by Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal (two issues)

Technically, they aren’t new releases as the two issues came out in 2012 and 2013. But my first exposure to Ronzkie’s work was in Sulyap 2, a collection of some of the komiks to look out for) and it blew me away so this was right atop my “must get” list.

Ronzkie’s artwork is hauntingly beautiful. I love the level of detail and the expressions and style that reminds me of the great Jay Anacleto. Every panel is something you savor and take in. Furthermore, there’s a hint of pain behind every stroke and that to me is what makes it powerful.

Karit is a story about a girl named Lupe who sells vegetables for a living, yet is treated to so much verbal and physical abuse that she reaches a breaking point. Now, she has this karit (sickle) that she uses to survive. Or is it to wreak vengeance?

Shades of Gerry Alanguilan’s Wasted. Powerful. Disturbing. Entrancing. And yet so brilliant.

Sulsi by Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal (three issues out)

So many things came rushing into my mind when I saw Sulsi. Tim Burton. The Gingerbread Man. Toy Story. I even got that Archaia (the publisher of the most excellent Mouse Guard) vibe.

Sulsi is about a group of ragdolls who come to life and embark on a quest to search for heaven. If Toy Story made you to look at your toys in a different way, Sulsi will reinforce those lessons of friendship, loyalty and hope.

If I had a Spidey sense, I’d say that tinge of danger or darkness about Sulsi never goes away, however Ronzkie’s writing for Sulsi that is spiced with a sense of humor that is never forced or contrived. It, in fact, adds to the unpredictability of the book. And you can’t help but get hooked.

Moymoy and the Forest Guardian (one shot) by Niño Balita

A young boy searches for his long-missing father who along with other barrio folk set out to hunt down a monster that terrorized their village. Along the way, he befriends the Forest Guardian, who is a giant of a man. The two bond along the way until they arrive at the cave of the Guardian of the Mountain, who is holding the missing barrio folk captive. The two guardians battle with the latter losing. After Moymoy frees his father and the villagers, his friend, the Forest Guardian, is nowhere to be found. Was the Guardian a figment of his imagination?

A one-shot story that will remind you of the tales you read as a kid.

Fallen Ash by Kimberly Smith and Benjamin Bartolome

The third issue of this fantasy adventure series is out! It could be the new Elfquest, however, with some touches of the William Joyce’s The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (I also got that “Bone” vibe during the battle in the forest in the first issue). It’s about a race of green-skinned people who live in the woods where the rulers hatch Lannister-like schemes and machinations that aren’t clear yet. But they don’t bode well for the protagonists of the story – Ash and his wife Anara – as the lines are clearly drawn.

The print version of the first issue is available in color and black and white. Issues number two and three are in black and white so far. There are digital versions too.

I will follow the development of this title. Holds quite some promise!

And lastly, there’s…

Marianing by Nikolo Salazar

If you’re a fan of those Japanese manga/anime Vampire Hunter D or Blood, then Marianing is right up your dark and dangerous alley.

Marianing is a historical fantasy (Leyte at the turn of the 20th century) about a man who joins a secret society charged with eliminating demons that feed on humanity.

While the concept of guardians against the forces of evil is nothing new especially in the light of placing them in real and actual periods of human history (see Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Hellboy or the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to name a few), Marianing is the only local komik that I am aware of that is set in the past. So I am eager to see what spin Salazar weaves in this book.

The artwork is clear and dynamic. What prevents me from totally enjoying the book is its printing that is too dark making it difficult to appreciate the artwork. But it is still a good pick-up!

While there were a lot of titles released (I couldn’t buy everything now can I), I’d say that this is a good sampling of the best books out there. If you’re looking for them, track them down via Google or Facebook. Of you can try Comic Odyssey and Filbar’s.