What is Abangan: The Best Philippine Komiks 2014? It’s an attempt from comic creators Rob Cham, Adam David, Carljoe Javier, and Elber Or to collect some of the best works to come from the local comics industry–and introduce it to people who aren’t aware that there is still a local comics industry. Oddly enough, most of the people who are interested in the book are those who already know most of the contents inside.
On the one hand, I applaud the effort. Really. I discovered a liking for a few titles within the pages of this book that I normally wouldn’t have looked at whilst browsing through the many, many, many wares being sold during the bi-annual comic convention held at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig. The book isn’t trying to hit a single target market/demographic–it really is just a collection of what the editors thought were the best that the comics industry is offering for the year. But I’m not a fan.
See, when I saw the title of the book, I was expecting excerpts for works that have yet to be published. Or works that have just been published, since the book came out in the fourth month of 2014 already. I wasn’t expecting to find a Trese story that already appeared in Manila Noir. I wasn’t expecting a reprint of a chapter from the second Filipino Heroes League. If there were no new works to be published, why include them at all? Or, you know, why not just put in teasers for their upcoming releases?
Curation-wise, I have nothing to say. The collection is a mix of stuff I like, don’t care for after one reading, and stuff that I skipped over. I’m not a prolific reviewer of comics to say which ones are bad and which ones are good. I’m just a reader who, as I was closing the book, thought that the book could’ve been better, but I don’t regret spending the dough for it.
Hopefully though, next year’s would be better. And would be more accessible for people who might enjoy reading comics again–but are not aware of the industry’s resurgence.