THEMES OF FILIPINO KOMIKS SHORT STORIES:
A CONTENT ANALYSIS
This study is a content analysis of the various themes, sub-themes and the types of endings contained in the short stories in Filipino comic books, thereafter referred to in its vernacular form, "komiks." The study sampled 30 komiks from two of the top komiks publishers in the Philippines. There were 10 samples of EXTRA (Special) komiks by the Atlas Publishing Company, thereafter referred to as "Atlas Publishing," and 20 samples of United (Super Stories) komiks by Graphic Arts and Services, Inc., thereafter referred to as "GASI." The dates of the komiks analyzed covered the period May to September 1992. Using frequency counts, it was determined that there were 18 major themes in the study, the most recurring of which were romance, human nature and marital relationship. These major themes have variationstype of romance, type of married life, emotions or characteristics intrinsic to a human beingwhich were categorized as sub-themes. The sub-themes under romance were: courtship, illicit relationship, office romance, romantic rivalry and unrequited love. The sub-themes under marital relationship were: harmony or bliss, discord, petty problems and infidelity. There were 20 sub-themes under human nature that were negative and positive characteristics of human beings. Endings were classified as happy, tragic, didactic or suspended. Results showed that whatever the types of themes or ending are used, komiks content still leave a lot to be desired. Stories were full of fatalistic and escapist attitudes. Problems tackled were mostly individualistic and were not given any feasible or practical solutions.
Today, the Filipino komiks is regarded as the country's "top entertainment source" since it enjoys the highest readership level than all other printed materials combined. The reasons for the komiks' popularity are numerous: They are cheap, portable, accessible, easy to read, and emotionally and psychologically gratifying. Komiks are relatively cheap; they cost around four pesos each. Komiks also come in a handy size: 10 1/2" x 6 1/2". They can be taken anywhere easily, lent or rented to many people and can be enjoyed repeatedly with minimal spending compared to the movies, radio or television. Because of its wide circulation, even remote villages, which do not enjoy the benefits of electricity, have access to the komiks. The komiks is easy to read and understand because stories are in graphic format and because of its use of colloquial Tagalog. The komiks has been, and still is, tagged as "pang-masa" or folk media, since it is the recognized reading fare of the lower classes. This may be due to their being able to identify with the komiks' heroes or heroines in the varied situations in which the characters find themselves. Another factor is that the komiks may be their only source of entertainment. As a form of escape, the komiks have great appeal to the masses. With it, they can find a temporary balm to their seemingly endless and unsolvable problems. The oldest known illustrated comic strips by a Filipino have been traced back to the national hero Jose Rizal. His comic strips, now known as pantomime comics because they contained no dialogue, relied on the characters' actions and facial expressions for indications of emotions or of the situation. The Filipino komiks, as known today, have been patterned after American comic books, which were introduced and became widespread in the Philippines World War I. The forerunner of the Filipino komiks is Photo News, which was first issued on June 15, 1922. After 10 issues, Photo News became Liwaywayone of today's most popular Filipino komiks magazinesand began weekly publication. The first Tagalog comic strip, first featured in Liwayway in 1929, was "Kenkoy" by Antonio Velasquez. "Kenkoy" became a hit. Gradually, Filipino cartoonists, illustrators and novelists adapted...
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