Visprint, publisher of Filipino talent, announces final chapters of story

January 14, 2019 - 8:36 PM
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Visprint staff
Local publishing company Visprint, Inc. announced that it would close in 2021. (Facebook/Visprint Inc.)

Filipino publishing company Visprint, Inc. appealed for the public to continue supporting local authors and comic book artists and writers after it announced that it would close by 2021.

The company confirmed in a Facebook post speculations of a forthcoming closure shared by poet-fictionist Edgar Calabia Samar.

Visprint cited the retirement of its founders in 2021 but added that it would continue to sell its beloved books and graphic novels until the projected closure.

Part of the publisihing company’s statement reads:

“Salamat sa mga nananawagan ng #SaveVisprint. Totoo pong nakatataba ng puso ang inyong suporta at malasakit. Pero higit dito, siguro ay mas hihikayatin naming ipanawagan ang #SaveFilipinoAuthorsKomikeros.”

“Pangalagaan at pahalagahan natin ang bagong henerasyon ng mga alagad ng sining sa larangang ito—ang mga manunulat at komikero. Hindi na sapat na basahin lang sila, mahalagang maging katuwang din tayo sa pagpapalaganap ng kamalayan tungkol sa kanila at kanilang mga akda.”

“Pag-usapan, punahin, kilalanin ang iba’t ibang uri ng akdang nababasa ninyo. Ipaalam sa publishers ang mga aklat na nais ninyong mabasa.”

“Laging itanong sa bookstores ang mga akdang hinahanap ninyo at kung bakit wala ito sa kanilang mga tindahan. Suportahan ang independent publishers at self-published authors/comic artists. Nasa kamay ninyo, mga mambabasa, ang kinabukasan at pagpapatuloy ng mga akdang Filipino.”

Visprint said that it would continue to attend events such as Komikon, Komiket, the Manila International Book Fair and book events until 2021.

The news was met with sorrow by some of its readers who recalled the publishing company’s famous bestsellers like Bob Ong’s humor-filled novels and Manix Abrera’s witty comic books.

Some of Visprint’s most famous works 

The publishing company was responsible for giving voice to some of the industry’s most talented local writers and artists.

Talents in their roster include Bob Ong, Eros Atalia, Ricky Lee, Jessica Zafra, Budjette Tan, Manix Abrera, Eliza Victoria, Carlo Vergara and Beverly Sy, among others.

Bob Ong’s autobiography “ABNKKBSNPLAKo?! (Aba Nakakabasa Na Pala Ako)” was turned into a movie by VIVA Films in 2014 and praised for offering a “nostalgic look at Pinoy school life.”

Eros Atalia’s bestselling romantic-comedy novel “Ligo na Ü, Lapit na Me” was highly praised for its book and movie version.

The movie was an official entry to the 7th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival where it got nominated for the “Best Film” category while one of its leads, Edgar Allan Guzman, won the “Best Actor” award.

“Ligo na Ü, Lapit na Me” was also adapted into a musical by the University of the Philippines-Los Baños’ Tabsing Kolektib.

Budjette Tan’s supernatural comic book series “Trese” consistently appeared on National Bookstore’s bestseller list and got adapted as a Netflix original series, although it is yet to be shown.

Filipino-American storyboard artist and animation director Jay Oliva was enlisted as the series’ executive producer.

His previous works include animated versions of “Batman: Under the Red Hood,” “Justice League Dark,” “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Parts” and “The Legend of Korra,” among others.

Trese comics)
Panel from “Trese” comic book series (Screenshot from Trese Comics Facebook page/Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo)

The works of Carlo Vergara, a celebrated artist, theater performer and playwright, have been cited in several academic essays as well.

He is the creator of the comic book superheroine Zsazsa Zaturnnah which have been adapted as a stage musical by Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Pilipino and as a film by Regal Entertainment.

Manix Abrera’s college-centered comic book series “Kikomachine Komix,” which initially appeared in Philippine Daily Inquirer, is set to have its own movie and live-action series.

The comic book series has been around for nearly two decades already, earning a following with its socio-political commentaries interjected within the characters’ witty banters with each other.

Impact of Visprint in publishing industry 

Writer Jerry Grácio in a Facebook post shared how Visprint, Inc. gave the writers and artists a platform to show their works to Filipinos in an industry that is often underappreciated and overlooked.

Part of his post reads:

“Bilang publisher, nagsugal ang Visprint kay Bob Ong, o maari ring nagsugal si Bob Ong sa Visprint. At nanalo ang sugal na iyon. Umani si Bob Ong ng mga mambabasa.”

“Nilawakan ng Visprint ang paglalathala at hinatak ang mga mambabasang una nang nagbasa kay Bob Ong patungo sa iba pa nating mga manunulat.”

“Nagsimula ito bilang David sa gitna ng isang dambuhalang Goliath na walang bilib sa kontemporeanyong panitikan ng Filipinas.”

“Ngunit ang paniwala ng Visprint kay Bob Ong ay nag-extend sa pananampalataya nito sa iba pa nating mga manunulat: Kay Jun Cruz Reyes, Chuckberry Pascual, Edgar Calabia Samar, Ricky Lee (ang Visprint ang distributor ng aklat ni Lee), etc.”

“Maaaring hindi nito nagapi si Goliath, pero ipinakita sa atin ng Visprint ang mga posibilidad kung paanong mababago, kahit paano, ang publishing landscape sa bansa, kapag tinayaan nito ang ating mga manunulat at manlilikha.”

Grácio published an essay-memoir titled “Bagay Tayo” under the publishing company.