Florante at Laura Gets a Cool Sci-Fi Twist in This New Graphic Novel

Doorkeeper will be launched during Komikon 2017.

(SPOT.ph) Unless you're a big history buff, Philippine history and mythology can sometimes be a bore to read—especially when you're just forced to learn about it in school. Add that to the fact that the Filipino language, despite being our mother tongue, is not easily understood by many. Doorkeeper, a new graphic novel by Summit Books, wishes to turn that around through the tale of a cosmic being that journeys through pivotal moments in Philippine history, mythology, and literature. It is co-created by Ethan Chua, a Chinese-Filipino spoken word poet who received the Geballe Prize for short fiction in 2017, and Scott Lee Chua, winner of the Nick Joaquin Literary Award for short fiction in 2017 and the Palanca Kabataan Essay Award in 2011.



"Doorkeeper was first conceptualized during a chat with Ethan about the butterfly effect—the idea that huge consequences can stem from small, seemingly inconsequential choices. This seemed like a problem—and the Doorkeeper was our fantastical solution. He would be the Keeper of the Ways, the Steward of Choice, who appears to people on the brink of making such pivotal decisions and shows them the consequences," explains Scott in an interview with Summit Books. This fantastical creature not only visits fictional kingdoms and real-life revolutions but also safeguards the ways of time and space.



In the stories within the six-chapter volume, many characters come face to face with the Doorkeeper: a musician trying to find love amid late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' Martial Law and a young boy traumatized by the World War II. Other eras include pre-colonial Philippines, the eve of the 1898 revolution, and the far future.


“We chose eras rather systematically. We wanted eras of conflict with interesting characters that we could explore within the scope of one chapter,” says Scott about the selection.


Most interesting of these is the chapter on the fictional Count Adolfo from the Francisco Balagtas epic Florante at Laura, which isn’t exactly set in the Philippines but allegorically represents the country during the colonial period.


“I think a lot about how our relationship with the world at large is still shaped by this very difficult national past, how our narratives today are shaped by Spanish and American colonial narratives, among others. For me and Scott, rewriting Florante at Laura was kind of our way of bringing these characters—our characters—home,” Ethan says.


To get you excited about Doorkeeper’s launch during Komikon, here are a few pages from the book:


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Doorkeeper (Summit Books) will be launched on November 11 and 12 at Bayanihan Center, Unilab Compound, 8008 Pioneer Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. It will be available in all major Philippine bookstores, supermarkets, specialty comic stores, and convenience stores for P275.

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