Makina was probably the first story I had ever pitched to Mervin. This was during the Aklatan event when I was selling Crime-Fighting Call Center Agents at one of the tables and I got to hang out with him along some of our other friends in indie komiks . He liked the concept I pitched and we had been working on that story on-and-off ever since. (Makina, by the way, is going to be one of our longer works under Studio Salimbal, you have to watch out for it.)
Our ongoing collaboration with Makina must've been why Mervin had me in mind when he needed a script for Adam Pasion's Kickstarter-funded Filipino Comics Anthology. When he asked me if I had any short stories in mind, I told him yes, I had a good idea for an 8-page comic he could draw. This was, of course, a lie, and I didn't have anything in mind right at that very moment.
If you've seen the movie The Usual Suspects, (a 20-year-old movie so it's perfectly fine for me to mention spoilers, but if you don't want to read any, I suggest you turn back now and not read past the contents of this parenthesesed area, you have been warned), there's a scene where the main character was in interrogation and he concocts an elaborate lie based on details about the objects he has in his field of vision. I had a dessicated corpse of a manananggal's upper body nailed to the wall right in front of me at that very moment. My great grandfather had first "killed" it back in the early 1920s but dried up as it is, you could tell it was still partly alive. Indeed it goes into spasms every few hours signaling the fact that it would soon, once again try to escape and the only thing that was stopping it was the next generation of the Pascual bloodline. So, I told Mervin on Facebook, what if we write a story about a certain supernatural creature that all of us Filipinos are familiar with...
And that's how we began our very first comic collaboration - well, the very first one that we've completed at least. It is always fun collaborating with Noel especially because he is the next generation of the Pascual bloodline, who it is now revealed, protects us from manananggals.
Now I know where that hairline came from.
We started working on the comic immediately upon agreeing on the concept of the story. Our process is a bit unusual. Noel would start writing and after he's done with a few scenes, I would already start drawing the parts that he's finished. So I drew the comic without knowing where Noel is going to take the story which makes it exciting and spontaneous. It's like we're both in the dark with flashlights in hand seeing only what's immediately in front of us. Usually, I also edit the scenes as I reach them because I don't want the story to be too long.
Overall, it was a really nice experience and we were able to finish it in 5 days! That's fourteen colored pages in just 5 days! Originally, it was supposed to be just in black & white but since the kickstarter donations exceeded initial expectations, we decided to produce a colored version.
Because of the speed of the production and the quality of "The Other Half", we decided to make two other horror stories and combine them in an anthology we jokingly called "Shiver, Jangle & Spin". The second one is coming up soon! It is called "The Friendzone".
And we are working on the last one where a giant robot is involved. So stay tuned!
Here's a review of the Other Half on Flipgeeks: http://www.flipgeeks.com/pinoy-komiks-dc-marvel-etc/pinoy-komiks/komiks-interview-the-two-halves-of-the-other-half-mervin-malonzo-and-noel-pascual
More to come from us and the Studio!