Updated February 2002
Gabriel Banaag: So, how are you doing today?
Gerry Alanguilan: Just great. Getting fat. You?
GB: You know me. Well, let's start this thing. Before anything else though, there is a question that I've always wanted to ask you. Why Comics?
Gerry A.: Whoah! I didn't expect that one. Hmmm. You know, I really don't know. I just like comics, I guess. I like looking at drawings, and I like to read. Comics just seem perfect for me in that case. I've read them all my life, I realize. And I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that I would eventually do them myself.
GB: When did you realize that you wanted to do comics yourself? Since the beginning?
Gerry A.: I was drawing even before I started reading comics. But at the time it was more like play than anything. I was drawing all these little comic strips at the back of my notebooks at school. It featured all kinds of characters like this orphan Ricky Anderson, which was inspired from the anime Remi, the Orphan Boy. I also drew further adventures of Tintin where Captain Haddock would turn into the HULK whenever he drank whiskey.
GB: Wow, you never showed me THAT one. Must have been hilarious.
Gerry A. It was TERRIBLE. ha!ha! They're tucked away somewhere in my cabinet.
GB: Please continue.
Gerry A. Ok. I pretty much carried on that way even in college when I was taking up Architecture. I wanted to take Fine Arts, but my folks wanted me to take Archi. I relented, thinking architecture was an art as well, and I thought it didn't have much math. Boy, was I mistaken! That course had a TON of math. Anyway, it was at this time that I rediscovered the X-Men via a compilation of the Dark Phoenix Saga. I had been reading the X-Men as a kid, but as soon as I stepped into High School I gave it up, thinking that I was too old for it. Boy, was I wrong LOTS of times. Anyway, my brother brought this compilation home and it's pretty much not an exaggeration when I say that it literally changed my life.
The Dark Phoenix Saga.
Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin.
Copyright @ Marvel Comics
|It was probably the best superhero
story I have ever read. It's STILL the best superhero story I have ever
read. And I've read a lot. Some other people would put Watchmen at that
spot. I mean, I have read Watchmen and I'm a big Alan Moore fan, but nothing
really beats something that you grew up on. And the Dark Phoenix Saga connected
with me on a very deep emotional level that other comics have not been
able to do. Those three creators, Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry
Austin were at their very prime. I mean, Byrne's art really blew me away.
As a result, I started drawing just a little bit more seriously. This was around 1985 and I started sending submissions to Marvel. Eliot Brown was the very first person I ever got in touch with at Marvel. He had seen my submission and sent me a polite rejection letter. Nevertheless, I was ecstatic because someone at Marvel actually knew I existed! I was still serious in pursuing Architecture though, and submissions were still just a cute little hobby.
when did you finally take it seriously?
|I had a girlfriend whom I was absolutely
crazy about who had just left for the US. I wanted to follow her there,
but since I have not entertained any thoughts about leaving the country
before that time, I didn't know what to do. I wanted to go, but I
also wanted to have a good job, one that would be good enough to support
the both of us there. I was working as an architect for around
2 years already and yet I still didn't know if it's what I really wanted
to do. I briefly entertained the thought of become an actor. You
know, as one of the goons whom Fernando Poe Jr. beats up on. I would have
been happy with that, really. I had continued reading the X-Men and I was
really blown away by this new artist Jim Lee. His work was incredible
at that time. And it really inspired me to come up with even more submissions
(and even more rejection letters). Then I met Whilce Portacio. I had been
seeing his work on and off as in inker at X-Men, New Mutants, and he had
recently begun penciling with Punisher and X-Factor. I liked his work a
lot. When I learned he was a Filipino, I went NUTS. If that wasn't
enough to kick my in the ass about drawing comics, this was it. I thought,
shit. If he could do it, maybe so could I. I thought, this is IT.
Comics is the way for me to go to America and be with my girlfriend. At
that point on, I just dropped everything. I stopped working and went home
and just practiced and practiced, day and night from 6 am to 12 midnight.
I remember that you had come home to San Pablo to stay a while. Was that
OK with your folks? After all, they did send you to school to be an architect.
I think this is where Wasted comes in? I understand that you had been drawing
nothing but superheroes at this time. What made you do Wasted, and why
did you draw it the way you did? To be honest, when you first sent me Wasted
#1, I couldn't believe it was done by you. I thought, man, this art SUCKS!
Specially after seeing what you had been doing with superheroes.
I automatically thought that there was something wrong and I called you
about it, remember?
Worse, I stopped drawing altogether. The next time I drew was almost one year later and that was when I started writing and drawing Wasted.
(Note: Of course, that irrational hate towards anything American soon passed. I watch CNN all the time and I'm back to listening to Bruce Springsteen. [The Rising ROCKS!] Looking back, it was such a stupid thing to think about but what can you do eh? Love (or the lack of it) can make one do the most craziest things.)
did that title come from, by the way?
I remember getting it and wondered what the hell it was. All of a sudden
I thought you were a totally different person altogether. In the first
issue alone you shot a traveling preacher right through the head.
Is that a reflection of what you believe? Don't you believe in God?
getting the idea that aside from being an outlet of grief for a failed
relationship, Wasted is also a sounding board for your religious and political
beliefs? Are you condoning murder?
In a way, Wasted is a sort of sounding board for the things that annoy me in life. I hate traveling preachers, I hate thieves, I hate corrupt government officials. They all have their day in my comic book.