Posted January 20, 2016 by Norby Ela in Comics

LET’S TALK KOMIKS: Out of the Shadows with Carljoe Javier of Anino Comics

In which Anino Comics managing editor and Kobayashi Maru of Love author Carljoe Javier unveils the secrets of how to keep the local comic book industry alive, and makes you wish for a Javrera government.

LTK Carljoe Javier 03FLIPGEEKS: How was 2015 for Anino Comics?
CARLJOE JAVIER: 2015? I’ll speak for myself. It was wild! Putting out all the books we did, at the quality of book? Man.just amazing.

I feel like we are telling some of the best stories available in the print format. And I’m not just saying that because I wrote one of those books and edited the rest.

Which ones were your favorites?
Haha. Dude, it’s like kids, you can’t say which (ones) are your favorite. You love them all equally.

But which one is the tallest? Haha. Which one was really time consuming to process/make/print?
I think one of the challenging ones, as far as print production is concerned, is Rob (Cham)’s Light. Just the level of quality on that, the beautiful colors, the depths of the black in it — that was a printing challenge for sure.

As the managing editor of Anino Comics, what were your goals for last year and did you accomplish them?
Well, my conservative goal was to put out five books at the least, and we hit six.

So really the only way for it to grow is for people to buy more comics and to get other people to buy comics.

There were a lot of other books we had on deck, and some that were pleasant surprises that fell into my hands. Some pushed through, some didn’t, some are still in process. But I think we put out some really good books. A big goal for me was establishing the Anino brand, making a splash with our titles and showing the quality, variety, and depth we want to be known by.

I also wanted to mess people up emotionally. i think I did that enough with a couple of the books, haha.

You said earlier that there were projects that were still in the process. Could you tease us on what they are?
Well, you can expect the sequel to Sixty Six, you can expect the second book of (Ang) Subersibo12:01, about Martial Law, written by Russell (Molina) and drawn by Kajo (Baldisimo). And expect Lost by Rob in April.
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Yeah we have to chase deadlines. I really want to launch books and have them ready for major events. That’s pretty stressful: hitting the deadlines, keeping people on schedule.

Is deadline the main problem of not having a lot books out?
It’s hitting the deadlines. I play project manager a lot.

Truth? It’s that we don’t have a large enough industry to sustain artists so they can work on comics exclusively. We try to offer our creators great rates and royalty deals. But (in the) economics of scale, the Filipino market isn’t big enough to sustain it yet. So creators always have to make a living doing other stuff, and they do comics too.

One day, maybe we can open up the market. Both by increasing number of book buyers locally and by distributing at international levels to raise the resources in the market, and by extension bring more money to creators. I mean, if creators were working only on comics, I think there would still be deadline delays and stuff like that but they would be a much rarer occurrence.

Is it rewarding financially for an indie comic book creator to have his/her komiks to have it published like Anino Comics or Visprint or in any local publishers these days?
LTK Carljoe Javier 01
There’s always trade-offs with indie and major publishers. You know I have roots in both traditional and indie. Maybe you can make more money, depending on how you price your books and how effectively you set up your distribution systems but as an indie, you do everything, so you should compute that as cost too.

With a publisher, especially with a publisher like us, you have someone fronting money for printing, doing marketing and distribution, editorial (haha, i gotta sneak myself in there), and all these other services that you don’t have when you do it yourself.

I think our attempts to pay as well as we can, coupled with strong distribution, editorial support, and all these other things, are good solid benefits or working with a publisher. It also helps when you sit at the table with the awesome creators in the line.

Like, dude, I get to sit at a table and hang out with comics people I admire. It’s awesome, and those are just fringe benefits. Haha!

Is there an invisible competition between other local comics publishers?
No, I don’t think so. Sure, we are competing for people’s money but there’s a lot of collaboration and a lot of love. All of us putting books out, that’s just good for everyone. Fans get more books. The industry gets stronger. Creators have more opportunities. Everyone wins.

Truth? It’s that we don’t have a large enough industry to sustain artists so they can work on comics exclusively.

What advice can you give your audience?
Well, just framing how we think about comics reading. It’s cultural consumption that requires production. If we want to keep reading comics that we love, we have to be prepared to support that production with our money, because how else, right?

The only way for the comics industry to grow is for more capital to be driven into it. Best case would be maybe some government subsidies, or something like that, but we know how messy that would be. So really the only way for it to grow is for people to buy more comics and to get other people to buy comics.

Last, tatakbo ka ba talaga kayo ni Manix (Abrera) as president/vice president? What happened to JAVRERA?
Wouldn’t a Javrera government be awesome?

Interview conducted by Norby Ela@norbyela
Edited by Denice De Guzman – @angmgatuhod

Norby Ela

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