NatGeo’s Mars finds us a new home

With depressing news from that week in November that we wish we could strike from history, it seems terribly apt to want to punch the eject button from Earth and live on another planet. Sadly, that won’t be possible until 2033 – at least that’s what Mars, the new National Geographic mini-series, says.

Part-documentary, part-dramatization in the style of Interstellar and The Martian, Mars, which shows tonight at 9PM on the National Geographic Channel, explores the very real possibility of a manned colonization of the Red Planet. The six-part miniseries features interviews from the leading minds in space exploration – NASA engineers, SpaceX CEO and Founder Elon Musk, The Martian author Andy Weir, and The Mars Society to name a few — as well as scripted dramatizations starring Ben Cotton, South Korean-born singer Jihae, and executively produced by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect from National Geographic’s foray into a new kind of storytelling:

Scifi No More

The first episode seems promising: in 2033, the spaceship Daedalus is on the mission to land human beings on the surface of Mars for the first time. Landing, while definitely not easy, is a walk in the park compared to what the six-person crew needed to do – make sure that living on the Red Planet is feasible.

Interspersed with interviews and scenes from 2016, Mars makes real the idea that living on another planet is no longer stuff for sci-fi: man’s great ambition is coming into fruition sooner than expected. Already, Elon Musk is projecting humans in Mars by 2022. That means that Mars is not a prophesy, but rather an explained blueprint on how to make that happen. Suddenly all those hours on Mass Effect and Starcraft feel more like practice for when we’re finally spacebound.

Check out Mars tonight at 9PM on the National Geographic Channel. If you want to experience a more interactive Martian encounter, drop by the BGC activity center in front of Fully Booked for the Mars Booth and find out if you have what it takes to be a crew on Daedalus.

#AreYouReady to #MakeMarsHome?

Some Real Talk from the Founders and Editors of Girls Got Game

Some real talk from the founders and editors of Girls Got Game

We grew up playing and looking up to heroes – male and female. Some of the characters we loved the most in the games, movies, and series’ we followed growing up largely lead a journey in search of and to create a better world. As we live in times and a world, frayed and torn from inequality and oppression, we found our hope through these heroes.

While we deliberately keep things light on the political front with our content, there are some recent events that we cannot look past. In light of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines to bury Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan ng Mga Bayani, we join millions of Filipinos in protest against it.

Marcos is nothing like the heroes we’ve looked up to over the years. He has stolen billions of dollars which his family continues to benefit from today, and he has also abused his own power to allow the murder and destruction of hundreds and thousands of innocent Filipino lives during the period of Martial Law.

This is not a politically-fueled myth – head to your local library or bookstore to read about it; and for our international readers, we’d like to offer this link from the individuals who arranged for the People Power Experiential Museum hosted earlier this year. Know the facts beyond what’s posted on random Facebook “historical” posts.

marcos

Art by Vincent Trinidad. Image taken from Alan Robles’ “Marcos Loyalists Online” (hotmanila.ph)

Marcos is not a hero. Marcos should not be buried with military honors, and he should not be laid to rest at Libingan ng Mga Bayani. The SC decision is a dark mark in Philippine history and we are in fear of its repercussions in the near future.

Signed,
The Girls Got Game Administration Team

4 Things Learned After 400 Hours of Town of Salem

Town of Salem

For this installment of Flashback Fridays, contributor DC shares a couple of things that she learned while playing Town of Salem. The original version of this post can be found on her blog.


While I’ve always had a fascination with words, using them to spin tales of deception has never been part of my agenda. That is, until I started playing Town of Salem.

And I don’t mean just one instance either. I mean spending 400 glorious hours of manipulating words in order to get myself killed (on purpose) or to convince the other 14 people I’m playing with that I’m actually NOT out to kill them.

It has been a pretty interesting journey for me, trekking through those stories and figuring out the truth behind all the lies. I am, by no means, the best player out there. Nevertheless, I have learned a few things in my 400-hour Town of Salem game mark that have helped me emerge victorious several times. Here are 4 of them.

The Fine Art of Deception

Town of Salem (TOS) finds its origins in the party game Mafia, the StarCraft II Mafia mod, and the card game Werewolf. All these games are about getting a role and using that role’s abilities to make your team win. As you never quite know who’s who (unless you’re part of the Mafia or in the coven of vampires), it becomes the ultimate guessing game in finding out who to kill and who to save.

When I started out, I had no idea at all what I was getting into. My little sister just told me to join her in the game then quickly gave me some tips… But I was hopelessly lost on what I had to do.

Why was that guy saying I’m part of the Mafia when I’m not? Why do I always get killed on the first night? That guy asked for my role, and now he’s trying to get me lynched! What?

Town of Salem Day 1

And why do people say the weirdest things on Day 1?

The more I played TOS, the more I discovered the undeniably simple truth: 100% of the players I’m with are lying.

If I wanted to actually win, I needed to get with the program and start lying, too. And that’s just what I did.

I listened to others as they spun their tales, and tried to emulate their techniques. I wasn’t always successful with my stories, but I’d like to think that I can lie a tad more convincingly now, as compared to when I first started.

