Monday, November 08, 2004

terminology

My friend Gerry Alanguilan questions the use of the term "grafiction" for Siglo: Freedom and comics in general in one of the previous posts in his blog. In the comments section, he quotes another blogger who found our use of the term "hifalutin" and said that it detracted from his enjoyment of the book.

Siglo: Freedom's agenda is explictly stated in its introduction (and part of my "manifesto" for that time period). It is to position comic books as literature. This conceit does not in any way negate, refute, belittle or ignore the origins and status quo of comics. I believe that creators are free to pursue agenda, and my agenda is to create sequential work of a higher literary caliber compared to the more mindless ones I see in comic book stores. Part of pushing this agenda is creating a signifier to differentiate it from the rest of market, at the same time granting it its own fledgling identity, allowing later critique a catch-phrase to use. I accept the descriptor "hifalutin" if what it describes are texts that are more sophisticated than the average comic book.

Do not get me wrong. I love comics - I buy them and read them. But they are not all the same. And in the context of books like Siglo, I have my eyes on a definite goal.

It just saddens me to think that some people think that we somehow are ashamed of the term "comic book" (though are are many who advocate a change in the terminology, given the fact that it does not adequately describe what it seeks to describe - "grafiction" is also similarly inadequate, but I can live with the flaw).

The term does not uplift comics by itself, so to place the burden of work (or to blame) on the term itself is pointless.

Will I storm Gerry's place and threaten to kill his chickens? No, because of three things:

1. I understand his points;

2. He and I respect and love comics and are on the same side of the fence (he is one of the fiercest supporters of both Siglo: Freedom and Siglo: Passion and of the Philippine comics industry);

3. Because, ultimately, terms are just terms - what matters is what they signify.

And I'm not sure of he really does have chickens (I will look for some in Lastikman).

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