Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
Welcome back, Ultraverse fans, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and all other geeks! Today, we revisit the Ultraverse for more 1990s comic book fun through another tale of Freex, the team of misfits who have no place to stay.
Last time around, the narrative of Freex suddenly got much stronger X-Men vibes as it was revealed that Freex member Ray/Boom Boy was brought in by Contrary (best known in UltraForce comics) to her team of students (each with different powers and abilities) called the Academy for the New Elite. The rest of the Freex eventually found their way to the secret base of Contrary’s academy.
With those details laid down, we can continue with this look back at Freex #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Gerard Jones and drawn by Ben Herrera.
The story begins inside the secret facility of the Academy for New Elite. There the surviving members of Freex (Valerie/Pressure, Lewis/Anything, Angela/Sweetface and Michael/Plug) are restrained. Plug can’t do anything except speak gibberish physically as his mind is still connected with the Internet.
Contrary arrives with her students and she tells Freex that she herself works miracles in the minds of troubled young people with powers. She welcomes them to her academy. Valerie, who has often been a rebel, reacts by telling Contrary that she won’t brainwash her like her little “puppets”. In response, Contrary emphasized that her students joined her voluntarily.
Just moments after Lewis made an issue about their teammate Boom Boy getting abducted and asking what Contrary did to turn him against them, Boom Boy suddenly appears and rebukes him.
“She didn’t do nothing…except promise to teach me. Teach me everything my parents took away from me,” Boom Boy said. “I don’t want to be dumb anymore, Lewis.”
The Freex members are stunned…
While the storytelling in the previous issue was a nice mix of surprise and intrigue, this comic book has an even more intriguing tale which really tested the bond that held Freex members together. A notable theme in the story is loyalty which was emphasized in the form of interactions between characters, as well as the student-mentor bond between the Academy’s students and their leader Contrary. It should also be stated that perceptions about becoming loyal to the leader and the struggle to win trust are nicely dramatized in this comic book.
More on the plot, I really enjoyed the confrontation between Contrary’s team and Freex as they symbolize the conflict between being nurtured (educated as students) and being free (freedom that comes with being social outcasts). There are some really nice twists that you should discover for yourselves. Oh yes, the superhero spectacle here are fun to read.
Freex #11 (1994) is another solid entry in the monthly series. It has a more symbolic story and the dramatics have been ramped up. The story itself is pretty cohesive and combined with all the emotions and twists, it all makes sense. It even has key elements that will remind you about today’s developments and movements like the dreaded Cancel Culture, the sinister Democratic Socialists and the wicked Black Lives Matter movement. That being said, the side story emphasizing the origin of Plug just could not match the engagement of the main plot. Regardless, this comic book marks a notable turning point for the Freex as a whole.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.
Overall, Freex #11 (1994) is highly recommended!
Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com
Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from watching the movie and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
When you craft a story meant to entertain people, it is already tough to mix genre elements and make them work together while still telling a cohesive story. Imagine how hard that could be when making a movie with the mentioned creative mix?
After much learning through UCLA, Dekker broke into Hollywood and started a professional career in film and eventually got his dream project in the form of Night of the Creeps.
“Night of the Creeps is very much a first feature with the attitude of many first features. The I-may-not-get-to-do-another-movie-so-I’m-going-to-do-everything-I-want-to-do-in-this-movie attitude. It’s an attitude that often backfires, but in this case, it’s exactly what makes Night of the Creeps so much fun,” Dekker stated.
With the short film history lesson done, it’s now time to take a look back at Night of the Creepswritten and directed by Fred Dekker, and released in 1986 by TriStar Pictures.
The story begins inside a space ship where one alien creature (carrying a canister) is running away from two armed personnel. With the two chasers delayed, the creature manages to shoot the canister into the realm of space.
On Earth, the year is 1959. In a typical American suburb, a college student visits a sorority house to pick up his date. Together, along with a few other pairs in cars, they spend time at a parking spot with a nice night view. A young police officer, who is aware of the news about a potential killer on the loose, approaches the pair and recognizes the lady from the sorority house. He tells them to go home for their safety, and then leaves them.