Undeniably, that’s just part of the game. Love it or hate it, you are going to have to use some form of deception in order to carry out your role, whether you’re a Mafia man or a Townie.

If you want to win the game for you and your team, you’re going to need to get creative and manipulate some facts, pronto. Just remember to do it with finesse and style.

Mayor acquitted by Town

Plus you can get achievements for some cool, deceptive shindigs too, like one of my proudest achievements to date: being acquitted without revealing to the Town as Mayor!

Knowledge is Power

One of the most powerful things you can have in this game isn’t exactly a Serial Killer’s knife or a Werewolf’s rampage. It’s actually the capability of using your wits to bend the truth and survive long enough to win.

That being said, yes, knowledge is power. Mix this knowledge with the fine art of deception, and you’ve got a powerful combination. Based on my 400-hour gameplay, I firmly believe that there are two kinds of knowledge necessary to my victories.

The first one lies in having in-depth knowledge of class roles and responsibilities. I say in-depth, because to properly play out a role in Town of Salem requires more than just the information in the little text box on the right-hand side of the screen.

Knowing what the other roles can do will not only help you do your role better (after all, that little box doesn’t tell you how to jail people as Jailor or how to do a seance as a Medium). It will also help you figure out which player has which role, especially if you’re playing in Classic mode.

I am second Jailor

Pro-tip: Unless you really want to get executed, don’t claim to be the second Jailor when you’re jailed, ffs.

One way to improve your knowledge in this department is to read through the TOS Wikia. The wikia will tell you about the “hidden” things you can do for a class. For example, I’m surprised that many people don’t know that you could clean gas off yourself as an Arsonist. More importantly, it also has lots of helpful tips and pointers you can use to improve your gameplay, no matter what role you get.

For the other kind of knowledge…

 

ESGS 2016 Day Two Highlights!

esgs 2016

In the spirit of our collaboration with the wonderful people at What’s a Geek, members of our team and WAG are working together for the events coverage of ESGS 2016. Follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts to check on all the shenanigans that we got up to!


Our team hit the ground running for Day Two of ESGS 2016. The floor was full of all sorts of exciting MOBA tournaments, like League of Legends, the Boston Majors for Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) and Vainglory. Brawlfest was also still as lively and exciting as ever for the fighting game people in the house. Casuals and enthusiasts, however, were still able to drop in on the other booths in the area – like PLDT’s – if they wanted to do a round or two for kicks.

On the Main Stage

Eri Neeman came on stage shortly after Sony’s showcase of the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer, which we’d gotten a glimpse of the day before. Neeman went on to demo the remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The gameplay looks slick for both old vets of the game and newcomers.

Infinite Warfare and the remaster will be released next month for the Playstation 4.

esgs 2016

Ubisoft had a special panel with two of their people. This was extremely relevant to our interests, as they are looking for local game development talent. Their booth has been up since the con started, so folks who want to join their team should chat them up! They are super friendly, and working for them sounds exciting.

esgs 2016

By the way, the giveaways in between panels have been really cool these past two days. If you’ve got the time, drop in on Sunday and hang around! You’re bound to win some nice stuff.

Demo Time!

Since we had a bit of time on our hands after lunch, we tried out two of the games that are being showcased at the Summit.

Little Nightmares is a puzzle-platform game developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco. It follows the adventures of nine-year-old Six, who was kidnapped to a place called The Maw, from which she is now attempting to escape. The game is due for a release for the first quarter of 2017, and we’re really looking forward to that.

esgs 2016

Nightfall: Escape is the Philippines’ first survival horror FPS. We got to chat with one of Nightfall’s developers while waiting for a go at the VR set-up. The game has evolved a number of times in the spirit of making things even more interesting, so that’s something to look forward to.  If anyone wants to try Nightfall for themselves, it’s available on Steam. It also happens to be going for 50% off.

We’ve got some live streams that posted on our Facebook page. We’ve also got LOT of clips up on our Instagram account and Twitter. Make sure to check them out!

Anything Else?

Kjwan kept the hype up for the mid-afternoon crowd with a concert. The convention also wound down with some more DOTA 2: Sakitan Nights. The last event of the day was Bandai Namco Entertainment’s Tekken 7 Philippine Finals. The Top #8 is up on Twitch, courtesy of Playbook.PH!

We held the fort for our WAG buds so that they could interview Koji Igarashi. We do solemnly swear that they’ll have some notes on that for us real soon.

The Verdict

This second day was as dangerous on one’s wallet as Day One was. We strongly suggest coming around prepared – or leaving your wallet behind if you’re trying to save some cash. Alternatively, you could coast around and try out all the games. Some booths have giveaways going. The convention’s also bigger and a hell lot more badass than last year.


Were you at ESGS today? Did you have as much fun as we did? Did you do anything that we weren’t able to cover, or want to throw some deets our way for Day Three? Let us know in the comments!

ESGS 2016 Day One Highlights!

In the spirit of our collaboration with the wonderful people at What’s a Geek, members of our team and WAG are working together for the events coverage of ESGS 2016. Follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts to check on all the shenanigans that we got up to!


