I learned to read through komiks...

The one that started it all
...and a whole lot of other stuff.

You may have heard of this story from every komiks artist/writer/fan: that first encounter with that 4-colored book full of stories of all sorts. Aside from the 'ABAKADA' and textbooks (remember those little yellow booklets with pictures and words on them?),komiks thought me how to read properly.
I'm sure you remember having one of these...

My grandmother (god bless her soul) usually comes home from the public market during the weekends with the usual things: meat, vegetables and other sundries. And then there's the komiks. I would usually run to her and pay my respects before rummaging through her bayong looking for that tube wrapped in newspaper, which in actuality, is a bunch of komiks rolled together.

That was how komiks was packed in those days, 3 or 4 of them rolled together as plastic was not yet used much. There were about 3 titles that my grandmother used to buy for us back then: Funny Komiks, Bata Batuta and Komedi with the occasional Shocker, Kilabot or Romance (as old horror komiks were really, really scary) and later on Kick Fighter.


Each weekend was something to look out for because of komiks. I would read through Combatron's and Vitro's adventures along with Niknok's mishaps. I would laugh at Planet Op Da Eyps and Mr. and Mrs. strips even though both were aimed for older audiences. I'd skip to the latest Joseph Cesar Sto. Domingo story in Bata Batuta. I would scramble through the pages of Kick Fighter for the action and the video game cheat codes as well. And all that time, I wasn't aware that I was already learning and having fun at the same time. 

Once i finished browsing the titles, I would ask my favorite aunt to read it with me so that I can see if I'm reading the words right. Komiks was primarily in Filipino but there were about 2 or 3 titles inside that are in English (which were quite useful too as English became a secondary language to me).

Later on I discovered comics, the foreign kind where they have genetically altered superheroes and world-shaking plots. But I didn't forget komiks. It's something that has been deeply rooted in me. Even in my angsty, troublesome teenage years, komiks was still there, in the form of 'indies'. Most notably, Gerry Alangulan's Wasted. I am sure a lot of you can relate to this.

Good things come to an end though. Eventually, time caught up with komiks and eventually the industry collapsed unto itself. But I'm thankful that I grew up with komiks. Komiks taught me not only to read, a number of good values among other things. I can even say that komiks, in part, made me who I am today.

And I'm glad that the komiks industry is being resurrected by the same people that loved  the industry all along.

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