If nowadays, children and young people are addicted to modern gadgetry such as cellphones, tablets, and laptops, I in my boyhood and early teens was also addicted. But it was to a different thing–they called it‘komiks’.
Not just me, of course; I simply represented the generation of komiks addicts, then. In fact, children and adults alike were then glued to these illustrated magazines—browsing and reading the stories that they liked the most. Sometimes, they were so engrossed in reading that they no longer knew what was going on around them.
Some parents whose children could no longer help with household chores kept scolding their kids, critical of this komiks thing. “I will let you eat this stuff,” they would say. “What good will it give you?” our mother, I remember, once asked me.
But it did me good, in fairness. Among others, these komiks magazines improved my Tagalog, as they were written in it. They enhanced my reading comprehension, reading speed, eye movements, vocabulary, grammar, etc., including my Tagalog speaking ability. This language used to be my handicap. I preferred English to it. But with my exposure to komiks magazines, my Tagalog improved.
Not only that but my love for literature was also developed. Why, Komiks magazines contain stories, primarily fictional, that have been illustrated. In literature, these stories belong to the narratives, one of the major classifications of literature, the other ones being poetry, drama, and essay. As stories, they develop the elements of fiction such as characters, setting, conflict, point of view, theme, and plot.
Aside from boosting my passion for literature, Komiks magazines also reinforced my inclination toward visual arts, particularly drawing and painting. Before I entered Grade 1, I was already doing caricatures of various objects, people, places, and animals. When komiks came my way, all the more that my instinctive urge to sketch things intensified.
How I appreciated the beauty and elegance of komiks illustrations. I still remember the names of my favorite illustrators: Mar Santana, Hal Santiago, Nar Castro, Ben Maniklang, Rod Santiago, Karl Comendador, Vic Celerio, and many more. In fact, I have memorized their styles so that, at a glance, I could already identify who the illustrator is even without seeing his name. I learned a lot from their sketching techniques.
Unfortunately, the komiks magazines that used to ornament sari-sari stores, to abound in homes and offices, to entertain people from all walks of life had died down, replaced with technological gadgets that had addicted people next. Today, those magazines no longer see print or distributed throughout the archipelago. They had sadly become extinct, gone from bookshelves, homes, and offices.