Day One of the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS 2016) has wrapped up, but there’s definitely more to see for the rest of the weekend. Girls Got Game had the opportunity to wander around and check out what this year had to offer, and what we’ve seen so far has us hyped!

esgs 2016

Bandai Namco’s booth showcases Tarsier Studios’ “Little Nightmares” for interested gamers.

This year’s ESGS raises the bar from last year. Offering interactive booths and set-ups accommodating multiple test areas, the major showcases cater to gamers from all walks of life. If you’re curious about the games on display, line up and experience them for yourself.

esgs 2016

Students participated in a 3D art rendering contest at the Wacom booth!

SONY Playstation’s press event opened with an exciting look into exclusive material for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. We got to sit down with Infinity Ward’s Eric Monacelli who took the time to tell us a little bit about the newest game for the franchise.

Monacelli shared that Infinite Warfare takes its new campaign beyond Earth and up into the stars. It takes inspiration from movies like Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down, as well as flavor from Starship Troopers and the Alien series.

esgs 2016

The sneak-peek looks great! Players are going to get to experience fresh combat scenarios, including air and space combat. Monacelli also took the time to discuss the Zombies mini-game, which takes place this time in a space-themed amusement park. It’s going to feature new gameplay features and mechanics.

The Q&A closed off with a chance for us to check out the Jackal Experience using the Playstation VR.

esgs 2016

A second exclusive from SONY Playstation was a chance to test out the much awaited sequel to Shadow of the ColossusThe Last Guardian.

While unable to test it out for ourselves, we were more than happy to watch playthroughs of a game. It’s been in development for over a decade.

The overview was fun. We took a quick over-the-shoulder video of the gameplay with SONY’s permission. The Last Guardian hits stores this December 2016!

esgs 2016


There’s still more to check out today! If you’re free and can make your way over to the SMX Convention Center, come on down. For more updates from our end, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

Ubisoft Philippines at ESGS 2016 – You Won’t Want to Miss This!

Top gaming developer Ubisoft returns for this year’s E-Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS) on October 28-30 at the SMX Convention Center. Known for the widely-acclaimed Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series, Ubisoft’s booth at ESGS will include an interactive Just Dance 2017 showcasing the latest from the biggest music video game franchise of all time.

Opportunities for enthusiasts to know more about the company’s upcoming studio in the country will also be available at the event. Here’s more from the official press release:

ubisoft philippines

“We’re very excited to be back for this year’s ESGS. Our participation in one of the biggest gaming conventions definitely allows us to connect fans not just to our games but with Ubisoft Philippines,” shares Chip Go, General Manager of Ubisoft Philippines. With the upcoming launch of their first office in the Philippines scheduled early 2017, Go also sees ESGS as an opportunity for interested individuals who want to pursue a career in the industry.

“As we establish our second office in South East Asia, looking for dynamic and passionate individuals to join our team is definitely a need. Gamers and enthusiasts who feel they have the natural ability to work in the industry can inquire at ESGS about opportunities that we have for them,” Go adds.

“This year, the team is looking to staff a studio of 50 people ranging from project managers, artists, to programmers. In the near future, we hope to accommodate a team composed of 200 people,” according to Go.

Aside from job opportunities, attendees also have the chance to know more about Ubisoft and De La Salle University’s recently launched Bachelor of Science major in Game Development program. Set to begin its first term in 2017 in the DLSU Science and Technology Complex in Laguna, the program aims to groom local talents to create leaders and innovators in Asia’s growing game development industry.

Interested applicants can inquire about the program and application requirements in the Ubisoft booth. As the program is still accepting applications, this can be the perfect time for gamers and enthusiasts to pursue the industry they’ve grown to love.

Are you passionate about pursuing the exciting world of the gaming industry? Come find us in the biggest gaming event in the Philippines to kick-start your futurein one of the most exciting and dynamic industries out there. Special prizes, including Watch Dogs 2 and Just Dance 2017 merchandise, await the lucky winners of Ubisoft’s on-site social media promo.


ESGS 2016 will be held at Function Halls 1-3 of the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia. For further details, please refer to the official Facebook page.

Girls Got Game and What’s a Geek will be doing joint coverage of the event. Hit us up via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! We’d love to see you there!

The Hype Continues with ESGS 2016!

Manila, Philippines – Get ready for an epic celebration on everything that is gaming. as Gariath Concepts and presenter PLDT Home Fibr bring ESGS 2016. Now a 3-day event, the E-Sports and Gaming Summit is scheduled for October 28 to 30, and will be held at Function Halls 1-3 of the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia. Showcases will cover games on PC, consoles and mobile, from top game publishers and independent game developers. Expect adrenaline-pumping action from professional players set to compete on a large line-up of e-sports tournaments. As for the other major activities planned for the event, here’s what’s in store:

The Big Names in Gaming are here

esgs 2016

Some of the biggest game publishers and e-sports bodies will be making waves at ESGS. Bandai Namco Entertainment will be hosting the very first Tekken 7 tournament Philippine Qualifiers for a spot in the King of the Iron Fist Tournament 2016. Sony PlayStation, Capcom and Ubisoft will be featuring some of their new titles for 2016 and 2017 and an area for attendees will be set up for those interested to try out the demos.