Shortly after, the canister from space arrives and crashes nearby causing the college student to drive the car (with his date with him) and find the spot of the crash. He parks the car by the woods and moves into woods leaving the sorority girl alone, sitting and waiting. He finds the canister and decides to look at it closely. Through an opening, an alien slug suddenly jumps from the canister and into his mouth. Meanwhile, the lone lady in the car hears the news about the loose killer and realizes the details about their location (being the destination of the killer). Slowly creeping up on her is a man with an axe.
In 1986, at the same locality, college students party around and engage in lots of activities in relation to pledge week being organized at a local university. Among the students walking down the sidewalk are Chris Romero and his handicapped friend J.C. Chris spots a pretty girl from a distance and instantly falls for her at first sight. With the help of J.C., he decides to pursue her…
Even with a low budget, Night of the Creeps is very creatively done and comes with a good amount of fun for viewers who enjoy elements of horror or sci-fi, 1950s romance, 1980s teen comedy and even detective story. What made this movie a cinematic gem is that Fred Dekker and his creative team combined their strengths with the talents of their cast members specifically Jason Lively, James Marshall, Jill Whitlow and Tom Atkins.
At its core, Night of the Creeps is a zombie horror flick that had sci-fi elements of UFOs and the 1950s as a strong foundation (in addition to serving in the background of the plot). Those combined genre elements alone (backed with a plot that is cohesive enough thanks to Dekker) made this movie solid and yet, the implementation of detective/crime storytelling and 1980s teen comedy (specifically college culture) further added more punch and variety in making the film really engaging and fun.
That being said, the actors delivered the goods with their respective performances. Jason Lively and Steve Marshall have excellent chemistry together as the 1980s college boys Chris Romero and J.C. They started their acts as typical college guys trying to achieve something when it comes to campus achievements and winning the girl’s heart. They also delivered strong performances on the comedy and they pushed their dramatic limits further when the film’s tone shifted to horror. Jill Whitlow is interesting as sorority girl Cynthia who has that girl-next-door charm. She proved to be talented with acting as she had convincing romantic chemistry with a certain jerk and Chris.
The standout performer among them all, unsurprisingly, is Tom Atkins as detective Ray Cameron. Before making this movie, Atkins worked in horror movies and a few cult movies, and got involved with the legendary John Carpenter. As such, playing the veteran detective Cameron here was a natural fit for the actor. As the aging and troubled detective, Atkins portrayed him dramatically and because of his very rugged touch, the actor really looked like he actually lived through decades of police work in the fictional town. Atkins also proved to be very good with quotes, specifically with “Thrill me!” It should be noted that this is Atkins’ personal favorite role in the horror genre.
When it comes to telling a cohesive story to emphasize the mixed genre elements, I should say Fred Dekker and his team succeeded. The pacing ran at a medium pace for the most part and even during the slower scenes, there was never a boring moment. More on storytelling, Night of the Creeps’ concept made sense for the most part (about how a slug from outer space would gradually cause zombification on people and even animals, in the midst of college-related events happening) and still had room for suspense, spectacle (note: Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow themselves used dangerous weapons near the end of the film) and, yes, character development! All of that pulled of nicely in roughly ninety minutes and the viewing experience was ultimately fun and engaging.
It should be noted that, in terms of presentation, key scenes were very well directed and strong performances from the actors were realized. The scene where detective Cameron and Chris had a private talk was intriguing to watch, and that one had the strongest act Tom Atkins made in the film. I should also mention that, apart from the dramatics and performances, I enjoyed the cinematography done by Robert C. New especially with the way the camera moved as the actors delivered their lines in key sequences. There were closeups that perfectly captured the moments when the actors delivered their strongest acts. Last but not least, the music by Barry De Vorzon fit the film’s tone and concept smoothly.
I really love Night of the Creeps and I want you – my readers and fellow film buffs and pop culture geeks – to watch it from start to finish. I never saw this movie in the cinemas in the 1980s but was fortunate enough to watch it on cable TV on a late night in 1998 (twelve years after its cinematic release). That was a night I’ll never forget because Night of the Creeps delivered the fun and exceeded my expectations. Then years ago, I finally acquired the Sony Pictures Blu-ray disc release which I replayed from time to time at the comfort of home with my Xbox One console as the disc player. The film looks even better in high-definition!
