Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Comic Book Collection

One time, my friends and I were having a conversation. Well, actually, only they were part of the conversation. I was at one corner, merely listening. Anyway, they were talking about collecting stuff, you know, like what philatelists do. Then, I told myself, “Hmm… what a great idea!”

As if it was not enough that I already hoard plastic bags (now paper bags since they have been banned in Pasig, where I work), I decided to have my own collection. Choosing what it would be was difficult, for I had many options. I laid out some criteria. First, the things I would collect should be what I truly like (crossed out Hello Kitty). Second,
they should be possible to collect (crossed out Pokemon). Last, they should not be expensive (crossed out sports cars).

I wish Bertong Badtrip were real.
That left me with two choices: food and comic books (not the superhero ones). Because there is no way to collect food without them spoiling (and like them eaten, not displayed), I chose the latter. Since I had a few Pugad Baboy comic strip compilations at home, which I received as gifts, I started from there.

(Note: The images of the strips are posted here for their contextual significance. No copyright infringement intended. Click on them to zoom.)

Dagul, Polgas, and Brosia (from Pugad Baboy Sunday Comics 2 )
When I was very young, the only pages of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) that I would check were the business section for the peso-dollar exchange rate (I don’t know why.), the opinion section to look at  editorial cartoon, and the comic relief section. That’s how I become fond of Pol Medina Jr.’s Pugad Baboy, a comic strip series where the only character who isn’t fat is the maid.
Tiny and Bab (from Pugad Baboy One). The characters looked a bit different, crude, actually, in earlier Pugad Baboy books. However, now, the characters look impeccable.
I think Pol Medina Jr. is the best Filipino cartoonist. I like his witty takes on politics, pop culture, and even mundane things. I often agree with him on certain issues. Moreover, he draws his characters well. My favorite is Brosia, the clueless yet adorable maid of the Sungcal household.  
My Pugad Baboy collection. Book 5 is not in the photo. My friend hasn't returned it yet.
I didn’t simply visit a bookstore and bought every copy of Pugad Baboy. That wouldn’t be fun. Instead, each month, I would buy one or two books. I bought some used copies on eBay to save cash. Some are a bit hard to find. I visited at least five malls just to complete my collection. The farthest one I visited was SM Taytay, where I found book 2. In two years, I was able to collect every Pugad Baboy comic book.
This happens to me a lot. Art imitating life or life imitating art? (from Kikomachine Komix Blg. 3)
Another comic strip series that I like is Kikomachine (Kiko Machine in PDI) by Manix Abrera, the son of Jess Abrera, another great cartoonist. His series is often set in an unnamed state university, which is obviously UP. His characters are also nameless, except for very few ones, like Bertong Badtrip (who fulfills my dream of scooping out the eyes out of stupid people). Being a student of a (less popular and humbler) state university, I can relate to what Manix draws and writes. He talks about things I did in college – commuting, dealing with different professors, being part of the school newspaper, and joining protest rallies – with subtle social commentaries. I think Manix has outdone his father, or maybe I just like him more because we’re from the same generation.
No explanation necessary here. From Kikomachine Blg.4
Of his eight books that were published, I only bought three, including the last one that was released just weeks ago. The rest were given to me as gifts. I request them from officemates for our ‘exchange gift’ every Christmas party. A smart way to build my collection, eh?
My Kikomachine Komix collection. Someday, I'll have Manix sign all of these.
I’m not sure if I should include this here because I do not own physical copies of Scott Adams’ books, but since my topic is comics strips, I might as well talk about my favorite internationally syndicated comic strip series – Dilbert.
Dilbert and the wise garbageman. True story: In the US, an employee got fired after posting this on his office bulletin board.
Dilbert is an engineer, probably in his late 20s or early 30s, whose necktie is mysteriously curved upward. He works for a company where the employees are underpaid, the boss is a pointy-haired nincompoop, the HR director is an evil cat, and the consultant and occasional CEO is a megalomaniac dog.
Dilbert with the pointy-haired boss, Wally, and Alice
Perhaps the only similarity I have with Dilbert is that we’re both “cubicle warriors.” However, that doesn’t stop me from appreciating him and his co-workers. (Actually, I find Wally, Dilbert's lazy coffee-loving coworker, funnier.) If you work in the corporate world, then you’ll definitely find Dilbert amusing, but it depends on whether you are part of the management or one of the “underlings.”
I don't have the actual Dilbert 2.0 book, so I'm posting just a photo of it that I got from the Internet.
Dilbert is actually a late discovery. I became a fan only a few years ago, but it has been in existence since 1989. I managed to get a soft-copy of Dilbert 2.0: 20 Years of Dilbert, a collection of all Dilbert strips since it was first published up to 2008. I swear, if it were available here in the Philippines, I would buy a copy. All the strips are viewable and downloadable on the official Dilbert website anyway. I just chose to easiest way to have my own copy. :)

I'm only halfway through reading Dilbert 2.0, and I haven't read the latest Kikomachine book yet. You see, I like to savor each panel slowly. Hehe. I really made the right choice when I decided to collect comic books. I'm planning to add more titles to my collection in the future. Hey! I have an extra copy of Kikomachine book 7. I got one as a gift last Christmas, and I received another one for my birthday last January. If anyone wants it, just tell me. I'm sure my friend won't mind me sharing it. ^_^

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