Posted June 24, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

A MANIXPECTED ENCOUNTER (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to World War Z)

Author’s note: This story is at least 33% true (I did get to meet Manix purely by coincidence and ask him a few questions, and yes, he DID offer me siomai, haha). Most of the quotes are non-verbatim, because I didn’t have a recorder with me at the time. I also omitted some details so as not to disturb Manix’s peace. (Sorry, Manix! Please don’t ban me from any of your future con appearances.) The exchange with my boss is also (alas) purely fictional. HE IS A NICE GUY, I cannot stress that enough. His characterization here is PURELY for comedic purposes. (Sorry, bossman! Please don’t fire me.)


I woke up at 4AM to the sound of my ringtone – Weird Al Yankovic’s Angry White Boy Polka. Because having my sleep rudely interrupted by an upbeat cover of System of a Down’s Chop Suey! (“Die, die, die, d-d-diediedie diedie, HEY!”) apparently wasn’t enough reason already to start the day with a frown that would rival Grumpy Cat’s, I decided to pick up my phone (barely resisting the urge to grab my Spider-Man statue and smash my phone with it instead) and find out the reason behind all this commotion. I took a look at the screen, blinked twice (for dramatic effect), and figured out the identity of the person who must pay for this transgression: my boss, Tony.

He’s pretty popular, I think.

Tony: “Hey, Kyle.”

Kyle: “Do you- Do you realize what time it is?”

Tony: “No, and I don’t remember asking. Besides, I don’t pay you to ask questions, writer-monkey!”

Kyle“But I write things, asking questions is part of my job. Besides, you don’t pay me anything. Just bread scraps and a few used CDs.”

Tony“I don’t pay you to ask me questions, writer-monkey!”

Kyle“But YOU DON’T PAY M- Ahhh, nevermind. What do you want?”

Tony“Finally, you decided to stop complaining and ask.

Kyle“B-But you just said you don’t WANT me to ask you anythiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.”

Tony“If you could calm down and stop complaining for a few seconds – I mean, jeez, you write things for a living, you should be used to sudden calls by now, what a baby – I want you to attend the film screening of World War Z tonight.”

KyleWorld War Z? What is that, some kind of spiritual sequel to Dragon Ball Z?”

Tony“…For a writer, you sure don’t read much, do you?”

Kyle: “Dude. I review comic books for you. World War Z isn’t a comic book, is it?”

Tony: “Why I still keep you on the payroll, I’ll never know.”

Kyle: “Dude, *what* payroll?”

Tony: “Excuse me?”

Kyle: “…Nothing. What were you saying about World War Z again?”

Tony: “It’s a movie based on a book, and it stars Brad Pitt. That’s pretty much all you need to know.”

Kyle“Er, okay. What time’s the screening, and where?”

Tony“Oh, it’s in [faraway mall that requires commuting from your day job immediately after you get out], and the screening starts at around [an absolutely terrible time to be commuting from your day job to ANY other place except home].”


Tony“Good! I expect your review by midnight. Now go get some sleep, why are you awake at this hour, what’s wrong with you.”



On top of everything else I’ve already gotten from writing for this magnificent website.

Two hours and an entire bottle of Advil later, I was on my way to work – my day job, which involves writing a bunch of tech reviews and product descriptions. Believe it or not, I actually write for a living, too. I’m like the Picasso of writing things, because I just kind of smear words all over documents randomly and hope to God that the poor people at work find SOMETHING there suitable for publication.


The next nine hours kind of breezed past me, and by “breezed past me” I actually mean “felt like an eternity.” It didn’t help that it was raining and that the trains were cramped. Since I was in no mood to play Twister with a bunch of strangers inside a train car that randomly dropped entire sections of ceiling over your head, I opted to take a bus instead. I arrived at the unnamed mall with about an hour to spare, and so I decided to have a snack to distract myself from the fact that I was, for all intents and purposes, ALONE.

