Posted October 31, 2011 by Norby Ela in Comics


Take your first step into a world of automata, magic, and alternative history! The year is 1764, and, for the first time in nearly two centuries, the Spanish forces have been repelled from the great walled city of Manila. While the Spaniards are quick to lay the blame at the feet of the invading British and their clockwork machines, the secret to the success of the Filipinos may lie closer to home, with an ally that is both ancient and new, mythical and mechanical. “High Society” is a stand-alone steampunk comic book in the “Wooden War” series.

Norby’s Take:

I don’t read a lot of steampunk books, maybe a title or two. Whenever, I do read one, after some issues after, I just come back to those stories that encounters around modern and current settings. After reading this stand-alone story which seems that it can erupt into more chapters and installments and with this book mainly being sold in iTunes and Amazon – High Society was done fairly well.

Without any spoilers, the story was fairly done by Paolo Chikiamco. He put out a mild mystery to the main character that kept me a bit interested to continue to read. Each big and small character had their unique voice. Yet, as a Filipino, I got confused with some setting and dialogue written down. If I was a foreigner, I wouldn’t notice it. But with a use of Filipino mythical background for the story, a typical reader would have to research some terms, like ‘anito’, ‘nuno’ or ‘dwende’. It would be nice if there would be footnotes or a simple introduction in the dialogue. Things get excited, fun and wonderful at the last couple pages.

Besides the story, Hanna Buena did a spectacular job. Her style reminds a mix of Manga, Tepai Pascual and Skottie Young. Her panels, lines and shades were good enough for my taste. With the use of only boxes and not baloons, there are some boxes that lost me if they are in narrative or a background dialogue. There are also boxes that covered good expressions of some characters which made me thought if the panel shouldn’t have been given more spaces for boxes, because it just covers some good art. My only nickpick is how big the eyes of some characters have when they’re angled in a side-view.

High Society is an entertaining, fun, and visually-comfort book full of steampunk mischief. With a mark that the book is part of the “Wooden War” series, there would be more in store for the series. But, is this worth for $2.99 price tag in the worlds of Amazon and iTunes? Depends on the audience, I guess. I bid the creative team a good luck. Good luck.

Earl’s Take:

I love alternative takes on local history. I am after all a big history geek much like how I am also a comic book geek. So when these two elements come together, I really do take notice. One of the best things about this book is the fact that its part Filipino folklore and part espionage and intrigue. There’s a subtle amount of sensuality and beauty with the protagonist Rita together with nuno sidekick Yog which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The whole art for the book was particularly delightful.There’s a good strong sense of facial expressions here and there that makes the book really interesting and engaging. There were some scenes however that needed a little polishing but all in all it was a good run.

You can avail High Society in Amazon and a limited amount of hard copies in Komikon 2011 at the Flipside booth.

Norby Ela

Now residing in San Diego, CA, I strive to work in art and further grow FlipGeeks around the world.