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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, May 08, 2016

entry arrow8:47 PM | Andres and Amorsolo

There's nothing slight to Elbert Or's comic diptych The Amazing True-ish Story of Andres Celestial / The Life & Death of Amorsolo Esperanza, Faith Healer of Talinghaga -- a slim double volume that bills itself as a compendium of two short tall tales, out from Anino Comics. I have always loved the work of Mr. Or, who pens an online comic titled Homeycomb. There is a certain lightness to his work that belies the whimsy and the wisdom that makes up the look and the themes of his work. This book is no exception. In his blurb to the book, fellow comics writer Robert Magnuson claims that "Elbert Or strikes a chord" and that "within these few deceptively simple pages, he lays down the complex roadwork that leads a boy into making that necessary and fulfilling turn into manhood." In the Amorsolo Esperanza section, Or gives us the story of a faith healer from a town called Talinghaga (which is Tagalog for "metaphor"), and makes cunning use of folk tradition (the traditional hilot) and stark historical narrative (the ravages of World War II and their aftermath) to flesh out a story of being true to oneself, and following one's dream. It is a minor epic of that thematic arc, spanning the years to make us feel the triumphs and doubts of the title character who comes to great influence concerning his gift, and to great regret concerning his dreams. Dreams, and the fulfilment or misfulfilment of it, seems to be Mr. Or's central concern, as we see it fully fleshed out in the Andres Celestial section. Here, a young boy dreams of a better future where he becomes a science and mathematics genius who would be instrumental in the invention of giant robots ... But life and love happen. What becomes of your dream then? Mr. Or asks. This book has a tender answer to this dilemma. Get this book.

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