Apat na buwan na si Janus sa mansiyon nina Manong Joey sa Angono pero naroon pa rin ang sakit ng dilang-karayom ng manananggal sa puso niya dahil sa pagkawala ng mga mahal sa buhay at sapilitang paglayo kay Mica.
Simula ng Christmas break nang mawasak ang proteksiyon ng mansiyon laban sa Tiyanak at sa mga kampon nito. Matinding barang ba ito? Nawawala rin si Mira, ang isa sa kambal na baganing kasing-edad ni Janus at inampon din nina Manong Joey. Ipinagtapat naman ni Renzo kay Janus ang matagal na palang sinusundan ni Manong Isyo: bumalik sa mapa ng utak ng dalawang manong ang brain imprint ng Papa ni Janus at maaaring buhay pa pala ito!
Today we open the blog tour week for Si Janus Sílang at ang Labanáng Manananggal-Mambabarang graphic novel! 💕 As a part of the team that helped bring this comic book adaptation to life, my heart is just so full of joy while writing this post. Allow me to give you a bit of background first. I’ve been a fan of the Janus Silang series by Edgar Calabia Samar since I first read it on 2015. It was my husband Mervin Malonzo who introduced it to me. He has created a number of fan arts for the series ever since. Four years and four books later, he finally got the opportunity to adapt the second book which also happens to be our favorite among the series.
We started our independent publishing group Haliya Publishing in 2016, and for such a young company we are so honored that Anino Comics has trusted us enough to co-publish this dream collaboration between Samar and Malonzo with us. What’s more is that we were allowed to host a blog tour and so here we are now. I’d like to do more blog tours for Filipino titles moving forward, this is just the beginning. I think blog tours are a great way not only to promote a new book but also to connect readers, and it would be great to see more local content in bookish blogs. 💕
Now, moving on–and I promise that this will be an objective review.
The graphic novel starts strongly with a bloody recap from the first book’s final scenes. As a sequel it is successful in tying the ending of the first book to the beginning of the story, but if you haven’t read the first one yet, you should know that it will contain major spoilers. I think it’s unavoidable for the set up of the story.
After the shocking events at Janus’s house, we are now taken to an idyllic retreat in Manong Joey’s mansion, with the newly orphaned Janus making new friends and working to fulfill his destiny–to find Tala and destroy the evil force of the Tiyanak. Unfortunately, nothing ever comes easy for Janus and his heartbreaks are far from over.
One thing that really makes the Janus Silang series stand out is its terrific world building. Through Samar’s words we are transported to a world where what we know of as creatures of mythology are all brought into reality. His characters are fleshed-out and likable, making their possible demise all the more devastating. I know I’m not the only one who has been traumatized by this series. Though it’s a classic good vs. evil tale, it is one of the few effective ones in which you really feel the terror and vulnerability of being a victim, too. Perhaps it is because of Samar’s signature plot twists that readers are always kept on their toes.
That being so, I guess you can tell by now that it is truly a tall order to adapt this series to a graphic novel. I have witnessed my husband’s hard work on this adaptation since day 1 and trust me when I tell you that this is a product of focus and hard work. It is one thing to adapt someone else’s work, but it takes a special kind of talent to also be able to own the material and still make your identity shine through.
Janus Silang 2 comics is the perfect blend of storytelling and great visuals. Malonzo is one of the few artists that can make you see beauty in even the most repulsive of scenes. I think that what made this collaboration work well is the love that both the author and the artist have for the story itself. You can tell that they respect these fictional characters enough to do their best in telling (and showing) their stories.
Malonzo’s adaptation also went beyond the pages. The creation of supplemental information and visuals; the use of various color themes and drawing style to differentiate worlds; the confident blank spaces used for transition all show a high level skill of using comics as a form of storytelling.
Aside from being a tale of horror and adventure, Janus Silang for me is also a coming of age story. I have mentioned before that this is our favorite of the series, and that’s probably because here we see a new side to Janus that we’ve not seen before. We start to see our hero’s world expand–he is meeting new people, discovering new worlds, feeling all the new feels. The bravery of the writing is not contained in the horrors alone but more in the honest portrayal of emotions.
It impressed me how Malonzo portrayed the young characters with special abilities but with real vulnerabilities. They are still in the process of knowing their own identities but their fresh faces are already tainted with worldly knowledge and tasks even most adults can’t easily take on. I did feel that burden, and also that raw energy only the youth can bring to any space. Malonzo’s art style reflects the intensity of Samar’s writing in his bold use of colors and rough lines.
Janus Silang has now come alive in full color. I highly recommend this for the existing fandom and also for all comics and art enthusiasts. You wouldn’t want to miss this. Just prepare yourself–because the gore is real and disturbing, as it should be. Like I always say, there is beauty in horror (my other favorite Donna Tartt actually said beauty is terror). It demands our attention and provokes a reaction. It reveals a different version of ourselves that we don’t get to see even in the brightest sunlight.
Let’s re/join our hero in this fearsome adventure, shall we?
Overall Rating: 5/5
About the Author
Edgar Calabia Samar
Edgar Calabia Samar is a multi-awarded poet and novelist from the Philippines. His first novel, Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog, received the NCCA Writer’s Prize in 2005, and its English translation as Eight Muses of the Fall was longlisted in the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2009. In 2013, he received two Philippine National Book Awards––one for his second novel, Sa Kasunod ng 909 (Best Novel), and another for his book on the creative process, Halos Isang Buhay: Ang Manananggal sa Pagsusulat ng Nobela (Best Book of Criticism). Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon, the first book in his YA series Janus Silang, also received the Philippine National Book Award for Best Novel in 2015 and the Philippine National Children’s Book Award for Best 2014-2015 Read in 2016. He has also received prizes for his poetry and fiction from the Palanca and the PBBY-Salanga Writer’s Prize. His other books include Pag-aabang sa Kundiman: Isang Tulambuhay, a poetry collection, and 101 Kagila-gilalas na Nilalang, a children’s encyclopedia of Philippine fantastic creatures. In 2010, he was invited as writer-in-residence to the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa.
About the Artist
Mervin Malonzo wrote and drew the National Book Award-winning comic TABI PO. He is one of the co-founders of the Manila-based independent publishing group, Haliya Publishing. He graduated magna cum laude in UP Fine Arts. When he is not creating comics, he is creating websites, animations, and illustrations for other people and entities.
Si Janus Sílang at ang Labanáng Manananggal-Mambabarang by Edgar Calabia Samar (Author) and Mervin Malonzo (Artist)
Paperback, 236 pages
Published November 2019 by Anino Comics and Haliya Publishing
Edition language Filipino; Pilipino
Genres: Graphic Novel | Horror | Fantasy | Philippine Mythology
Book launch will be on Komikon Grande, Nov. 23-24.
Limited time only:
Follow the Blog Tour
Special thanks to my Haliya family and to our friends from Adarna House/Anino Comics for trusting us to host this blog tour. I also owe a lot to my co-host Raf, who is truly one of the kindest souls in the Pinoy bookish community. Cheers to more local reads 💕
Do check out these awesome Filipino book bloggers in the tour:
Prin from Princess and Pages
Raf from The Royal Polar Bear Reads
Kevin from One Mantra Blog
Jenny from Levicorpvs Blog
Joel from Descendants of Poseidon Reads
Elena from The Queen Reads
Dexter from Dexterous Totalus
Cathrina from PuggyReader Writes
Shaine from Wanderer in Neverland
Jon of Wander with Jon