I have been looking for this book for a while before my good friend, Illustrator, Don Tantiado told me that he has a copy of this graphic novel by Arnold Arre.
The Mythology Class (won the National Book Awards in 2000) is a graphic novel about a group of teens formed by Mrs. Enkanta (a hero from the past) to hinder the dark forces destined to return – to once again, spread terror and to revive their ringleader.
Well, the plot may sound mediocre but, believe me, this work by Arnold Arre could be the most influential for our comics and graphic novelists in the coming years (along with Mervin Malonzo’s “Tabi Po” series). Good artwork, rich in local culture and the setting is very interesting. The story is well written. Arnold Arre presented the perfect way to tell a story about folklore creatures in a manner that is not monotonous as the way our elders do. I mean, who does not know anything about Kapres and Engkantos? It is as common as “take a nap in the afternoon, so you will grow taller” type of parental saying. I recall my grandma, yelling “don’t play near the termite mound, or you’ll lose a finger.” from the balcony of her house. This is because some elders believe that Engkantos could be living in there.
Back to the book, I liked it. In fact, although I have already read this work by Arre, given the chance, I would still buy a copy so I can gave it to my kids four to six years from now for them to read. It is because if you’re a Filipino, you will be proud of this book. Especially if you are into fantasy or just curious about our mythological creatures.
We need more of this in local literature. Good thing that Arnold Arre will be releasing a sequel to Mythology Class. It’s about time. To push more of our artists and storytellers to follow this route. Before, I was one of many peeps who believe that comics is dying, but actually, not really. In fact, I believe storytellers and illustrators just took it to another level. Now we have Arre, along with Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo (Trese), Mervin Malonzo (Tabi Po), Manix Abrera (Kiko Machine), Dead Balagtas and of course Gerry Alanguilan of Komikero Komiks and others.