Mythology Class makes a comeback this November at Komikon!

"The Mythology Class Relaunch"

After bringing back Arnold Arre’s Trip to Tagaytay for a new generation of readers to enjoy, Nautilus Comics is at it again! This time, they’re reviving another much loved graphic novel from Arnold Arre: The Mythology Class! And you can get the new edition this coming November 15, at Komikon!

The second edition of The Mythology Class will come out with three all-new cover variants, with each variant being exclusively available at specific outlets. The one you see in the headline? That’s the convention variant, which will be first made available on Komikon, and will be available in other special events.

If you order from now until November 13 though, you can pre-order all three variant covers for the special Komikon price of 450 pesos! Find out how through this event page.

And as for where to find the other two variants after this promo, do check out Nautilus’s Facebook fan page!

In other Nautilus news, Issue #12 of Cast has another variant cover released–this time from Stephen Segovia. This is the variant cover you will find with Filbar’s at SM North EDSA, SM Megamall, SM Fairview, Festival Mall, at the Ayala Fairview Terraces, and at Comic Odyssey Robisons Galleria.

If you’re looking for the other variants; Jhomar Soriano’s cover is available at Fully Booked branches, while Harvey Tolibao’s will once again be available on Komikon, this coming November 15.

Now, if you’re looking for new stories from Cast creator Jamie Bautista, do check out Date Works–which has been nominated for Best Webcomic at this year’s Komikon Awards! If you haven’t voted, you can vote ‘here.’ But I am not obliging you to vote for Date Works.

Before I end this; Trip to Tagaytay is also still available in the mentioned Filbar branches, at Fully Booked, and at comic conventions where Nautilus Comics will next appear.

Oh, and Arnold Arre will be at Nautilus’s booth this Komikon too. So if you want anything signed…

This is not a paid advertisement, I am genuinely supporting Nautilus Comics.

I am supporting the Filipino Readers Convention too, even if I can’t be a part of it this year. If you have the time, do drop by on November 14, at the Bayanihan Center, and find out what the pressing issues with today’s generation of readers are!

Filipino Friday: Kids and Books

"Filipino Friday"

This week on Filipino Friday, bloggers talk about kids and books by answering the following questions: “What were your favorite books as a kid? Do you still read children’s books? If you would give a book to your younger self, what would it be?

I don’t remember having one particular favorite book as a kid. I do remember reading. A lot. I remember getting a reprimand for reading while the car was moving, for reading while walking–and then, because it happens, falling down a sewer because I was paying more attention to the book than where I was walking.

Even then I didn’t discriminate with the books I read. I would pick up a volume from the encyclopedia one day, and a Bobbsey Twins novel the next. I remember picking up a romance novel, the one where characters ‘make love,’ and never being told to not read it. I remember my parents bringing me my weekly local komiks every Friday when they come home from work. I remember stealing into my mom’s stash of horror komiks too.

No, I don’t have a favorite book. I still don’t, mulling it over now. I do have books I like to read again from time to time, but are they my favorites? What’s the criteria? I just like them.

There are books that really stand out in my reading history though.

There’s Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor which was the first romance novel I really enjoyed reading. I loved the mix of fantasy, comedy, and romance. I loved the time travel. And I remember loving the premise of time affecting love much more with Jude Deveraux’s Remembrance.

But those aren’t really books for kids.

I remember not liking A Little Princess very much when I first read it as a kid. But fast forward to a couple of decades later, and it’s now one of my go-to books when I just want to feel good. That’s considered a children’s book, right? A Little Princess?

And then there’s Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. It’s Young Adult, not really a children’s book. But if there’s one book that I’ve read that I would want to give my younger self–that would be it.

There’s also Inkheart. The early years of Harry Potter, although I much preferred the latter years… Artemis Fowl

Again, I don’t really discriminate when it comes to books. I read anything I find intriguing. It doesn’t matter if it’s for kids, for young adults, or for more mature readers. As long as it interests me, you’ll see me pick it up. And then I’ll write about it here. And if I really like it, I’m going to share it with everyone I know. Heck, I’d even share it with people I don’t know–

Which I’m planning to do at the Filipino ReaderCon this coming November 9! So if you have nothing planned that day, hang out with us at Ateneo de Manila University’s Rizal Library. Join us for an afternoon of talk, talk, book sharing, and more talk!

