When things turn for the worse, one of the ways people choose to cope is through art. With most of the country in quarantine amid the COVID-19 outbreak, people have turned to books, music, and other forms of entertainment to brave the crisis. To survive the pandemic, people argue, “art is also essential!”
With this, several local artists and publishers in the country began to help by providing free access to their comic series online. As of this writing, here are some of what is being shared:
Doorkeeper by Ethan Chua and Scott Lee Chua is a graphic novel about an omniscient being meeting several individuals during crucial moments in their lives. Published by Summit Books, the comic features various art styles from local talents. Read the novel here.
Heroes and Psychos discusses the idea of psychopaths camouflaging as superheroes in an alternate reality in the Philippines. The story was created by Marvin Bravas. Read Chapters 1-3 of the series for free here.
Sanduguan talks about a group of superheroes based on Filipino mythological characters. Created by Gener A. Pedriña, Sanduguan recently released its 13th volume for free. Read Volume 13 here.
Tabi Po is a historical series created by Mervin Malonzo. It details a shape-shifting aswang’s adventures in a world that re-imagines the colonial era that blends Filipino mythological creatures and Jose Rizal’s characters in the story. Read the first issue for free here.
Tablay is a sci-fi epic authored by Katrina Olan. Tablay discusses a world where Filipino mythological creatures and mecha come into the fore of the story. Read the first nine chapters of the series here.
Trese: Night at the Museum is a fan fiction written by Trese creators Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. It features Trese heroine Alexandra Trese with Marvel’s Wolverine and DC’s Batman as they scuffle with aswangs in Manila. Read the comic here. Meanwhile, other free chapters of the Trese series are also available here.
In addition to this, local filmmaker Kip Oebanda uploaded the full-length film, Bar Boys, on YouTube for free. “Bar Boys” is a comedy-drama about friends encountering difficulties in law school.
With this level of support from our local artists amid this crisis, we should return their efforts with gratitude by avoiding the piracy of their works. Doing so would simply backfire and threaten the confidence and hard work of other artists in the community. That said, by supporting our artists, we ensure that the shape of Philippine society remains vibrant and relevant.
It is just as Robert Williams said in Dead Poets Society:
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
It should be understood that we utter these words not to compete with or devalue the other professions. Rather, it is because through art that we are inspired to continue despite all the odds. That we look to stories and songs for motivation is necessary for us to survive is because we need to believe that we, too, can make it.
That just like the characters in the stories, we can do it.
(All images are copyright to their respective owners)