I bought a coffee and a Belgian waffle, which, to my immense disappointment, was NOT made out of real Belgians (I ended up picking banana and peanut butter – that stuff is da bomb, seriously). I picked a spot right in the middle of  a row of seats and a long table facing a glass wall, where I could see the outside world, wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life, and maybe break into song, probably Part of That World or something. Just as I was getting ready to sing the “Ah-ah-ahhh, ah-ah-ahhh” part, I noticed somebody sitting down two seats to my right (I used the seat right next to mine for my bag, because I’m a class A jerkwad). The guy ended up moving to my left and sitting down. We were a seat apart, and I wasn’t happy about it. “How dare this guy interrupt my fabulous Disney song number!” I said to myself. I took a look at him, fully intending to scare him with the fake fangs and blood in my bag that I bought last year, in the hopes that someone would invite me to a Halloween party (spoiler: nobody did). All of a sudden, I couldn’t believe my eyes. That hair. That goatee. That totally casual, laid-back look that revealed his UP roots. That uncanny resemblance to a comic strip character.

It was Manix Freakin’ Abrera, and my Idol-Sense was tingling.

All of a sudden, I felt like “BogartdeexplorerpramDabawSiti.” How wuz I goin’ ta approach this reh creacha, mates? I wasn’t new to this, though – heck, I’ve held my own against Mark Millar (and had the balls to ask him if he really DID lick goats, imagine that). Besides, I’d already talked to this guy before, way back when I was still writing for Kule and I had a level of confidence directly proportional to my inexperience. We even had this cool conversation at a convention a few years back, when we were walking in opposite directions in VERY slow-moving lines (trust me, it was AWESOME). This shouldn’t be challenging. All I had to do was summon all of my courage and use my natural journalistic charm, endearing geekiness, and biting wit. After a few seconds, I had the perfect cool approach. I coughed almost inaudibly, turned to him, and…


He looked at me as if I were having a seizure. I’m not sure why. Didn’t matter, though – at that point, I had already gotten his attention. Perfect.


He stared at me, kind of like how a normal person would look at a tapdancing frog in a suit, and then smiled.

“Uy! Kumusta?”


He continued. “…Nagkita na ba tayo dati? Gusto mo ng siomai?”

He offered me some siomai, which I graciously refused. The area was suddenly filled with a mysterious haze. This was most certainly some sort of evolutionary self-defense mechanism that Manix probably has for the sole purpose of fending off stalkers and obsessive fans. I had to make my move IMMEDIATELY.

“Hi! I’m Kyle Francisco. We’ve talked a few times, and I think we worked together in Kule.”

“Kyle Francisco…Teka, ikaw ba yung nagsulat nung 50 AMAZING SPIDER-MOMENTS sa FlipGeeks? Ang astig nun eh! Pin-rint ko pa yun tapos dinikit ko sa kwarto ko.”

I was beaming with pride.

“Ah, oo, wala yun, ehehehe…eheee…heeeeeeee…”


“Uy…Uy, gising! Tatawag na ba ako ng doktor?”

I opened my eyes and saw Manix – and the entire mall – tilted at a 270-degree angle. What is going on? Was my waffle drugged or something?

“Uy, pre, angat mo ulo mo, nahimatay ka ata e.”

I realized that the right side of my head was planted firmly on the table, and that my coffee had spilled.

“Anong nangyari sa’yo, pre? Ano nga pala pangalan mo?  Tinawag mo kasi ako.” He grinned. “Nagkita na ba tayo dati?”

Apparently, our earlier exchange (in red) was nothing but a hallucination. He DOESN’T remember me, and HASN’T heard of my work, at all. Oh well.

“Ah, oo, nagkausap na tayo dati sa con. Saka nagkasabay ata tayo sa Kule dati. Kyle Francisco nga pala, from FlipGeeks.”

“Ahhh, nice!” He had a slightly happy, slightly confused, slightly harassed look on his face. “Kelan ka nga pala sa Kule?”