See you there!

Filipino Friday: Filipino Reader Conference

"Filipino Friday"And here we are at the last Filipino ReaderCon-related Filipino Friday. This meme is going to be taking a break (ha!) after this week, I just wanted to say, so I could go and give Fridays back to posting about a book, or a movie, or a television show. Well, maybe not a television show as I’m still doing Doctor Who for four more Sundays. Anyway, moving on.

This week’s question is: “What do you hope will happen in the Filipino ReaderCon? What are you expecting from the event?

To be quite honest, I have no idea what’s going to happen in the first ever Filipino Reader Conference. I have no expectations either. What I do hope the event will achieve is awareness that Filipino readers do exists in the Philippines. We are not an imagined public, as some would say. Though, having said that, most Filipino readers online tend to gravitate to novels published abroad. I wish I could say this isn’t true, and that the tides are changing–but I don’t really know the statistics do I?

I am proud that my most read posts here have to do with Filipino books. And movies too, but yeah–books. Let’s focus on that. Now, while it is true that two of the books in my blog’s top ten most read are ghost stories compilation–but it’s still literature! Though, this might not be a great defense against publishers when they say where are the readers of original Filipino content.

What will make for a good argument though is the interest shown in Karen Francisco’s Naermyth and Paolo Fabregas’s The Filipino Heroes League. I was thinking of including Bob Ong’s Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan and Lourd de Verya’s This is a Crazy Planets–but those two have a huge internet following. Just mentioning their names will already (probably) generate hits for any blog. Maybe.

Now, I don’t hold the statistics for other Filipino book blogs, so I don’t know if the same holds true for them. For all I know, my blog’s the only one getting a lot of hits for Filipino books because no one really likes my posts about other things. And they don’t really have a lot of online options when it comes to Filipino books.

I hope that that changes after the first Filipino Reader Conference. I hope that with the authors, the publishers and the bloggers working in cooperation, we can succeed in getting more attention for Filipino books online. And I also hope that after the conference, the publishers will realize that there is a market for original Filipino books that aren’t anthologies or collections.

The first Filipino Readers Conference will be held next week, September 14 at the SMX Mall of Asia from 1 pm to 6 pm. It’s co-presented by Vibal Publishing House; and sponsored by the following: Scholastic, Flipside Digital Content, Primetrade Asia, OMF Lit Bookshop, Hachette Book Group, and Tie Me Up Buttercup. It’s part of the (almost) week-long Manila International Book Fair that will run until September 18.

See you there!

Filipino Friday: Recommending Fellow Filipinos

"Filipino Friday"Have you noticed the new look of my blog? No? Really?

As the date for the first Filipino Reader Conference draws near, we continue Filipino Fridays with the penultimate ReaderCon-connected meme with this question: “Do you read Filipino literature? If yes, what are some books by Filipino authors that you can recommend to fellow readers?

If you’re one of my few regular readers, then you already know the answer to this question. If you’re one of the random people who just happened to drop by, here’s my answer:

Yes, I do read Filipino literature. Not counting Ibong Adarna, Florante at Laura, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo–all of which were required reading for high school, I’ve read somewhere in the vicinity of a hundred Filipino stories. I haven’t finished them all (unless I finish Ilustrado sometime soon), and I didn’t enjoy nearly half of them. But the ones that I did enjoy, I enjoyed completely.

Some of the best work I’ve read, I’ve already posted about in this blog. These are the books I’m recommending for my fellow readers:

#1 Trese. A series of graphic novels that deals with Filipino folklore with a kickass heroine named Alexandra Trese. It’s an ongoing story rich with mythology, and with characters that really pop out from the pages of the book. Once you finish one book, you’re gonna want to dive in to the next series of stories as soon as you can.

