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Parokya ni Edgar’s Gab Chee Kee on battling cancer and his Summer Komikon return

By Jerald Uy Published May 24, 2024 8:15 pm

Fighting supervillains in comic books often has a simple solution - just punch them into submission then send them to jail. But in real life, sometimes we face foes that target our physical strength and take us to situations we can’t seem to punch our way out.

In 2023, Parokya ni Edgar guitarist and local comic community favorite Gab Chee Kee found himself in this grim plot, spending more than a month in the ICU for pneumonia. This was a complication brought about by lymphoma, a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells. 

But after more than a year, Gab is set to return to the comic book scene in a big way as one of the special guests at Summer Komikon on May 25 and 26 at the Megatrade Hall 3 in SM Megamall. He is also set to launch a new comic Pouches and Buckles, that pays homage to the unapologetically over-the-top art and action sequences of 90s superheroes.

Pouches and Buckles was something that came out maybe less than two months ago. And kami ni Ace (artist Ace Enriquez), we just drew stuff together and it stuck,” Gab shared.

He added that his ongoing battle against the Big C gave him a new perspective as a comic book creator. “Parang ‘yung I guess yung epekto sa akin, parang I want to put more stuff out kasi nga alam mo ‘yun? Parang there’s no time like the present to tell stories, make people laugh, I guess, make people feel good, so parang ganun ‘yung trip ko ngayon,” Gab said.

True enough, Gab is on a roll. He is not only releasing Pouches and Buckles, but also the fifth issue of sci-fic indie comic Tanod with his artist-collaborator Jerico Marte, featuring cover art by Eko and Peejay Catacutan. 

The 47-year-old musician has also started to change his lifestyle such as watching what he eats and exercising. “Hindi pa rin kasi ako 100% when it comes to strength and ano, ‘yung resistensya. So I have to watch myself din so when I go to the con, I would be most probably be wearing a mask,” he shared. 

Gab also gave an update on his health. “I’m feeling better. All recent scans have been good. All of my blood tests are good also. I guess I’m on the mend, for better.”

Parokya ni Edgar guitarist Gab Chee Kee is releasing Pouches and Buckles #1 and Tanod #5 at Summer Komikon.

He also expressed his gratitude to the Filipino comic book community, which he is excited to see again at Summer Komikon. This weekend, he will be sharing the spotlight with these other stellar guests such as 2023 National Book Awardee Russel Molina (Josefina), Gab’s collaborator Ace Enriquez (Bathala: Apokalypsis), cartoonist Ed Padilla (Ang Tindahan ni Mang Ed).

Summer Komikon will also announce the winner of its Philippine Isekai comic creation contest, based on a genre where characters are transported to an alternate universe. It will also bring back Komiks Kalye, an artist alley featuring Mico Suayan (DC Black Label’s Joker/Haley: Criminal Sanity), Carlo Pagulayan (Superman:Lost), Stephen Segovia (WILDC.A.T.s), and Jethro Morales (Marvel’s X-Men book Fall of House of X)

Throughout the years, the Komikon community has aided the call for assistance for ailing artists. Gab is grateful that the people he would meet in comic book events as both a fan and a comic book creator also served as real-life heroes when he needed it the most. 

“I wanna say ‘thank you' to everybody for your support during my time in the ICU. Sobrang salamat talaga. Laking tulong ng mga taga-comic book community saka mga artist. They banded together and I’m really appreciative of all of their efforts,” Gab said.