The best thing I love about Night of the Creeps is its big mix of genre elements which was supported by solid storytelling and performances. When it comes to spectacle or shock moments, it should be stated that the practical effects used (note: no CGI or computer-generated images here) in the movie still stand up strongly until now although I must say that the aliens creatures in the early part of the story were just not convincing enough.
Even by today’s standards, Night of the Creeps is enjoyable and gripping to watch, and the fact is nobody in Hollywood is making anything like it, nor are there any filmmakers willing to do a big mix of genre elements and tell a cohesive story with good performance from hired talents. This alone makes Fred Dekker’s directorial debut a cinematic gem that has been overlooked by too many people
In light of modern society and its norms, I declare that Night of the Creeps will give you a good dose of escapism not only from real life but also from the corrupted and highly politicized culture of Hollywood which points to the Political Left (whose central figure Barack Obama supports Iran, the terrorists and illegal immigrants) and its trouble makers (examples: social justice warriors or SJWS, the socialists, the radical feminists, the LGBTQ) who managed to infiltrate the American film industry and even the American media (note: you can tell if a movie review was written by an SJW who only writes something to fit his/her social justice agenda). This old movie was made to deliver fun without any political garbage whatsoever. That being said, it will make you wish that Hollywood would just focus on making their movies truly entertaining and be free from political poison at the same time. Movies that carry political overtones or emphasize identity politics are major turn-offs.
Overall, Night of the Creeps is highly recommended! That being said, I urge you to order a Blu-ray copy of Night of the Creeps now at Shout Factory and Amazon. Whichever Blu-ray version you acquire (note: the Shout Factory version has newer and more extra stuff), you can’t go wrong with Night of the Creeps in high-definition.
Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com
“We have complied with all the requirements needed. These include the opening of bank account, doing the fidelity bonding, making the three-year plan, the annual investment plan, and the annual budget for 2019,” BFSK chairperson Tumang said. “We now have our independence using the SK funds. Already we have started disbursing the SK budget since this past August.”
The BFSK head added that, right now, they are waiting for the mandatory training that the DILG and the NYC are supposed to organize. The training is designed to provide guidance to all SK units about utilizing the SK funds properly and in accordance to existing laws.
As Tumang told me previously, more projects and activities will be organized by the BFSK in the near future now that they have achieve independence from the barangay and now have access to the SK funds.
Speaking of activities in Barangay BF Homes in Parañaque City, there will be a seminar on pregnancy and HIV/AIDS on September 28 and the 3rd quarter Waste-for-Rice activity on September 29. Tumang announced these on September 14.
The technical stuff
In the order of the DILG, it was stated that JMC Number 1 (Series of 2019) provides guidelines on the appropriation, release, planning and budgeting process for the SK funds.
Jonathan E. Malaya, who serves as the Undersecretary and Spokesperson of the DILG, stated that pending the issuance of the Commission on Audit (COA)’s guidelines on SK financial transactions, the SK may start using their budgets “provided they comply with the requirements of the DBM-DILG-NYC Joint Memorandum Circular.”
“The development agenda for the youth sector cannot be further delayed. SK officials in every locality should now get the ball rolling so that they can already carry out projects that are meant to promote the interests and welfare of the youth,” Malaya said.
The spokesperson added that there is no need to wait for the COA guidelines because the commission has given the SK the green light to use their funds in accordance to JMC Number 1 which in itself details the procedures on how they can disburse their respective budgets.
In order for SK funds to be disbursed, a current bank account under the name of the SK must be opened (by the SK chairperson specifically) in a government-owned bank, apply for fidelity bonding (with the SK chairperson and the SK treasurer as the accountable officials), and a 3-year rolling plan called the Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Plan (CBYDP) must be formulated.
Beyond these, SK officials are required to undergo training programs conducted by the DILG, NYC, and the authorized training providers in accordance with DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2018-48, as well as continuing training programs on the Government Procurement Reform Act, Manual on Financial Transactions of the SK, the proper utilization of SK fund, the accounting and auditing rules and regulations and any other relevant trainings which will help them carry out their functions effectively and efficiently.
When it comes to the funding, 10% of the general fund of barangays shall be set aside for the Sangguniang Kabataan which shall be appropriated in lump sum and distributed solely for youth development and empowerment purposes in accordance to the SK Reform Act.
