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Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Me and Bruce

People who have gotten close to me soon realize that I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. As in HUGE. I have all his albums on CD, even those rare to find ones including "Before the Fame" and Winterland Night and Missing Tracks bootlegs.

I had been reading about Bruce on various Jingle magazines long before I became a fan. Back then I thought he was just another rocker who sang bullshit songs, posed angry, took drugs and took home groupies.
The first song of Bruce I ever heard was "Dancing in The Dark" back in the summer of 1984. There was something about the song, something about Bruce's voice that hit me really hard. I became a fan, and I realize now 18 years later, that I have become a fan for life. I bought the vinyl record of "Born in the USA" as soon as it came out and devoured it, day in day out, while I drafted my architectural plates for school, while I ate my pizza and drank my coke, while I washed the dishes and while I took a bath.

Bruce sings songs about the ordinary people and their relationships with each other. He sings about the hardships of everday life and what people do just to survive and see another day. He sings about relationships failed and happy, sad and angry. He sings songs about the guy and girl next door. He sings songs about me. That is perhaps why I, and a lot of people connect with Bruce and his music. His songs may not be hit material, but they hit harder than any song you will ever hear. To this day he's never had a #1 hit single. But Bruce was never about hits. He was never about making it big, rich and famous. He was about making songs that mattered. Perhaps this is why I never tire of hearing his songs, even though I've heard them hundreds of times. This is perhaps why a song like "Bobby Jean" can still make me cry even though I had been listening to it for nearly 20 years.

Contrary to what first impression one may have about a song called "Born In The USA", it is not a song of patriotism and flag waving. It's a song torn from the heart of a bloodied but unbowed human being, telling us what it is like to live in the USA. Bruce's music doesn't have the quality of being appealing right away. I have not liked many of his songs at first listen. But after listening to them a bit more, they turn into mini masterpieces that makes me wonder why I didn't see how marvelous that music was in the first place. This is perhaps why these songs stick so long with me.

While other rockers continue to make rock music into their old age, Bruce grows with his music. His songs mature as he gets older, and as I grow older along with him, I connect with his music even more. While music that I had grown to like and love gets tucked away one after the other in my closet as I get tired of them, Bruce's music is always there.

I had the opportunity to to watch Bruce and his band LIVE in Detroit back in 1999, after I had attended the Comics Convention in San Diego. I had a ticket reserved for me, and I had already booked my hotel. My ticket ensured that I would be right next to the stage. I'd see Bruce and the band up close. This was perhaps a moment that I had been waiting nearly 20 years for. I imagined being in that stadium as Bruce walks in and hits that first chord. I had thought I would cheer, but I found myself shedding tears I could not explain why. That's how much weight and impact his music has with me. Unfortunately, the concert was postponed, and I was crushed. But I still had the music, and it was all right.

This July 30, 2002, Bruce Springsteen and the band will be releasing a new album called "The Rising". It's their first studio album together as a group since 1984. In this album, I hear Bruce will be singing about America after September 11. Bruce can do no less. I've already listened to at least 3 songs via Real Audio from the official site. I didn't like them at first listen, but now I'm playing them all the time, as often as my Internet connection would allow. Yes he sings about America recovering, but his songs transcend even further and have found a connection with me again.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Go to the site above and give a listen to a couple of songs available. Who knows, you may end up liking it.

I will be going to America again next year to attend a Comics Convention in San Diego. This time, I'm making a promise to myself to see and hear Bruce and the Band, wherever they may be touring at that time. If I miss them again, well, at least I still have the music. Thanks Bruce for all of it!



Monday, July 22, 2002

I can't put my finger on it, but something is really bothering me. It's been bothering me now for quite some time. I wanna talk about it, but I really just don't know what to say. Except a few senseless words like what I'm doing now. Oh I don't know.

Pick up HIP FLASK from Comicraft! It's cool! Interesting story, amazing art by Ladronn.


SUPERMAN STUFF



The first image Leinil has drawn for the upcoming SUPERMAN BIRTHRIGHT written by Mark Waid, and well, inked by myself. Coolness!! I'm working on Superman!


Sunday, July 21, 2002

KOMIKERO.COM


Allright! I finally got my own domain! Heh. Nothing is there right now, except a page that pisses on the place telling me that THIS SPACE IS MINE!! ha! ha! ha! I'll be moving my site there, but at the same time I'll be updating everything. Don't know when that will be, maybe in several months, but I will be doing it slowly once in a while...



