Flippin’ Year!

…Flipping pages, that is. 2011 has been a fruitful year for me and reading; the renaissance of a forgotten hobby. Currently, I am wondering how this all started, and how I managed to squeeze this into such a hectic year.

I counted 45 books/short reads I finished this year, which is as far as I remember. I think I read 3 more by Bob Ong, but I didn’t include that since I was not sure. Many of the books are actually pretty short yet still do not lose the essence of it being a well-written read. Many of these are also Graphic Fiction, which is, again, an easy and quick form.

I started reading this by late December of last year and ended by early February, I think. The Lost Symbol is easily one of the most interesting books I’ve read.

Who says Philippine publication is lame and corny? I don’t. Well, for the most part, I think it depends on taste. I am very certain that there are a whole lot more of great reads by Filipinos out there and that there are a lot of authors waiting to be read.

Pictured above is (from left to right) This is a Crazy Planets by Lourd de Veyra, Dumot by Alan Navarra, and Nag-iisa Lang ako by Tado Jimenez. 

After tweeting Gerry Alanguilan (@komikero) about the unavailability of ELMER in Baguio, he immediately sent copies to Mt Cloud Bookshop (which became one of my favorite spots in the city). ELMER was the beginning of my fondness for Filipino comics, or komiks. And for the rest of the year, I would probably be trying to read whatever my wallet wills. 

…And more comics. It’s cool how I got the New X-Men:Ultimate Collection Volume 1 brand new for like 300 something pesos when the original price could reach up to 1,300+ pesos. Nothing really, I just find it cool.

The Walking Dead was an awesome way to deviate from previous genres I got used to. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.

Lastikman was a great shot at reinventing, or rediscovering, a Pinoy komik hero. It seemed kind of cheesy, but it was actually quite enjoyable.

Siglo: Freedom is a grafiction anthology presenting different stories by several of the country’s best writers and artists. Personally, I think the best part of this book is that it tackles freedom from different point-of-views and shows how different people, from whatever era they’re from, long to have freedom, even to the death for some.

Now, the Zsazsa Zaturnnah series is really, and I mean really, different, well, because it’s, um, gay. Literally. But when you’re reading this it feels as if it’s not that way. I felt that after everything, they’re still human, and they still need to be respected. Though you don’t agree with how they express themselves, they still need to be respected no matter what. 

I think there’s a line I draw between absorptive reading and reading for entertainment. The latter is probably why I picked this one up. Nevertheless, it still is a great effort to be different in the surging trends in the industry.

Pictured: Pugad Baboy 22, Kulas, and Kikomachine Komix 1,2,3.

Ever since I was like 8 or 9 i took interest in my dad’s Pugad Baboy collection, eventually I was the one who continued it. It’s simple, funny, and informative. Pol Medina Jr. released the 23rd book as well this year, but I haven’t found the time to get it yet.

Freely Abrigo’s KULAS does less of the talking and more of the drawing. It really presses on to bringing the comic into the comics. The simplicity and wit of the artist is reflected in his work.

Kikomchine defies the norms and the dynamics of this kind of comics. Manix Abrera draws upside-down and sidewards, writes in tiny print and dares to go cursive, and fills the comic with silence and a gargantuan amount of words, yet he still manages to fit all of these in the small rectangular space he is granted in the paper and maybe more in his books. If you’re  looking for weird and different, Kikomachine Komix is right for you. Heck, I don’t think these characters even have names.

I think a common misconception regarding comic books is that they’re for kids or immature grown-up boys. I think this stereotyping sources from those who either have not really read comics or have limited information and appreciation towards this type of media. I actually find it quite amusing to pick-up small lessons from the happenings on a different universe, to explore the back of my imagination where I haven’t been before.

I observed that the maturity of this art progresses along with time and society. Now, these don’t only tackle humor or out-of-this-world fantasies, but also several truths and opinions on the government, on society, and also on different aspects and virtues in life. I believe it’s all a matter of perspective and processing of these forms of art.

Trese by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo takes a different approach on Philippine folklore and the supernatural. It’s not often that we see manananggals holding guns or nunos coming out from manholes. Neither do we see elementals being summoned through cellphone. The 4 Trese books (#1 is not in picture) are interesting mind-bogglers and a progressive reflection of 2 growing innovators in the scene.

Here are several indi-komiks from some growing artists from around the country. It is from these simple publications that we see the progress and longing for each one to be acknowledged into the scene. I think all of these deserve to be known and read everywhere. It’s easy to understand, really. I don’t know with the others but these really show me that ANYONE can write and create a masterpiece as long as there is devotion to the trade and the heart to put your talent to productivity.

Finally, here are the books I haven’t finished yet. I guess I’ll have to continue this to next year as I also write my own reading bucket list for the year. That would probably include The Hunger Games, Philippine History books, and more Grafiction. 

What books have you read this year? What books do you look forward to reading in 2012?

Here’s to more abounding flipping years ahead of us! Let’s take 2012 one book at a time!

Happy New Year!

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