'Beyond' comic stretches frontiers of imagination, production

Rick OIivares

Posted at Sep 22 2016 01:42 PM

MANILA -- During the last AsiaPop Comicon, "Beyond," a comic book anthology was launched featuring three of the biggest names in the Philippine comic book industry who made use of an Apple iPad Pro in the creation of their individual stories.

The brainchild of Charlie Yaw, who owns Beyond the Box in One Rockwell, "Beyond" is all about embracing the tools of tomorrow while crafting top notch stories. Yaw invited comic book professionals Manix Abrera, Mervin Malonzo, and Harvey Tolibao to create their own stories using the new iPad Pro and the resulting comic book anthology is gorgeous!

Abrera is the creator of the popular "Kiko Machine” strip, while Malonzo came to prominence with the horror series, “Tabi Po.” Tolibao, on the other hand, has made a name for himself internationally for illustrating a variety of top titles from American publishing giants Dark Horse, DC, IDW, Image, and Marvel.

“I’ve been using computers for my work for a few years now,” said Tolibao. “I think it’s a great tool. While I try to draw using the traditional method every now and then, technology makes it quicker. But the iPad Pro was different. I had to learn to use something outside my comfort zone. But I enjoyed the experience.”

And the product is a feast for the eyes and the mind.

The author (center) with Mervin Malonzo and Harvey Tolibao. Photo provide by author

“Terrorium" is written by Adam David and drawn by Malonzo and tells a story about a post-apocalyptic world devastated not by nuclear holocaust but due to the violent outgrowths of carnivorous flowers. In order to survive, man has gone underground. The creative team introduces us to two humans who break to the surface to decipher what has happened to a scientific expedition that has been missing for two months. Their discovery is a cliffhanger and has repercussions for the rest of humanity.

The feel of the story is akin to M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening” where trees take revenge on humanity by releasing a neurotoxin that causes people to commit suicide, as well as Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” #53 where the muck creature invades Gotham City.

The art, almost drastically different from the sketchy expressionistic style Malonzo used in “Tabi Po” reminds me of Brian Wood’s post-apocalytipic water world, “The Massive.” Yet the colors are more vibrant. Just what you expect from a high-definition and top-of-the-line gadget.

Abrera’s “Tunguhin” picks up from his silent graphic novel “14” and documents an anonymous character’s voyage through a black and white abstract world. Unlike “14” that pretty much tells a series of horror stories that you pretty much understand, “Tunguhin” provides a canvas for everyone to interpret the story in their own way.

For me, it resembles life and the choices we make and the people we meet along the way. And it’s a short and poignant

"Grimmer Trance" is action-paced adventure about a mysterious woman who hires agents to investigate an island infested with beings dubbed “the Afflicted.” What I love about Tolibao’s style is the detail and energy that reminds me of Geoff Darrow. And “Grimmer Trance” is like reading a sequel to his Danger Girl mini-series, “The Chase” as written by its original writer, Andy Hartnell.

If you’re a comic book fan, "Beyond" is a must-have. If this is your introduction to the medium as well as to the amazing tool that is the iPad Pro, then prepare to be inspired and go beyond your borders.