If you want to see samples of my comics work, head on over to CapsuleZone! If you want to see my graphic design portfolio, just go to Reno Maniquis Graphic Works! Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sometimes I get "burned out" looking at some of today's comic art. it seems that nowadays (especially in US comics), it's either you draw as "photo-realistically" as possible or draw in manga-ish style (oooooohhhh.... now I'm gonna get it).

It's the photo-realistic thing that I'm gonna rant about...

Don't get me wrong. I'm still amazed by guys who draw in this style... John Cassaday, Daniel Acuña, Steve McNiven (to name a few). But sometimes I yearn for simple yet reliable art. Stuff like what Curt Swan used to do. Or Paul Ryan. These guys didn't have splashy visuals. But their storytelling is so clear that they didn't (or don't) need to resort to double-page spreads or extreme pin-up shots. Their panels didn't even need to show too much detail. Just telling a straightforward story was good enough.

Which brings me to something else I wanted to rant about. I think the problem nowadays with most comic artists (pencillers in particular) is that they pour (or would that be "pore?") over too much detail and precision into their pages that it takes them too much time to finish one. I remember reading an interview with Brian Bolland wherein he states that when he was pencilling CAMELOT 3000 back in the 80s, he was inking with his pencil. He tried to dominate the look of the art too much that essentially he was dominating the inker, which took him too long, so that the latter issues came out late.

I think it defeats the purpose of having an inker in the first place. That's why American comics developed the "assembly-line" of making comics before, to make it faster. So much time is saved by having two different people working on the art.

Well, nowadays, we have what some people term digital inking, wherein pencil pages are scanned then cleaned up on the computer. But then again, in order for the clean-up to be not too time-consuming, the pencils have to be as detailed as possible, essentially having the penciller go over his pencils a second time to "ink" with his pencil.

For example, take a look at John Byrne's pencils. They're kinda rough, but just enough information is given that in the hands of a competent inker, the page will come out great. Even Gil Kane pencilled roughly. Take John Romita, Jr., for example. He can pencil two books (at the least) every month and never fall behind schedule. He doesn't obsess on every little detail. But he's still one of today's kick@$$ artists.

On a side note, one of my favorite inkers is Kevin Nowlan. He injects his own style when he inks somebody else, but enough of the penciller's style comes through the art that you still recognize who did the pencils.

You know who's the most amazing penciller of all? Mark Bagley. Man, that guy stays on schedule no matter what. And his art is so full of energy.

Sigh. I've gotta admit, I've fallen into the trap of making my art photo-realistic, too. Lately I've been so obsessed about it that I spend too much time looking for photo references before I draw. Like this pin-up here, for example...

The Paranormals © copyright Carlo Borromeo and Reno Maniquis.

That's why for the PROJECT HERO thing I'm doing for Vin Simbulan, I'm trying to get back to basics. No photo reference, except for backgrounds and other everyday objects. Wish me luck!

Man, this post just went on and on and even I don't know what the single thought behind it was. Must be tired...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wala lang, napagkatuwaan lang... Superman and Captain Barbell team-up!

I'll be at the KOMIKON 2006, along with the Ravelos, Bong Leal and Dodo Dayao. We'll be manning the MARS RAVELO MARVELOUS CREATIONS, INC. booth, showcasing the history of Mars Ravelo's characters (hopefully) and what the future has in store for them. See you all there!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's time for the EXODUS PROJECT. This may be the last time I'm going to post some art about this topic, since I've run out of them, anyway. Unless Bong somehow gets to return some of the unfinished art to me and I find the time to scan them.

This time, the aswang Bangkila gets the re-design treatment. She was played in the movie by the sexy Aubrey Miles.

This is how Bangkila more or less appeared in the movie, with trenchcoat, metal claws and wings, plus aviator goggles.

I'm a big XENA fan, and I remember one episode where Xena sports a samurai-styled outfit. This was inspired by that. I think the long sleeves and crotch flap of the original design worked well. It gave a sense of motion, especially when she's flying, so I tried to incorporate that here. I also gave her bat wings, which is more in keeping with her being an aswang.

This one has more of a medieval vampire feel. I tried to incorporate the feel of the trenchcoat from the original design by adding a cape-like trail behind her, though I made the front part sexier by keeping her shorts "short," so to speak. As with all versions, her claws are now retractable, since in the movie version the claws were permanently there. Her wings are like that of an archaeopteryx, leather-like but with feathers.

This last design has a dominatrix/warrior feel to it. I felt like I went over-the-top here a bit, adding unnecessary metal thingies to the costume. I've kept the blade-like wings in this design. Of the three, this is the one I liked least.

My first choice would be the samurai outfit, since it still evokes most of the elements from the original design. I wouldn't want the characters to be virtually unrecognizable from their film counterparts.

For Iya Villania's character Lin-Ay, I didn't do any re-designs, since her costume was fine the way it was.

That's it. Hope you've enjoyed seeing this stuff. Here's the rest of the Thursday Webring...

Jonas Diego
Edgar Tadeo
Ariel Atienza
Jerald Dorado

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Once more, KC Cordero gives some useful insights about local publishing. Here's what he has to say about DISTRIBUTION...

