Posted September 29, 2010 by Norby Ela in Comics


It’s about 11PM and while I was on Facebook, I saw Ronald Tan on my Friends Online and asked for an interview. Ronald Tan is an indie komik creator, who is locally famed by his cult hero, Midknight. This year’s Komikon, he will be releasing a komik, based on a 3-foot actor named, Weng-Weng. This will be one of the first interviews that will be released before Komikon.

Interview by Norby Ela

FG: Hi, Ron. Musta na?
RT: Hey Norby, ok naman! ikaw?
FG: Pagod and sleepy. Hahaha

FG: Tell me about yourself?
RT: I’m Ronald Tan, RONTAN for short. Hehe. Aspiring comic book artist and writer. My ultimate dream is to work for Marvel Comics. But, as my friend/guru said to me: “Why work for Marvel Comics, when you can create your OWN Marvel Comics?” Pretty deep, huh?
FG: Wow, own marvel comics? Why Marvel?
RT: Well, though I love Batman, Marvel COmics has the coolest characters. Pretty much all of their characters can have their own title and it would sell. There’s always something new to tell about them.

Teka, dinudugo ata ilong ko. Hahahaha!

FG: What is the best part of yourself?
RT: Wow! Pang-Ms.Universe! Well, in my 30 years in existence, there is nothing MAJOR, MAJOR… ay teka mali. I think the best part of myself, physically, is my right hand, ‘coz it is there that people know that I am gifted by GOD, through my art. As a person, I would want to think that I’m friendly and funny.

FG: I see. What is the worst part of yourself?
RT: I’m usually a crammer.

FG: How did you first discover comics?
RT: Funny Komiks! As a child, it was Funny Komiks at first, as it was most affordable. My mom’s trips to the palengke were not complete until she bought me my weekly Funny Komiks. Love ya, Mom!

FG: Do you have a day-job? If yes, then what is it?
RT: By day, I work as a Visual Merchandising Manager for a supermarket chain that starts with an “R”. By night, I’m a comic book artist and superhero.

FG: If you weren’t working in comics, what would you be doing?
RT: If I was not doing comics, I would probably be a filmmaker. I would be making films about comics.

FG: What are you most likely to complain to an editor/a co-creative team member?
RT: Hmm… probably if he does not give me enough freedom to draw a scene… and also if I don’t get to reinvent or at least show something new about the character. But hey, Joe Quesada, if you’re reading this. I don’t mind illustrating Mr. Nobody #1, if it means working for Marvel!

FG: Who is the biggest influence on your work?
RT: GOD, because He made all things are possible… and simply because he’s the greatest artist.

FG: What were your past projects?
RT: My past works include Shadow comics, which was released back in the ’90’s with Alamat Comics, Topak Humor Magazine a few years ago, with PSICOM, and more recently, LOL! #1 and LOL! #1.5 with BOO! preview, under our own STUDIO KAKOMIKS group.

FG: What are you working on right now?
RT: I’m currently working on a Weng Weng semi-bio comic book, as well as the new Midknight comic.

FG: Who’s ‘Weng-Weng’? Tell me about your ‘Weng-Weng’ book
RT: Hehe. Buy my comic if you really wanna know.

Well, alright, here goes… Weng-Weng is a 3-foot tall cult movie actor, who appears as Agent 00, a pint sized James Bond. People worldwide including Jack Black love him. But some Filipinos don’t know him and that’s why I want to change that.

It’s a semi-biographical comic about who Weng Weng is. It’s about his humble beginnings, and his journey to stardom, and how he became a secret agent, both in reel and real life. It is based on the research of Australian filmmaker Andrew Leavold, who has been very instrumental in providing me never-before-known facts about our hero.

As this is initially an entry for the Komikon Comic creation contest, unfortunately, I’m limited with just a 12 page story, but there are definitely plans of coming up with a super-extended Director’s Cut edition, which I would want to include Weng Weng pinups of fellow Pinoy Comics artists. Paging Leinil Yu!

FG: Tell me about Midknight
RT: Midknight! MK started out as an indie comic that I released together with Itchyworms vocalist, Jugs Jugueta. We posted xeroxed ads in the old Virra Mall, as people back then often did, distributed copies in Filbars, until Gerry Alanguilan took notice and asked us to join Alamat Comics. We were just back in High School then, so you can just imagine the excitement!
Midknight is about a Rick Stanford, a college student who inherits millions from his dead gangster uncle. But instead of investing it in business, he decides to be a superhero just for the fun of it. But as the villains pop out of the woodwork, he soon realizes he gets more than what he bargained for.

FG: What does the infamed Gerry Alanguilan think about your character?
RT: Gerry loved MK, kahit na bitin siya. Kaya ininvite nya kami to join.
Actually, seryoso talaga si MK as a comic. Pero for some reason, Gerry found it funny… sa pagkakasulat ko daw.

FG: Hahaha.
RT: so, eventually, ginawa ko nang medyo funny si MK, parang spidey. He’s the only Pinoy comic celebrity who, I know, has copies of all our Shadow Comics.
He’s a fan! And wow! What an honor to have Gerry as a fan.

