Komiks was one of the areas greatly hit by the pandemic. Clearly, komik conventions are mass gatherings, tightly-packed events, thus suspended indefinitely.
The Komiket last February was the last major komiks event that pushed through, mercifully not turning into a super-spreader incident.
Komikon and Komikon Indieket were converted into online events (Komikon Indieket will be on August 15). The Philippine International Comics Festival, spearheaded by Komiket, had to be rescheduled to September 11-13 and converted into an online event.
As the country locked down, komikeros tried their best to stay busy.
Many komikeros joined as artists in initiatives. Many opened commissions as #artformedPH , all funds being donated to help buy medical PPEs, at the start of the lockdown. Others joined the Kontra COVID Campaign, an initiative to help make art encouraging everyone to fight the disease. Still others helped as members of SAKA, activists helping farmers, protesting against state-led action against them and counting down the Anti-Terrorism Bill. So many komikeros spoke up as artists as well against the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
Art and komiks will continue to adapt to the new normal as it continues for us. Support the people who make this community a vibrant source of hope and inspiration.
Many komiks were moved to online platforms, generally Facebook, Instagram, Tapas, Webtoon, Gumroad, and Patreon. Several made themselves available on online selling apps.
Komiket provided online seminars during the interim on various topics such as making komiks, story and character development, and making art.
But several komiks faced the quarantine head-on with their material. These are only a few, for many did make pieces addressing current events in various ways. Five of them have been running even before these current events, but they have been some of the best in addressing our present concerns.
The series started with general comedy four-panel or one-panel pieces, usually about various Pinoy things. But by now most people are familiar with the biting political strips, quickly commenting on the news, press briefings, and late-night appearances through cute but bravely hard-hitting visuals, often associated with Pinoy cultural icons. It gave humorous visuals and words to our rage. It brought into sharp focus the lies and inconsistencies. It allowed us to laugh, while staying furious at all this incompetence, all this selfishness.
Tepai is best known for Maktan 1521, now distributed by SecretHQ. But over the quarantine period she developed a series, her small tribute to the doctors and nurses she saw far too often, as a carer of a parent in and out of the hospital. In general these are the adventures of Melba having a crush over her doctors, and the adventures of several nurses while at work. It also provides very good public health information relevant to COVID-19, giving it with hugot and flair.
Already running for several years are a geeky father’s adventures in raising two intelligent little boys, starting from their toddler to currently their elementary school years, trying his best at adulting while still gaming, collecting figures, and making komiks. During this period though it was best in showing the everyday life of a family surviving the quarantine. It was honest about the problems of work-from-home while having young children, the concerns about going out for groceries, and keeping children occupied while at home. Always it keeps upbeat about these real concerns, making mistakes but keeping one’s head up through it all.
A series about young professionals surviving work life in the city, it showed the quarantine through their eyes. It chuckles at the trends that developed as young people did, tried, watched, gamed, bought, cooked and ate things to relieve boredom. It keeps a tongue-in-cheek commentary at the real fears of heading outside for necessities. It also showed the concerns of young workers as GCQ brought them back to workplaces.
A series about office life, it also showed the life of more mature workers during the quarantine. These include their various ways of coping with being stuck at home, learning and making many mistakes with video conferencing, and how life drastically changed for such workers. Sometimes it is not even afraid to admit the sadness and fears that come as an older worker, often with others they are responsible for and have to support.
Art and komiks will continue to adapt to the new normal as it continues for us. Please support those you can, however you can. This crisis is difficult for many of them, particularly those who do not have a stable work arrangement. Do all you can to support the people who make this community a vibrant source of hope and inspiration.