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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Nautilus Comics: What Arnold Arre Revealed on His Talk!

12.07.2014 – Nautilus Comics organized a small talk featuring Arnold Arre who recently re-released two of his works from the early 2000s. The first one was “Trip to Tagaytay” a short story penned is as a sort of love letter to wife Cynthia Arre.

The second book is the “Mythology Class”, a 2000 National Book Award the very first graphic novel to receive such award by the Manila Critics Circle. It was released at Komikon 2014 with three different covers that were long awaited.

The resurgence of interest to Arnold Arre’s works resulted in his most recent collaboration with Gerry Alanguilan when they produced Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby.

Probably the first full color graphic novel work by these two award winning creators, which was launched during Summer Komikon last April. Arre’s last original work was “Martial Law Babies” in 2008. After that his last graphic novel he ventured in short film and animation which produced “Milky Boy” and had a limited screening at Fully Booked to invited guests and in Summer Komikon.

Now the down-to-Earth Arnold Arre finally gets to speak about his beginnings as a comic book artists and what is his next work would be. Lately he’s just busy with projects but for this one Saturday afternoon calm before the super typhoon Ruby (International name “Hagupit”) he shares his thoughts and trivial stories behind “Mythology Class

Before Arnold Arre had his talk Jaime Bautista and his wife Rhea talked about “What is Comics?” and more details regarding sequential art. They also did a reading of the first few pages of “Mythology Class” with humorous consequences. It was a fun mini activity discussing about local comic books and then they introduced the man himself.

If You Can’t Find It. Make It.

Arnold Arre was at National Bookstore in 1997 around that time the book store’s landscape was different 80% was only dedicated to selling school supplies and other art materials unlike what current bookstores have now that have a wide variety of reading content from autobiographies to original Philippine graphic novel.

He was looking for books about Philippine Mythology but couldn't find one so he decided that his next comic book project would be about that, and in September 1997 one stormy night the first page that was drawn was the scene where Nicole’s first encounter with a Tikbalang reaching out to her.

The story wasn’t entirely written yet but just like a detective Arnold Arre got stuck with this particular image to start piecing the story from his personal experience, which gave birth to his first comic book series.

Drawing Inspiration from Reality.

“Mythology Class” settings are drawn from Arnold Arre’s experiences in the real world and just like the pages in the first chapter it was set in one stormy night, which gave birth to the scene where Nicole first encountered Mrs. Enkanta and her companions.

He still did expanded the adventures of “Mythology Class” in Manila Times in color, but it did not last long as the newspaper company advised him that the series will be cancelled.

Expanded Stories in Color.

By 2008 Arnold Arre was done with “Mythology Class” and was pursuing other projects when Manila Times contacted him to do further stories. He was reluctant to do more about expanding his beloved characters’ adventure that made him known.

He still did expanded the adventures of “Mythology Class” in Manila Times in color, but it did not last long as the newspaper company advised him that the series will be discontinued and eventually it was never finished.

From Contemporary to High Fantasy.

His friend Marco Dimaano said to him that he already finished the story and he did but suggested to leave something open for a sequel. Arnold Arre designed “Mythology Class” like any fairytale to end in a good note, but this also gave him an idea from his friend’s suggestion to do a follow-up to hos award winning book.”

Currently he’s no longer using traditional means to produce his artworks and has already moved on to digital where he can edit and change things. When he was contemplating in making a sequel for “Mythology Class” it gave him a lot of challenges. He tried his best to make it but the more he tried things got different.

So the once sequel to the 2000 National Book Awards winner has evolved due to changes that made into a spinoff. YES. You've read it here the series that gave Arnold Arre a cult following is getting a spinoff. It’s not a direct sequel and the setting takes place to the world of the Enkantos.

He explains that this spinoff is High Fantasy Fiction which he has not done before that excites him. Arnold Arre mentioned that he’s currently developing the series and making further research that’s why he’s very busy nowadays. He further explains that “Mythology Class” is a contemporary fiction this next one leads further to High Fantasy Fiction that’s in the works.

