A Glimpse into the Komiks World: Jon Zamar's Life as a Comics Creator

Many years ago, in the province of Batangas, a little kid was introduced to the world of comics. Everyday after school, in his grandmother's rice store in the “palengke”, Jon Zamar would often pass the time reading a pile of comic books left there, sometimes buying his own funny komiks.


He would then be introduced to the more foreign and popular comics when they transferred to Manila in his elementary days. His mother's friends believed that such books would be more appropriate for his age. He received a bunch of compiled strips of the Peanuts Gang, Garfield, and the likes. Adding to this would be western imports such as Marvel and DC Comics, influenced by his attendance in an all-boys school. "Kasi after class, [they] would go to hobby shops," Jon recalled, noting a hobby shop near their school.


Seemingly having comics within reach and in his interest, one might have guessed that this is something Jon would actively want to pursue.


Not quite yet though. He mentioned that there was a notion to make stories, but that he never really thought about it as a job. "Kasi di’ba, ang traditional notion of work mo is to be, like a doctor, or an engineer, or an architect,"


With this, he shares his back-and-forth journey before finally coming to the decision to dive into the world of comics completely.

During high school, his family moved from Makati to Quezon, but he retained schools. Adjusting for the long commute, he soon realized that his school's dismissal coincided with the city's rush hour. In order to avoid becoming stuck in heavy traffic for hours, Jon would roam the mall (now Glorietta) to pass the time until the traffic is lighter. It was one of these days that he came across Alamat Comics' exhibition. Though his memory of the event was hazy, Jon was positive about one thing: "There was a gallery of artworks, I remember clearly seeing Gerry Alanguilan's spread of Timawa, jumping over railways,"


He realized that in that exhibit, they were made by Filipinos. "I saw yung mga creators, they were signing books, selling stuff, tapos doon lang pumasok sa isip ko na, uy, I could do this for a living, this is what I want to do. 'Yun yung nag-change ng everything." Jon took up Fine Arts as a degree in University of Sto. Tomas.

However, his mind then shifted to that of more practical thinking. "I had a period na, I was ready na hindi na ako magco-comics. That I was either going into advertising or somewhere na more corporate na environment," This was short-lived, as Jon discovered a new local comic book - Culture Crash Comics, and they were soon looking for a staffer, a digital colorist. "I tried my hand kasi nag-aaral ako noon ng photoshop, so since Fine Arts, I tried to apply but I was too young," He didn't get accepted.


Fast forward to his senior year, he decided to go into Advertising once he graduated. Yet, it was still there. "Pero for one last hoorah," Jon said, "Para lang matanggal yung itch, I would like my thesis to be comics, to make a comic book,"


By what seems like fate, Jon finds out that Culture Crash was holding an independent comics creation contest for a new event. "I was doing my thesis, I had ready material," Jon entered a part of his thesis in the contest.


He won third place, and with this achievement, the other creators took note of him, and they were looking for another staffer, and eventually, Jon was offered the job. All the while this is happening, Jon was already working part-time in an ad agency. "I was graduating, I was sort of working, tapos there was this job offer of being a full-time staffer sa Culture Crash. So ayun, doon ako nagdecide na...magcocomics na ulit ako," Jon declared. "Ever since noon, I've been in comics."


KOMIKON


Culture Crash held "C3 Con", a convention on anime, comics, cosplay, and gaming. But the biggest element of the event was Filipino comics. "Culture Crash gave a lot of free booths para sa ibang local creators. “It was a great place makita, na, uy, ang dami palang gumagawa ng comics." Jon explained. That was in 2002 and 2003. Unfortunate