“Nung, uh… 2007?”

“Ahhh, gumradweyt kasi ako nung 2003 eh. Baka nagkasalubong lang tayo nung bumisita ako.”

“Ahhh! Ah, oo, siguro nga, nakita kasi kita once or twice sa office dati e.”

At that moment, a little voice in my head said, “GREAT. Now he probably thinks I’m just an obsessive fan making things up. I HAVE to rectify this situation. I have to NOT sound like a fanboy, to act more professionally, to…”

Manix, idol na idol ka ng friend ko, si Justin. He has most of your books, and shows up at every con to have you sign them. You’re even friends on Facebook. I also have your book with your autograph, he made you sign it and then gave it to me as a gift. Ah, friend ko rin nga pala si Dan sa Facebook, si Spider-Dan. Hehe.”

“Ahhh… Astig! Hehe.” I could feel Manix slowly inching away from me at this point.

“Pasensya ka na sa istorbo ha? Nabigla lang kasi talaga ako, di ko inaasahan na makikita kita dito,” I said, in a desperate attempt to save face.

He paused, and then laughed. “Uy, wala yun, ano ka ba. Ayos lang naman. Wala rin naman akong ginagawa. May inaantay lang din kasi ako dito, parating na rin yun.”

Sure ka ba na hindi ako istorbo?”

“Oo naman!”

“I’d like to ask a few questions, kung okay lang, bago ka umalis.”


“Where do you find the time to…How do you manage to draw strips on a daily basis?”

- Naka-focus ako sa pagdodrawing. Eto kasi yung pinaka-“day job” ko e, yung mga komiks ko sa GMA News Online, yung News Hardcore. Weekly siya.

“How do you find inspiration for your strips? I really like your style, simple and grounded, but really intelligent.”

- Ah, based sa araw-araw na buhay lang yan. Yung mga experiences, ganun. Yung mga madaling maka-relate ang tao, hindi sobrang kumplikado.

“Any advice for new komikeros who want to get into the industry?”

- Padala lang nang padala ng mga gawa niyo. Ako, kami dati, nagpapadala lang kami ng samples ng work namin sa mga dyaryo, ganun. Hanggang ayun, nagsimula na ako bilang cartoonist sa dyaryo, tapos ngayon sa GMA News Online na. Yung dad ko kasi, diba, sa Inquirer siya. Pero ayaw niyang gamitin ko yung pangalan niya para makapasok ako, gusto niya talaga, sarili kong kayod.

“Masarap ba talaga yang siomai na ‘yan?”

- HAHA! Oo.

I felt happy and guilty at the same time, and I knew he had to leave, so I decided to unlock the handcuffs I had stealthily attached to him and his chair. He never noticed. I must be part ninja. Probably. I’ll get around to tracing my lineage at some point.

I had a follow-up question, though. (I actually wanted to take a picture, but I knew I’d embarrassed myself enough at that point.)

“Pwede ba kitang i-add sa Facebook?” (Oops, apparently I wasn’t done embarrassing myself yet.)

- Ha? Oo naman! Kaso puno na ata friends ko, minsan di ako makapag-add e, message mo na lang ako pre. Hehe.

“Salamat men!”

“Salamat din!”

We stood up, shook hands and parted ways. I waited for him to walk away until he was out of sight, after which I looked at the table and remembered that I still had a half-eaten waffle to finish. Mmmm. Delicious cold waffle. Nom nom.


Follow Manix Abrera’s strip, News Hardcore, on GMA News Online.

Wanna know what I thought of World War Z? Read my review here! I’d also like to stress, again, that my conversation with my boss was PURELY FICTIONAL. Because I don’t want to get banhammered.

(Also, click the funky KYLE-O-PHONE banner at the top of this post for more ways to waste your time. Or, I dunno, just click the link in the previous sentence. I’m redundant like that.)

Mikael Angelo Francisco