Culture Crash Comics, Ten Years Later: Culture Crash as a Comic Anthology

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Culture Crash Comics

Continued from Culture Crash Comics, Ten Years Later: Culture Crash as an Anime Magazine

For readers, the best thing about Culture Crash was the four-title anthology that formed the centerpiece of the publication: Solstice Butterfly, Pasig, Cat’s Trail, and One Day, Isang Diwa.

These four titles did a wonderful job of taking one of the many major themes in Japanese anime and manga, and giving it a unique Filipino spin. Solstice Butterfly was J.I.O’s mecha-powered space drama that was about its beautiful but boyish female pilots as it was about the giant ultra-spec mecha that graced its panels.

Pasig was a dark, futuristic what-if based on the very real city of Pasig. In this Pasig, you had to breath out of a can and carry a gun with you where ever you go, and with the way things are going I’m not sure Ilog was making things up when he said this was the future.

The last two works were both drawn by Memer (and his alter-alter-alter-ego IQ 40). Cat’s Trail was a fun romp in JRPG-land, while One Day, Isang Diwa (written by CC boss James) was a slice-of-life high school melodrama with just the right dash of magic.

Together, all four titles held the collective ambition and inspiration of a group of artists who dared to believe that they too could make manga. And while CC might not have been the very pinnacle of artistic talent, what they did was inspirational to say the least, mind-blowing at most.

But that doesn’t mean that the anthology did not have its detractors. One local comic book artist — a giant in the field of American superhero comics, denigrated the comics and its artists as “unoriginal” and “lacking in true talent”. He also heavily questioned the art style the CC crew used to portray their characters, citing that manga was a Japanese style and therefore should only be utilized by the Japanese.

Personally, I see this as a disappointing display of double standards — a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Even if Mr. Big-Shot-Comic-Artist had his own art style that he developed himself, the fact that he drew pencils for an American comic book showed that even he was influenced by foreign art styles. I would’ve have respected him more if he simply kept his opinions to himself and continued to draw the way he thought Filipino comics ought to be, without having to put down the work of other artists. In short, sana wala nalang basagan ng trip.

But that small issue aside, CC Comics has become an inspiration to several Filipino manga fans who have always wanted to put out their own titles.

Thanks to the success of the Fearless Four, many comic artists, doujinshi circles, and art collectives regularly participate in local conventions to sell their works. Some have even been approached by local comic outlets to stock their titles. Other artists have enjoyed international independent releases via DeviantArt or their official websites. There is no limit to what the CC crew have inspired some local manga fans to do.

Culture Crash has always tried to do its best to help the Filipino anime scene reach for its dreams. One of the biggest ways they did this was by organizing one of the largest anime convention series in the Philippines. After three successful events C3 — the Culture Crash Convention, still occupies an important place in Philippine con history. It was a venue for many firsts, and nothing — not even today’s exacting event standards can change that.

Continued in Culture Crash Comics, Ten Years Later: Culture Crash as an Hobby Convention.

For fans of Elmer Damaso, Cat’s Trail Rewind is currently available in stores. Please visit his blog for more information.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. yenth says:

    Personally, I have always been one of the avid fans of culture crash’s legacy in filipino art. though the comic mag artists used the japanese manga style, I after studying the art for a long time and after reading my own copies of CC for a the nth time, there is no doubt that the four stories are indeed orignal in all it’s details.Japanese style manga is already a form of art skill that one can learn and use to express their creative minds. I don’t think original japanese mangaka legends would discriminate artists who gave their all effort to study the art and use it to express themselves and all the stories that are plotted in their minds.In fact, knowing the amazing trait of Japanese people regarding hardwork would give us an idea that they would appreciate people who loves to learn and participate in their art culture. CC is in fact, in their prevoius interviews with famous japanese artists, gained a lot of appreciation and commendations as to their work in making Filipino poeple have a shot in making manga art style the art of their choice.No artist is a true artist when they discriminate other artists. The fact that the person who discriminates others, is he himself discriminated by his own words.

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  2. It’s so true that they were the first to give indie artists a venue to sell their works in a convention/big event.

    They had the very first indie tiangge, which is now a staple in the 3 biggest annual comic/anime related events. And for that, the indie comic community should be thankful.