FG: How do you work? Do you do any rituals before, during and after working?
RT: I usually have to clear my working table, as I want it to have so much free space. So, I reset my table to remove all references, before I draw. I also like to watch a movie first, or browse some Joe Madureia art, Moon Knight and ULTIMATES comics before drawing.
I usually draw at night.

FG: What is the single work of which you are most proud of?
RT: A “STONE” pin-up, done in a Joe Madureia inspired style, which won me first place at the STONE comic book launch back then. Whilce (Portacio) asked me if he can have the original. Who am I to say ‘No’? I miss that artwork. Whilce told me that he would publish it in an upcoming STONE comic, but I have yet to see it in print.

FG: Did Gerry and Whilce give you any tips?
RT: Whilce and Gerry just told me to keep on drawing and creating, So, that’s what I’m doing up to this day.

FG: Name one your guilty pleasures related to comics
RT: I love The Big Bang Theory, which pokes fun at us, comic book geeks. Does that count?

FG: What is the last comic that you bought?
RT: A Jurassic Park: Raptor #1 comic book. I bought it because I love dinosaurs, and because the art was done by Pinoy Comics great, Dell Barras.

FG: Who could play you on a movie about your life?
I say Danillo Barrios. Hehehehe
RT: Hahahaha! Di ko siya kamukha. Pwede ba si John Foo (of Tekken) na lang? Siya rin kasi gaganap as Midknight e.

FG: Pick three things that you couldn’t live without
RT: Pen, paper, comics and toys. Teka, that’s four!

FG: What is the strangest thing in your house?
RT: Hmmm… all things Egyptian. I have books, scrolls, plates, etc.. I think I was an Egyptian artist in my past life. Yun yung one of the earliest forms of Comics right?

FG: What music are you listening these days?
RT: Eminem… I’m not really a music lover. But, I love karaoke. I love singing the oldies, love songs, etc.. Mga BREAD, etc. Hahaha!

FG: What is your favorite comic of all time?
RT: Battle Chasers!!! Ultimates comes in at a close second
FG: Lalabas sa November ang hardcover edition nila ah
RT: I have all issues pero malamang bibili pa rin ako nun.
FG: 100 US dollars sya.
RT: Nako. Mahal. Sana worth it! Dream ko yan eh. Sabihin ni Joe (Madureia): “Hey Ron, I want you to finish Battle chasers for me. Do me the honor.” Hahahaha! nangarap!

FG: If you have superpowers what would it be? What would be your superhero name?
RT: I don’t want superpowers, as they tend to have a weakness. I would just want to be a man in an armored suit, and my name would be MIDKNIGHT!

FG: What is the worst advice that you’ve ever received?
RT: Ah! I have the best answer for this one!
FG: Go! Hehehe.
RT: I showed an editor, a comic page of a villain, gritting his teeth ala Wolverine, and he told me, “You can’t do that in real life! Comics have to be based on real life, real actions!” Yeah… rrright.

FG: Name someone you admire. And explain why.
RT: Ang haba na nito ah! Nobela! Hehehe
It has to be our Pastor Nuel. He is a great example of great faith… and I believe that we just have to have faith to succeed in life, may it be comics or everything else.

FG:What do you think of komiks nowadays?
RT: Tatagalugin ko na. Buhay ang komiks. Nabubuhay ito sa bawat bata, college student, professional o veteran na gustong gumawa ng sarili nilang kwento, maiguhit ito, mai-publish, at mailabas sa Komikon. Hindi kailangan ng mayamang industriya para mabuhay ang KOMIKS. Hindi naman siya namatay in the first place e!

FG: Tell me about being an independent komik creator?
RT: I think tuloy tuloy na ang komiks. Ang wish ko lang e sana, sikapin din nating maging ORIHINAL palagi, at wag yung gagaya lang tayo sa mga nailabas na dati.

Being an independent komik creator is fun, as you are the boss. You have total control over your creations, your timelines… BUT! There in lies the challenge. You have to be ORIGINAL, you have to be on time!

FG: What would you like to see happen in Philippine komiks in the next 12 months?
RT : I would want to see Philippine Komiks available on the streets once again, where they can be valued as artworks, and an educational tool. There will be a monthly magazine and price guide ala Wizard as well, as all PINOY KOMIKS will be of great value!

FG: Any last words?
RT: To all aspiring Komik creators out there, just go on and create your komiks. No matter what haters may say, but please, take a real good look at your creation, and ask yourself… is it original?

I would want to finish Weng-Weng, for release sa komikon, kasabay ang previous releases, LOL! 1.5 at Midknight: Genesis

FG: Thanks. Maraming Salamat.
RT: Inaantok ka ba???
FG: 2:02 AM na eh
RT: Ikaw kasi eh. Hahahaha
FG: Goodnight! Hehehehe

Norby Ela

FlipGeeks Operations Editor, Managing Editor of Comics, Komiks, Manga, atbp.