The law further states that the SK shall have financial independence in its operations, disbursements and encashment of their fund, income and expenditures.
Recently at the developing community of Masville in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City, a 21-year-old man died by suicide by hanging himself to death in a residence. The reason? Because he broke up with his girlfriend.
To put things in perspective, Tumang stated that the age definition of youth under the Reformed SK system is 15 to 30-years-old. The guy who took his life is therefore identified as a youth and was already working. On July 20, Tumang attended the man’s funeral at his family residence and the experience reminds her that the SK has a responsibility to ensure that youth suicides would be prevented.
“We had one project with Kagawad Rocel Espino who handled the barangay committee on education which includes youth. The project she created was the youth camp and it was organized at a local school,” Tumang said. “Many young people attended and they shared problems and concerns. We at the SK will adapt that kind of project.”
In preparation for the planned youth camp, the BFSK chairperson and the kagawads will have to do some research as well as make presentations in seminars. A youth orientation activity done by Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Espino was held recently which educated many youth participants. This, of course, sets a model of guidance for the BFSK as part of their preparation for the planned youth camp which, as of this writing, still has no date nor a venue finalized.
“We also have the mental health awareness counseling program planned at the SK. Right now we are still discussing as to when we could organize it,” Tumang stated. “I really want to organize the mental health awareness program and youth camp soon as I learned many helpful lessons from a seminar at Paranaque City Hall.”
The said seminar was about mental health awareness and by participating in it, Tumang said she realized the many factors that contribute to suicide such as depression, insecurity, uncertainty and the like. Even words can hurt a person and even cause him or her to get depressed.
“That was a very engaging seminar the discussions were very in-depth. I learned so much from it and I believe we can really help the local youth,” she said.
Tumang added that Kagawad Espino taught her that youth struggle as they grow up and get educated. The struggles include being unable to open up and speak out about their concerns, being fearful about others judging them, and the like. There are also those who are a lot more vulnerable or more sensitive than meets the eye.
“Because words can be painful, some jokes cracked at youth hurt them very deep inside reaching to the point of cracking under social pressure, becoming stressed or, even worse, they begin to think about suicide,” Tumang said.
To put suicide in perspective, it was reported in Business Mirror that in the year 2012, a total of 2,550 cases of suicides (all ages) in the Philippines were registered according to Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle.
The BFSK chairperson plans to have the youth camp (and hopefully the mental health awareness counseling program) push through sometime this September. However pulling it off remains challenging due to budgeting, the time management of activities and getting valuable resources.
The Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes is reaching out to generous members of the public who wish to donate to them (cash or in kind) for the purpose of organizing the youth camp and its campaign to prevent youth from dying by suicide.
To inquire or give something, communicate directly with BFSK Chairperson Mariel Tumang at Barangay BF Homes hall along Elsie Gatches street in Parañaque City.
UPDATE! (September 3, 2019)
The Barangay BF Homes Youth Camp is indeed coming and already efforts are being made on preparing it. This was announced by Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino during the Youth Forum held at the Phase 1 Gym along Pilar Banzon street in BF Homes subdivision on August 31.
Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Chairperson Mariel Tumang
For much of the day on June 30, 2019, the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes (BFSK) led by its chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang visited different developing communities of Barangay BF Homes in Parañaque City and implemented their special project called Waste Wise for Rice.
The project emphasized the trading in of Eco Bricks for kilograms of rice grain. According to chairperson Tumang, local community residents each hand over to them the Eco Brick(s) (plastic bottle containing wrappings of snack products) and in return the SK gives out a kilogram of rice grain. Tumang and her kagawads (youth councilors) Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre, Stephanie Sebullen worked hard that day.
According to the Facebook page of the BFSK, the SK collected 900 Eco Bricks and they released over 900 kilograms of rice grain. The SK emphasized that their June 30 project was environment-friendly and a good provider of food for the residents. Here in the Philippines, rice is staple food.
Before that special project happened, I got to interview BFSK chairperson Tumang (who is also the Vice President of the Parañaque SK Federation) and here is my exclusive feature of her for you all.
Who is Mariel Tumang?
