Komikoo #3 -- a quick review
- Didn't mean to comment on Komikoo #3, but I just got an email from a
zackey_84 and he seems to think that I'm in charge of Komikoo:
hello bro... i hope next month improve your magazine. 2 month
tertangguh tau. i think your magazine is over. yelah ari tu janji tak
ulang lagi pernangguhan dalam penerbitan.
i have a idea. komikoo magazine di translatekan in english. it's
meaning buat satu story seperti novel grafik dalam bahasa inggeris.
and then you can sell your product in asia tenggaralah...
ok good luck.
(end of email from Zackey)
It's kinda funny that someone would mistake me for Roy (the hair
alone would've set us apart. Hehe). But let's pretend for a bit that
I'm Roy (but with a combed hair). What would I have done differently
with Komikoo #3?
Firstly, there really isn't that much of a difference between issue
#3 and the previous issues in terms of the dark tone. This scares
me 'cos I don't think Komikoo has changed enough to attract a wider
base of readers than it did previously.
Using Ben as a cover artist is, at some level, inspired. EXCEPT...I
think even people who like Ben's work will agree that the cover isn't
one of his better pieces. It's dull compared with his Powder covers.
As "Roy", I would've asked Ben to re-draw the cover before I would
publish it. Otherwise, I'd just have someone draw a big red bow
across the cover (like the bow on top of a birthday gift) and there's
a small card attached saying something like: "A brand-new Komikoo
inside!" Of course, it'll have to really be a brand-new Komikoo
inside and not just hype.
I'd scrap all those darn names cluttering the cover: Adijin,
Celestial, Maro, Shah, etc. I'm sure they are nice, talented people
but I doubt that most of the general reading public have heard of
them. And even if they have, I doubt that they are a strong enough
draw like, say, Lat, Ujang, Reggie Lee, Aie, etc.
Instead of Bernice Chauly, I'd probably have an interview with
someone who is more popular among youth and put the photo of this
woman (yes, it has to be a woman) on the cover.
A two-month hiatus is pretty long (it's actually three months between
issues, if you think about it), so I wasn't surprised that even
Azhar, who first published "Siapa" in Urban Comics, mentioned he
forgot what the story was about! And this is also true with me -- I
couldn't remember that well what went on previously for both "Siapa"
and "Hikayat Sebuah Mitos". As "Roy", I would've done something to
remind readers what had gone on in the last two issues.
Wordless comic "Mat Skipa" is confusing to me for the most part, and
I totally didn't get "Bulan, Bintang & Mentari". "Hikayat Dua Pemuda
dan Gergasi Rimba" (part 1) is a pulp fiction story but without a
pulp fiction cliffhanger ending, and I would've asked zafran to add
one or two more pages to ensure that.
I'd ask Shah to do the opposite for his 8-page "Darah Aram", which I
feel could've been shortened by half it took too long to get to
the "punchline" and anyway, there's no real sense of build-up towards
I like Maro's "Seekers", but I don't know whether it works for people
who are not familiar with the show(s) being parodied. "Ex ex ex wai"
is perhaps too black a humour, something few people would find funny.
"Formula Krisis" the ending is a bit anti-climactic. The last or
second-to-last panel should've been the panel with the mutated babies.
"Hantu Rempit" is weird, but it works at a certain level. I would not
have shown the accident. The humour, to me, is really that the ghost
could not move from the spot of the accident and is just pretending
"Cinta Tekno" may be my favourite comic in this issue of Komikoo.
It has an international feel to it. But I would've put the man on the
left in that last panel so that the woman's reaction comes AFTER the
readers have read the man's words.
"Kultus Kucing Hitam" is too weird for words. "Obesia" is promising,
and hopefully it'll continue its slightly-controversial train of
"Nujum Pak Cuaca"'s punchline is kinda weak when compared against the
dark humour at the very start of the comic, when a person is thrown
off the roof. Why was the "accident" introduced at all if it had no
bearing on what happened afterward?
"Wawansabda bersama Bernice Chauly" -- I would've included one of her
poems to give readers a taste of her "Book of Sins." Of course, I may
not have chosen Chauly to interview in the first place 'cos she's
probably below the radar of the large non-yuppie, non-high-art
segment of the market.
I'm being quite critical here, but I do respect what Roy and the
Komikoo team are doing. I don't envy Roy 'cos his job is really
tough, and in the past, more experienced people have failed to
sustain comic magazines.
There is a need to balance commercial viability with personal vision
and artists' egos.
The Olympics is coming, and hopefully, the upcoming Komikoo will take
advantage of the fever that'll grip the public. (The "oo"
in "Komikoo", for instance, can be turned into the Olympic rings. But
I'm sure the Komikoo team can be even more creative.)
- Just to add to what I said about the possibility of using the Olympics as a theme for Komikoo: I think this is as good a time as ever to try getting advertisers for Komikoo. Advertisers' spending normally spike during big events like the Olympics, and I reckon they'll be looking for opportunities to gain eyeballs in August.
Have a good marketing/creative plan for an Olympics issue, and then approach the media planning and buying agencies with a special deal. Perhaps an ad. Perhaps a contest tie-in. Perhaps an advertorial, suitable for sports brands like adidas and Nike, or Olympics sponsors. Perhaps Komikoo artists can appear at one of the advertiser's events in return for the ad ringgit.
I think it'll be easier for Komikoo to get advertisers once they see that others have advertised in the magazine (even if it's a Noradz in-house ad).
On another note, it's tempting to listen to people saying it's good to follow your vision and to make the comics very cerebral. Firstly, it's not a requirement for an intelligent comic/article to alienate readers by using bombastic words or references that are too obscure for the public.
You don't have to get the symbolisms in, say, "Watchmen" to enjoy the comic. "Y: The Last Man" and "Pride of Baghdad" get across some commentaries without trying to sound overly clever or pompous. If an ordinary man or woman doesn't "get" your comic, it doesn't mean they don't like or don't understand "intelligent" or "serious" comics. It just means you've failed to grab and keep their attention. And it may also mean that your comic is not as intelligent (or entertaining) as you think in the first place.
Secondly, you can follow your vision but have a longer term strategy to reach it. You don't have to start off with very cerebral comics but instead try to gain a base of readers first. Then gradually, you can introduce stuff that is more in line with your overall vision. Sometimes, you have to follow market trend (or seem to follow market trend) before you can become a leader.
I think Komikoo overshoots a bit its target of getting readers who have just left Gempak. The comics seem more for an audience in the late 20's or in the 30's. You know you've overshot the target when Ubder (Shahrin) says in the Pergh forum that it's the kind of comics he would've himself loved to publish! Hehe.
Anyway, that's my opinion, and of course, everyone is very welcome to give opposing views.