Komiks— or comics— has been a long-standing part of the Philippine pop-culture. As early as the turn of the 19th century, Pinoy komiks is already seen as an effective outlet of political expression or a simple source of entertainment.
Over the years, Pinoy komiks has seen a lot of unique phases and journeys. And now, through the efforts of dedicated creators, the industry has found new life in the digital age. (Read: 5 Classic Filipino Books That You Won’t Be Able to Put Down)
Kalabaw Kolektib, a group of local writer-artists who share a passion for komiks, recently launched a website where Filipino creators, writers, and comic junkies can share their love for komiks with no judgment. Called penlab.ink, the website features a wide collection of Filipino komiks with different styles and stories— for free!
“We collaborated with other creators who wanted to share their comics to more people,” the creators of Kalabaw Kolektib said. “We wanted to create a digital space for our shared love for Pinoy komiks in the same way that cons let you find your favorites and discover new gems.” (Read: The Modern-Day Dad: Cartoonist talks about work-life integration)
From black-and-white komiks to modern webtoons, penlab.ink features a wide collection of Filipino komiks. Here are three that are worth checking out!
Pinoy Komiks Online: The Mythology Class
If you are a fan of Philippine Mythology, Arnold Arre’s award-winning graphic novel is for you. The Mythology Class follows Nicole Lacson who finds herself face-to-face with tikbalangs, kapres, and all sorts of engkantos or mythical creatures who are causing havoc in modern-day Metro Manila.
The Mythology Class is the first winner of the Comic Books category of the Manila Critics Circle National Book Award during September 11, 2000.
Pinoy Komiks Online: Katipunera Warrior
Katipunera Warrior is set in a reimagined colonial Philippines that is haunted by demonic monsters. Created by Bernie Mercado, Nina Torralba, and Sampay, the komiks follows the story of a girl who was first enlisted as a weapons messenger, but then discovers her true destiny as the legacy of a Katipunera Warrior.
Pinoy Komiks Online: Nagmamahal, Maria Clara
Created by Marianie, Nagmamahal, Maria Clara follows the journey of Maria Clara in modern-day Metro Manila. Lost in the city, the dalagang Filipina wanders the bustling streets in the Metro as she searches for her home, friends and herself.