Mariel Angela Tumang was born in the late 1990s. She recently graduated at the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA with a BS in Accountancy. Her entry into the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes came at a time when the SK got reformed. In short, she and her fellow councilors are pioneers for Barangay BF Homes under the new SK system.
To put things in perspective, the SK or youth council was a decades-old system in Philippine society that, from its 1975 beginning, developed a poor reputation. Critics called the SK a system that politicizes young people, a failure on implementing youth development programs, a breeding ground for corruption and the like. People who don’t believe in the SK stressed that young people are not ready for early public service and that they are better off focusing on their academics. Also it did not help under the original SK system that youth leaders who were not even of legal age (below 18) got to sign contracts between their council and other organizations.
In early 2016, Congress approved Republic Act Number 10742 which was called the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law. It saw some notable changes like raising the age of the council to 18-24 years-old (versus the previous 15-17) and implementing an anti-political dynasty rule.
This brings me back to Tumang and her kagawads.
In the summer of 2018, a team of youth candidates under the umbrella of former Barangay BF Homes chairperson Florencia “Beng” Amurao was formed and Tumang was the candidate for BFSK chairperson. As it was the first SK election in some years, as well as the first-ever election under the reformed SK system, there was hesitation along the way for Tumang.
“Actually, I did not want to join the election because for me, politics is dirty,” Tumang said. “My friends inspired me especially Tita Beng (Amurao). My mother worked for her previously. Tita Beng said she wanted me to be her group’s candidate for SK chairperson and I said that I was still studying and was unsure about the idea of running in the election. After some more talk, I got inspired a lot and decided to run.”
When I asked her if she had thought about uplifting the status of young people of the many communities of Barangay BF Homes as part of her decision to run, she confirmed that it was indeed her intention all along. She also had insight.
“Before entering the SK, I was a student leader and during my days at Masville National High School I was the SSG president. I also received an award for leadership of students when I graduated high school. I was also a Girl Scout and along the way we got trained with leadership skills and values. A lot of my friends told me I have leadership skills,” she said.
In the reformed SK election for Barangay BF Homes, Tumang and her teammates under the Team Amurao banner ran against their counterparts from the group of then Kagawad Paolo Marquez. As the competition between the two teams was intense, the campaigning was, unsurprisingly, very challenging.
“It was really hard for me personally for I was not really an outgoing person. I spent my time mostly at school and at home. We were somewhat known in Masville but not that much in other communities of the barangay,” Tumang recalled. “At the same time, I took summer classes along the way which was a requirement at school. I had to skip some classes just to campaign. When I was able to attend to both (campaign and class), there were days we went house-to-house campaigning in the morning, then I go school in the after and attend campaign meetings in the evening.”
All the pain, the lack of sleep and hard efforts to win the voters’ trust ultimately paid off for Tumang as she defeated her election rival Aira Besana (Team Marquez) for the BFSK chairperson post gathering a total 2,672 votes. The seven SK kagawad posts were split between Team Amurao and Team Marquez candidates.
“I was so glad and I cried when I learned that I won the SK chairperson position. My friends and family really supported me during the COMELEC counting of the votes. It was a nerve-wrecking experience and many of us, including my teammates, stayed at the Phase 1 gym for a very long time without any sleep,” she recalled.
Since taking office as chairperson of the Barangay BF Homes youth council on June 30, 2018, she and her councilors organized several projects and activities on developing youth of the local communities despite the fact that they lacked funds. Along the way, she and her councilors participated in some seminars and out-of-town activities related to youth development and leadership development. Of course, leading the BFSK made life more challenging for her since she was still finishing her studies.
“It’s really difficult,” Tumang remarked on balancing her personal life with academics and SK duty. “There were times I really cried because I could not manage my time. When we started, we lacked direction on what to do so I asked my mother for guidance since she served as a staffer of the barangay before.”
Tumang added that being a student and an elected youth leader forced her to make hard decisions when barangay matters conflicted with her academics. While missing out on class was costly, being absent from a youth council meeting or session would mean getting left behind on the latest developments.
On the aspect of legislation, Tumang serves as the presiding officer of the youth council. She coordinates with the SK secretary over the agenda for each session which is held only once a month. Already some resolutions have been approved by the BFSK most notably their budget which is in the millions of pesos.
