Everybody who knows me also knows that I love to read. What they don’t know is that my love for reading started way back when I was a kid. Back then, way before I discovered the Nancy Drew, Bobsey Twins and Sweet Valley Twins series, I read Archie comics. I loved it and collected a few. I also enthusiastically perused the comics section of whatever newspaper my dad read at home.
Admittedly, though, I haven’t been reading a lot of comics lately. Thinking about it now, I think it’s more of because most of the comics I see nowadays are all about superheroes and I’m not really interested with reading about those (I see them a lot in movies already). So, when I got this invitation from Nautilus Comics in my email, I really got curious.
I discovered, much to my surprise, that there’s actually a comic series, locally written and produced, that does not tell stories about superheroes at all. The comic is called Cast and it has been around for years. In fact, the event was all about the launch of the the 12th issue called, Cast 12: Catharsis. But let me give you some background information first about Cast.
Voted by fans as Best Series in the 2009 Komikon, Cast is unlike most comics. Instead of being about fantasy and superheroes, Cast is about real life. It’s about a barkada of students from different exclusive all-girls and all-boys schools, who are performing together in a musical. The series follows their adventures: getting over stage fright and learning the ropes of production, meeting all kinds of people, falling in love with the right—or wrong—person, and all the crazy things that they get into, all for the love of the musical and their friends.
Cast was first released in 2004. Bautista wrote and/or edited, while then unknown artists Stephen Segovia and Harvey Tolibao did the art. Later, Rex Espino, Jhomar Soriano and multi-awarded Arnold Arre joined them as artists. All in all they produced 11 issues and a prequel.
Cast has created quite a cult following. However, problems with the collaborators’ schedules forced them to put the 12th issue on hold for seven years. But even then, fans kept on sending emails to the collaborators, clamoring for the next issue to come out. Cast 12: Catharsis was finally launched last July 19, 2014 at Fully Booked at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Here are some info regarding this new issue:
Cast 12 gives closure to the fan-favorite Lel and Joe subplot. In past issues, we see Lel, one of the best actresses in the group, not-so-secretly pine over Joe, who seems oblivious to her feelings. Lel finds out that Joe has a secret crush on someone in the musical and agonizes over who she is and how it happened. Finally, Cast 12 gives Lel and fans the answers to their burning questions.
Cast 12 was written by Jamie Bautista, and Jhomar Soriano did the art. There are also pages by past collaborators (who are now superstars in their own right)—Tolibao, Segovia, Espino and Arre.
With these great artists in his arsenal to make this story come to life, Bautista admits that what makes Cast 12 resonate with fans is that “it’s a special mix of raw truth and well-crafted fiction.” Because it deals with themes about “old loves, jealously, and the nature of genuine love,” it strikes a chord with romantics everywhere, and awakens the young, naïve, and hopeful person in all of us.
During the event, I was given a copy of both the Cast 11 and Cast 12 issues (plus a Cast notepad!). I was so excited to share these with my daughter, Ziya, because she loves reading comics too. I knew she’d appreciate reading these comics as much as I did.
Here I am before the start of the event already reading the two issues.
It was very interesting to hear the creator, Jamie Bautista and two of the Cast artists, Elbert Or and Harvey Tolibao, talk about their experiences in creating Cast and with working together. The passion they have for this series is very apparent.
What’s really cool is that Cast 12 will be available in three (3) different covers. They will be available starting August 2014 in Fully Booked as well as other bookstores and comic shops for only Php 100.00. Below are Harvey Tolibao, Jamie Bautista and Elbert Or, holding the three different covers. ‘
For those of you wondering what’s next for Cast after this 12th issue, you’d be happy to know that they’re also launching a webcomic version, called The Cast.
The Cast (to differentiate itself, the webcomic has “The” in the title) will now be available for free on the website thecastcomic.com. The story jumps forward, with old, beloved characters still in the picture, and new “cast members” making the stories more interesting.
The Cast will still be about life, love and performing—the same compelling stories that have kept fans loyal all these years. But with the new format, new stories will come out weekly.
In addition to the regular webcomic, The Cast also has articles for its young adult readers. They’ll enjoy the love/relationship advice, performing arts features, show and event schedules and more on the site.
I honestly want to read the series from start to finish though and would love to get a hold of all the Cast back issues.
Do check out Cast 12: Catharsis and The Cast webcomic!
The Cast Comic