“Being a maid is tough enough, but when Mely lands a job under a group of unconventional employers, she steps up to the unique challenge for the sake of her family. When Mely’s sister enters the picture, Mely is reminded of a disturbing past, made complicated by an unsettling romantic revelation. All this in a tragicomedy about domestic help, sibling rivalry, and shattered dreams.”
And Carlo Vergara is back!
The creator of the beloved Zsazsa Zaturnnah has written a new superhero-centric story in Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady. It’s sold as a graphic novel, but it’s not exactly written as one.
You see, Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady is a one-act play. Turned into a graphic novel. And it shows.
But first, the good:
The wit and fun dialogue that made Zsazsa Zaturnnah stand out is very much present in Carlo Vergara’s new work. The character of Mely is lovable, even though she’s not exactly the typical protagonist. And the love story works. Vergara is a master of unconventional pairings.
Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good for me.
My biggest concern with Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady is the set-up. As a one-act play, I understand the need for situating the whole thing in one location. As a comic book, I don’t. This is something the publisher should have mulled over before deciding to publish it as such.
There are a number of ways to adapt the story without constraining it to the platform it was written for. Zsazsa Zaturnnah is a great example. It successfully transcended the comics platform to become a breakout musical hit. The movie would’ve been amazing too had it benefited from a good director, or at the very least, a decent main cast.
Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady would’ve been a great way to do it the other way around. By turning a good one-act play into an interesting comics story. By allowing it to breathe. Or, at the very least, by allowing your characters to move locations.
And this brings me to my second concern: the heavy-handed delivery of information. Had there been movement in the setting, the dynamic between the characters would’ve been more fluid. Outside forces could then trigger the mile-long discourses each character had bursting out from their chests.
A one-act play doesn’t have the luxury of changing set-ups, so ultra-sensitive triggers are more acceptable. Comic books don’t have such limitations. So what was so hard about tweaking the script a little bit to do such changes?
This leads me to wonder if there was pressure involved on the side of the publisher to have a new release from Carlo Vergara, without regard for the quality of the eventual product.
And so, instead of an amazing comeback for Carlo Vergara, what we get instead is comic book with a lot of potential, but whose promise is wasted on a hastily put-together release.
I was expecting more from this. Much, much more.