Super Evil Megacorp will also be hosting a tournament for their hit game Vainglory that are aimed towards competitive mobile gamers; while MSI will be hosting a rig modders competition to showcase some of the best PC rig mods created by the rig modder community. Plus, you can expect more game showcases from the other participating gaming brands, publishers and developers in an all-weekend game extravaganza.

IGA-vania is in Manila

esgs 2016

Koji Igarashi, or better known as IGA, will be at ESGS 2016 to showcase his upcoming game project Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

Igarashi is better known as the assistant director of the famous PlayStation game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and producer to the succeeding Castlevania games starting with Castlevania Chronicles up to Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. Now continuing his new project in a new company, Igarashi launched a crowdsourcing campaign for Bloodstained last year and it became the second most funded Kickstarter project for video games.

Gear up for Action with Brawl Fest

esgs 2016

A compilation of the country’s biggest fighting game communities — Cosmic Gorgons, Imperium, Pinoy PlayStation and Playbook — will be hosting a series of fighting game tournaments that include: Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat XL, Super Smash Bros., The King of Fighters XIV, Gundam Extreme Vs. Full Boost and many more.

Power to the Indies with Indie Arena

esgs 2016

Independent game developers from both the local and international scene will be sharing their current projects and finished games to the public at the Indie Arena area. This is the chance for gamers to experience some of the finest independent games created by our local talents in the game development industry.

Go Epic with the Cosplay Competition

esgs 2016

In partnership with Anime Alliance, ESGS 2016 upgrades its cosplay competition with two activities available to attendees looking to dress up as their favorite gaming characters. Lucky cosplayers roaming around the event venue on Saturday stand a chance to be featured and win a prize. Then on Sunday, the best cosplayers will have a chance to bring home PhP 15,000 cash prize.



Are you excited to check out ESGS 2016? So are we! Girls Got Game will be on the ground providing joint coverage with our friends at What’s a Geek. Follow GGG via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for updates!

An Open Letter From A Pinay Comicbook Writer

Open Letter to A Certain Screenwriter from a Local TV Station

I’d like to tell you a story. In the spirit of local telenovela flavor, let’s start with a lengthy “childhood” flashback that predicts 90% of the storyline. We’ll call this context.

Back in 2008, while mulling over which college I wanted to attend, I decided I’d do something I haven’t done before: attend a comic book convention. I wanted to go to this magical place where comic book fans could just hang out and be with other fans before I took the jump into semi-adulthood.

On October 2008, I met up for the first time with some longtime online friends – one of them, the co-writer and editor of the comic book for which we won the Indie Grassroots Comic Award for the following year.

open letter comics

See, I’m a comic artist. I’m a struggling local comic artist, and I have some pretty strong words to say to A Certain Screenwriter From A Local TV Station.

I get it. Original ideas are hard to come by. The comic book we wrote was part college project (for Rika Sioson, my dearest friend and co-writer) and part dare (for me). It was about a sullen young adult (I know) who is the designated Chosen One (yep, I know) and deciding factor to a generations-long war (yep) plaguing a fantasy land (if it sounds like YA urban fantasy bingo, that’s because it kind of is).

We had already finished the comic weeks before Komikon, and when I brought up that I planned to attend the convention, we thought: “Why not take up a table at Indie Alley? What’s the worst that could happen?”

open letter comics

We didn’t really know there was going to be a contest for the participating artists and titles. We didn’t expect to make it to the final round of voting. When we looked at the titles we were up against and saw that the highly esteemed and ground-breaking local series Trese (by Kajo Baldisimo and Budgette Tan) was in the running, we were just happy for the honor of being on the same list as them.

And then we won.

On October 2009, our little urban fantasy comic had won a small but precious thing.

open letter comics

Flash forward to present day: A Certain Screenwriter From A Local TV Station, in light of being criticized of the utter unoriginality (bordering on sheer and blatant plagiarism) of a project, went and posted this at the start of this month:

open letter comics

Dear Jerald Uy,

My post’s heading is clear – unless you’re blind, son?

POPULAR LITERATURE TOPICS (comics and soap opera) so what’s clear about this (sic)? That comics and soap (sic) belong to Literature (which is extensive) but — under POPULAR literature (This is better because back in the 70’s up to the 90s and even to this day, the snob (sic) and elite call these PULP or CHEAP!)

What does this mean?
That comics and soap (sic) belong to one box (popular literature) as a branch of literature. This isn’t (sic) “high art” (fine, it doesn’t belong to the category of Shakespearean writings and the other god (sic) and goddess (sic) in literature (that I’m suggesting you read, okay?) (sic for punctuation)

Comics are part of literature?
Yes. As part of POPULAR LIT.
Coined word or term as a gentle recognition for us working in popular culture..at least it’s ok, right? Because before we were called, along with Filipino comic writers (like Ravelo, Caparas, Gilda Olvidado— not the bourgoisie and expensive imported comics that people buy and worship like the creations of Stan Lee), as cheap and pulp and never acknowledged as part of literature except now (sic) so good, right?).

