EventsPress Release

The Philippine International Comics Festival ushers in many firsts for comics in Southeast Asia

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — This year’s Philippine International Comics Festival (PICOF), the only comics festival in the world with an Official Selection of ten graphic novel pitches, developed in a Creator’s Lab, and published in time for the festival, announced the ten titles that made it to the festival’s Official Selection list.

Among these are the 40th National Book Award and the 7th National Children’s Book Award winner Alandal by J. Philip Ignacio and Alex Niño. Alandal is currently published in German and Burmese, and Alex also received the 2022 Eisner Hall of Fame Award in the USA.

Doobiedoo Asks by Bambi and Roland Amago is an autobiographical komiks (comic) about discovering that their first-born child is diagnosed with autism. It won at the 2021 Asian Festival of Children’s Content for Best Media Pitch Winner, and at the 7th National Children’s Book Awards as Kids’ Choice Awardee, Chapter Book Category.

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There is also Twinkle Twinkle by Tori Tadiar, which won the National Children’s Book Award, and the Filipino Reader’s Choice Award for Best Comics. Tadiar’s next work Ilustra is going to be published by Disney Hyperion in June 2025.

Two new titles will get their first release, Nino Bughaw by CJ Reynaldo, about a deaf weather engkanto (magic spell) who has to save his parents from the evil stormy engkanto, and Watchdog Of Manila by Lucas Lacorte, about a young boy who uses his newfound superpowers to guard Sentro Manila (the Manila Center).

For the first time since PICOF’s first edition in 2020, PICOF 2024 will be held face-to-face on July 20 and 21 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at The Podium Hall, 6/F of The Podium, located along ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

Meet content creators from all over the country

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Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and greet some of the country’s most popular and top-notch creators, such as Pol Medina Jr., Tarantadong Kalbo, Libreng Komiks, and SSKAIT. National Book Award winners RH Quilantang from Leyte (Ang Mga Alitaptap Ng Pulang Buhangin), and Mike Alcazaren, Noel Pascual, and AJ Bernardo (Death Be Damned) will also be in attendance. Flying in from Iloilo City, on the other hand, are Pasyon Komiks and Kartilya Komiks, and representing Davao City are Pulitzer Prize Finalist Ren Galeno and Gigi Chan of the popular webcomics, Somewhere In My Past, while Yuri Javillonar will come down from Baguio City to release a preview chapter of her work Blight. Students from the Komiket’s 9th Comic Book Creator’s Workshop will be releasing their first komiks, and the Makiling Komiks Kolektib are national arts scholars from the Philippine High School for the Arts in Laguna who will also attend.

Being an international event, PICOF will also see the presence of international delegates from South East Asia like Eisner winner Erica Eng from Malaysia, plus Chin Yew and Sam Seen, also from Malaysia. Juliette Yu-Ming Lizeray, as well as Fang Kai Loo, both from Singapore, will be joined by Toni Masdiono and Tita Larasati of Indonesia, and Ping Sasinan and Maelon and Seesaw representing Thailand. Readers may find each of their short comics altogether in the SEA Kommunity Comics Anthology.

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Multiple Eisner Award winner and a recipient of the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, Craig Yoe (USA), will also be releasing his new book, Woman and Man. Sean Michael Wilson, also an Eisner and International Manga Award winner who has penned more than 40 titles, together with PICOF’s festival partners from the UK and Australia will also be in attendance. From the Lakes International Comics Art Festival, Lucy Sullivan, Lyndon White, and Mollie Ray will be representing the UK, while Katrina Turner from Perth Comic Art Festival will represent Australia.

Masterclasses from international comics creators, comics exhibits

And PICOF 2024 will not be complete without the Comics Masterclasses. So, it’s the perfect time for festival attendees to attend these masterclasses. It’s a rare occasion to have these international comics professionals in the country, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and hear them talk and help everyone hone their skills not just in comics but also in sequential art and visual storytelling. All classes are definitely worth attending, like Toni Masdiono’s class on “Dynamic Flow & Angles,” Lyndon White’s “Stand Out Cover Art,” and Carlo Vergara’s “Digging Your Well: Unearthing Your Personal Catalogue Of Story Possibilities,” just a few of the 12 Comics Masterclasses available for interested students.

