I was wandering around a bookstore when I saw something that caught my eye. It was almost the size of a regular magazine but it wasn't really you're typical one.
Kwentillion [derived from the words, Kwento meaning Story and Million meaning..uh, Million of course] felt like something I needed to get...so I did.
I haven't really been following any other Philippine comic books other than Pugad Baboy, Beerkada and Life in Progress. It was just only last year that I was really getting immersed into it. My girlfriend was influential in opening those doors for me. Introducing me to the Trese books....it also helpled that I had a few friends that were launching their own indie comic as well.
After going to last year's Komikon, I was starving for more but I really couldn't get my hands on anything [except for copies of SkyWorld]. So seeing Kwentillion was a big bright spot in my day.
The cover sort of has a pop-culture feel..the magnificent cover art is reminiscient of the video game character Edea from Final Fantasy 8. It also states of containing a whopping 100 pages of comics and fiction, so I knew I was in for a ride once I started reading.
Kwentillion begins with a story titled, "The Last Datu" written and drawn by two familiar people, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo of Trese fame. I love the Trese books but I just wish that they deviated from it with this new story. It almost has the same feel. Aswang/Monsters, a female lead, a Father who sacrifices himself..it seems all to familiar. Still it is it's own story and it is still quite enjoyable.
The next story was something that we all prolly thought about when we first played Super Mario. What if we had a Pinoy/Philippine version of him? It we ever did, I'd want it to be "Poso Maximo". A war veteran turned plumber. This story was drawn a bit cartoony but it works. It also didn't have any dialogue but again, it still works. You will still be able to follow and get the story even without it. Poso Maximo is pretty straight forward. It is fun, it has action and it has a pretty light-hearted ending. I wouldn't mind seeing more adventures from him.
The next story actually surprised me as it was not a comic but a short story. Nevertheless, "Spin Man" is a story of it's own. The fact that it can relate to alot of the comic readers out there adds to it's allure.
The next few pages took me back to the real world and made me realize that I was actually reading a magazine. The next pages were full of different interesting articles. From Interviews with Manix Abrera and Chester Ocampo, to book reviews, to an article about Fan Fiction topping it of with 6 color pages of wonderful art along with info on their creators and where to follow them on the world wide web.
Then another story...and it's my favorite one this issue. Entitled "High Society", it started like it will be another one of those stories with a supernatural theme. I was wrong...more or less. While it did have a supernatural theme, it also delved into one of my favorite things...Steam Punk. The story is set during the Spanish times and it featured Philippine Mythological Creatures AND Steam Punk. What is not to like there?
Kwentillion closes with a genre that we really haven't seen much in Philippine Comics...well, at least I haven't. It was Science Fiction...and Sky Gypsies was just like that but with a more Pinoy tone. This story was pretty exceptional and very Pinoy as well [especially on how the Police acted near the last panels LOL].
After that, it's just a How-to-draw a Tikbalang and a chart of Philippine Folklore Magic. Pretty informative I must say.
All in all, the stories were like a breath of fresh air. I like how they had a short summary of the writers and artists prior to starting the stories. At least people might not who wrote/draw their fave story in Kwentillion and that they might be able to stalk them online (LOL). I also liked that they included short stories...written fiction. It actually made me think of submitting a few stories of my own and wishing so hard that it'll get printed. I just wish they had something else at the end of the Magazine..like an introductory Letters to the Editor and such.
Kwentillion is a very awesome find for me and I am lucky to be able to get a copy. It has a few stories that everyone can enjoy...although the written fiction entry might be a little TL:DR or long and boring for some. It was still a very great first issue and hopefully there'll be a second.