“Isang lalake ang bigla na lamang nagising sa loob ng isang puno sa gitna ng kagubatan na walang alaala kung sino siya at saan siya nagmula. Ang tanging alaala lang niya ay isang imahe ng babae na nakikita niya sa kaniyang panaginip, at ang tanging nararamdaman niya ay isang matinding gutom na mabilis na namumuo sa kaniyang walang pusod na sikmura. Isang gutom na mapapawi lamang ng laman…at dugo.”
To translate, the synopsis says “A man wakes up inside a tree in the middle of a jungle, with no marry of who he is or where he comes from. The only thing he remembers is the image of a woman he dreamed of; and the only thing he feels is an insatiable hunger forming in his bellybutton-less gut. A hunger than can only be appeased by flesh…and blood.”
It’s Good Friday in this part of the world, but I’m going to be a deviant and write about a graphic novel that’s not exactly Lenten friendly. No, I’m not trying to make a statement. It’s just that, out of my loot from this year’s Summer Komikon, this is the one I wanted to write about first.
Obviously, because it’s good. It’s so good.
Most of the time, when I write about comics, I write more about the story than the art. That can’t be the case for this book though. That’s because the art tells just as much of the story as the text does.
A few days ago, I wrote about how text necessitates history and time to let readers familiarize themselves with characters. That’s not the case with comic book stories because it’s as much a visual medium as it is a text-based one. A good artist would take the writer’s words and build a world through them. An exemplary artist would take it a step further, developing a universe with those words. That is, of course, if there’s harmony between the two minds. So imagine what happens when the writer and the artist is one and the same?
Tabi Po is an exceptional work of art that also happens to tell a story. But it can also be the other way around: it’s a masterful telling of a mythological creature’s origins that also happens to be a magnum opus. It cannot be one or the other though, because when the dialogue stops, the art continues the story. Not that any of the dialogue are superfluous. The lines delivered underlines the story that the art is trying to tell.
Am I starting to sound like a douche? Apologies. That’s how much I am affected by this book. It is stellar, it is groundbreaking… well, maybe not groundbreaking… But it is awesome.
And I implore you to pick up a copy. You will not regret reading Tabi Po.
If you’re too cheap to buy the printed copy though, check the story out online.