Post-Talk, Q & A, And More Laughter.

After his talk there was Q&A for the fans and new readers to his book. The first question was about the re-release of Mythology Class if they added or removed a certain part of the book. He revealed that if you have a copy of the original release and the current one there was no difference. The only difference is the covers that were produced for this year (2014) as the original release back 1997 carry certain nostalgia to him.

ON HIS REACTION THAT HE INFLUENCED A NEW GENERATION OF ARTISTS: Arnold Arre was lost for words when asked that he influenced a lot of artist who produced their own Philippine mythology. He has read the most recent ones lately he didn't notice that impact he has done with Mythology Class since he has become busy with a lot of projects the past years. But he said it was nice to hear that he inspired many artists that started to tell their own stories. He’s more appreciative to know that we as Filipinos are looking at our own culture not taking influence from other countries. But he admits being an anime fan and points out his artwork was inspired by it.

ON HOW AND WHERE HIS ART STYLE WAS INSPIRED FROM: He adds that if you started drawing art inspired by anime its okay, but as an artist you have to make your own style. You have to add something that makes your art unique and you have to choose. If you want to work in Japan to earn more money or work here and take less money to extend and promote the Philippine culture.

TALKING ABOUT HIS NEXT PROJECT AND WHERE HE’S GETTING IDEAS: Currently he’s hard at work with his next project related high fantasy fiction and he’s been researching for literature. He’s also picking up and watching old Philippine films related to what he plans to take this project next. He mentioned Panday and Lord of the Rings as some of the films he’s trying to find inspiration from.

ON HIS REACTION IF HE HAS PLANS TO BRING MYTHOLOGY CLASS TO THE BIG SCREEN: Arnold Arre’s reaction on the current trend in the Philippine film industry doesn't appear interested. This is due to his plans on bringing Andong Agimat to be adapted for a TV series and a movie did not push through years ago. But if there’s an independent production who would be interested he can be contacted. He also said that it would be tedious to adapt it to animation since he will do it all over again but in a different medium.

ARNOLD ARRE GIVES A TRIVIA BEHIND DARNA LIVES ORIGINALLY WAS A JOKE: When Gerry Alanguilan sent him the script for the one-shot story for “Darna Lives” which was published online it was supposed to be a joke. He took the script seriously being Darna an iconic Filipino superhero created by the great Mars Ravelo he drew it in dark colors.

The punch line there was a scene where Narda was being attacked by thugs trying to get to her, while she was trying to start the engine of her jeep. She was shouting “Andarna! Andarna! Andarna!” which changed to shouting “Darna” and ends in the scene where she transformed into the superhero.

The setting of this short Darna story is similar to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, where Narda is old and have kids hence the explanation why “Darna Lives” had a local cult following.

ON HIS WORKS GETTING DIGITAL SINCE HIS BOOKS ARE BULKY AND THICK: He already have plans on releasing Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby as discussed with Gerry Alanguilan, but they didn’t push it through as they still trying to study more details about putting their works in digital format. The same goes with his previous works as he’s still trying to find ways to be accessible not getting his books being pirated in the internet.

ASKED ABOUT MILKYBOY HIS SHORT ANIMATION IF THERE WILL BE A DVD RELEASE: He already have plans on having it released for home media possibly in the next Summer Komikon in 2015. Some haven’t seen the film during its run at Fully Booked since it was by invitation and during Summer Komikon 2014.

Arnold Arre closes his talks thanking his long time fans and new readers who attended the small gathering even though the heightened alert about the storm last night. Then he had a short signing event made quick sketches for fans. It was great seeing Arnold Arre back in the Philippine Comics scene and you’ll see more of him when he release his next projects and a possible re-release of After Eden.

For more about Arnold Arre’s books being published LIKE Nautilus Comics on Facebook and visit his site at:

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