Last August, the 2nd Filipino Reader Convention introduced the first Filipino Readers’ Choice Award and I was asked to be one of the judges for the nominated books. I chose the graphic novel category because I love our local comic scene! We have a lot of talented and unique local comic artists and some of them are featured in other countries because their works are also known in other countries (or contributed their art to Marvel or DC comics like Mico Suayan and Gerry Alanguilan).
Readers nominated their favorite graphic novels that are published within January 2010 to December 2011 and out of nine (9) nominees, only three (3) were chosen for the final round! Two of the finalists were from Ace Vitangcol and the gang (Alturia Hill)—Love is in the Bag (Vol 5) and Angel Crush (Vol 1).
Actually, the nominated volume of Love is in the Bag is the last installment of the series and I haven’t read the whole series. I thought I’ll have difficulties reading the last book since I don’t have a background about what happened on the earlier books, but I was wrong with that. Love is in the Bag is an easy read because of it’s humorous and romantic plot about a girl named Kate who turns into a bag whenever she is stressed or when she’s near her romantic interest, Calvin. The plot got weirder because Kate didn’t turn back to be human! It’s so funny because her friends did all kinds of experiments on the bag just to return her to her normal state. The story also covers Calvin and Mark’s rivalry in sports—basketball—which really reminds me of Slam Dunk—I was a big fan when I was in high school. The entirety of the novel reminds me of Japanese because obviously, manga comics originated from Japan. It is my first time to read a manga created by Filipinos but I wish they put somewhere in the story, you know, something Filipino. Anyway, I enjoyed the book a lot because the characters are all so funny.
The other book nominated was the first book of the manga series, Angel Crush. It’s about an angel that was sent to the earth to know the ways of men and Faye was chosen to his master and teacher BUT there’s something at stake, their lives might be in danger because a presence of an angel in the earth disturbs the balance (balance of what, I don’t know. It’s an angel thing, you know? I’m no angel. Haha). This series is different from the light theme and art of Love is in the Bag series. It’s sort-of religious-but-not really and fantasy kind of story. I find it not that great (but it’s okay) and uninteresting. Maybe because it’s just the first book and everything about the story is an introduction and vague. I hope they develop the story more and make things really interesting (you know, like, causing rage from the CBCP. LOL just kidding!)