Monday, February 15, 2010

Remembering Ikabod

I used to think I was never exposed to comic books as a kid. Never did I write about Marvel and DC Comics like some bloggers did. I was never passionate with Manga or had any references to anything Japanese unless it was something I saw on television. I never had any of those graphic novels to begin with. I guess this is the drawback of growing up in a poor family - your choices of entertainment are very much limited.

But looking back, I remember saving a portion of my baon to buy Funny Komiks every week. I was so hooked up with Combatron that I rummaged news stands just to get my own copy. It became my literary fix until I have outgrown the habit. I gave up reading comics just when I’m beginning to pursue higher learning of History thanks to the PC Strategy Game, Civilization.

For a long time I thought Combatron was my beginning. I had almost forgotten that before my dad became a writer, he used to be a graphic artist. He would write stories with themes about Dracula and gets it published in some less-known komiks. That’s how he used to earn a living. The komiks where my dad’s strips appeared are being kept by my mom.


Speaking of komiks, the billboard at work was redecorated for Valentine’s Day. The theme was predictable and cheesy messages from secret admirers were posted overnight. Reading these “open thoughts of admiration” on tiny strips of post-its was a source of comic relief for many. I think most of them were written in the spirit of fun and not be taken seriously. However, what caught my eyes were not the funny messages or the production report of the agents. It was a tiny figure of a mouse, drawn just above the heart-shaped Cartolina where post-its clung like barnacles. The image suddenly reminds me that sentience was already there even before Batibot came into existence.

The drawing was distinctly iconic. It was old school. Whoever drew the mouse, with an oblong-shaped head and with eyes casting defiant gaze must have live through Martial Law. It was Ikabod Bubwit and I remember him because dad spoke well of its highly talented creator. It was also the first comic strip my eyes had laid on.

Ikabod represents a generation. He was born out of a need to express the moods and thoughts of his time. The strip is about a rebellious mouse who pretends standing up for an idea but cannot let go of his spoiled upbringing. It didn’t help that his politician father rules over Dagalandia for Ikabod sees how the hierarchy of submission passes down from the human master (Kinse) to the house cat (Boss Miyawok) to the mice protagonists and down to the ants. (the mass voters)

Like all satires created, Ikabod lets its readers take a peek at the social fabric of his age. Stereotypes about gays, maids, black people and females were the focus in many parts of the strip. There were also references to current events, which the creator of the strip tried to make fun of. Sadly, a generation born after Ikabod was published would hardly relate to its distinct humor. Those who see themselves as students of history, however, may find comfort learning the similarities between Ikabod’s time and the present.

They say much of the printed literature absorbed outside the classroom comes from the comics (or books) we read. The online journals of comics lovers (and collectors) reveal a truth about my observation - of how poignant or twisted they see the world. If Ikabod had left some grounds for reflection I failed to see when I’m much, much younger, this entry sums up the strips’ legacy. For as I reread the pages over and over again, (My dad's compilation found its way to my bookcase) it's not Ikabod I see anymore. Looming beyond the rodent is the memory of my father, who introduced me to komiks and to Ikabod many years ago.



red the mod said...

So does the memory of the man lives on. Not in what he has done, or failed to do, his accomplishments or his disappointments. Fathers, and mothers as well, earn their immortality not in the physical but in the emotional. In the values they've instilled and lessons they have taught to us, their children.

From a time simpler, to the anarchy of our consciousness, from the frivolities of youth, to the wisdom of experience. We are the reflections of our parents' successes. Drawn in a line crisp and exquisite.

Simple. Seemingly mundane. But with a meaning beyond the graphically apparent, and the presently comprehensible.

paci said...

my classmate in grade school collected these komiks and shared them with me..and i became a fan of combatron.. =)

Galen said...

Red the Mod:

I went to the cemetery to visit my dad's grave last weekend. He passed away five years ago. Before leaving, I remember telling myself that despite going there unaccompanied by family, someone remembers my father. In life, we may never have seen eye-to-eye, but remembering Ikabod is one of the ways of honoring him in the afterlife.


So I guess we're of the same age huh?

gillboard said...

di ko yata inabutan yung ikabod, pero simula bata komiks na yung pinagkakaabalahan ko... panahon pa ng Force One Animax tapos Combatron...

Galen said...


Kasi nung sumikat ang Ikabod totoy pa tayo. Para kang nagbasa ng Pugad Baboy ng 8 years old ka pa lang. Hehehe.