Komiks Review: Kapitan Tog and Crack!

I'm going to make this review short and sweet like the indies themselves. Simply put, Kapitan Tog and Crack are hilarious indies from creator Freely Abrigo (you also might know him as the creator of  Kulas from Manila Bulletin). First off, the quality of the books are excellent with Kapitan Tog having a  glossy cover and Crack in the more affordable mini-comic format.Kapitan Tog is about the adventures of a bumbling superhero who manages to work it out at the end of the day while Crack is a collection of funny vignettes in mini-comics form (an emerging trend these days). Both work on the ethos of 'less words, more action and hilarity', a great combination rarely seen in indies today. Crack even has a disclaimer: "For those who are too lazy to read" which actually fits both indies as well.
I'd recommend Kapitan Tog and Crack to readers who are looking for a quick, good laugh.

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Komiks Review: Silent Sanctum Manga #5

Well what can I say? Is this Culture Crash redux?

There are many local manga compilations out there and I can say that Silent Sanctum Manga stands out. For one, they're at their 5th issue. OK, six, because they've released an issue 5.5 (which I am yet to get).

What I procured at Komikstrip 2011 was issue 5. Once I got home, this is one of the first things I read. Though I can't help to compare this to Culture Crash, Silent Sanctum Manga (SSM) is a different animal altogether. For one, in true manga tradition, the pages are read from right to left and the cover is colored while the content is black and white. It's in anthology form so thumbs up for variety here. As far as content goes, there are the regular titles which range from a 'fight' title, a high school romance one, a sort of mystery title and a lot of gag titles thrown in especially with the strips. I particularly like 'FAQ'N bits' for its down-to-earth geeky humor. So all in all a good mix of what the komiks reading public may be looking for in a manga anthology.

My main complaint is the 'dirty' look of the pages. I don't know if this is intentional or a result of the copying process but that aspect becomes annoying as you go through the pages. I've seen komiks anthologies with better production values, though some *lack* content or just plain not pulling it off issue per issue.  Also, some grammar errors here and there from the English titles. They're forgivable and nothing like a good editor could sort out well.

Overall, Silent Sanctum Manga is an anthology worth following. The guys behind it make sure that there's something to look out for so better get yours in a con every time. Issue 5 in particular packs an enjoyable freebie (I'm not saying what it is but I tell you it is awesome so go get your copy :D ) and a komik by Michael David (Kubori Kikiam) for example, two reasons why I got hooked to SSM.

So my verdict goes: SSM is bang for the buck, and I hope the guys can make more issues in the future.

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Con Report: Komikstrip 2011

Komikstrip was held last February 19,2011 at the University of the Philippines, Los Baños.

It was a small but jam-packed affair. Small in a sense that it occupied a space equivalent to about 2 lecture halls worth. But it was definitely jam-packed with komiks-loving people from all over. The convention doors opened at around 9 a.m., with visitors treated with the sight of old komiks collections displayed at the New College of Arts and Sciences building. The program though started at around past noon with several A/V presentations of the participating student orgs that made the event possible. That was followed by several presentations again by the students ranging from 'dubbed' komiks to acoustic performances.

The event was quite intimate, even if the attendees increased from last year's. The crowd had the pleasure of meeting up with (many of whom were newcomers to UPLB) Rommel Estanislao,Mel Casipit, Freely Abrigo, Norby Ela, Darco, Macoy, Manix Abrera, Gerry Alanguilan along with comic studios Silent Sanctum Manga, Meganon and the Komikon people and more.

As with any con, there were comics: foreign, indie local, old and new. The indie komiks were the stars of the con quite frankly, a showcase of raw and tempered komiks-making talent. There were merchandise available too. In particular, Rommel Estanislao's comic-inspired pendants and 'tansan trolls' (troll face pendants set in bottle caps) which became an instant hit.  

It can be said that Komikstrip is a preview of the Summer Komikon with a lot of creators announcing new works that they'll be coming up for the said event. That said, see you summer folks!

Watch out for indie reviews here too soon!

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The Unspoken Laws of Monster Hunter!

Capcom's creature slaying action game  Monster Hunter is not everyone's game. But a lot of people play and love it simply because of its social aspects and skill intensive learning curve. But there are things that Capcom does not reveal about Monsther Hunter and based on hours upon hours of hunting I bring you:

The Unspoken Laws of Monster Hunter!

1. The Law of Need or "I need that monster material for my armor/weapon but I'm NOT getting it ANYWHERE!" - MH rewards its players with materials from slain/trapped monster for them to forge into weapons and armor. Low level items usually take a run or to with the same monster to build a particular item but as the game progresses, the rarity of materials go up and eventually will end up in " I want this X scale/plate/jewel/ruby but the game won't let me have it" rant.

The trick here is to be patient and hunt, hunt,hunt! After all, hunting IS the point of the game amirite?
Team work is also key!

2. The Law of Evasion or "the dodge or die law" - Many players are often complacent of high defense armor ratings and think that armor can soak up anything. Guess what. Your armor is just there to prevent damage not soak it up. Unlike MMORPGs, MH armor will still let in some monster damage into your health no matter how tough it is. Getting hit will leave you vulnerable for another attack. Dodging on the other hand not only let you take 0 damage, it places you into position for a counter-attack.

So which is better then? Take the damage and fall on your back or time your dodge and counter-attack? Choose!

3. The Law of Character Control or "Why is my character is so clunky'- it's because of one reason: it is intentional. Capcom had the control scheme mapped out and planned from the start and 'clunky' controls are meant to add thrill and excitement into the game. It also forces players to learn the controls and turn it into instinct. Just look at Resident Evil. You'll know what I mean.

4. The Law of Money and Materials or " a mound of money means nothing if you don't have the materials" typically in any common video game, money talks. Get more money from slaying enemies and you'll get an uber powerful item that will break the game.Or at least the boss. In MH, materials from monsters are as essential as money and the only way to get materials is to hunt. Which brings us back to the basic premise of the game: hunt, hunt, hunt!

5. The Law of Effort or "can't I slay that monster with a single blow?" - The answer is no. In a way MH is a simulation of a hunt. Looking at ancient and modern (real-life) hunters alike, their prey are not slain with a single blow. More often than not hunters rely on traps and weapons to catch their prey. Same with MH. Effort teaches patience and patience results to better hunts!

6. The Law of Strategy or "Why can't I hit/damage that monster?"- MH is an action game but it doesn't mean that all you have to do is to memorize how your weapons work. No it is more than that. Each monster has their own patterns, attacks and weaknesses similar to how a real creature might do at a certain situation. The more you know about your enemy, the easier it is to subdue. Is the monster fast? Match its speed by moving around and anticipate its movements. Is the monster big and clumsy? Look for a blind spot and capitalize on it. Is the monster vulnerable to an element type? Set up your weapon and armor to exploit that fact.
O Hai thar! I are harmlezz!
So now that you've finished reading go out there and hunt hunt HUUUUUUNT!

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