Pinoy comics for change

MANILA, Philippines – When most people think of comics, they do not usually think of them as vehicles for positive social change. Adam Pasion, a Filipino-American and California native now living and working in Japan, wants to change all that.

Pasion, along with co-editor Zon Petilla, is putting together an anthology titled “Pinoy Komiks: Filipino Comic Anthology.” The anthology will feature some of the best cartoonists in the world, both Filipino and non-Filipino, and their work “inspired by Filipino culture, history, and folklore.”

Pasion is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the project, which has already achieved its initial $3,000 goal and is now aiming for stretch goals. All money earned from the sale of the book will be donated to Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief efforts.

Regarding his goals for the anthology, Pasion said, “I heard it put really well by another charity – our goal is not to be the first responders – it is to be the last responders. We want to be there when everybody else has moved on. That is why I think a book like this is useful because hopefully it will continue to sell for years to come.”

Pasion continued, “We might not be able to give a bunch of money right up front, but we can continue sending money as long as the books keep selling. In the case of Aftershock, we were able to give several thousand dollars to rebuilding efforts over the course of three years. I think this makes a difference as funds don’t get bottlenecked or misappropriated.”

Once Pinoy Komiks is funded on Kickstarter, Pasion and Petilla will efficiently move the book toward a May 2014 publication. In doing so, they will have effectively taken support of hundreds of cartoonists and supporters and cohered it into the final form of a published book.

Still, Pasion is demure about his success as a cartoonist, an editor, and a social entrepreneur. Instead, he likes to use the example of Pinoy Komiks as a reminder of all the potential that the Internet offers.

Pasion said, “I don’t have to say this to readers who already have their finger on the pulse, but the Internet is truly an amazing tool to enable creativity and collaboration. It seems a shame that so many people squander those chances.”

In telling proof of that, he added, “I have never met anybody involved on this project face to face, and that includes the co-editor Zon. I connected with half of the contributors via email, half through social media. We spread news of the campaign through Facebook communities and Twitter, we funded it through an online crowdfunding platform. Truly anything is possible if people decide to use the Internet to it’s full potential.” –

Rappler business columnist Ezra Ferraz graduated from UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California, where he taught writing for 3 years. He now consults full-time for educational companies in the United States. He brings you Philippine business leaders, their insights, and their secrets via Executive Edge. Follow him on Twitter: @EzraFerraz