As the reformed SK was so new, Tumang and her kagawads started without a real budget at all and had to depend on the barangay’s youth development fund. Along the way, they had to make hard adjustments by learning the processes, learning how to do proper reports, practice of ethics, and more.
As of this year, the BFSK is inching closer to completing the system for the receiving and releasing of funds that are needed to realize their youth development projects. Tumang and her team had visited the banks, coordinated with the barangay and secure several requirements. They were delayed somewhat because of an election ban related to the May 2019 national and local elections.
While there were lots of hassles and challenges, Tumang still is focused on serving the youth of Barangay BF Homes and with what the BFSK has achieved so far. She and her kagawads are striving to do much more to make progressive and positive impact on developing the local youth.
“The feeling is so pleasant whenever I see someone smile as a result of the projects we at the SK have accomplished,” she said with a smile.
Message to the Readers
“I wish to share to you all that the Sangguniang Kabataan is really a good thing because we can talk to youth who are naturally hesitant to communicate with older people or share their concerns. Young people are always struggling with some sort of personal or social problems of their own as they grow up. From peer pressure, to insecurity, mental problems and suicidal thoughts, the youth are struggling and they need help. We are willing to help them. Here in BF, we are very willing to help implement the very promising programs from Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez designed for the youth. Problematic youth are very welcome to visit barangay hall for assistance and we are very willing to provide it. The BFSK is caring and we aim to develop local youth socially, academically and morally. With seminars, outreach and enlightening group discussions already done, the reformed SK system is truly about nurturing youth and it is no longer limited to organizing sports events.”
This morning, out of curiosity, I attended the Anime & Cosplay Expo 2019 held at one of the function rooms at the upper level of the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia (SM MOA) in Pasay City.
What I saw there was quite amusing. The large function room had just enough space for the exhibitors, the stage with sound system and lights and the food sellers. Of course, the available space in between was filled with many, many anime and cosplay enthusiasts! Some enthusiasts were seen seated some feet away from the stage waiting for the next event to happen like a cosplay contest, special guest appearances, etc.
Moving around got tight from time to time which reminds me how popular anime and cosplay have really gotten among locals as well as how interested buyers are with the products being displayed for sale.
As I saw some stickers (of pop culture icons and anime figures drawn by local illustrators) for buying, I had to stand behind a buyer who was searching for stickers and asked questions to the seller. There were three other customers next to him also standing right in front of the booth examining the stuff. After patiently waiting, I finally got to the front of the booth, quickly picked stickers (for some friends) and bought them.
There was a lot of stuff that appealed to cosplay and anime enthusiasts. Cards, buttons, stickers, caps, shirts, costumes, cosmetics, dolls, action figures, posters and a few publications. Those who purchased what they searched for clearly were happy. I searched from some Macross-related items but found none.
And then I took time out to photograph some cosplayers for your viewing pleasure below. Just click to ENLARGE.
A lot of people went on cosplay emphasizing their favorite characters from anime while some appeared as characters from computer games. These cosplayers really paid close attention to their craft with regards to capturing the looks of the characters they portrayed from the hair color to the make-up, the costumes, the shoes, the accessories and the like.
And among the cosplayers, I spotted someone dressed as Spider-Man. Specifically, the cosplay at the event was geared towards anime and computer games (like those online JRPGs).
Even though my interest in anime has waned a long time ago, it was still a nice experience to attend the Anime & Cosplay Expo 2019. More than twenty years ago, I was a very avid anime enthusiast and video collector and back in those days, events focused on anime and some related interests were not that popular and were not well publicized.
Today there are these local organizations focused on special interests like anime and cosplay which can emphasize their interests and reach out to many people around the country via the Internet. When an upcoming event gets announced, the enthusiasts will respond and prepare themselves (and their money) for attendance. Not only that, there are now many local businesses willing to sponsor these anime and cosplay events. These developments show that there is now respect and trust for these kinds of events. If you ask me, an anime and cosplay event is more interesting than a city government-organized beauty pageant.
By the way, the Anime & Cosplay Expo 2019has one more day left tomorrow. There are some scheduled activities set to happen. If you intend to attend at all, click here.
