I got this at the Komikon recently. Here’s some thoughts after reading through the entire book during the last holidays. There will be spoilers. And possibly nitpicking. You’ve been warned.
The three different covers were all lined up, a quick Google search directed me to the events-only edition so I picked that up. It was a pretty hefty book, even for the price. ‘Winner, 2000 National Book Awards’ was printed right on the covers and I had to see what it was about.
From the lot of graphic novels I’ve read, it really grew on me to enjoy the introductions and prefaces from the authors. They offer a glimpse into the beginning sparks of the ideas that eventually grew into sprawling worlds. It’s fun seeing the inspiration and the work that was put into it come together.
I was slightly disappointed with the lack of that type of preface in The Mythology Class. Right at the beginning we get quotes praising the book. Not that it’s bad, but I wish those were put on the end; to not color the reader’s expectations of it. They were all great retrospectives from his colleagues and I think those should be appropriately put after the story. One thing you’ll notice is that it’s credited as the really good comic that started the trend of the Philippine myth and modern world fusion.
This is a book that captures the vibe of 90’s Filipino culture very well. Just reading the word ‘questor’ in your head is a classic. The characters are written in the vein of those in the movies of the age, it’s something nostalgic that you’ll catch early on. This is a ‘barkada flick’ through and through. It kind of makes you miss those tropes. It hits home quite a lot, especially as a UP student. My favorite line would be during the chase scene: “Parang-awa mo na — May exam pa ako bukas!“. The locations are one of the highlights of the book for me. They are drawn with such care that they are immediately recognizable and familiar. From the architecture, the compositions, and to even the cars they all felt that they fell into place naturally as you would imagine.
One of the first things that irked me was the way the story started. I thought that the supernatural plot was dumped quite heavily at the beginning as exposition. Suddenly, time travel. It’s a huge concept that they should have eased into; with a lot of implications that could have been explored more. There were some sentences where the language sounded unnatural to me, lacking a sense of rhythm. It sounds like just trying to lengthen the dialog with unnecessary words. I just chalk that off as Filipino English; something I’d see in other works. That makes me wish there was an original Tagalog text version.
Those were probably very specific critiques that won’t bother the general audience. This is a great book totally deserving of its praise. Pick it up when you find it.