Is this clear my boy?

Or do you want me to give you a lecture about the state and struggle of Filipino comics (and soap opera) writers in the Philippines?

Sigh.
For another day..

PS. I’m avoiding swearing for you..

open letter comics

Many are saying Hey, wait, COMICS are considered part of Literature. People have won Pulitzers for it.
Yes. True. In America. In other countries.

Those comics are elitist (expensive). The masses can’t afford them.
(They’re) In English too. Hence, you can’t really call them pulp. Only the well-off can buy them. I mentioned other comics, loves 🙂

The struggle of Filipino comics writers is different (not the Filipino comics writers who work for Marvel or DC Okay and I don’t know anything about their world)..which is why I cited the names of Caparas, Ravelo, Gildo Olvidado etc. Do you know them? (Carlo Caparas yes, maybe Ravelo).

Here in the Philippines, comics are much maligned from the beginning until it died. It is called pulp, “common”, cheap (like soap opera). When it disappeared in the 90’s (when you were kids) and that’s only when it became known as part of Literature (sic) which is why we have what we call POPULAR LIT (sic).

 

 

 

First off: you don’t know the first thing about what you’re talking about.

Second: for the love of all things creative, sit the heck down.

Comics aren’t “elitista”. I can personally tell you that. Comics aren’t reserved for a certain class of person, or a particular economic bracket. Anyone can get into it, and anyone can make it. More importantly, shame on you too for assigning class distinctions to the universal value of literary and visual entertainment. Were the creators of Zsazsa Zaturnnah, Trese, and good ol’ Darna being elitist when they first published their stories?

open letter comics

Image courtesy of Comicvine.

Zsazsa Zaturnnah  – winner of the National Book Award in 2003 – was a fresh, creative, and respectful new spin to the Dakilang Bakla trope that has been endlessly pillaged ad nauseam in many local TV shows (including projects of yours, Certain Screenwriter From A Local TV Station). It was lauded by near-everyone, nearly everywhere, for the irreverently funny story it told despite (and because of) the protagonist’s orientation; any introductory must-read list for Filipino comics wouldn’t be complete without this title on it. It was even doing zombie apocalypse-style comedy before it became fashionable with the popular collective.

Trese – awarded the National Book Award for Graphic Literature in 2009 and 2011 by the National Book Development Board, and is required reading for public schools as of 2015 – brought the lore and mythology of Filipino beasts and monsters to the forefront of the general reading public. Go to any National Bookstore branch, you’ll find at least one volume there if they haven’t sold out (and they do, by the gods do they sell like hotcakes). Trese made childhood bedtime horror stories cool, transporting the tikbalangs and kapres out of the province and into the city. If you want a more informed opinion, you could even ask local actor Bianca King, who has been a very vocal fan of the series for years.

open letter comics

Trese, art by Kajo Baldisimo. Image courtesy of the official Trese blog.

And Darna – did you think the phrase “Ding, ang bato!” would come to be if there hadn’t been a comic book basis for the Vilma Santos movie? We were doing comic book movies arguably ahead of the curve. Darna is one of most relatable heroes of the “masa”; she wasn’t the “anak mayaman” heroine that populates the general landscape of local television, and she never will be. On top of discounting the value of comic artists and comics in general, you’re insulting one of the biggest feminist pop culture icons we have that we can truly call our own. (And didn’t Local Network adapt this story at least twice?)

open letter comics

Image courtesy of PinoyExchange.com

This isn’t even covering the rich history of our newspaper comic strips. There are so many we could name, but let’s talk about two prominent titles: Pugad Baboy by Pol Medina, Jr., and Kikomachine by Manix Abrera. If you’re thinking “the who?” about these people, let me personally remind you that not only are these widely recognized titles, containing some widely recognized characters and art styles, by widely recognized artists – they’re also all published by your sister company through The Philippine Daily Inquirer.

To quote one of Michael V’s many characters from Bubble Gang: Mahiya naman ako sa ‘yo.

Patutchada aside, though – how can you say that comics are “for the rich”, and then in a later post differentiate “local komikeros” from the “western” comic artists?

Stephen Jorge Segovia lives in the Philippines; he’s as local as you can get. Who is he? He’s only worked on The Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine, The Young Avengers, Red Hood and The Outlaws, Deadpool, Superman: Lois & Clark, and Green Lantern – just to name a few. He’s a longstanding stalwart of the local comics industry.

Whilce Portacio is a legend in both Marvel and DC fans, having worked on so many titles and impacted the industry so much (he was one of the founders of Image Comics) that he has his own wikipedia page.

Gerry Alanguilan (who I’ve had the honor of meeting) didn’t just spend a good few decades banging out top-shelf work for Marvel and DC – he also wrote the phenomenal and controversial graphic novel Wasted, which is set in the syncopated landscapes of the Philippines and reads like a ‘90s Manila era action movie poured onto paper, and the bittersweet short comic Where Bold Stars Go to Die, which is about falling in love with a torero genre actress in the twilight of her career.

