Posted December 29, 2014 by GP Manalo in Anime/Manga

LET’S TALK KOMIKS: Nald Tabuzo and Columbia Kho – A couple of Rockstars and Balladeers

Wouldn’t it be cool to one day discover that your officemate just so happens to be a “Pinoy manga artist” after work (or at least during the weekends)? Well, Columbia Kho (of kurohiko.com) is one of those people. She has been drawing manga for big named publications since 2003, Black Ink Comics is one of them and that’s where she met Nald Tabuzo, a komiks writer. Together they made their collaborative debut with The Rocker and the Balladeer, one of many series of short stories collected in Shortcuts.

Flipgeeks was able to sit down with both of them to talk about their newest book, how they started off, and more!

FLIPGEEKS: First thing’s first, Thanks again for doing this interview. Tell me about yourselves in a short bit – How did you get into comics? How did you get into your position of both of your careers?


Columbia Kho:  Hello! I’m Columbia, a typical, boring, office lady by day and a Pinoy manga artist by night. I’ve been drawing manga for publication since 2003.

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember! [laughs] I became really serious with manga when I was in high school. My teacher taught me Chinese by letting me read the Taiwanese edition of Rurouni Kenshin. I was mesmerized with the amount of details Nobuhiro-sensei drew in his manga, and I knew I wanted to be just as good (as him) one day.

Nald Tabuzo: I think it started when I got a hold of a copy of Funny Komiks when I was in grade school. The Superkat-era- Funny Komiks. Funny Komiks was one of my best friends then. Reading it was like bringing me to another world – a wonderful, colorful and funny one.

Well, I wanted to become a comic book artist. I practiced comic book illustrating day and night. And when I thought it was the right time, I presented my drawings to the editors of Graphic Arts Service, Inc.(GASI) but they just scratched their heads and said, “Practice more.”

I was frustrated so I tried writing a story. And the script got approved and illustrated. After that, I just focused on writing scripts.


What can you guys tell us about your newest work, “The Rocker and the Balladeer”? 

Columbia: It’s a heartwarming tale about Emi, a girl in love with her music idol – Ryo and her best friend – Ken, a rock star who loves her. I like how this story reminds you that (we)should never judge a person by their looks!

Nald: It’s like sending a message that girls shouldn’t trust a guy just because he’s neat-looking.

How did you two end up collaborating to do this book? And what is the collaborative process like while working on this book?

Columbia: I applied to Black Ink Comics as a manga artist and they paired me up with Sir Nald. I’ve been a fan of his work in Black Ink since I’ve first read his stories in Shortcuts, so I was very happy to have him as my partner for The Rocker and the Balladeer (RnB)!

Nald:  The Rocker and the Balladeer is actually a twenty-page story, one of the three stories in the upcoming Black Ink Shortcuts issue. I submitted the manuscript, the editor approved it, and they hired Columbia to illustrate it. It’s basically how Black Ink gets a book done.


Nald, how did the idea of writing a book like The Rocker and the Balladeer come to you?”

One of my favorite work music is rock. I love Nirvana, Metallica. The idea started while I was playing Nirvana’s Nevermind. Rockers have a connotation of being rude. You know… loud music, long hair, ear10418361_884236368255051_3724123069661213518_nrings, and tattoos.I guess I just wanted to say rockers are cool and could be romantic, too.


In the process of making this comic, was it difficult due to day jobs or school work?

Columbia: It’s definitely a challenge. After all, being an office lady pays the bills, but being a manga artist keeps me sane. [laughs] I’m not very good with illustrating love stories, so switching from shonen* to shoujo* was… interesting! [laughs]

RnB was also one of the first projects where I started using 3D for my backgrounds too, so there was a lot of stumbles here and there!

Nald: No. This particular script was an easy job for me. I just pretended I was Ken, the rocker in the story, and the story flowed spontaneously.

[Editor’s note:  shonen – manga aimed at a male audience; shoujo - manga marketed to a female audience roughly between the ages of 10 and 18…. Thanks Wikipedia!]


After The Rocker and the Baladeer, do you guys have any upcoming projects after this? Is this your first comic both working together?

Columbia: It’s our first, and we don’t have new projects for now, but I would love to work with Sir Nald again in the future! His stories have the perfect balance of fluff and cheese! I love it!

Nald:  I don’t know if we’ll have another collaboration. I don’t usually ask my editors whom my scripts will land.


Have you both worked in the past with different collaborative/solo work?

Columbia: Collaboration work… I drew Mango Jam’s Twilight’s Calling as it’s continuing artist in 2005. I’m currently working with PSICOM’s writers for My Facebook Boyfriend… for Real?! (manga edition) and WISH*GRANTED.

Aside from a few webmanga and doujinshi*, my first solo publication is KARMA under Oh No! Manga. I’m also part of an indie circle called Studio 4 Eyes, where I publish my latest series, Crystal Shadows.

Nald: Yes, first. I have been partnered with different artists before. One of them is Enjelia Villanueva. She did the illustrations for Wandering Heart.

[Editor’s note: doujinshi – the Japanese term for self-published works… Thanks again, Wikipedia!]


Will this just be a one-shot or will there be more coming our way?

Columbia: RnB is a one-shot, but who knows? Maybe if it becomes popular, we can propose for a series? [laughs]

Who were the people that you were looking upto while making this comic?

 Columbia: Hino Matsuri (Vampire Knight), Mizuno Tohko (Harukanaru Toki no Naka de – Hachiyou Shou), and Tanemura Arina (Sakura-hime Kaden). Their styles are completely different from mine, but I wanted to make RnB look more shoujo to fit the story better.

Nald: I don’t know: Kurt Cobain, John Lennon – maybe? [laughs]


Why should we buy this book?

Columbia: Support Pinoy manga artists? [laughs] But really… it’s a cute one-shot with just the right amount of fluff. If you like good stories that leave you with a smile, then please do give our work a shot!

Nald: Well, it’s a basic rom-com genre. But it would be like reading it with rock music in the background. Hmm, deep.

The Rocker and The Balladeer is one of the three one-shots in BlackInks’ newest Shortcuts anthology book that is now exclusively on sale in your nearest Precious Pages Bookstore for PhP79.95.

GP Manalo

G.P. Manalo is a student by day, and a resident tortured writer by night. Writing to keep him sane from all the Business School papers and presentations piling up each week.