"Sa ngayon, kung may publication ka maliit man o malaki ay tulad pa rin ng dati ang distribution. Ikaw ang lalapit sa mga ahente (may asosasyon, meron din naman na indibidwal lang na ahente.) Kung mabenta ang produkto mo, puwede kang mag-demand ng bond depende sa iyo. Ang amount ng bond ay proteksyon mo sakaling balasubasin ka ng ahente at di na mag-remit ng kita. Isinosoli pa rin ang hindi nabentang kopya, at mula roon ay kukuwentahin lang kung ilan ang di nabenta o naisoli ng ahente. Kaya kung tutuusin, kung iisa ang produkto gaya ng kay Gerry (i.e. ELMER) ay mas praktikal na you do the distribution and everything. Karga mo sa car mo, punta ka sa mga bookstore. Pero dapat ay rehistrado 'yan as a company/business para may official receipt ka at makakakuha ka ng ISBN/ISSN sa national library. Sa National Bookstore ay paaaprubahan mo ang kopya bago nila payagan na mai-display roon. At para maaprubahan, magbibigay ka ng kopya ng business registration at company profile. 40% cut nila, at sakaling mawala o manakaw di nila babayaran. Ang kargo lang nila sa 'yo ay 'yung lalabas sa resibo nila. So, kung may nagnakaw at di naka-record sa actual sales nila, sori. Ikaw na rin ang kukuha ng mga kopya na hindi nabenta. Pero pag graphic novel naman ay pumapayag sila na matagal sa display. ang Expressions, Booksale at iba pang bookstore ay 30% lang ang cut."

I hope this proves helpful to all local creators out there!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A few weeks ago, discussions at Randy Valiente's blog prompted me into asking questions about the local komiks "industry."

KC Cordero, associate editor for THE BUZZ magazine, was kind enough to reply. Here's his answer...

"I'm into publishing right now, at ito ang analysis ko. Mahirap nang sabihin ang demographics/class ng readers ngayon. sa karanasan ko sa kasalukuyan, pag gusto ng isang reader ang produkto bibilhin niya 'yan. Ang crucial factor ngayon ay ang visibility. Kung well-distributed ang product, mas nakatitiyak ng ROI. The best marketing strategy is not to determine the classification of the readers, kundi ang makakuha ng maraming stores na pagtitindahan. Isa pa, consciousness ng readers. Kapag lagi niyang nakikita na may komiks palang ganito o ganyan, papasok sa consciousness niya. Pag na-curious siya, bibili. Nagulat nga ako na kahit xerox binibili. Ganoon kasabik ang tao sa komiks. Laging may market sa komiks, maraming nagtatanong. Sana tuluy-tuloy ang paggawa ninyo ng komiks. Saka kung magpapa-print kayo ng komiks, pa-quote kayo sa at least 4 printers. Isa o dalawa roon siguradong mababa sisingil lalo na kung camera-ready na."

Thanks, KC!

I hope anyone out there who's thinking of coming up with their own komiks glean something from this.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another EXODUS PROJECT feature!

This time, I'll be featuring designs I did for the Santelmo character SILAB, played by BJ Forbes.

This more or less what Silab looked like in the movie. The publisher thought that his costume here was too "modern," and did not fit a "sword & sorcery" setting. I could see his point. A yellow jumpsuit was really out of place in EXODUS' setting.

A study of Silab's head. As you can see from my notes, I wanted his eyes to be red, and his hair actual flames (a la Firestorm). I think the flaming hair was what they intended for the movie, but I guess they opted for red hair due to budget constraints.

This is study 1, more of a swashbuckler-type. I had intended a backstory for Silab that he is prince of the Santelmo race, since we first see him hiding inside the ruins of a castle. So the swashbuckler/princely attire suited this backstory.

Study 2 shows Silab as more of the street urchin/warrior type. Not too much story behind this design, just wanted to throw every possibility I could think of.

And lastly, study 3 is a shaolin-inspired outfit, since in the movie, there are two shaolin kids who appear out of nowhere to help Silab fight. I guess they're flame constructs that he whips out in times of need. This costume is more in tune with that idea.

I can't remember which one the publisher preferred, but for me personally I would have gone for study 1, since it ties in with his supposed backstory.

SILAB property of The Enchanted Kingdom, Inc.

That's all for this week. Check out the rest of the Thursday Webring...

Jonas Diego
Edgar Tadeo
Ariel Atienza
Jerald Dorado

Monday, September 04, 2006


Details at THE BLURB.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I thought I'd post some more sketches of the "EXODUS PROJECT" here. First up, sketches of the main man, Exodus himself...

Here's a study of Exodus' face. I tried to get a considerable likeness of the actor who played him, Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and tried to beef up the face a little by giving him a more prominent jawline. I also simplified the hair, since in the movie version he had this unruly hair and little braids (a la Padawans in Star Wars).

Here, we have a full-body shot of Exodus. The chest plate has been improved, since some movie critics have said that it looked like he was wearing a bra. I've also redesigned the flap running down between his legs, making it look more heavy for added protection. Here, he is also seen brandishing two swords (or "bahi"). He had two swords in the original screenplay, but I guess it was scrapped in favor of just one. All in all, only minimal redesigning was done.

Here's Tayho, the character played by Benjie Paras. Minimal redesigning, too.. just some tweaking on his body tattoos and making his feet more hoof-like. You can also see a small inset of Tayho in centaur-mode. This was in the original screenplay and we were also going to re-insert it into the comic book. He could switch back and forth from human to centaur if he needed to.

Next week, more designs for the other characters!

All characters are property of The Enchanted Kingdom, Inc.

I know, it's Friday... but here's the Thursday webring anyway...

Jonas Diego
Edgar Tadeo
Ariel Atienza
Jerald Dorado