    Pasig BTW, is still ongoing as an indie (can be bought during cons and as Comic Odyssey (Robinson’s Galleria), and so is kuborkikiam. πŸ˜‰
    Too bad Jio’s really busy, and James…he should continue ODID kahit ashcan lang…:P

    Until now, fans are still asking why they stopped and when they are going to resume…and some…
    When they win the lottery, they’ll do the funding… πŸ˜›

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    1. hi joanah! so nice to hear from you πŸ˜€ it’s great to hear that both PASIG and KUBORI KIKIAM are ongoing as indies — if you can, can you please e-mail me (via the CONTACT page) so we can talk about getting the word out to fans on where they can purchase succeeding volumes of these comics? πŸ˜€ thanks!

      P.S. we can also talk about having a CRESCI post on the blog πŸ˜€ lemme know if you think it’s a good idea πŸ˜€

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  3. Rommel Reyes says:

    never liked culture crash because of the heavy influence of artwork from manga style. it appeared that only half of the effort was invested in making the comics because the creators main focus was to come up with the plot and dialogue. in my opinion, they did not bother much about artwork since they can easily copy the manga style.

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  4. nell says:

    how many years it’s been? issue 15 is their last issue that i have. and despite of having numerous supporters. they stopped due to according to source eh. lack of financial support

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  5. Kat says:

    Rommel, I can see where you’re coming from. I was initially a Culture Crash skeptic, being an fan of anime & manga long before it became mainstream here in the Philippines or even in North America. I didn’t have faith that the people behind it would be able to create something as interesting and captivating as what the Japanese did, and I was thinking that “Oh, this character looks like this character, they just copied her blah blah.”

    I ended up being a fan though, and feel bad about my initial misgivings. IMO, CC was miles ahead of the other publications that came out around that time, especially with the quality of the printing. The articles were better researched and written (and I’m not just saying this because I wrote for them), and the folks behind it were professionals in the sense that even though it’s a business, you can still see the passion for their craft.

    As already mentioned in the article, we’re not the only one who are using the manga style in our comics. There are Korean artists and American artists (does the name Adam Warren/Dirty Pair ring a bell? Or MegaTokyo?), and I bet there are other artists in other countries who use it too. What made it good was how the artists & writers made it theirs, made it Pinoy, through the story and the other elements that made up the entire magazine.

    It’s like saying that the other artists here who draw in the art style of Marvel or DC aren’t good enough because they just copied. Heck, even those publications are coming out with manga-ish versions of their characters.

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  6. @rommel all artists are influenced in one way or another by other artists; these days, you can never find a truly original comic book drawing style — so berating the CC crew for their manga influences and their perceived lack of originality is moot.

    what is important for me as a reader and a consumer is that the story is new, fresh, or original. heck, you can print out a comic made up entirely of screencaps from the TWILIGHT movies with funny dialogue and i’d still consider it original.

    sure — with comics, it’s the art that makes you sit up and pay attention, but at the end of the day it’s the story that will make you stay and ask for more.

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  7. I bought every issue of CC and am looking forward to this. Each title was unique and had a great Pinoy spin to it. ODID and Pasig were my faves but I enjoyed reading each issue from cover to cover.

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  8. Pencil Knight says:

    Problema ba yan Rommel di wag mong basahin! Walang effort sa pag-drawing dahil kinopya lang!? All artists are giving all their efforts just to make a fine piece. Don’t just consider things man. Kung di mo nagustuhan di wag mong basahin, dapat da ka na lang nag comment dito. Yung mga panget na bagay na tinatago mo, itago mo na lang.

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  9. adam says:

    I was a very big fan of this comic series. Unfortunately, my younger brother lost my collection. Do any of you fans know where I could get other back issues of this comic series?

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  10. BlueAstaraza_13 says:

    Hello there!
    I learned about Culture Crash Comics during my high school days, specifically when the 14th issue was released. Since then, I instantly became a fan.
    Sadly, I just collected four issues, which includes issues 14 and 15… and luckily though, I bought back-issues like 10 and 12.
    After almost six years, are there any specialty shops or bookstores wherein I can buy most of the back issues of Culture Crash? πŸ™‚
    Anyone’s response will be much appreciated. πŸ˜€
    Thank you!

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