Monday, May 28, 2012

Awesome magazine is awesome

Last Saturday, I went to the Summer Komikon 2012 hoping to catch cosplayers and to get my copy of a magazine that was to be launched that same day. Too bad about the absence of cosplayers, they're always an interesting lot. I did get a copy of the magazine though, and I'm sure glad I did.

There has never been a local magazine devoted to YA fiction in the SF and fantasy genres. (Which is a bit weird really, as most of the books that sell in our bookstores belong to this genre.) Kwentillion aims to change that, as it features YA graphic fiction, short stories, interviews of graphic novelists, a few artworks of up and coming graphic artists, and a lineup of YA fiction in 2012.

I'm a bit surprised that it's selling for only Php 150 (around $3.50), considering the extent, the quality of the paper, and the full-color pages in the middle. But this is good, right? This means that teenagers need not shell out a significant fraction of their allowance to get a copy. It's basically almost the same price as a venti mocha frappuccino.

I feel that the strength of Kwentillion lies in the graphic fiction that appears on its pages. For the maiden issue, it featured a story steeped in Philippine mythology by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo (the team behind the popular Trese series), the weirdly funny 'Poso Maximo' by Robert Magnuson, the wonderfully steampunk-ish 'High Society' by Paolo Chikiamco, and the space opera (space operatic?) themed 'Sky Gypsies' by Timothy Dimacali and John Bumanglag. For these stories alone, the magazine's price is totally worth it.

Of course, being in the book publishing industry for some years now, I'm particular about the layout of printed work. Some of the sections in the magazine have very few 'resting spaces' for one's eyes, such as the short story by Andrew Drilon entitled 'The Secret Origin of Spin-Man', the only non-graphic work of fiction in the magazine. I'm apprehensive if young adults would take the time to read it, since it does appear to be lengthy and text heavy, something which is all the more ubiquitous in a magazine that has lots and lots of visually stimulating panels of graphic fiction. The layout of the interviews featuring Manix Abrera and Chester Ocampo could use more write areas too.

Also, there seems to be a dearth of local YA non-graphic fiction available in bookstores. The magazine did feature a lineup of highly anticipated YA fiction to be released this year. The writers chose 11 titles, but only 1 is local. Maybe Kwentillion would change all this. It's the perfect time for publishers to tap local talent to come up with genre novels for this market.

It's an exciting time for YA fiction. We have the talent and ingenuity to succeed in this genre. Kwentillion makes us aware of this potential. Thumbing through its pages and seeing the artworks, I am amazed by the artistry of individuals, some just barely out of college. I have a huge admiration for this kind of talent, as I can't even draw stick figures.

Oh, one other thing. Perhaps Kwentillion can be less testosterone-y in the next issue? The short story and the graphic fiction all had male writers and artists. Must female writers be delegated to produce the feature articles only?

But hey, this is just the first issue. I'm sure that Kwentillion will just get more awesome with each issue. Kudos to Paolo Chikiamco, Budjette Tan, and their team for coming up with this magazine. Now I'm off to get my subscription!

Addendum (made after Paolo Chikiamco's comment):
There's a single female involved in the graphic fiction featured in Kwentillion -- the uber talented Hannah Buena. My apologies if I missed this in my original post.


Pao Chikiamco said...

Peter! Once again, thank you for the extended commentary, and I'm glad the printing passed muster :)

We'll definitely be tapping female creators for the (still hypothetical) future issues--though I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Hannah is definitely female :) Particularly for prose fiction, where I think the males are outnumbered, to be honest. I've already spoken to Mina about the possibility of her doing a short story for us. Let's hope!

Peter S. said...

Oh, how could I miss that! Hannah is so talented! I love her artwork!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the magazine immensely and I was so shocked when I first took glance right through the pages of the magazine. The strips are great and I love one of the articles, the one with superhero theme that can teleport through time. I hope they'll post more YA related articles and a must have magazine for book and comic geeks.

Peter S. said...

Hello, sweetreads! I enjoyed the magazine too!

sundersartwork said...

I am all for more female representation. I wonder if magazines will be still around with the internet,i think newspapers will have to adapt. I stopped reading magazines a fwe years ago, and i do notice that aside from the gossip magazines, in England magazines are going the way of the dinosaur. Wont't they just evolve in to websites?

petterjoe said...

Your writings are very good.Very interesting and informative article. Thanks for sharing.I like to read more article like this.Petter Joe

Peter S. said...

Hello sundersartwork! Maybe the creators of this magazine can explore the e option! Thanks for pointing that out!

Hi, petterjoe! Thanks for dropping by.

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