17 Years of Ikabod Comics

I first met Ikabod when I was very young–around kindergarten or first grade. While that’s a rough estimate, what’s clear to me is that (1.) I found him in the back of a car, (2.) it was my tito’s car, and Ikabod himself belonged to my cousin and (3.) when my cousin saw how much I liked Ikabod, he let me keep it. And I was ecstatic.

It seems to me that this book–a compilation of the first ten issues–looks much the same as it did 17-odd years ago, which means to say it was pretty battered even then. The many attempts to repair it with tape have failed to improve its looks, but you know what they say: love makes things look good. It doesn’t hurt if the thing is also outrageously funny.

Briefly: Ikabod is a comic series by Nonoy Marcelo, a Filipino cartoonist. The title character is a rat. His adventures take place in Dagalandia, where events mirror the reality of the 80’s (Cory Aquino’s administration, kudetas, sweepstakes and even serious issues of nationalism). But of course I only noticed this with later readings! When I was a kid, the rats were just damned funny. Now that I understand the political and pop references, it’s even funnier.

I love how these characters speak: epol, hebigat, byutyus, punk-nget, keysoz (kesos with an American accent); the slang, the use of Taglish, and of course this line referring to Ikabod’s weeping (p.4):

“Okay, at least, nakapag-Tears for Fears ka na–pero hindi ibig sabihin n’yan, you’re totally off da hook–humanda ka’t pag-iinitan kita!”

I love how these rats are so utterly Pinoy. The homegrown humor of Ikabod is sharp and hits you right in the gut, making you laugh out loud.

Here’s a sampling of the trademark Ikabod style from the first issue. You can click the thumbs for full size.


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