I bite my thumb at you, Certain Screenwriter From A Local TV Station, from the bottom of my heart as a creator who doesn’t have the force of a multi-million corporation’s various bank accounts to waste on rehashed and regurgitated “plots”. For insulting the very medium that you’ve recently and blatantly ripped off in hopes of riding the comicbook adaptation trend while hoping no one will notice. For calling yourself a creator when you haven’t created anything good in over a decade, nor have you tried, if your recent projects are any indication. I bite my thumb at you for riding the nostalgia of that One Good Show you had all the way to a protracted creative death, but hey, that’s your call.

I don’t have to like it. I don’t like it.

As a comic book artist, at heart if not by day job, I very much don’t like what you’re doing at all. And as a viewer, I feel that I deserve not to be insulted if I’m going to spend my precious time on your creative product. I deserve better. We all deserve better. Not just in comics, not just in TV, but in terms of mutual respect.

Really, that’s all we want.


GGG would like to credit the edited featured image, which is taken from Green Arrow Volume 4, art by Joshua Middleton.

Editor’s Note: We would like to thank Dana for translating Ms. Doctolero’s posts literally as per AP style guides for our international readers.

#PitchAShowToGMA – More Than Just A Meme

Unless you didn’t have internet access in the last 48 hours, you would have likely caught #PitchAShowToGMA trending. The meme caught on and offered much to laugh about. When I say laugh though, I mean that a good part of that was “this is so hilarious but so uncomfortably true.”

 

I don’t watch Arrow anymore. I’m bored with the plot and critical of its direction. I used to follow it because it was engaging. It got me invested in its cast, its depiction of “lesser known” DC characters, and its take as an adaptation.

So when I saw actor Stephen Amell’s official Facebook page share a trailer clip from the up and coming show Alyas Robin Hood with a single, ambivalent emoticon, I did not just facepalm. I honestly wrestled with massive secondhand embarrassment.

There are people who will say (or have already said) that in instances such as this, I should just shut off the TV and leave it at that. If local spins on a “popular thing” are not my cup of tea, why vent about it. Hell, it’s easy: change the channel, move onto something else.

And I could. I really could. But I’m tired of hearing that this is the norm, accept it. I’m tired of getting told that because I’m NOT the market, my take on this issue is irrelevant.

I’m not going to just shut up and somehow get over my very real discomfort. I don’t want to quiet my opinions, and I will voice my criticism and dismay. We should be able to call out lazy attempts to ride on a trend as they are.

I’m tired of local television treating their audiences with the assumption that these people can’t possibly want better quality on primetime. That it’s okay to not have the least bit of creative integrity.

Naturally, whining in retaliation to the popularity of the #PitchAShowToGMA meme didn’t take too long to rear it’s head. People expressed being “offended” that the hashtag wasn’t a legit gimmick to drum up “legitimate ideas”. More than a number of folks cried foul about how the hashtag promotes negativity. Social media feeds now circulate posts about how we (read: the internet) shouldn’t be making fun. “Don’t be bunch of trolls,” they say. “You’re just butthurt elitist fans,” they go.

But are we, really?

The reach of the hashtag speaks for itself. This wasn’t just one small demographic of fans. This was all over, regardless of age, gender, or fandom of choice.

People pitched in witty (and occasionally sarcastic) takes. Some of the more serious ones even expressed their own wishes for shows that they would LIKE to see, but probably won’t get.

So don’t give me that “you’re not the market” bullshit, when there’s clearly a clamor for better, more diverse material.

I confess I’m “so goddamned salty” over this because just last weekend, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Malaysian comic book artist Billy Tan.

Tan, who spoke so openly about his own aspirations to build a universe that would be relatable to Asian fans, touched on creating characters whose origins would be immersed with local flavor and provide representation. Coming from something as awesome as that to greet this week with the sight of Yet Another CW Rip-off has left a bad taste in my mouth.

I don’t even want to talk about the legal ramifications covering copyright infringement and intellectual property. That’s a whole different mess altogether. But just because I don’t want to go into that does not take away the ugly truth that this has been going on as a perfectly acceptable practice.

It’s one thing to take inspiration from another source, it’s quite another to present promotional materials that are, quite bluntly, frame-by-frame knock-offs. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s exhausting to think that our creatives are reduced to hearing people ask: “Okay, which show did so-and-so network rip off this time?”

My heart honestly goes out to the people down the industry food chain. People who dream about bringing new, possibly great stories to audiences. Audiences that I’m pretty sure are looking for these stories and are wondering why the same old way-to-beat-a-deader-than-dead-horse formula keeps coming back.

Audiences aren’t dumb. They deserve something to chew on. Acknowledge that they have the capacity to appreciate ideas that don’t necessarily follow “hype”.

Finally, when people offer criticism, consider that it’s not always a personal attack. People need to acknowledge that.

APCCPH 2016 Day Two Highlights!

asiapop comic con day 2

This article features contributions from What’s a Geek writers Khan, Emile, and Rhenn! If you want to check our wrap for Day One, head down here!