Tuesday, July 16, 2002

IDEAS

It's so frustrating when someone has already done something you have come up with independently. I had been thinking about a sci fi story that I had been planning to do after all the stuff I had been doing. I thought it was a pretty nice idea and I told Noel Lim about it. He shook his head, took out this trade paper back and showed me that it has already been done before. I was really broken hearted. There I was thinking I was so clever I had created something really original when all the while someone had already done it. It's damned frustrating. I'm thinking of doing it anyway and to hell with it, but then again people might accuse me of ripping someone off.

It's happened a couple of times already. I had been thinking about a neat idea for superheroes and how to do them differently. I had the story all laid out. Who the characters are, what their motivations are, what the conflict is and how it will all end. I was crushed when I learned that a similar kind of story was done 15 years ago, and another writer did again for a series years later, all unbeknownst to me. Frustrating. Fucking shit!


Sunday, July 14, 2002

WASTED UPDATE!

I've finally finished my WASTED website. I've been meaning to do it for a long time, and in fact I've been doing it slowly for several months. But don't expect much. It's just a very simple site that gives you information about this book. I realized I've been neglecting WASTED in my site, not giving any info about it, in the light of the new printing and the movie. I think it's about time I put one up. It has all the basic info one can reasonably expect from a comic book. A short intro, some art, some news, and reviews. :)

http://www.alanguilan.com/sanpablo/wasted.html

Below is the FINAL cover to the book:






Tuesday, July 09, 2002

I just finished a drawing for a foreign publication. I scanned it and sent it over, concerned that the editor/publisher may not like it. But he did and not only liked it, he wanted to buy the original drawing as well. (When a company asks you to draw something for publication, they are only buying the rights to use the image that you have created, not the original piece of art. You however, will not be allowd to publish the art elsewhere, but the piece of art does belong to you.) The pay isn't as big as my inking, but I did it anyway because I just love drawing and any opportunity to show that I can actually draw (and not just ink), I jump on it. Of course, I agreed to sell the piece of art, but I asked to be paid not in money, but in 2 Akira Kurosawa DVDs. Check it out:



What do you guys think? I'm such a Kurosawa freak, even more so when Toshiro Mifune, my absolute favorite actor, is in it. Toshiro is just really awesome. To me, there's no other Japanese, American, or European actor that can come close to his presence, his sheer talent and energy.





Monday, July 08, 2002

Leinil, myself and a couple of other friends stayed over at Nil's place a couple of nights ago to just hang out. Of course, I was there to pick up pages to ink as well. We had a DVD marathon as we always do when we hang out there while Nil draws. While waiting for pages to ink, I finished an illustration depicting a couple of stanzas from HP Lovecraft's "Fungi From Yuggoth", which I did for Graphics Classics.

While there, we watched "The Others" and man, I thought it was a terrific movie. I have always heard how good it was from other people, but to see it for myself was unbelievable. I normally don't get scared watching horror movies when I'm with other people, but this was an exception. I felt the hairs stand on my skin in one of the more terrifying moments of the film. Seeing it made me want to get the DVD myself. Throughout the night we watched some anime, "The Hamster Factor" (the kick-ass documentary on the 12 Monkey's DVD, Seven Samurai and some other stuff I don't remember. Having had a tall americano from Starbucks, I wasn't about to sleep and I didn't.


Sunday, July 07, 2002

The past couple of days have been very confusing. I can't say why. I can't be specific. But I have to write something or I will go crazy. It's very hard to deal with certain situations sometimes, no matter how mature you delude yourself to be. Sometimes you ask yourself, how can something that feels good be so bad, and makes you feel guilty? Then you realize that it's that way a lot of times. Steaks and crispy pata tastes great, but I haven't eaten them in a long time because they can be bad for you. And you feel guilty for eating them because you know it will have pretty bad consequences.

Yesterday was pretty tough. I had to wade through a lot of flooded streets just to get to my apartment from Nil's place, pack my stuff and head on to the bus terminal to get back home to San Pablo City. It had been raining all last night and all day. All the while I had been struggling with a lot of very strong emotions, much of it were not related at all to my current dilemma of just getting home in the midst of all that flooded mess. I haven't had much sleep, I haven't eaten breakfast and lunch and perhaps my judgment was seriously impaired, but I came close to doing something that I might have regretted. I thought of Ilyn and as always, thinking of her always makes me want to do the right thing.

I got home, dealt with mail, made some calls, and just plopped into bed for a long sleep.