Wondering what to add to your reading list? Make some room for comics! Here are some comic books that older readers might enjoy!
Maktan 1521 by Tepai Pascual
Maktan 1521 retells the story of the Battle of Maktan. If you liked Frank Miller’s 300, then you will enjoy reading this one as well! Though historical events have been fictionalized, this comic book can help spark students’ interests, particularly with history and metanarratives. How do we view our own heroes? What kinds of themes / patterns emerge when we retell our history? How do we compare what we see in movies, textbooks, and other forms of pop culture?
Ang Subersibo by Adam David and Mervin Malonzo
We know that Filipino class in high school wouldn’t be complete without Rizal’s two novels – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Personally, I had such a miserable introduction to Noli Me Tangere. To be fair to my teacher’s intentions, I think he tried to make it simpler by mixing the chapters. Instead of reading the novel from page one until the end, he made us skip and backtrack through chapters. I don’t know about my classmates but that method did not help me at all. Just like everyone else, I found myself scrambling for a summarized comic book of Noli Me Tangere right before our exams!
Ang Subersibo is quite a different take on the classic novels – it’s nothing like the comics version that we see in bookstores AT ALL. Volume 1 features the first two chapters of Noli Me Tangere. Though I struggled with the tiny text inside the speech bubbles, the artwork and dialogues are very engaging. It’s not an easy read but it will definitely make you appreciate the richness of Rizal’s work. And, as a bonus, the creators included additional notes and references at the end of the comic book. I’m pretty amazed by the amount of work and careful thought they’ve put into this book. (I’m hoping they get to finish both novels!)
12:01 by Russell Molina
This past year, the hashtag #NeverAgain has been used over and over across media platforms. Because of the recent turn of events, concerned Filipinos have been heavily campaigning for Martial Law education to be strengthened, not just in schools but in society at large.
Russell Molina is no stranger to this topic. He wrote the storybook / counting book EDSA for children. One of his latest works, 12:01, is a comic book that relives the grim and dark periods of Martial Law through the eyes of teenagers.
What I like about this story is its subtlety in tackling a sensitive topic. The story opens with a group of teenagers who happen to be part of a band. Since they came from a gig, they were out pretty late that night. Eventually, they found themselves in trouble with the police for violating the curfew rule. During their goose chase with policemen, they stumble into people, unravel their stories, and then find themselves sharing their own experiences.
Though the comic book features some of the horrible stories we’ve all read about during Martial Law, there are pockets of lightness and a bit of humor in between. Another thing worth noting from Molina’s comic book was how he integrated music into his work. The lyrics written on some parts of the book were pretty powerful and moving.
This comic book may be a good way to start discussions with older pupils. It’s easy to relate to and comics are generally not intimidating for kids to read.
Comics have long been shunned in classrooms, but with works like these (and they’re locally made, too!), I hope they find their way into students’ hands.