They tell you never judge a book by it's cover, but I do that quite a lot. It's how I got hooked on The Wheel of Time, the Dark Elf saga, Xanth, and a dozen other books and series. It plays an even bigger part in the comics I follow. The reason I was so hooked on X-men during my formative years was Marc Silvestri's art. The reason I loved Hulk was Dale Keown (and Peter David). The reason I've never read Sandman is mostly because I can't stand the art of Dave McKean and company.
The cover is the main reason I picked up "Where Bold Stars Go to Die".
The thing that struck me the most about Esmeña's cover was the simple graphic, with a figure reminiscent of the old baroque paintings I liked back in college. I'm sure not many will admit it the same thing, but the majority of my exposure to Filipino comics is from the newsprint porno mags that are sold in Manila. My older cousin who was going to one of the Universities there would buy stacks and stacks of these and I'd sneak peeks at them when I could. Most of them weren't works of art, but there's a certain common style to many that is very appealing to someone like me who's grown up on American/European supermodels. Comic artists here tend toward more Rubenesque portrayals of women.
"Bold Stars" wasn't one of the comics I'd been looking into purchasing when I missed this year's comic con. I was mostly after the third Trese book. But seeing this behind the glass case at Comic Odessey, I just had to find out what it was about. I put it in my pile.
Back home reading the story, I've got to say I was surprised. Ever watched "It's a Wonderful Life"? Know where Zuzu Bailey says "Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings"? Well the book is sort of a take on that. If you're a guy, and you re-read the title of the book I'm reviewing, I'm sure you'll get the idea.
How many times have I wondered what happened to those sexy stars from my high school days? The ones that would be featured on the front page of those wonderful tabloids in the morning? The ones that would dance on the noontime variety shows. What happened to Anjanette Abayari or Patricia Javier. Where is Amanda Page? The first tagalog movie I ever watched was "Gayuma". It sucked, but Amanda Page was hot. What happened to her and all the other girls we used to fantasize about?
Gerry Alanguilan posits an interesting theory that they are not lost to time. They are in fact waiting for new fans, like lost gods waiting for worshipers. And the form of worship isn't a blood sacrifice, but semen.
For those of you who don't get it yet, they need guys to jack off to their movies or they fade away, mmmkay?
The whole thing is a little off the wall, but then this is the guy who gave us "Wasted" and "Elmer". No matter what your reaction is to the subject matter, it's worth the read. Especially p150.00. You can find it at local comic specialty stores like Comic Odessey (Robinsons Galleria).
Now I'm going to go find some of those old showbiz mags and some tissues. Excuse me.