Time is a unique concept. We hate wasting it in hopes of using it productively yet we often find ourselves bogged down by being late or the idea of not having enough time to get things done. During one of the darkest times in Philippine history, time was used to actually control a populace and prevent them from being out and about at any time of the day. By placing a curfew of 12 midnight, the Marcos government could monitor whatever they perceived as anti-administration while keeping the rest of the population indoors.
In Russell Molina and Kajo Baldisimo’s 12:01, a barkada of Neal, Lilly, Joy, and Edjiboy find themselves on the wrong side of that infamous midnight curfew. Set in 1976, the foursome have to rush home when their clunker of a car breaks down. With Martial Law in full effect, and tensions high in Metro Manila, the quartet share their fears about what the future may bring while dealing with monsters roaming the streets wearing police uniforms.
For writer Molina, 12:01 marks a departure from superhero work in his collaboration with Ian Sta. Maria, Sixty-Six. He shared with adobo that setting the novelette during that period proved to be a challenge because he needed to study about the Martial Law years, including the language used at the time.
In Baldisimo’s case, this graphic novelette offers a change from his seminal work on the popular Trese series that he has become famous for with writer Budjette Tan. Though no supernatural elements or creepy crawlies can be found in 12:01, Baldisimo makes the effort to outfit the characters with period-appropriate attire while showing he doesn’t just draw tikbalangs and manananggals well.
With election fever currently gripping the country, it is perhaps necessary for stories about the past to be shared to a generation that has only history books to read about that grisly period. As for those who lived through that era, 12:01 can serve as a reminder, as well as a teaching tool on friendship, togetherness, and hope amid difficult circumstances.
For more on 12:01, click on this link for an adobo interview with writer Russell Molina. 12:01 will be available at Summer Komikon on April 16, 2016 and in leading bookstores.