As you all know, I've been creating this little webcomic called "Tabi Po". It's been three years since I've started it and it has come a long way. It gathered an amazing amount of loyal readers. Right now the facebook page has a little more than 1,000 followers. That's a good number isn't it? And an English version became available during the second year. Thanks to the wonderful people at Flipside Publishing who believed in a little aswang story that was not even a proper story yet at the time (It's not even finished now. I know. I'm too slow). The english version is in the form of ebooks which you can read on your ipad, kindle or on your desktop computers. Check out this site for more info. It is catered more for an international audience because it's not even available in the Philippine iBook store yet. It is completely understandable though because the Filipino version is always free to read online.
Many readers have asked for a print version as well:
That's well and good but I had not really put much thought about a print version because as I've said before, I am extremely lazy. I just wanted to create the comic and then just click a button on my browser and BOOM! everybody could read it. That way, there's no hassle with getting the colors right for print, no problem with what kind of paper to use and no problem with distribution. However, there's a catch. With webcomic, I do not get to earn money. I know there's a way but as I've said, I'm too lazy!
So I needed a regular job. But therein lies a problem. Having a full-time job meant less time to make the comic. My progress in the creation of the comic became really slow. Very very slow. It came to a point where there was no issue uploaded in a year. It made me feel sad. So this year, I decided to take a gamble and I resigned again from corporate work so that I could concentrate on making the comic of my dreams and perhaps be a human once again! Naks! I felt confident because at that point I already paid all my debts in getting the equipments that I need (iMac, scanner and pen-tablet) and I have a list of clients who are very impressed with my work and are willing to give me more work.
However, knowing again that I am super lazy, I still needed something else to pressure me to finish the comic this year. So I decided to propose the comic to a publisher that's willing to print it! I remembered way back in September 2011, right after the first Visprint WIT (Writers in Talk), a gentleman named Budjette Tan (yeah, you know him!) introduced me to a very nice woman by the name of Miss Nida Ramirez (I didn't know her official title but I felt that she's the Big Boss in Visprint). We immediately talked about getting Tabi Po in print and just like that Miss Nida said yes!
But I have to make sure that it's 90% done before proposing it to them. So this February 2013, knowing that I already have a lot to show in terms of progress, I made a very cool proposal to them. I'm sorry to sound a little condescending but because I put a lot of effort in it, I think yes, my proposal is really cool! hehe! In fact, I'll show a few pages of it so you can see for yourself:
↑ The blurred parts are spoilers!
See? I told you it's so cool it's awesome! hehe! And it's in Filipino! Because I am proposing the Filipino version. Mabuhay!
I sent it to them not knowing what to expect. Of course, Miss Nida said yes to me in person but I know that's not a guarantee. And then a month after, I received a very very warm message from them:
We're huge fans of Tabi Po here at Visprint so we're grateful you have approached us as a publisher for your graphic novel :) I've already told Ma'm Nida about your email and, though she retains her initial opinion (that publishing this will cost more &, thus, must retail at a higher price), we both agree that Elias and his story should be read by as many people as possible.
And so I flipped! I said: This is it! This should actually pressure me into finishing the first volume this year. Judging by the way I am working on it right now, I think I can do it! It will be done this year and it'll be ready for print next year.
↑ This is me working on the latest isyu!
And they agreed to do it in color! Wow! But they are still deciding on whether it'll be a big book or they'll separate it into two or three issues. Ideally, I want it to be one big book.
Moreover, Adam David (El Bimbo Variations) volunteered in cleaning up the words. "Malikhaing Pagsulat nga naman ang training ko sa Peyups", are his exact words. He is the one who did the English translation so I guess we will see some kind of syncing between the English and the Filipino versions as well. Also, I should mention that my friend Paolo Chikiamco (Alternative Alamat) is actually involved in my process recently where I usually show an isyu to him for his criticisms before I post it on the web. His inputs are invaluable for the clarity of the flow of the story. But of course, my first reader will always be my beloved girlfriend Princess. Watching her read a freshly made isyu gives me an impression on how it will be received by the reader.
Immediately after I'm done with the Filipino version, I will be translating it to English for the ebooks. I am not forgetting my international audience because who knows, it might just be the ticket we need for a TABI PO movie!
So there you go! Tabi Po will be available in print next year! Hooray! Visprint has published a lot of the local books and comics that I love. That's Kiko Machine, Trese, Bob Ong books, Filipino Heroes League, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Seroks (which I have not yet finished reading) and many more. Expect me to be working closely with them in bringing a good quality product to you. Will you buy it?