Monday, August 17, 2009

MCC 09: Indie Komiks Panel

I guess this is the most memorable time for me during the whole Metro Comic Con 2009 event held last Aug. 8 - 9. I was so nervous, excited and very much happy roll into one. I was lined with the persons that I admire the most. To be frank, I really felt that I am not worthy to be lined up among them. And being up on a stage with many people watching you is totally new to me, I was so nervous. And a camera with BIG two projector both on the left and right side of the stage did not help either.

There is a blog that had transcribed the Question and Answer portion of the panel. I felt that it is a little bit incomplete. I guess because the author of that blog relies solely on his memory of the event. I also felt that my answers were a little bit short because of time constraints and because of the nervousness that I felt. So I will just try to answer some of the questions arise on the event here.

Q1: Why do you still call yourselves “Indies”? There is no longer a local comics industry right?

Yes, there is no longer a local comics industry in terms of massive distribution. And when I say massive, I mean distribution from Luzon, Visayas to Mindanao. But there is still an independent (Indie) local comics that is being published on a few stores in metro manila. Distribution is the BIGGEST obstacle right now of an Indie publisher like me. If there is only a way that we could distribute our comics nation wide with a reasonable price.

Q2: How vital is the Internet to komiks?

In terms of marketing and promotions of our comics, the Internet acts a very vital role. It advertise our comics 24/7. Even when we are sleeping at home, somewhere out there, our comics are being seen, read and even heard (vidoes) because of the power of modern technology. Majority that buys my comics are people that first saw it online, rather than being seen on the selected stores that they are being distributed.

Web comics is also a good way to promote your comics. Just like what Budjette Tan did with Trese. People had an glimpse of how good his comics is. And for Kalayaan comics, I have published the whole issue 1 to 4 online. Issue 4, as people had already read it, is a cliff hanger. I am very much confident that people will seek issue #5 and its succeding issue because of the first 4 issues. There is still nothing like the printed paper version of the comics that your can carry anywhere, compared to its digital form that you must turn on your PC or Laptop in order to read it.

Q3: How much would the suggested retail price for a komik be?

Gilbert Monsanto had already said an approximate 2x to 3x from the cost of the comics it self. I very much agree with the 3x from the cost due to the following reasons. There are a lot of hidden cost behind making a comics. Aside from the cost of photo copied internal pages and the colored cover of my comics. We must also compute for the transportation, mistakes or bloopers of production. There are also complementary copies that you have to give to the store owners, friends and relatives. There are also lost in inventory. Those are the un-accounted copies that got lost somewhere. Damages of comics because of mishandling.

And there is this thing called consignment fee. This is the fee where the store gets it share of the profit. Some very kind store owner only charge 20% to 25% from the Sudgested Retail Price (SRP). But the most known book store in the Philippines charge as high as 50%. So if you are selling your comics for let say P60. A single copy that sells, you get P30 and the store gets P30. So meaning to say, you must keep your production cost way below P30. Assuming your production cost is P20 (photo copied paper, colored cover and all). You have a very thin profit margin of only P10 per copy. Which will handle all of those hidden cost that I have just mentioned above. Take note lang po. Wala pa po dyan ang bayad sa artist na nag drawing ng mga pages, nag lagay ng letters, nag layout at nag kulay.

Q4: Does the local comics industry fail to progress because all the characters are based on Philippine culture and characters that wears a 3 stars and a sun?

There is this well know writer that once said that "There is no bad characters, only bad writers". I my opinion, no matter how crappy your character is. If your story is very well written, It will definitely compensate for the whole comics it self. No matter how cool looking your character is, if it is badly written. You will end up with a crappy comics.

Batman is a cool character, and so is Spawn. But many years ago, when they had a cross over. It flunked big time. Simply because it was poorly written.

When "Invincible" of Robert Kirkman first came out. I totally ignored it because I thought it was a crappy comics with a crappy character. But after reading it. I was totally blown away. Not only by the art, but mostly because of the story and consistency of its releases. There is always something new, always something intriguing and there is always a little bit of something for everyone. Comedy, Action, Love story, Mystery,Suspense and much much more. I sometimes feel that the story from the big two company is some what just being recycled. Invinvible is a breath of fresh air.

Okay back to the topic. Medyo na lihis ako ng konte dun. Balik tayo dun sa 3 stars and a sun na costume. Ang pinaka point ko lang sa mga nabangit ko eh kahit na 3 stars and a sun pa yan o hindi. Kahit naka bahag pa yan na parang igorot o hindi. Kung maganda naman ang story mo, maganda pa din ang kalalabasan ng comics mo. ito pa rin ang mag dadala. The story is the foundation where you are going to build your comics (and even movie for that matter) .The bottom line is, story pa rin ang magdadala as a whole.

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