It was about time. Janjan Comics has been making us look forward to Sunday evenings for his mind-bogglingly simple comic strips for a while now. His jokes are quiet but funny, like that eye contact you make with your BFF from across the table and you burst out laughing, just the two of you.
And then he put out that “Advocacy” comic strip last Sunday, mixing together truths about beauty pageants and the inane scene in the anti-piracy commercial theaters show pre-movies. Suddenly, everybody knew about Janjan Comics. Of course, we had to talk to the man behind them.
Juris! Can you tell us more about yourself?
I’m 25 years old, living in Quezon City. I used to be an IT analyst but now I work in a media agency. I am an engineering grad from DLSU Manila. I failed some subjects because I couldn’t stop drawing.
We enjoy your Sunday offerings but that “Kamatis” one is really something else. What do you like to trip on?
Nagkataon lang the “Kamatis” was really bothering me every time I watch a movie. I had to make it after seeing someone rant on Twitter. Janjan Comics is just a slice of life, so it’s really more on personal things.
Would you say that was the most successful comic strip yet?
Yes, so far it’s the most successful, lol. I wasn’t expecting much because when I published it, I only had 3,000 followers on Facebook. I was really only doing it for the 200 people who kept liking my comics, and I was really happy making it for them.
But I’m very proud of the “Lola” comic, too. It was one of the first and gained the most appreciated from Reddit Philippines. I post by stuff there when I hadn’t much following. They’re a great community!
Okay, can you tell us more about Janjan Comics?
I launched Janjan Comics on November 29, 2016—may birthday talaga siya! Janjan was my nickname when I was growing up. [It now represents] my inner child. Siya yung blue na may bumps sa ulo and serves as the creative channel for my personal life.
Initially, I wanted to create both Tagalog and English comic strips, hence the Tumblr account, but I decided to stick with my local dialect. Mas sakto siya kasi dito ako nakatira eh.
I took two rounds of weekend classes at PETA (Theater Arts and Basic Acting) then Weston Directing and Acting classes from UFO Workshops (twice as well). I never went to art school but these opened doors fr a creative process that I never had. I’m really glad I took them!
Your comic strips are so simple but wasak. Can you tell us how you come up with these ideas?
My ideas stem from my personal experience with friends and family. The more I live, the more life I express in my comics. I write the ideas, keep them even if I don’t like them then I come back some other time—that’s actually how the “Kamatis” was made!
It about letting yourself free and not policing yourself. Even if at the back of your head, you think it’s bad; don’t listen to it and keep brainstorming.
Valentine’s Day is coming up. Are you planning something for that occasion?
No, hahaha! Something else entirely.
Do you have an editorial calendar and plan things out?
I’m just committed to one comic on Sundays at 8pm. But so far, I’m also able to put up something on Wednesdays, too. I work alone, but I show my friends the drafts to see if the humor is socially acceptable or is good enough.
What’s the one thing we’ll never see in Janjan Comics?
Politics! For now at least. I created Janjan Comics because the social landscape was already filled with hate left and right. I wanted something that celebrated being alive instead of resenting existence.