Every year, there comes a day when stores all over the world give away comic books for free.
In the Philippines, Synergy88 Digital is set to join the fun. Not only is it sponsoring this year’s festivities, but Free Comic Book Day marks the soft launch of the game development company’s new app iKwento.
Free Comic Book Day takes place on the first Saturday of May and is a yearly promotional event spearheaded by the North American comic book industry.
It began in 2002, when Retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California, came up with a novel way to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores like his.
Joe realized that giving stuff away—whether it’s free samples or something else entirely—is smart marketing. In layman’s terms, the more freebies you give away, the better your business does in the long run.
He wrote about his realization in the August 2001 issue of Comics and Games Retailer magazine, and Free Comic Book Day was born.
Filipino comic book geeks can troop to the comic book store nearest them on May 5, Saturday, to get a free comic. One of the participating stores is Filbar’s at SM Megamall.
According to iKwento Project Manager Marc Cua, Free Comic Book Day is a surefire crowd-drawer. “Hundreds ang pumipila sa Filbar’s para sa event na ito,” he says.
“Umaga pa lang, bago pa man magbukas ang mall ng ten o’clock, nakapila na sila sa entrance. After they get their freebies, they can meet some comic book artists and authors for autograph signing and picture-taking sessions. Buong araw yan.”
That’s why Marc and his team pulled out all the stops to make sure iKwento would be available for download on Free Comic Book Day.
What better occasion to launch the app than on a day when Filipino comic book aficionados are already stoked and pumped?
Granted, most of them are excited about foreign titles from comic book industry titans DC Comics, Inc. and Marvel Comics, but that’s why Synergy88 Digital’s new app comes at a most opportune time.
iKwento is a Philippine-based comic book mobile app that will allow users to access a growing library of original Pinoy comic book content.
It boasts of several wonderful features, including easy-to-read comic book panels specially designed for mobile readers.
It will also give independent and mainstream Filipino comic book creators a way to bring their content to a wider audience by partnering with iKwento.
In addition to new titles, iKwento’s extensive library also has many vintage Filipino komiks, which were digitally and painstakingly restored.
Upon downloading the app, users will be able to peruse works by some of the local comic book industry’s greats—works that have been deemed a vital part of Philippine history as far as art and literature are concerned.
Some of those works include stories that appeared in Espesyal Komiks, Kenkoy Komiks and Pilipino Komiks.
Meanwhile, in the interest of giving neophyte comic book creators a chance to shine, the app also features titles by up-and-comers like Dan Borgonos (“Lakaw”), Jun Dayo (“Mr. Pol”), Randy Torres (“Super Tsimay and the Magic Sandok”) and Romulo Miclat (“Berto Balani”).
But the best part of it is that users can get in on the action as well!
For instance, if you have a good idea for a comic book, you can draw and write it, then publish it for the world to see via the iKwento app!
Also, the iKwento app will allow users to scan and upload their own personal comic book collections to the app’s own library.
Those who have made it their mission in life to collect rare comic books can share them with fellow aficionados using iKwento. Isn’t that amazing?
“We hope the app will revive the comic book industry, specially with the current generation. We also want to immortalize comic books before that were not published. Lastly, we want to give Filipino comic artists a platform to earn, and at the same time have a platform to become known in the industry,” explains Marc.
iKwento is brought to Filipino comic book aficionados by Synergy88 Digital.
It’s now available on the Google Play Store. A version of the app will hit the Apple App Store soon, so keep an eye out for that!