Posted November 25, 2014 by Jom Guiao in Community

The Comic Brook – A Decade of Sharing

Submitted by: Ruel de Jesus


“Ruel de Jesus has been collecting comics for more than 31 years. He is also known as gumby in some hobby groups.”

Ten years.

Hard to believe that The Comic Brook is actually more than a decade old now. I do not fault most of the local comic community for not knowing this fact but it is true: The Comic Brook is one of the longest comic book related group (that I know of anyway) with a continued unbroken existence locally.

The Comic Brook was created way back in October 2004 in Yahoo Groups. Federico (Ricky) Sandoval and I have known each other for a year or so already and we have been having some problems with a group we both belonged to as certain restrictions were being placed in the way we sell our stuff. We wanted to have free rein in selling, in advertising our own stuff with no “unnecessary” boundaries and with little fear of reprisal from anyone. That’s when we thought of starting our own group.

Ricky helped me create the rules but he let me think of the group name myself. I thought hard on it – I mean I want it to stand out but still be instantly recognized as a comic book group. I also wanted to avoid referencing any publisher name as members may get the wrong impression that we favor a certain company. I also didn’t want to give the idea that the group would just be buying and selling – that would make the group quite limited in scope. I wanted a group that would encompass everything related to the hobby – discussions, buying, selling, news articles and not-so-serious stuff.

So I wrote down on a notebook page the words COMIC BOOK. I thought why not play with it. After a while, the simple insertion of a single letter did it – ironic that it is also the first letter of my name and Ricky’s, eh?

The word “Brook” has two meanings in the dictionary: when used as a noun, it is defined as a “small stream” but when used as a verb, it means “tolerate or allow”. Applying it to the group, I was thinking discussions would be free-flowing, a stream of ideas by like-minded individuals, where perspectives are tolerated and accepted even if not necessarily agreed upon by everyone. In real life, everyone has his or her own point of view so why should it be different when one is online, right?

The Comic Brook started off slow – one can still access the old Yahoo Groups page and see that the first few posts were by me as I tried to establish the direction Ricky and I wanted. I did my first comic reviews in the group – aside from giving bullet reviews of my weekly pulls, I also reviewed a specific back issue of a title. Curiously though, the first selling post did not come from either myself or Ricky – it came from a guy named Patrick Maliksi. In fact, my first selling post was made two weeks after the group was created – go figure!

Now I’d like to mention that a certain comic shop named Druid’s Keep (DK for short) also opened its doors around this time – November 2004 to be specific. A common friend between myself and the owner (Felix Cua) informed me of the store’s existence so I dragged my friend Rey Beltran there and met Felix. A great guy, Felix started talking about comics and I informed him of The Comic Brook and, to help stir up awareness for the shop, I asked him to post his weekly arrivals within the group. This really woke things up – aside from comic selling and discussions, it was kind of fun to see members replying to DK’s weekly arrivals, finding out who collected what then discussions would start from that curiosity. The relationship between the Comic Brook and DK was so close that the group hosted the first ever DK logo making contest! Meetups would occur roughly once every two months, usually at DK and we would just spend hours and hours discussing comics!

Eventually, as with any group, life interfered with matters and things began to quiet down after a couple of years. DK created it’s own group and the members moved on to other avenues (like forums and other hobby groups). I didn’t mind really as I knew it was just the way of things.

Around 2010 or so, one of my close friends, Nyek Regino, asked for my permission if he can create a Facebook group for the Comic Brook and I said go ahead. To be honest, I wasn’t that keen on spearheading a “revival” of the group so I just let it be. Members from the Yahoo Group transferred over to the Facebook group and started discussions but I wasn’t actively participating, just letting it be.

In 2013, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to attend a comic convention in Australia. I needed to make funds for the trip so I thought why not sell off my unwanted stuff? God knows I have accumulated a lot over the years so I’m sure I could find something to dispose. I told of my intent to do this to a friend (Ogie Cruz) and he informed me of some comic book groups in Facebook where I could do this. I was surprised as how different selling one’s stuff have become over the years – before I would just list the items I have for sale, put a price on each, then that’s it. Nowadays, having a photo of the item as well as specifics like the condition and a brief description are kind of the norm.

So I started being active again online and it was again due to selling. I then thought why not do it in my own group? The Comic Brook was there already, an established group that was like a sleeping giant that just needs to be awakened so I created my own album there and started spreading the word to get it active again. People know me by face as, while my online presence have waned over the years, I was always present in conventions so it was just a matter of recognition.

So now 2014 – The Comic Brook is very much alive again and actually just celebrated it’s 10th year. Hard to believe but the simple group Ricky and I started with the intent of selling has actually grown into a self-sustaining community. And I do consider the group as a community, a place where ideas are tolerated even if we do not agree with them. Decisions are not implemented by just one person but run through with all admins first for input. Addendums to group rules are sometimes shared to the group for comments before actually being implemented.

We also practice courtesy and fairness in the group like a first-time rule violation doesn’t mean automatic expulsion – the group has a 3 warning system for rule violations (and those warnings disappear every six months to give everyone a clean slate). If you do make a rule violation you will be informed privately to avoid any perceived public berating. Basically we (the admins) treat people online the way we want to be treated offline as good etiquette shouldn’t have any distinction anywhere.

We also do not require loyalty from the members as we believe it is a choice they should make. They can be a member of any group along with The Comic Brook and they can sell in any group or site if they want to. What we DO ask is that people be courteous to one another, to respect each other’s ideas and not persecute anyone just because they do not agree with him or her. No swearing towards another member, no group mentality, no bashing, no flame wars – there are other groups for that, not in The Comic Brook. I believe it doesn’t make us boring but rather civilized.

These days the Comic Brook has close ties not only with Druid’s Keep (now known as DK Collectibles) but with Comic Odyssey (CO) as well. Sandy, CO’s owner, was very gracious to allow the group to hold it’s 10th year anniversary in one of his branches. I make sure the group has a presence in every comic event, whether it is one of CO’s sales or DK’s signing events, and we promote those events within the group for added awareness. The group is really self-sustaining now, thanks to its diverse membership base. One of my wishes is to strengthen our ties with Filbars/Kapow – hopefully that one will be realized soon.

We also started having Comic Brook related memorabilia. The Comic Brook keychain was launched during the group’s 10th year anniversary event. A button pin is on the drawing board and of course the inevitable t-shirt is on its way. This is one aspect that I never thought of having for the group if not for the suggestions of two of its admins – Clark Marchadesch and Ogie Cruz – so thanks for that guys!

So that’s it, the story of The Comic Brook. A group that was started out by two guys who just wanted the freedom to sell, to an online community that is enjoyed by individuals free to express their views. It still remains a small stream of free-flowing ideas tempered by tolerance and courtesy – a vision that I am proud to believe had remained intact over the years.


Ten years. And a month now. :)


If you want us to feature your group, email tony at tonytuason@flipgeeks.net

Jom Guiao