As a comic book collector, 1993 was a notable year. That year Marvel organized the 30th anniversary celebration of the Avengers and the X-Men (which I’m a fan of). Image Comics meanwhile released a lot more comics showcasing the works of many creators apart from the publisher’s Seven Founding Fathers. Over at DC Comics, Superman was brought back to life but after they started the Reign of the Superman storyline. Oh yes, there was Valiant which scored hits with Turok #1 and even partnered with some Image Comics creators to produce the Deathmate crossover comic books.
At one corner was Malibu Comics which made a brave entry into the highly competitive superhero genre of comic book publishing in America by launching the Ultraverse, a line of superhero comic books which was the result of brainstorming by several comic book creators (many who previously worked with Marvel and DC Comics).
They launched a lot of comics (all those with #1 on their covers) which made it on the walls and shelves of local comic book stores I visited. Among the many Ultraverse launch comic books displayed was Prime #1 which had a great cover drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.
Co-written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones with art by Breyfogle, the comic book introduces readers to Prime, an overly muscular, caped man who tries to do something good but is quite flawed with his approach.
The story begins when Prime confronts a junior high school coach named Meyer accusing him of being a pervert. Meyer reacts surprised since he personally does not know Prime (“Who are you? What are you?”). He claims that he does not know what exactly the big guy knows. At the side were two high school girls witnessing the encounter.
And then Prime said his words, “I saw you, coach Meyer! I saw you on the basketball court in fifth period..touching those girls!”
The coach fought back causing Prime to react. Because the hero was not aware of his strength, he miscalculated with his grip on Meyer breaking his arm unintentionally. Prime’s reaction clearly showed his realizing his mistake.
The incident scared the one of the girls away and carelessly Prime tries to explain himself to the other girl standing by. He even called himself as the girl’s “protector and avenger”, telling her not to be afraid of him.
As it turned out, the incident was a recently past event within the narrative of the comic book which is a nice touch. The coach, already injured, gave his testimony expecting cash from a shadowy organization collecting information not only about Prime but the Ultras (the in-universe term referring to beings with super powers).
That’s as far as I will go with telling the plot details. Prime #1 should be read from start to finish and the good news is that old copies of it can be found online at affordable rates and there are lots of copies in overall good condition.
Other notable elements of Prime #1 worth discussing, without spoiling the plot, is the way the story was structured by Strazewski and Jones. At least for 1993, it somewhat defies the tradition of following the views of the protagonist. Instead, Prime is emphasized through the views of others from the injured coach to the soldiers and the media. This approach does not necessarily make Prime a supporting player in his own comic book but rather it was an efficient way of showing how he thinks and acts, what he is capable of doing and how he reacts to others. By the time the comic book ends (with a very intriguing ending no less), you will get to know Prime a lot.
I also liked the way the writers used corporate media as a key element on exploring the connecting elements of the Ultraverse. Hardcase is shown briefly while a reference was made on Prototype. Check out the page posted below on how corporate media looks at Prime.
When it comes to the art, the late Norm Breyfogle (1960-2018) delivered visuals that had that cartoony look and yet the visual expressions are quite mature, even dark and gritty. It is a very nice approach and it is no surprise, looking back, that Breyfogle went on to draw a lot more issues of Prime for Malibu Comics. Breyfogle died on September 24, 2018 due to heart failure in Michigan. Before making his mark on the Ultraverse, the late artist drew a lot of comic books for DC Comics and is known for his contributions on Batman.
More on hero himself, Prime is a flagship character of the Ultraverse and the combined talents of the writers and artist were major factors behind it. On face value, Prime looks like the Ultraverse answer to DC Comics Superman but in reality he has a lot more common with Shazam/Captain Marvel. I can explain why but that means spoiling the plot more here.
Overall, Prime #1 is still a very good old superhero comic book to read. It is fun and intriguing from start to finish. Considering its very good quality and being a nice showcase of the talents of the creators, Prime #1 is one of the best Ultraverse launch comic books. It is too bad, however, that there are no signs from Marvel Entertainment (note: Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics in the mid-1990s) whatsoever on the possible revival of the Ultraverse which remains in limbo under them.
Even so, I still say thatPrime #1 is highly recommended.
For your reference regarding the 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup that was held this past weekend (April 27 and 28) at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, here are the post-race photo releases that got published in the Manila Times, Malaya Business Insight and People’s Journal.