#2 The Filipino Heroes League. There’s only one book so far, and according to its Facebook Fan Page, the next one won’t come out until Summer of 2012. It’s about a group of superheroes who are employed by the government; but like many things in the Philippines, they are underfunded and unsupported. Bleak? Maybe, but it’s this underdog status that drives the story forward, and makes this superheroes a lot different from what we’ve already seen/read from other publishers.

#3 Tall Story. This one was actually published abroad, but it is written by a Filipino author. What I like most about Tall Story is that it’s very fresh, and it’s proves that a Filipino can write Young Adults novels just as well as other writers–that we can write about something other than the desolation of the country, and the problems of the country, and the bleak future of the country. Tall Story is a heartwarming story about accepting differences, and getting by with your family.

#4 Naermyth. Like with Tall Story, the thing I liked most about this book was how it showed what Filipino authors are capable of. In this case, it’s a fairly believable dystopian future fiction. I had problems with the story, but its author does show a lot of promise. I think she just needs more practice.

If you’ve noticed, I steered clear from books about poverty and other problems the Philippines is facing. We already have a lot of books with that plot or that theme. The books I want to promote are the ones that show the Filipino for what they really are: creative and with initiative. We can rise above poverty-porn, we can write about something else other than what currently ails the country.

I’ve always maintained my belief that books are a great form of escape. I’m hoping that sometime soon, we’ll have books of our own that equal the imaginative worlds of The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.

So now that you know the books I’m recommending, what are the Filipino-produced books you’d like to recommend to me?

Filipino Friday: A Reader in the Philippines

"Filipino Friday"The First Filipino Reader Conference is fast approaching! For those who don’t know when it’s going to be, it’ll be held on September 14 at SMX Mall of Asia, Meeting Room 2.

For today’s Filipino Friday, we are asked “How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines? What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader (e.g. availability of books)? What are positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines (e.g. book prices are lower here than they are abroad)?

It wasn’t until I was working when I found out how hard it is to be a book lover in the Philippines–especially when the books you like to read are not bestsellers.

Growing up, I had a limited budget for book-buying; so every trip to the bookstore was a special one that ends with me having found one book. When college came, I was able to make my own financial choices and I was a bit more liberated in buying books. But since books became more expensive, and my money still came from my parents, I had to hold back. And so trips to the bookstore were treated as a way of casing the books, picking the ones I really like–and finding ways to hide the other books from view so I could come back for them when I had the money. There was, of course, two exceptions…

In high school, I started reading a series by Christopher Golden called Prowlers. I’ve mentioned the story here before. That’s the first exception. The second one was also by Christopher Golden–a mini-series called The Lost Slayer. Of the four books, I had the first, the second–and the fourth. It wasn’t until I was already working that I found the third book at a bargain bookstore.

And then all bets were off as I has already started earning my own money. I would spend thousands of pesos a month for books. By my third year working, I was running out of books to buy. Not because I had bought all of them. I’m not made of money. But because the books (and comic books) I want to read are not available here in the Philippines. The first time I asked a customer service personnel to ask about a book and be met with a blank stare, I was flabbergasted. What kind of a bookstore doesn’t have a widely-released book?

Goes to show you mustn’t take what you read off the internet at face-value. Wide release means it’s getting a release in the country it’s being published in. And unless it’s Harry Potter, or Twilight, or something that’s about to get made into a movie, it’s going to be tough to buy. Sure, in college, I was introduced to A Different Bookstore, Power Books and Fully Booked. But even with their more genre-friendly shelves, a lot of the books I like still weren’t getting releases here in the Philippines. Or, if I’m extremely lucky, I’d find one of the two copies the specialty bookstores ordered.

And don’t get me started on the many times I’d have something reserved/ordered–only to find a copy of the book in the bookstore’s shelves with none of the salespeople being any wiser about its existence.

But even with these frustrations, at the end of the day, I still love reading. And I’m not going to stop reading just because of complications. It’s either I find a different way of getting a book (like asking a friend who is visiting abroad to buy a book for me, or ordering it online), or I give books I didn’t like the first time a second chance to see if my opinions would change.

So that’s my story. Now tell me what you think: is it easy to be a reader in the Philippines? Or do you, like me, find it a bit frustrating at times?