WHY BY NORMAL?
 
On line journal of a deranged comic book artist.
 
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Gerry Alanguilan
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TODAY
January 15 1999

Earlier tonight I wanted to write about the return of Voltes V and Daimos to TV and how their return brought me to a tearjerking bout with nostalgia. Maybe wanted to write about Marvel's legal troubles and how some people cheer the company's impeding doom. How immature really, wishing other people lose their means of livelihood.


But no, today I want to talk about 13 year old Christina Marie Williams, a Filipino-American girl who lived with her family in Seaside, California.  On June 12 1998 7:30 pm, Christina took her dog for a walk. The dog came home an hour or so later but Christina was nowhere to be found. She was considered missing for 7 months until today, when a body located  3 miles from her home  was positively identified to be her.  Authorities have concluded that she had been murdered, but have yet to determine just exactly how.

I do not know this girl at all and I only stumbled upon her when I saw her bright smiling face in one of the many websites I have visited.  I knew she was Filipino and it made more interested to find out more about her and what had happened to her. I have been following this story since last year, I visited the website her family has put up for her:

http://www.cmwilliams.org/
I feel as though I have come to know her, considering her like a sister I never had. Imagine my extreme sadness upon hearing the news of her fate today.

Inevitably, I do have strong feelings, of which anger is the one that I feel most of all. I feel extremely frustrated that there is no specific person to direct it as there are no definite suspects as of this time.  My thoughts keep coming back to our situation here in the Philippines and the bitter debate concerning the death penalty.   Where do I stand?  I have thought long and hard about this. These are my personal opinions, which I have arrived at from debating the issue for some time with all kinds of people. It is time for me to write it down. Sorry, it is no longer subject to further debate. I have made my decision, at there it shall stand. Do not attempt to write me concerning this matter because most likely I will just ignore you.

Here are the most common arguments against the death penalty:
1. We will be no better than the killers if we kill other people in return.
I sincerely think that this is a flawed line of thought. Where does it come from, first of all? It has become a common cliche that people hold on to because it has been repeated so often enough that it has to be right.  If you think harder about it, there is a fundamental difference between killing criminals and killing innocent children.  Imagine that you  were there at that fateful moment minutes before Christina was abducted. If you were given a choice of choosing who will die, her, or her killer? Who would you choose? Who deserves to live more? Who deserves to live less?  It's not as black and white at all when viewed from this point of view.
2. Death Penalty has never been a deterrent and it never will be.
I never considered death penalty to be a deterrent though it can have that effect on some people. I always considered it as punishment, as imprisonment is punishment as opposed to rehabilitation. These people have commited criminal acts against society. What must they pay for those crimes?
3. Who made you God that you can decide whether a person lives or dies?
Once again, this is a flawed statement. It is a cliche that people spout without really fully understanding it.  People die everyday, probably half of them at the hands of other people like them. Policemen have the authority to kill to protect society. Soldiers have the right to kill to protect their country. I believe I have the right to kill to preserve the life of my family. So I suppose that argument that only God has the right to kill goes right out the window. 

God is a forgiving God. He forgives anyone who approaches him sorry for their sins. What if Christina's killers at the end of their lives go to confession and seek forgiveness and they get it, would they go to heaven? Where is justice then?

Everyone has a right to life, sure. But I believe that anyone who deprives other people their right to live through criminal means should have no longer have the right to live themselves.   This is not a proposal to prevent future murders of innocent children from happening. No matter how prepared we may be, it will still happen, somewhere, somehow. There will be no lack of human scum in the world.  Cutting down at least one of these criminals now could may well allow one, two, or even several children to continue living tomorrow.

Once again, if you intend to debate with me, or "correct" my way of thinking or just plain wish me ill, don't bother. These are just my beliefs, and are not open to debate.
 

FILIPINO COMICS ARTISTS
This is the first part in a series of columns focusing
on Filipino artists that have served as inspiration to many younger
artists incuding myself.

DUMAGIT by Francisco Coching
FRANCISCO V. COCHING
THE DEAN OF FILIPINO COMICS (Jan.29 1919-Sept. 1, 1998)
January 9 1999

Having been born in 1968, I was never even around to see the work of Francisco V. Coching when he was at his prime. I grew up to appreciate those who he had inspired like Nestor Redondo, Alex Nino, Rudy Florese and Fred Carillo. Looking at all their work I noticed something similar with all of them. They had that certain look, the structure of the women's faces perhaps or some posture by a male hero that made them instantly recognizable to any Filipino as works of Filipino artists.  This is a look that they all seemed to have inherited from Coching, regarded by the country today as the Dean of Filipino Comics.

The above drawing of a character he had created in 1950 is only a small example of the immense talent this man had. Back in those days, artists actually knew how to draw people correctly. Heroes were softly muscular but never exessive. Their motions were fluid, lithe, sleek and deadly. Pages were never claustrophobic. Backrounds were lush and expansive.    And women, whew!  Women were so beautifully drawn they actually turned you on. (Except the monkey woman above of course :)) And Coching, well, Coching was at the head of all that. He set the standard and everyone can do nothing else but follow.

I wish more artists today take more lessons from the work of Coching. After all that I have done and all that I have drawn, whenever I start to get privately full of myself I look at this man's work and I always come away ashamed. Always.  I wish I knew even of fraction of what he knew or even a fraction of what he can do.

THE DATABASE

I have been dreaming of putting up a Filipino Comic Book Artist Database on the internet ever since last year. I'm still in the process of gathering information and I think I may be able to put something up in the next two months. Francisco V. Coching of course, is the first entry this database will have. 

I figure that this is a call to all Filipino Comic Book artists,where ever you may be in the world.  If you are one and you have published work anywhere, let me know by writing to my address above. I'll collect all your addresses and get in touch with you when the time comes.