Attendees can also get a sneak peek at the creators who are next in line, as the PICOF Creator’s Lab creators are releasing the first chapters of their work. Hele (Lullaby), by Mitzi Bajet and Alex Sevilla, follows the life story of jazz and bodabil (vaudeville) singer Ada set in the Filipino-American period. There’s Hiraya (Hope) by Fred Cabredo that creates a new mythology about a powerful babaylan (Philippine shaman), Jalberta, who uses the mystical page of Hiraya to cure her dying grandson; Tablay (Electric Charge) by Kat Olan and Paul Medalla, a high-octane Filipino myth mecha adventure; while lovers of Filipino manga will adore Sitnalta by Ray Magbanua.

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Komiket, which has been conducting Comic Book Creator’s Workshops since 2015, announced that the ninth batch of comics creators will be launching their komiks for the first time and will need all the support they can get.

Likewise, newly released comics will get the special treatment they deserve as they will go on stage for the launch of their comics. The launch will be hosted by world comics expert Paul Gravett, Singaporean Comics Critic CT Lim, and Duy Tano, who will get to interview the creators. Among the new releases to be launched are Tuttle Publishing’s international edition of Janus Silang, the “Gigil” (thrilling) Anthology featuring 13 girls who love one-shot comics, and In the Jaws Of St. Camillus by Stevie Barot, whose work was initially featured in Shortbox Comics Festival in the UK.

On the other hand, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF), a long-time partner of Komiket working on the Ten Years to Save the World project on climate change, will be working on a four-panel comics workshop for kids, with the view that comics can create a better world. This will be led by Mollie Ray of the UK and Patty Ramos of the Philippines. The finished comics will become part of the comics exhibit of PICOF.

Celebrating Filipino comics heritage and industry growth

This year, PICOF will also pay tribute to the Alamat Comics creators who started the independent comics scene in Manila through a comics exhibit of collected artworks by the Komikero Museum, and a comics anthology, Alamat Origins. The anthology takes readers back to the stories and art of the first and sometimes only issues of 17 titles released by the Alamat Comics Group in the 90s. These komiks have now been unearthed, remastered, and revived for new readers to enjoy.

In a groundbreaking initiative for Southeast Asia, a Comics Rights Market will be held a week before the festival, featuring a two-day rights-selling training with international comics agent Ivanka Hahnenberger. This special project, supported by the National Book Development Board and organized by Komiket, aims to enhance the professional development of Filipino komiks publishers. After the training, they will pitch to eight international publishers from the USA, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Korea, and Myanmar, engaging in business matching sessions to promote Filipino komiks titles. This development initiative supports industry growth and aligns with preparations for the 2025 Frankfurt Buchmesse, where the Philippines holds the distinguished position of Guest of Honor. This prestigious fair, the oldest in the world specializing in translation rights, underscores the Philippines’ commitment to advancing its literary contributions on a global stage.

There will also be festival merchandise available to help raise funds for PICOF2025 to keep the event free for komiks creators and komiks publishers. This year’s poster is illustrated by 2022 Eisner Hall of Fame awardee Alex Niño. Komiket also calls on Filipinos to support over 200 Filipino komiks creators and publishers by purchasing their komiks. Every purchase during PICOF 2024, where book lovers, film geeks, and animation and video game enthusiasts who love visual storytelling will enjoy this festival of sequential art, will help encourage creators to continue creating magnificent creations that can be showcased to the world.

Now is the right time to #supportfilipinocomics. Head to the 2024 Philippine International Comics Festival (PICOF) on July 20 and 21 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at The Podium Hall, 6/F of The Podium, located along ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. Tickets may be purchased at the venue entrance for PHP 200. The first one-thousand paid ticket holders will get a free Kometverse komiks anthology featuring 95 Filipino creators. And during the grand raffle, one lucky komiks reader gets to receive over 100 komiks as a gift from the community.

PICOF2024 is organized by Komiket, and supported by the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the National Book Development Board.

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