Day Two was off to a busy start! The lines started filling up as early as 9 AM. Once the doors opened, everyone hit the ground running.

Toy creators Simone Legno (tokidoki) and Shinichiro Kitai (DEVILROBOTS) kicked off the day’s panels. Their Toy Panel session showcased some of their most iconic creations, with Legno and Kitai introducing the crowd to the genius (and sometimes silly) inspirations to their works.

Legno’s tokidoki came to life from the extensive Japanese influence in his childhood and his environment. He recalled Italy had a similar “Voltes V” phase with the Philippines, and that his mother knew everything about iconic characters like Doraemon just because. Legno gave tokidoki a shot and has been giving his Oriental-slash-cartoon gritty mix to some of the most notable pop culture icons. He has worked with Disney, Blizzard, and other notable companies for their art.

Kitai’s DEVILROBOTS is evidently influenced by his fascination with robots. He creates and draws cartoon robots with various knick-knacks and features for his clients. He sometimes transforms iconic pop culture icons to robots or into his other favorite original piece, Tofu Oyaki. The tofu-headed figures are “fragile,” given their heads are made of tofu. Tofu Oyaki has appeared in various forms, with Kitai creating Tofu Oyaki works out of cultural appreciation.

Kitai served as an inspiration of sorts to Legno. Kitai and Legno’s appreciation for robots led to some collaborative projects in the past. And while others fear that great minds may come to a standstill with a clash of ideas, their mutual respect and admiration led to quite a separation (and eventually, an intense and fitting mix) of ideas.

Legno reminded aspiring artists to always allot time and dedication to the craft, and to never stop being genuine about their works. Meanwhile Kitai told aspiring graphic designers to don’t stop making works of art – because, hey, they might collaborate soon.

Meanwhile, in the green room, media partners were invited for a sit-down with actor Nicholas Hoult, who is best known for his roles as Hank McCoy/Beast (X-Men), War Boy Nux (Mad Max: Fury Road), and Tony Stonem from British television series Skins, among others.

Hoult gamely answered during the Q&A, expressing appreciation for the warm reception he received from fans and con-goers, also shared that yes, he has not been immune to the Pokemon Go craze (Team Mystic, guys!). He also shared a little bit about what it was like for him on Mad Max, saying that working with Charlize Theron on the film was an amazing experience and that characters like Furiosa is something he’d like to see more of in movies. View the video we took of the first half of the interview over here

Comic book fans rejoice! A fan film is about to give their own answer to the perennial (controversial, friendship-breaking, comic book store ravaging) Avengers versus Justice League debate – with iconic Filipino stars and models taking the mantle of the superheroes themselves.

Eric Ejercito of E/J Studios joins stars Will Devaugn, Roxanne Barcelo, Ivan Carapiet, Jerico Estregan, Madeleine Humphries, and Noel Blanco in perhaps the biggest, star-studded fan film about the ever-discussed debate. Fans at the panel were given the first exclusive sneak preview of some never-before seen shots from the film.

The film, affectionately titled Avengers vs. Justice League: Death of a Hero, is directed and edited by Jeff Centauri. Although the premise is still bleak at best, the stars promise a better comics-aligned story to the cause of the big rumble. Expect heroes such as the Vision and Scarlet Witch battle Wonder Woman and the Flash. Superman’s heat vision will try to test the power of Vision’s Mind Gem (or is it?), with Captain America deflecting batarangs off the world’s greatest detective.

Maria Ozawa even cameos as the Phoenix Force – although her exact role in the film is yet to be announced. The film drops on September 10, 2016.

Today, eSports by Inquirer kicked off the first ever Overwatch tournament in the Philippines. The inaugural event had several bumps in the road from spotty internet connections to power outages that led to unfortunate delays. The finals boiled down to the best teams at the APCCPH 2016 – Mineski and Imperium Pro Team (IPT). The action was so exciting that even a wandering Reaper sat down to watch the digital carnage.

Filipino and Singaporean commentators added insights on the respective teams with colorful commentary, bless Harambe. Mineski’s communication held its own against IPT’s coordination. Rounds would swing back and forth until a well timed team wipe guaranteed a successful objective. It was a wonder to see tanks know exactly when to block and when to go for the kill or the ultimate and it was frustrating to see McCrees miss their High Noon. The finals ran the whole nine yards with the round 5 being contested in Hanamura. Unfortunately, the delays caught up to the tournament, going well over the APCC closing time. Mineski and IPT decided to settle the final match online for the $10,000 prize money at https://www.twitch.tv/esportsinq.

TBA (Tuko Films, Buchi Boy Entertainment, and Artikulo Uno Productions) gave the fans of local cinema at APCCPH 2016 a special treat. A new superhero-inspired trailer of Patintero: Ang Alamat ni Meng Patalo,  dropped before introducing the young stars of the movie. They invited con-goers to check out the prequel book, with exclusive signings with creators Rob Cham, Mich Cervantes, and Carlorozy Clemente. Even though they were born into the age of the internet and video games, the lead stars enjoyed playing the classic game, learning perseverance and honesty. Catch Patintero: Ang Alamat ni Meng Patalo  on October 5, 2016!

