How UP Los Banos’ Graphic Literature Guild Is Keeping Local Comics Alive

GLG holds various workshops for the different aspects of comic making, like writing, storyboarding, drawing, coloring, and paneling.
IMAGE Courtesy Of UPLB Graphic Literature Guild

The Graphic Literature Guild (GLG) of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) is a student organization that caters to young artists, writers, and comic enthusiasts. It aims to promote Philippine graphic literature and its creators within the UPLB community, as well as improve the skills of its members in the creative process. It organizes a lot of activities and events to achieve its mission, and here are some of them.

1. Inktober

Inktober, happening every October, is a month-long challenge where members create one drawing a day. The works are then promoted on GLG’s social media pages to highlight the skills and creativity of the artists. The prompts are based on the Inktober list of illustrator Jake Parker; these are just one-word ideas, and it’s up to the GLG artists to interpret them.

This year, for the prompt “dragon,” Mauro Lubin Alinea, a biology major, drew a detailed dragon that looks like it’s about to attack or eat a person. Last year, for “shielded,” he drew a dynamic image of a character battling a creature, and the word “Go!” implies he’s doing that so his friends could safely escape. The hero uses a shield to block the monster, and he himself is a shield to his friends.

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2. Elbikon

This is GLG’s own comic convention, believed to be one of the largest in South Luzon. Held in Los Baños every February, Elbikon is an avenue for local comic creators and other creatives to meet, sell their merchandise, and show their love for art. It also stages workshops, interviews, and talks by various artists. Manix Abrera, Loser Mangaka, and Mac Andre Arboleda (aka Asshulz) are some of the cartoonists who’ve had the spotlight at Elbikon.

“It fills me with joy and pride,” Mauro says of Elbikon. “I like seeing people admire the works of these local artists, who deserve to be acknowledged and praised for their contributions to the comic industry.” Paulo Tamondong, GLG’s guild master, loves Elbikon because it lets him meet many local artists. “Knowing they live in the same community as you makes their work much more exciting to read.”


3. Komikon

GLG members participate at Komikon. Some sell the org’s merch, while some offer manpower for the entire event by being ushers and registrars. This gives them a better perspective of the Philippine comic scene and trains them to manage people and stressful situations. Zenith Loque, an agricultural economics major, shares, “I like volunteering. Not only because of the experience, privilege, and the perks, but also because I get to interact with some of the well-known local artists and content creators, as well as the art staff of big publishing companies.”


4. Volunteering at Lopez Elementary School

To incite interest in graphic literature and create a wider market for it, GLG exposes the students of Lopez Elementary School to comics. This year, the kids learned how to create unique superheroes based on their given personalities. The activity also sought to inspire a hopeful and positive outlook—like how the creation of superheroes and comic books in the 1930s uplifted people’s spirits during the Great Depression. Zenith points out, “Although kids like to base their drawings on well-known Marvel and DC heroes, they’re still proud of what they’ve made. Taking their work home brings a smile to their faces.”


5. Merchandise creation

To help ensure that the works of the members are marketable, GLG holds various workshops for the different aspects of comic making, like writing, storyboarding, drawing, coloring, and paneling. It also has a merchandise making workshop, where members learn to conceptualize different kinds of merch. Approved concepts are printed and sold at events like Komikon, Komiket, Elbikon, Summerkon, and Indieket. “I contributed some works that added to the lineup of merchandise,” says Zenith. “My favorite is a muscular Gudetama sticker—but members hate it because it’s excruciating to cut out.”


Today, the works of GLG members can be found on stickers, pins, cards, zines, and comic books. The comic books retail for P300, while the rest are often priced at P20. “I do profit from the merchandise I submit,” Zenith shares. “What I get, of course, depends on what I submit and how many pieces were sold. We depend on a standardized system of payment for the royalties.” The org invests its money in future merch and in production materials, such as rotary paper cutters and pin making machines.









About the author
Stephanie Shi
Contributing Writer

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Today, I am sharing my mother's story. I wish my mother was a constant in my life, like an angel who guards you to sleep and comes right there when you called. But angels come back home too, in heaven where they always belonged, and my mother went back a little early. My mother died when I was 13 years old. My last memory of my mother: Letting go when you are not yet ready is a very cruel thing that one has to ever experience. It is a sudden wave of total sadness and desperation crashing into your very core.

On the 28th of July 2013, we went to a resort in Bataan for the employees’ getaway. My parents own a 7-11 franchise, and it had always been a tradition to give their store clerks a get-together every year. I remember very well the last breakfast I had with my mother. The Sunday morning sky was clear and sunny, and the sea was calm and tranquil as we ate our breakfast on a cottage under the tall palm trees. She shared with us a strange dream she had the other night. She dreamt about an unknown woman holding an ice pick chasing her down on a dimly lit street, then she woke up just before the woman could grab her arm. We never knew what that dream exactly meant and now, I wished I never knew its meaning. After breakfast, my family and our employees decided to take a swim at the beach. The day was nice. The morning air may be chilly but the sun’s kiss on our skins gave us warmth. It was perfect. Everything is fine and the tides are low which made it very enjoyable to swim. We swam a little farther from the shore and we stopped to the point where the water reached our shoulders. We were talking about the good things in life and reminiscing the good old days. Those are the things that I’ve always loved about my family because I never had a meaningless conversation with them.

A few moments later, we heard a panicking call for help from one of our store clerks. It was Rachel. She was struggling to keep her head above water. She was already drowning but the odd thing was, she was only a few feet away from us. At first, we thought she was just playing around until we felt the sand in our toes dissolving like powder. It felt like as if the seafloor submerged deeper. I remembered sighting the shore and it seemed so close yet very far away. We were all panicking at that time. No one knew how to swim except my mother so without having second thoughts she swam towards Rachel and called out to my father, “Yung mga anak mo! Dalhin mo sa pampang yung mga anak mo!” and I never thought I already heard my mother’s last words to my father. I was paddling like a dog, gasping for air, as I say a little prayer to God to take us all back to safety. I felt my father grabbing our swimsuits, trying to lift our bodies so we can breathe even though he was also struggling to keep himself alive. Once I felt my toes touch the ground, there came a veil of relief that covered my whole body. As soon as my father and my sister made it to the shore we started calling out for help. There were no lifeguards on duty at that time, no personnel, nor guards. I saw my mother already floating in her stomach. We sighted a boat sailing nearby, we waved our hands and called for their attention. They almost ignored us because they cannot comprehend what we were trying to relay but the good thing was a passenger in the boat noticed my mother and Rachel in the water.

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That is when it sunk into me that she’s dead and never coming back. My father asked the others to just commute back to Manila because what we need right now is comfort from our family. The drive back home was one of the most painful memory I had as a kid. My father was in the steering wheel crying his eyes out. We drove from Bataan to Pampanga. We went home to my grandmother’s house, the nearest house that we can call “home” because how are we still going to be “home” without her?

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- The part of how I conquered the grief of her passing is shared in my personal blog. I felt the need to share my story with everyone since she's the woman I look up to. Feel free to visit my personal blog too when you have the time. I love writing my stories. Thank You! link: http://qkathreece.wixsite.com/kathreecequizon/post/breaking-waves

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