To celebrate the 2016 National Children’s Book Day, this blog entry is part of the blog tour for Bumasa at Lumaya 2. This anthology on children’s literature in the Philippines was made possible through the efforts of The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY).
The Magic of the Frozen Moment: A Crash Course in Comics Appreciation by Paolo Chikiamco
Back in the day when rotational brownouts were part of the norm, my siblings and I spent many lazy afternoons devouring Archie comics. My father was a huge Archie fan and luckily, he was only too happy to share the comic books with us. As we grew up, comics were never banned in our home and my parents gave them as gifts every now and then. It was quite a disappointing experience for me when I first visited our school library and I realized that I wouldn’t be able to borrow any Archie comics there.
Students of today, though, are much luckier. With the growing comic book industry (even in the Philippines), I’m happy to note that more school librarians are welcoming comic books into their library shelves.
What’s so great about comics anyway? In Bumasa at Lumaya 2, Paolo Chikiamco gives everyone a crash course on comics appreciation and why these “stories told using images” can be a magical experience for readers of all ages.
“Fictional worlds can give children a place where they can try on different roles, and the illustrations in comics can create a simplified and amplified version of the real world which makes it easier for children to ‘cross over’ into those story worlds.”
Bumasa at Lumaya 2
In this chapter, Chikiamco introduces the magic or illusion behind comics. He outlines these into four types of illusion – motion, presence, time, and sound. He says that, in order to allow readers to “cross over” into the story within the comic book panels, the storyteller has to go beyond accessing a reader’s sense of sight. Reading through the panels, speech bubbles, and images takes on a life of its own – it’s the reader’s imagination that actively brings the story to life.
Looking at my own experience as a kid reading Archie comics, I can relate to the magic that Chikiamco describes. In my mind, the comics are no longer just still images but a story in motion. In my mind, I could hear the sound of running footsteps screeching to a halt as Archie sees Mr. Weatherbee down the halls of Riverdale High.
The Comic Revolution
Locally, we’ve seen the Pinoy comic industry growing and thriving. At least twice a year, Komikon holds events for writers, illustrators, publishers, readers, and fans. Local publishers have recently picked up this trend and have released some comic book titles.
Chikiamco also notes the rise of webcomics (updated weekly) and digital comics (released in volumes or monthly). With the dawn of affordable tablets and smart phones, digital publishers such as Flipside Digital have enabled more comic book writers and illustrators to reach more readers.
Comic Book Recommendations
One of the reasons why teachers, parents, and literacy advocates should pick up a copy of this anthology is that it provides lists of recommended titles. In his own chapter, Chikiamco created recommended reading lists with the following categories:
- Comics for Children
- Comics with Female Protagonists
- Comics with a Coming-of-Age Theme
- Webcomic Favorites and Digital Downloads
- Comics Featuring Philippine Culture / History
- Classics Selection
Why, you still ask? Well, Chikiamco ends this chapter with these words and I strongly agree with him:
“To ignore what comics have to offer children and young adults would not only be doing them a disservice. It would be robbing them of worlds to travel. Heroes to be. Stories to love.”
Grab a copy of Bumasa at Lumaya 2 in local bookstores.