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Komiks united online

By EK Gonzales Published Sep 09, 2020 12:00 pm Updated Sep 13, 2020 10:55 pm

Most of the current komiks that are not in the newspapers are best found in the komik conventions. Between the Komikons and the Komikets, most komiks have an annual to quarterly release as paper zines. But with the pandemic stopping komik conventions, the komiks community was finally forced to face a long-standing wish and need: a united online presence. 

Komiks is generally scattered in many locations: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Gumroad, Patreon, individual blogs, and international webcomic websites such as Tapas, Webtoon, and Mangaido. This also makes them somewhat harder to find. But because komik conventions stopped, this need to easily find komiks in one place became more obvious and more urgent. Current circumstances hastened plans among komiks people to make this available. 

There are now three komiks hubs that have developed, thus finally there are now starting points one can go online for Filipino independent komiks. 

Penlab 

Formally launched September 5 by Kalabaw Kolektib, a group of komikeros, they invited many komiks regulars to join them, and will also accept future submissions. 

This komiks hub is an excellent place to start, a very balanced representation of current regular komikeros and their work across genres. This, finally, makes available the current range of komiks you would find at komiks conventions, including some of the best komikeros at the convention tables. This also presents some komiks that have gone "out of print" as slightly older content but still deserve notice.  

Titles to try: 

Katipunera Warrior (Bernie Mercardo, Nina Torralba, Sampay) (Historical fantasy) (PG)

Crime Fighting Call Center Agents (Noel Pascual and AJ Bernardo) (Urban fantasy/comedy) (SPG)

In His Universe (Chocnut-san) (Urban fantasy/romance) (PG) 

Dapit-Hapon (Warehouse 6) (Slice-of-life) (PG) 

Darahug (Kael Molo) (Horror/local folklore) (SPG) 

WebkomPH: Pinoy Webcomic Creators

The website and its Google Play app formally launched in June 2020 by Webkom Alliance, otherwise known as Webkom Pinoy Komiks. As a Facebook group the community organization began in July 2018 between founders Jhamycka and Jay Kell.

Recently Likha Mo Publishing allied itself with the community and the website. Between both groups, this allowed them to help in publishing komiks as zine booklets during events, as well as further help komikeros with a digital presence.

Webkom Alliance and Likha Mo tend to help newcomers to komiks, and thus the komiks hub takes on all comers no matter the theme, including those that are derivative of manga and international fantasy.They do have the work of newcomers, thus often the material is a mixed bag. However there are komiks and komikeros who are doing good and improving work, especially in themes that are sometimes overlooked by convention regulars. They tend to have themes that are approachable to certain readers who are new to komiks, such as those who like manga and do like the story tropes that manga has. If you are willing to take a chance, you may find jewels in the rough to support. 

Titles to try: 

Alamat ng Aswang (KMX) (Horror) (Mature) 

NEOX  (Studio Trotti)  (Science fiction) (G-PG) 

The Propaganda Project –BETA- (Maou no Sekai)  (Science fiction) (PG) 

Haliya Publishing 

One of the first attempts at an online komiks hub, this is the online arm of Mervin Malonzo’s komiks distribution business. The website and the komiks in its catalogue is a representative of the more alternative, more unconventional styles of komiks, those that tend to push boundaries in their art styles and/or political stance. 

Titles to try: 

Tabi Po webcomic (Mervin Malonzo) (Horror)  (Mature)

April and May Forever! (Adam David and Hulyen) (Slice-of-life/comedy) (PG)

Keith Busilak (Julius Villanueva) (Slice-of-life/political)  (SPG) 

This is the best time to get immersed in current komiks, to know what is available, to know what stories are being told by some of the best artists we have. It is the best time to take a chance, to find new stories to love, to find new komikeros to support. 

(All images copyright to their respective owners)