Subic Bay, Philippines – April 27, 2019 – It was a complete domination by the mighty Hong Kong team in the sprint events on the first day of the two-day 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup as HK triathletes placed 8 entries in the top ten of the men’s sprint distance featuring 16 to 19 year olds while 7 female entries placed in the top ten, including a sweep of the top three places in both division.
In the super sprint distance though, the Philippines managed to share the glory with a second place finish in the boys’ side and a third place achievement in the distaff side to share in the day’s glory.
The duo of Jason Hardcastle and Nicholas Tsang Cheung Singh set the tone from the start of the swim leg in the sprint race that started at the ACEA Beach Resort & Hotel as they left the other participants literally in their wake and were never pressured en route to an easy 1 – 2 finish with Hardcastle retaining the title he won last year, clocking 56 minutes and 46 seconds for the 750m. swim-20K bike-5K run while Sing , who was left behind in the final run lap, finished in 57.11. Philip Chenaux-Repond completed the 1-2-3 finish by HK in 58.34.
” I was focused on a podium finish, I knew I was in good form and I was not really pressured, the weather though was very hot, ” said Hardcastle after the race sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union ( ITU ) and the Asian Triathlon Confederation ( ASTC ) and backed by SBMA and its Tourism Department, the Philippine Olympic Committee ( POC ) Philippine Sports Commission ( PSC ), Pocari Sweat, Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP), NTT, and the ACEA Beach Resort & Hotel.
Best placed local bet was Christian Legacy Academy student Joshua Ramos, 17, who sneaked in at 8th overall with a time of 1:00.57 while the other Filipino triathlete in the top ten was Juan Baniqued in 10th place, finishing in 1:01.35.
” Sa swim pa lang ang layo na gad nung dalawa, but in my case, I was not even expecting this because I knew how strong the field was this year,I really should work more on my swim in the future, ” said Ramos
The distaff side saw a start to finish victory by HK ‘s Bailee Brown who negotiated the distance in 1:04.03 despite the hot weather that bothered her, ” it was a tough race anyway you look at it but I was confident of winning, my strategy was just to be ahead at all time. I am certainly happy with the win and my swimming showed a big improvement, ” said the pretty 19-year-old student from HK University who also competes regularly in the standard distance and even qualified in the last Asian Games’ triathlon event.
Twin sisters Cade and Tulullah Wright, also from Hong Kong, grabbed the next two slots, finishing in 1:04.45 and 1:05.06 respectively to complete the sweep for HK in the junior female elite division of the race .
National triathlete Karen Manayon managed to squeeze herself in the top ten , finishing in 10th place with a time of 1:11.29, The Talisay, Cebu native admitted she was surprised and happy about her performance but not with her time , ” medyo mabigat katawan ko pag gising kanina but no excuse, sobra talaga lakas ng mga taga Hong Kong. “
Nick Yip Tak long and Jan Yip sandwiched local bet Matthew Hermosa in the top 3 of the super sprint distance race as Long took first place in 33.51 i while Yip clocked 35.54 with Hermosa matching up well with a runner-up finish in 35.24.
” Malakas yung champion sa swim, nakalayo agad siya at di ko na nakita pero masaya na ako sa finish ko, ” said the 13 year old Hermosa from Talisay, Cebu and mentored by Andoy Remolino.
HK’s Pauline Courret and Roxanne Wright, younger of the Wright twins, took first and second places, clocking 36.49 and 37.04 respectively while La Union native Lady Samantah Corpuz sprang a surprise with a third place finish in 37.42 also in the super sprint distance race.
” Kulang sa training dahil galing ako sa sa sakit, two weeks ako hindi naka train, ” said Corpuz, a National Age Group Triathlon champion in Subic earlier this year.
” No excuses, the Hong Kong team was just too strong , they have a very good program and has been producing junior champions, in fact in the region, HK is the only one that can compete against Japan. What we need to do is adopt the same approach of Hong Kong in strengthening our junior triathletes especially in the swim leg, ” said Tom Carrasco Jr, president of the organizing Triathlon Association of the Philippines ( TRAP ).
Tomorrow morning (Sunday), focus will be on the men’s and women’s elite races which will also serve as a qualifying event for local triathletes for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).