John Arcilla, Mon Confiado, and other stars of Heneral Luna graced the stage with Heneral Luna cosplayers shortly afterwards. They shared their thoughts on what Heroism is. Some said to do good, whether it’s for the environment or for something bigger than yourself. One didn’t need to die to be a hero, merely to have respect for everybody. Additionally, they all reminded us to learn and remember our history, as Rizal once said. Look forward to catching the movie’s own sequel about Filipino Hero Gregorio Del Pilar, Goyong.

Comic book artist Whilce Portacio gave tips to both aspiring and veteran artists about the perks of going digital. The session started and ended with Portacio drawing and shading a portrait of a man, with quick tips. He emphasized on the careful usage of light and greys in ensuring the feeling of “correctness” when it comes to shading.

He also gave tricks to quick drawing – emphasizing on the importance of using lines and symmetry in getting human anatomy right. The 53-year old comic book artist worked on various X-Men titles, and had Bishop (obviously) and Storm as his favorites.

Backstage in the Media Lounge, Malaysian comic book artist Billy Tan (Uncanny X-Men, Green Lantern) sat down with to talk a little about his work and shared some details about his newly founded company, Tan Comics. While he didn’t reveal any specific details of any of the characters he has in mind, he hopes to create a comic universe that reflects the different cultures of Asia, particularly China. He also got to talk a little about his experience working on X-23, his first work under Marvel Comics, and how it was a creative challenge to express Laura Kinney’s emotions visually.

In the afternoon, Star Wars fans were treated to a Lightsaber Walk from members of the Philippine Lightsaber Guild, followed by an amazing fight choreography from Fightsaber Philippines. The 15-minute show featured everyone’s favorite sith lord, Darth Vader.

APCCPH 2016 continued to make its mark in the cosplay community with the Open Category Finals of  Cosplay Authority Global Challenge (CAGE) 2016! The winners of the contest will receive a whopping $10,000. Esteemed judges included Alodia Gosiengfiao, Ani Mia, Lindze Merrit, Myrtle Sarrosa, Riki Lecotey, and Yugana Senshi Uon. Out of hundreds of local cosplayers, only twenty-two made the final cut in the pre-screenings and it’s easy to see why.  Veteran cosplayers came out in costumes like Final Fantasy’s Ultima Weapon and Lich. The Philippines’ premier female mech cosplayer made her debut in a Zoids suit for the open category, after dominating the kid’s category. Popular MOBAs were well represented from DOTA’s Tinkerer to LoL’s Popstar Ahri. Entertaining routines brought smiles to the audience, like the fantastic Vegeta, who bravely persevered through stage difficulties. The grand winners will be announced on Day 3 of APCCPH 2016. Stay tuned!

One of the most awaited panels  for today was Millie Bobby Brown at the Main Stage. Radio personality Delamar Arias facilitated the panel with the Stranger Things star. Brown recounted how she was taken by surprise when she landed the role of Eleven in Netflix’s hit series. She also mentioned how close she had gotten with the rest of the cast, especially the boys of Stranger Things. When prompted about her singing videos, she tells the audience that while acting is important to her right now, she’d promised her father that she would focus on singing once she reaches sixteen. Her energetic fans cheered when Brown did Eleven’s signature glare, especially when she walked down the stage and on the catwalk as Eleven.

Another exciting panel that took place at the Main Stage was with Claire Holt, known for her roles as Rebekah (The Vampire Diaries and The Originals) and Samara (Pretty Little Liars). She and host Justin Quirino ambled through a fun conversation about Australian actors and vegemite, balut, her families in the casts of TVD and The Originals, more food (she takes her coffee black, by the way), and then some. When fans took it upon themselves to Ask The Important Questions, Holt confirmed two things: Ian Somerhalder is one of the most caring guys she’s ever met, and future casting in a superhero movie isn’t exactly up to her. Also, just in case you all didn’t know this already, Clare and Milly are apparently good friends!

Meanwhile, Gendry from House Baratheon is back. Sort of. Joe Dempsie greeted his fans with startling revelations. His acclaimed execution of intense roles (Gendry from harsh Westeros, and emotionally-damaged Chris of Skins, to name a few) were a result of his “imagining” the series’ universe as his own reality. However, deep inside he’s a Red Ranger fan. He’s also a huge fan of Kanye West. Unfortunately, he did say Gendry may not have a favorite song.

He was glad Gendry did not die. If he did, he wanted it to be an epic battle. Dempsie emphasized it would be extremely embarrassing if, for instance, he died by tripping over a chicken and snapping his neck.

J-Rock fans got a huge treat with Hiroshi Kidatani of the immensely popular JAM Project. He brought their trademark high energy, causing many to scream at the top of their lungs. He made great effort to communicate in English and was visibly amused when the audience enthusiastically replied in Japanese. His six song set ranged from anisongs to JAM Project’s own singles. Get a glimpse of his performance over at What’s a Geek’s Facebook Page, and stay tuned for our article on the one-on-one interview we had with Kidatani which will follow. It’s not too late to catch another show on Day 3 of APCCPH 2016!

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