With critically acclaimed series Trese headlining local komiks platform Penlab’s January 2021 releases, it’s safe to say that exciting times are ahead for the local komiks scene and the familiar narratives that they champion.
This comes on the heels of a difficult year for local komiks creators, who relied mainly on komiks conventions to get their work out there. Thanks to work done by the folks at Penlab and Komiket, it’s now easier than ever to browse through titles and discover work that we otherwise wouldn’t have found without making multiple rounds at your quarterly con.
It can be overwhelming to go through the loads of titles out there, so here are some of the Underdog team’s picks to get you started. Ranging from slice-of-life to zombie horror, you’re sure to find a story that interests you from the list below. Happy reading!
Nagmamahal, Maria Clara by Marian Hukom
With her prim and proper demeanor, Noli Me Tangere character Maria Clara has been referenced countless times as the shining example of a dalagang Filipina. But what happens when she gets transported to present day Philippines? Rendered in Hukom’s vibrant color palette, the series has Maria Clara setting her own path in modern times, learning from her mistakes while drawing from the cultural heritage of old.
Read Issues 1-3 of Nagmamahal, Maria Clara on Penlab
Katipunera Warrior by Bernie Mercado, Nina Torralba, and Sampay
The year-old series is described by its creators as a “shonen reimagining of the Spanish colonial era [in the Philippines]”, but with a female protagonist. Check their Facebook page, for updates!
Read Katipunera Warrior on Penlab
The Last Days of Juan Dela Cruz by Vincent Lapuz
Set in a dystopian Manila over the canvas of Lapuz’s distinct art style and vibrant rendering, the story follows Nelson and his adventures with survivors determined to face the apocalypse. So far only the first issue is up on Penlab, but with the plot summary is enough to keep us hooked, promising the appearance of foreign Army stragglers, Doomsday cults, intelligent animals, and alien droids.
Read Issue 1 of The Last Days of Juan Dela Cruz on Penlab
Super Proxies by Sampay
With bits of Pinoy humor and references, Super Proxies is about a group of friends who set out to make money through a series of misadventures. Chapter 1 has the group coming to the rescue of a komiks creator rushing to beat his Komikon deadline — very meta. It’s a real slice-of-life komik that tackles deeper themes and relationships between family, friends, and more as it progresses.
Read Chapters 1-3 of Super Proxies on Penlab
Fraktur by Elle Shivers
Originally posted on the artist’s Twitter as a daily comic back in October, Fraktur is an autobiographical account of a trip they took around Eastern Europe with a bunch of religious zealots.
Patay Kung Patay by Mike Alcazaren, Noel Pascual, AJ Bernardo
Filmmaker Mike Alcazaren and comic writers Noel Pascual and AJ Bernardo are responsible for this zombie vengeance komik. If you, like us, have ever wondered what would happen when a zombie revolution breaks out at a remote hacienda with a group of showbiz reporters in attendance, then look no further because this is your answer.
The Dog Eaters by Electro Milk
Adapted from the short story by Hiligaynon writer and poet Leoncio P. Deriada, artist Shin (Electro Milk) manages to translate the grit and darkness of the original with striking illustrations.
Si Ana, and Katulong na Maraming Ginagawa by Noel Pascual and AJ Bernardo
The story revolves around Ana, a katulong who follows orders from her employer over the course of a day. It’s like Amelia Bedelia, except the plot just keeps getting more and more ridiculous (and herculean) as it goes along.
Read Ana, and Katulong na Maraming Ginagawa on Penlab
Egg by Ren Galeno
Told purely through visuals and without dialogue, Egg is a lovely one-shot about (comfort) food and memory.
Read Egg on Penlab
Takeout by Mikey Jimenez and Borg Sinaban
Based on events that took place in Pateros, the story chronicles the reality of the drug war. Warning: it can get extremely dark.
Read Takeout on Penlab
Nothing made sense in 2020 [gun shot in the distance] – except the memes.Read On
We made them very specific.Read On
How have our viewing habits changed under lockdown?Read On
Baby steps to making the Harry Styles cardigan of your dreams!Read On
BTS pins, a Keanu mug, Fine Line necklaces, and more in this 12.12 gift guide.Read On
Memes, internet trends, and lingo come and go. Can't keep up? We got you.Read On
Michael Moscovitz was the blueprint for my real life type without me knowing it.Read On
What it felt like to be young and online in the early 2000s.Read On