It was sometime November 2002 that I got in touch with a former acquaintance who introduced me to Willy Fatal, the Editor-in-Chief of Abante Komiks that time. I told Willy that I haven’t written a manuscript for a graphic novel or comics before but I know how.
So Willy said that he would give me a try and asked me to submit a manuscript as soon as possible. My first assignment was any mystery/suspense/thriller story which they usually publish every Thursday. I agreed because it was my favorite genre and I already had an idea brewing in my head at that time. I went home and laid out my story, figured out how to spread the story in frames on 32 pages.
My idea came from a blurb of a new novel from an unknown author which I’ve read in a magazine. It was about the most hated neighbor in the whole neighborhood who died and no one came to his funeral. But when the police suspected a foul play, everybody in the neighborhood became suspects. That idea was so strong that I had to make my own version of it. So I wrote the manuscript in less than a week, I guess, and submitted the typewritten manuscript to Willy. My first comics. Yes, it was 2002 and I don’t have a computer yet at that time.
Willy was impressed that he gave me the freedom to write stories of any genre. So I started writing Two Weeks After, a romantic story, after that. When I submitted the manuscript of Two Weeks After, I saw Willy proofreading a copy of Si Aling Mameng. He even introduced me to Louie Celerio, son of National Artist Levi Celerio, and the illustrator of my story. I was thrilled to see the proofreader’s copy of my story and meet the illustrator at the same time. I was really honored. And my comics writing career began.
Three stories after, and staying in Moncada, Tarlac, I stopped writing comics and focused on my tabloid column with Diyaryong Imbestigador. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to claim my complementary copies of the other stories I’ve written for Abante Komiks.
At that time, the Filipino komiks industry was in its last days, trying to survive in a world dominated by new and popular entertainment formats: the Internet, video games, cheap pocketbooks, funny text messages, DVDs, and of course, television. At least, I was able to write stories in comics format and was able to contribute something in the industry’s last days.